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Old May 10, 2014, 03:06 PM
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Default Review: VMedia compared to Rogers

Iíve finally reached a point where paying Rogers upwards of $100 for their HD VIP bundle just isnít worth it anymore. After doing some comparison of channels and prices, Iíve ended up going with VMedia on a ďtrialĒ basis. That means I will not be cancelling my current Rogers/TekSavvy services until Iím satisfied with VMedia. Worse comes to worse, VMedia will get cancelled and Iíll eventually try Acanac/Zazeen instead. Iím paying full price for all services and incurring all installation fees so this post is not sponsored in any shape or form.

Current service: Rogers HD VIP cable and TekSavvy 45/4 cable Internet ($167.05/month)
Compared to VMedia: Premium Basic and 50/10 VDSL Internet ($110.63/month)

For starters, I picked up the VBox from Canada Computers this weekend, which includes 2 months free TV as well as saving $5 plus shipping (compared to buying from VMedia). I also picked up a SmartRG modem as well.

VBox + Remote as of May 10th 2014 at Canada Computers Scarborough. This is different from the model most CC stores have on display as it's a bit bigger, has an external WiFi antenna and has composite/component outputs. Not pictured are the 4 USB ports and SD slot on the left side.





VBox Accessories - HDMI, Ethernet, Composite, and Component cables are included. One minor gripe, the AC wall adapter has a rather short cable on it compared to typical AC adapters.



I have hooked up the VBox and powered it on. It seems fairly responsive and as others have mentioned, using Android apps on the box definitely requires a keyboard of some shape or form. Hopefully VMedia releases their updated remote soon, if not Iíll likely pickup something similar.

Iíve signed up for VMedia with a proposed installation date of May 22. Iíll update this as things progress and hopefully I donít run into any problems. Once itís all setup, I plan to do some side-by-side photos of Rogers vs. VMedia to compare picture quality. To be honest, Iím not expecting it to be equal, but weíll see!

Let me know if there's anything specific that you want to see compared, and I'll do my best to accommodate.
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Old May 22, 2014, 02:48 PM
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Well the Bell guy left shortly ago, and I'm up and running, though he estimated I have roughly 800m of copper between me and the POI (or whatever you want to call it). As such, the line wasn't able to attain full 50/10 sync, so he put my profile as 50/8. I'm getting close to that (slightly less due to DSL overhead):



He also mentioned that I'm still on an old OSLAM too which doesn't help with the signal strength. He said if Bell ever gets around to upgrading that, my signal will likely improve and thus my speed potentially.

vBox is up and running to, had a hiccup with HDMI audio, but rebooting the vBox seemed to fix that.

First impression, picture isn't as sharp/clean as Rogers, but it definitely looks better than what I saw at Unionville and Kennedy Canada Computers stores.

Taking comparison pictures is proving difficult though... but I'll keep trying.
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Old May 22, 2014, 05:04 PM
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Photographing the visible differences has been challenging. I can see it, but getting the camera to see it is a whole different story...

VMedia:







Rogers:







I did take a bunch of other shots, with them top-and-bottom and put them into an album here: Vmedia Photos by jdrom17 | Photobucket You can do your own comparison. RAW files available upon request as well. The only editing I've done is cropping and applying lens corrections via Lightroom.

Rogers is on the top and running on the SA4250HD STB connected to a Sony KDL-46V5100. VMedia is on the bottom and connected to a Sony KDL-40V2500. While the TV VMedia is running on is older, I had VMedia connected to the same TV as Rogers (and switched between inputs) and the quality differences were the same. It may be slightly more drastic in the photos, but at the end of the day, VMedia's picture quality is still lower.

The only way I can really describe it would be if you've downloaded a HD 720p rip in both MKV/H264 and AVI/XviD format. Rogers is equal to that MKV/H264 and VMedia is equal to that AVI/XviD. They are both the same resolution, but you'll find the MKV is clearer/sharper/crisper than the AVI.

One major issue, especially for sports fans, is that VMedia lags behind by roughly 1 minute (as you'll see in the side-by-side CP24 screenshots). I'm guessing this is due to the transcoding that takes place and possibly some buffering on the vBox. I'd imagine you'd have score information on your phone/tablet faster than actually seeing it on the screen.

The vCloud PVR feature is interesting, kind of a mix of Rogers On Demand and actual hard drive based PVR. Hopefully all channels will be supported eventually, or an offline solution provided. Also 2 days doesn't feel like enough time, I'd prefer 5-7 days. Hard drive storage is fairly cheap these days, so they could beef up the servers easily I'd think. I have noticed that video quality seems a little bit lower when watching saved shows. Nothing drastic though and still watchable. You can only fast forward in 1 minute increments though which is slightly annoying. I'd prefer something that has steps, like 15s, 30s, 60s, 90s, 120s, 240s, etc so you can be more precise when skipping commercials.

The overall interface is far more responsive than Rogers. Changing channels is faster, browsing the guide is faster, etc. The EPG information isn't the greatest though and lacking for some channels/shows in comparison. I suspect this will improve in the coming months since I know VMedia is still up and coming.

The speed seems to be holding as well. Granted now it's running through my router (ASUS RT-N66u) with shibby's Tomato and QoS applied.


So far it's looking promising for VMedia making a permanent place in my home. The test now will be stability to see if the Internet and TV continue to hold up.
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Old May 22, 2014, 05:22 PM
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How are the programming descriptions? Rogers' has been absolutely horrid for quite some time... one of the more recent ones was for one of the 007 movies and was basically "spy goes up against a bad guy"... that was it. :)
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Old May 22, 2014, 07:14 PM
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I'd say Rogers is still better (granted I haven't seen anything like your 007 example). Others have complained about VMedia's EPG info as well, I'm sure it's just a matter of them sourcing better info, or writing their own.

For example, hockey is simply that. Doesn't' tell you the teams on like Rogers.

Still at less than half the cost, I'm willing to make some compromises, especially as our household watches less and less live TV. $40/month vs $90/month is quite a difference.

My modem did lose sync briefly tonight, though now it's synced at 53951 on the downstream rather the 50024 (or so) it was before. Looks like that has bumped me up to a full 50Mbps down now:


Last edited by JD; May 22, 2014 at 07:24 PM.
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