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Thread: V Media

  1. #1
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    Icon1 V Media

    Anyone heard of this company, I just came across some information about them and I am intrigued. They are a new startup IPTV company (CRTC licensed) that is looking to become an alternative television provider to traditional cable & satellite. They currently offer their service in the GTA but will be expanding to all parts of Ontario over time. Their service is available via various independent ISP's that they have partnered up with and through their own ISP (ViaNet TV).

    This looks like it could become a good alternative to Rogers & Bell, their channel selection is decent but the company is still growing and will most likely add more channels as it reaches agreements with the various broadcasters. They currently offer channels from Astral, Corus, Shaw & some indie broadcasters, here is the current offerings: http://www.vmedia.ca/tv/default.aspx

    Their biggest stumbling block is that they do not carry any channels from Bell or Rogers as both are giving them a hard time. According to an article I found about the company, they have been negotiating with Bell for over a year now without any success. Its no wonder that craphole Bell doesn't want to negotiate with them as they could become a strong competitor and take away customers. Unfortunately, they need to offer some channels from Bell (TSN, Discovery, Bravo, Space, Comedy Network) in order to grow their customer base and become successful.

    http://openmedia.ca/blog/financial-p...hearings-begin

  2. #2
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    I'm also intrigued. As anyone can see by checking their website, they now certainly do have most of the better known channels from Bell and Rogers. Of the 20 channels (specialty and broadcast) that are the ones in my Rogers on-screen guide after eliminating all the hundreds of others I do not watch with any regularity, they have 19 of them. The only one missing is Nasa TV, which I can watch on the internet.
    http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

    And they have Speed Channel (though in SD only, not HD), which Rogers will soon be dropping, the main reason I'm now looking into alternatives.
    So far, VMedia appears to be the best option for me. I've said previously that I would choose between TV service and home internet service, but not get both. I might have lied. Like Bell FibeTV, VMedia also requires you to subscribe to their internet service and won't let you get just the TV service by itself. But VMedia's packaging and pricing are much better than the other options now available to me. The total cost per month to get all the channels I want plus internet service will be the same or less than what I'm paying Rogers now without internet service.

    One drawback for some would be the lack of available PVR, since regulations currently do not allow them to use their own cloud-type system. But I already have my own stand-alone recorder and I may get two of the small and relatively cheap set-top boxes and connect one directly to the TV and the other to the recorder, if that is what would be needed to record one channel while watching another. I've gotten used to being able to rewind live TV, but I guess I could make do without it. There's also no western time zone channels. And there seems to be a lot of technical problems often interrupting service, which doesn't make me all that eager to sign up.
    http://forum.vmedia.ca/forum/tv-tech...ough-is-enough
    Last edited by Donovan's Monkey; 12-01-2014 at 06:39 PM.

  3. #3
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    They have now added what they call "Vcloud PVR" capability, but when you read the description it is much more comparable to what cable companies call on-demand. It initially only works with the Canadian and American broadcast networks (CTV, CBS, etc.).
    http://www.vmedia.ca/blog/vmedia-int...oud-tv-canada/
    Last edited by Donovan's Monkey; 04-30-2014 at 01:59 PM.

  4. #4
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    I've now had the VMedia service for a couple of weeks. I haven't had any of the problems some of the others were complaining about, other than sometimes I have had to unplug the VBox's power to get it working and tuning the TV channels when turning it on, so it's best to remember to turn it on at least two or three minutes before something starts that you want to watch.

    Their cloud system is actually better than I expected and useful for watching anything from the US or Canadian broadcast stations within a week of when the programs have aired, without having to specify ahead of time which programs you want to record. The Fast Forward and Rewind keys can only advance or push back the playback to one minute demarcations -- a little frustrating, but I can live with it. The live TV channels all oddly seem to be delayed by about a minute. Don't use the Weather Channel or CP24 on VMedia to set your clocks.

    I have found that I can use it in conjunction with my old stand-alone Sony HDD/DVD recorder to record, in standard definition, the cable-only channels such as TSN, Sportsnet, etc., that are not part of the VCloud PVR system, although doing so is a little complicated. I have to first re-set the VBox output to display in 480i (standard definition) and its RCA cable video output to what it calls CVBS instead of YUV (I think most others refer to this as "component" and "composite" video output). But I just leave it at this 480i SD setting most of the time now, since the HD TV channels still look surprisingly good on the HDMI output of the VBox connected to my TV. If you use the VBox for the internet though, the appearance does get noticeably worse on this 480i setting, as does the text of the Vmedia on-screen TV-listings guide.

    It gets even more complicated if I want to record two or more programs from different cable channels overnight or when I am not home. I got a refurbished Sony RM-VL1000 universal remote control that has a clock and timer set-up, so I can set it up to change the VBox's TV channels with the remote control's timer.
    But I've only done that just once so far as a test to see if it could be done. Between the VMedia VCloud system and all the stuff I can now see from websites (Colbert Report on thecomedynetwork.ca, etc.), there's been very little need for me to use this external recorder. Before I got the service I thought I might consider eventually getting a second VBox to enable watching one channel while recording (or monitoring on picture-in-picture) another channel, but I don't think I need it now.

    I initially used my wireless remote keyboard for the VBox and internet, but I found it a little frustrating to use, and the VBox does not seem to work well when used to attempt to watch online video from many sites. I got a small $16 4-port Ethernet switch, allowing me to now have both the VBox and a laptop connected to my TV. I generally use the VBox for just its TV channels, while I use the remote keyboard with a laptop computer (on a shelf under the TV) for the internet. The computer connects to my TV's VGA input, which also conveniently allows me to use the TV's picture-in-picture to simultaneously see the VBox's TV channels.

    It's all a kind of better and more modern version of the WebTV thing I used in the mid-1990s when I first started using the internet at home.

    Edit (May 5, 2014): I'll take back that "no problems " statement. Yesterday (Sunday) trying to watch the United SportsCar races from Laguna Seca on Speed was not good. It kept stopping -- very annoying, particularly combined with how bad this channel looks on Vmedia in standard-definition only (as do the other channels they don't have in HD -- NFL Network, CNN, etc., but the lack of HD is more noticeable when trying to watch racing). At least I can watch the archived race broadcasts on imsa.com.

    Also, the cloud/PVR thing somehow does not work with the PBS channel.
    Edit (June 23): Their cloud PVR recently began working with the PBS channel.
    Last edited by Donovan's Monkey; 06-23-2014 at 02:37 PM.

  5. #5
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    Whether you use the Vbox, AppleTV, Roku or whatever for Internet streaming, the standard PC (or Mac) or laptop will always be the best choice for full Internet access.

    Sounds like you have something that successfully combines two things into one ... the one being of course, the Internet.

    Good job at dealing with the various obstacles that popped up.

    Happy viewing. :cool2:
    Warning: I'm not playing with a full deck.

  6. #6
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    Even though I do not yet see Vmedia on the TSN website's page listing the BDUs carrying the new TSN feeds,
    http://www.tsn.ca/feature/?id=124033

    Vmedia does have them (in HD as it already did with TSN and TSN2).
    TSN1 - 99
    TSN2 - 31
    TSN3 - 100
    TSN4 - 30
    TSN5 - 32
    Last edited by Donovan's Monkey; 08-25-2014 at 10:44 PM.

  7. #7
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    A new RF remote with a small keyboard on the back and a small USB plug-in RF receiver is now available as an accessory for about $20. For some obscure regulatory reason the power button had to be IR only, but the rest of the keys work without having to be pointed at the VBox. The main (non-keyboard) side of the new remote control also now has 'mouse on/off' and 'left-click' buttons that makes an arrow symbol appear and be moved around the screen by aiming the remote. It makes using the VBox for the internet easier.

    Edit: Also, The U.S. broadcast network stations on Vmedia have now moved back to being the Buffalo ones, after having been the Rochester one for Fox and Detroit for the others.
    Another edit: The ABC affiliate switched back to being Detroit again after having briefly been Buffalo WKBW, which they seemed to be receiving weakly by an over-the-air antenna that was sometimes having the signal drop out. The other stations have since remained the Buffalo ones.
    Last edited by Donovan's Monkey; 12-01-2014 at 06:45 PM.

  8. #8
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    While their cloud PVR system remains for viewing shows that aired on the local broadcast stations in the past week, VMedia now also has a "client side PVR" system that allows you to record any program from any channel (including while watching another channel) once you have plugged in an external HDD or SD card into one of the VBox's USB ports.
    http://www.vmedia.ca/blog/vmedia-introduces-pvr/
    http://forum.vmedia.ca/forum/tv-tech...lient-side-pvr

    Edit: They ran into a whole lot of technical issues by releasing the client side PVR update before it was as completely tested as it should have been. They gave a 15% discount for existing customers for six months on charges for the TV services (just TV, not the internet and/or phone service part of the bill).
    Did I mention they also do not simsub? I assume they don't have to yet because they may be under a certain number of total subscribers, although presumably they may have to start doing it eventually.
    Last edited by Donovan's Monkey; 02-02-2015 at 09:01 AM.

  9. #9
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    Vmedia is claiming to offer the lowest priced basic package in Canada (they say $17.95).
    http://www.vmedia.ca/tv/theskinny/

    They also still seem to be going through technical problems, judging by all the complaints on their forum and my own experience. There is often a 'stuttering' or 'machine gun' noise that can make it very annoying to watch almost anything, and in the last few weeks I have to do not only a reboot (by unplugging the power) but also but a complete reset (by pushing a pen into a specific spot on the back of the VBox when reconnecting the power) at least once a day.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donovan's Monkey View Post
    They also still seem to be going through technical problems, judging by all the complaints on their forum and my own experience. There is often a 'stuttering' or 'machine gun' noise that can make it very annoying to watch almost anything, and in the last few weeks I have to do not only a reboot (by unplugging the power) but also but a complete reset (by pushing a pen into a specific spot on the back of the VBox when reconnecting the power) at least once a day.
    You said you have to keep resetting it. Does your VBOX device also go blank, have a solid colour and/or make shuttering noise/machine gun noise after a few minutes of use?
    "And Now for Something Completely Different..." - John Cleese (Monty Python).

  11. #11
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    Not a solid colour, but the other things including going blank sound familiar. Other times it's just stuck on the VMedia logo or occasionally the reloading apps page. It's all very sporadic. Sometimes changing to a channel will result in the stuttering/machine gun noises and/or pauses only for the first couple of minutes, but other times it will annoyingly continue longer. If I had been watching something for a long time, then shut it off, I know I will almost always have to reset it the next time I turn it on. It's been going on for a few weeks since there was an update that was supposedly to fix those kind of issues. It had actually been working reasonably well for me before that.
    Last edited by Donovan's Monkey; 07-07-2015 at 08:30 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donovan's Monkey View Post
    Not a solid colour, but the other things including going blank sound familiar. Other times it's just stuck on the VMedia logo or occasionally the reloading apps page. It's all very sporadic. Sometimes changing to a channel will result in the stuttering/machine gun noises and/or pauses only for the first couple of minutes, but other times it will annoyingly continue longer. If I had been watching something for a long time, then shut it off, I know I will almost always have to reset it the next time I turn it on. It's been going on for a few weeks since there was an update that was supposedly to fix those kind of issues. It had actually been working reasonably well for me before that.
    I don't own an VBOX, but I have a Media Player device that is basically the same hardware and a customized UI running on-top of Android 4.4. The solid colour would happen if I was in the menus with a blue background, it would then become a blue screen with pulsing (stuttering/machine gun) noises, or blank with the same noises if I was watching a movie or show. It too was random with the promise of a coming update to fix it.

    However I did find a way to fix it in the meantime, I dunno if this might help, but I had the option to slow the frame rate down from 1080p @ 60Hz to 1080p @ 24Hz and the stuttering/machine gun noises and blank screens stopped. It was in my Media Player device settings under Display. I dunno if VBOX gives you that option, but look around when you have a chance, it sometimes shows it as 1080p @ 60Hz or 1080p60.

    Seeing it that its a common problem between Android 4.4 version, I have a feeling they've might have pushed it to it's max, even Google doesn't use a stock Android in its media playing devices.
    "And Now for Something Completely Different..." - John Cleese (Monty Python).

  13. #13
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    Thanks, but the only display options for the VBox set-up were 60Hz or 50Hz, and the lower setting made no difference.
    It got worse in the last few days with any attempt to watch a live TV channel blanking out in about 15 or 20 minutes and requiring a reset.

    I had to buy a new "quad core" VBox to replace the out-of-warranty older model dual core one. The newer one seems to be working okay so far and is slightly improved in some other smaller ways, although it allows no adjustment to the display output (other than font size), so it remains at a constant 720p 60Hz.

    - Edit: There are the RCA AV output connections on the back of the newer VBox. The left and right audio outputs from the red and white ones, but the only thing I could get out of the yellow video connection was inexplicably a 576i one, and only after the HDMI cable was disconnected and the VBox turned off and then turned back on. I have no idea why they would have made it 576i instead if 480i. I'll just get a cheap HDMI2AV converter from China on eBay if I want to use the old Sony recorder I mentioned in one of the above posts.

    - Another edit: Looking through their forum, I found VMedia explains it is still possible to change the output display setting. It just has to be done in a different and slightly more complicated way. You have to go to "Home", "Apps", "All Apps", then "SettingsMBox" to reset the display.
    And I'll add that you also now have to change the setting to 480i, turn off the VBox power, disconnect the HDMI cable from the back of it, then power the VBox back on in order to see the 480i video through the yellow RCA-type (CVBS) output.
    Yet another edit: They later, through an update, changed the default SD display to 480i (instead of the inexplicable 576i).
    I can more easily change between 1080p (or720p) and 480i just by unplugging the power, unplugging (or plugging back in) the HDMI cable, then plugging the power back in.

    New VBox's now also come with the newer RF remote with the small keyboard, so now I have two of those.

    One other small problem is that before I discard the old one, I have to get through all the programs recorded on the external hard drive I had plugged into it, because only the recording VBox can recognize them.
    Last edited by Donovan's Monkey; 02-02-2016 at 09:21 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donovan's Monkey View Post
    Thanks, but the only display options for the VBox set-up were 60Hz or 50Hz, and the lower setting made no difference.
    It got worse in the last few days with any attempt to watch a live TV channel blanking out in about 15 or 20 minutes and requiring a reset.
    I had to buy a new "quad core" VBox to replace the out-of-warranty older model dual core one. The newer one seems to be working okay so far and is slightly improved in some other smaller ways, although it allows no adjustment to the display output (other than font size), so it remains at a constant 720p 60Hz.
    Ya, keep it at 720p60, looks like 1080p60 is pushing Android overboard, Google limits its video playback on it's Chromcast device to 720p60 or 1080p30. So it might just be a bug that Google hasn't worked out yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donovan's Monkey View Post
    One other small problem is that before I discard the old one, I have to get through all the programs recorded on the external hard drive I had plugged into it, because only the recording VBox can recognize them.
    No surprise, usually they encode it in a format you can't use outside their media box, all the BDUs do that in some form or another. However, if the file name ends in a ".ts", you can play those files on your computer if you have a player like VLC.
    "And Now for Something Completely Different..." - John Cleese (Monty Python).

 

 

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