HDTV: Shaw vs. Telus

Friday, July 27th, 2012

I’ve been using Shaw for internet and cable TV for years.  And I’ve been leery of the quality of the Telus Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), especially when the last bit of the feed into my condo is over twisted pair wires originally intended for voice-only telephone.  But I noted the picture quality at my son’s (detached) house was quite good with Telus.  Further the Telus internet upload rate was claimed to be double that of Shaw’s for the same price.

But my main incentive to explore Telus was my desire to see all the games of the Montreal Canadiens, which would require the French sports network, RDS, which Shaw only offers in Standard Definition (SD).  Telus offers the HD feed.

So to make a long story a little shorter, I switched to Telus, despite the dire warnings from Shaw that I wouldn’t get the internet speeds promised, I found that I did get the promised 1Mb/s upload, and 14.5Mb/s download consistently.  And I found the following:

  • Music channel audio quality (which I use a lot) is much better with Telus, although they do not show the title of the current song playing like Shaw.
  • The Telus user interface is more responsive and much easier to use, for example I can filter the program guide to only the channels I am subscribed to, or further to just my favourite channels
  • Telus can record 3 HD programs simultaneously as opposed to 2 for Shaw.  (Telus does not promise you can get 3 HD, but the software tests the line quality and if it’s good enough, allows this.  Otherwise it degrades the capability to SD signals, only promising one or two HD recordings, the balancing being SD).
  • The Telus HD PVR hard drive was much quieter.
  • It was cool (but useless) to have the caller ID display on my TV screen when the phone rang.
  • The Telus PVR doesn’t auto-prompt to extend time on live recordings like Shaw, but does allow a max of 3 hours extra as opposed to 2.
  • The Telus PVR storage is vastly larger: 200 HD hours vs. 20 on my four-year-old Shaw PVR.  Not an issue for me as I don’t watch much TV.
  • Telus offered a free Samsung Galaxy Tablet on a 3-year contract.
  • …and finally the picture quality: Telus was much more pixelated and blurry than Shaw on movement in HD scenes (terrible for sports) and the SD quality was appallingly bad, even on static images.

So the Telus technician came back and worked hard on improving the quality, to no avail.

So it’s back to Shaw for TV, but I’ll stick with Telus internet.  And hope that Shaw offers RDS HD before the hockey season starts.  Bad news is that the quote I got for the package I wanted from Shaw was incorrect, it’s actually $3/month more.  Good news is that Shaw is giving me a six-month discount for switching back.

EDIT: So I just had Optik TV disconnected, and I have to say that the Telus customer experience was much better than that with Shaw:

  • Telus gave discounts, both on my initial order (took $5/month off on the long-term bundled rate) and even after I cancelled the TV they kept the discount for my remaining Internet service, which I had ordered at the same time and kept. They considered that I had my home phone with them for years as well, and had met my end of the bargain in trying to use all three services, so I got the full bundled pricing. They also let me keep the Samsung tablet.
  • Shaw stuck to listed prices and had no wiggle room. One Shaw rep misquoted me and the next rep did not honour that pricing and so I’m paying more for the TV.
  • Telus reps were friendlier, more understanding.
  • The Telus tech worked his butt off to try and make it work, including giving me his mobile number, and talking to me on his day off

So I’d definitely recommend Telus over Shaw from this point of view. Dang twisted pair!

  1. Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I also posted this in the digital home forum, where there are some interesting comments: http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=155430

  2. Dave in YVR
    Sunday, September 9th, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    That’s a huge review John, and very well written.. Any update since July?

    Strictly my opinion but I’d not go back to Telus after my 3 year contract for many reasons..

    The two BIG one’s for me, was first having to sign a getting a contract in general where you don’t have to with the others. I also am not sold on 15mb/s internet download. That’s one of the slowest (“high-speeds”) available yet they claim it’s faster as you aren’t “sharing” the bandwidth with your neighborhood. ANY slowdowns with cable I’ve had due to network congestion has still been much much faster than what Telus even offers (I’m not on Shaw, but Delta Cable) with a 40mb/s down and 512kb/s up (mid tier option), Shaw’s comparable is 50mb/s with the option for 100mb/s for $10/mo more..

    When we were with Telus, we experienced numerous planned network outages with no prior notice where it’d be out for many hours at a time, other support calls would have a tech at the house within the week. With Delta Cable, the few times we’ve had issues it’s solved over the phone or a tech is here within a day. Simply no comparison.
    From cost, bundles, speed and support I’ve got little positive to say about Telus.
    I have no experience with Shaw support but have heard the negatives, but also many positives as well.
    If only Delta Cable would offer the 100mb/s download speed for the extra $10mo instead of an extra $120mo I’d be a pretty happy camper.

    Oh and btw, the reason I checked in today. I couldn’t find anything on the V+ v3 forums, but any plans to include the Golden Ears and new Port Mann bridge sometime down the road?


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