Archive for Rogers

CRTC Complaint Against Shomi & CraveTV To Proceed Despite Shomi Announcement

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 29, 2015 by itnerd

If Shomi which is owned by Rogers and Shaw thought that their announcement this week that their service would be open to all Canadians would stop the CRTC from taking a look at their behavior, they likely need to think again. According to the Financial Post, this happened:

While Shomi plans to make its subscriptions available to all Canadians sometime this summer, a complaint alleging that the video streaming platform and its two owners are in violation of telecommunications laws remains “unchanged and live” and before the industry’s national watchdog.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Consumers’ Association of Canada (PIAC-CAC) challenged a sales tactic employed by Shomi that limits the service’s use to only existing cable or Internet subscribers of its co-owners, Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. The advocacy groups contend that Shomi, Rogers and Shaw have been in “clear violation of the prohibition against unjust discrimination and undue preference” since the streaming service became available last November.

Despite Shomi’s plans to eventually lift the restriction, PIAC wrote to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that the news unveiled Wednesday was short on key details – such as a firm launch date and whether an active TV subscription is required – and asked if the regulator still planned to render a decision specifically on whether tying Shomi to a specific Internet service has been violating the Telecommunications Act and the Broadcasting Act. 

Indeed, the process will continue, a CRTC spokeswoman confirmed. Submissions are due Monday.

It sucks to be Shomi. Now I did mention the fact that there was no firm launch date for Shomi’s plans and I thought that was lame. Clearly so does PIAC. But I have to admit that the need for an active TV subscription is something that I had not considered. After all, I would like to believe that if Shomi says that it’s open to all Canadians, that means everyone and not someone who subscribes to cable. Clearly I was naive. Thus the CRTC is likely to have real fun with this.

My advice? Shomi might want to put a date to their plans as well as open it up to anyone with an Internet connection before the CRTC does it for them.

Shomi Now Available To Everyone In Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 27, 2015 by itnerd

How times have changed. Either because it wanted to actually gain market share, or because the CRTC threatened to force them do it, Shomi which is the streaming service owned by Rogers and Shaw is now available to all Canadians:

Canada, make room on your couch and time in your schedule – shomi™ is moving in! Following a successful beta launch in November 2014 to Rogers and Shaw Internet or cable customers, shomi is now coming to all Canadians across the country this summer! We’re moving in and unpacking great stuff to watch – including exclusive series not available on other streaming services, celebrated Canadian content, human-curated collections, plus fun kids and family programming. And we know it’s not just about the living room TV experience: shomi is accessible on the platforms Canadians want – tablet, mobile, online, Xbox 360, Apple TV, Chromecast, as well as set-top boxes for Rogers and Shaw TV subscribers; the service is also on offer to other distributors.

This is a good move on their part (though the lack of a specific date in terms of when it will be available to all is kind of lame) because I found that Shomi was hard to take seriously because you needed a Rogers or Shaw subscription to get it. That completely defeats the purpose of a streaming service. And the fact that they had exclusive shows that Netflix didn’t wasn’t enough of a reason for me to jump on board. Now I have to admit that I am seriously considering it. If they add support for other streaming media players such as Roku, I’ll likely sign up.

Now, does anyone want to take bets on how long it takes CraveTV which is Bell’s answer to Shomi to do the same thing? Assuming that Bell is smart enough to make that move?

Chatr Expands Across Canada to 200 Cities

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 5, 2015 by itnerd

Chatr which is Rogers discount mobile carrier has announced a number of items today:

  • They’ve expanded to 200 cities across Canada.
  • Monthly plans of $25 and up now include international calling starting at 1 cent per minute to more than 200 countries.
  • New data buckets can be added to plans so customers can also connect online with their phones. Customers on the $35 and $40 prepaid plans can add 500 MB for $10, 1 GB for $15, or the new 2 GB add-on for $25.

For more info, take a look at the Chatr website.

CraveTV & Shomi Come To Apple TV…… Cord Cutters Still Need Not Apply

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on May 5, 2015 by itnerd

Well, this was a bit of a surprise. A reader reached out to me to let me know that two new channels popped up on his Apple TV today. Shomi which is owned by Rogers and Shaw, and CraveTV which is owned by Bell. In the case of the latter, they even put out a press release with this curious statement:

“Our push to bring CraveTV to as many Canadians as possible continues through Apple TV,” said Domenic Vivolo, Executive Vice-President, Content Sales, and Distribution Marketing, Bell Media. “Apple TV delivers an amazing user experience with its clean interface and famous user-friendly design, elevating the CraveTV experience for our subscribers.”

Okay. But it doesn’t change the fact that you have to be a customer of Bell, Rogers, Shaw, or one of their partners to get either streaming service. Thus if you want to cut the cord, there’s nothing here that helps you to do that. I guess the CRTC will have to “encourge” them to change that.

Pity.

Review: HTC One M9

Posted in Products with tags , on April 25, 2015 by itnerd

HTC has a sweet looking phone in the form of the HTC One M9 which was supplied to me by Rogers. The body is made of a single block of machined aluminum. It looks great and feels great in my hands. It also feels really solid. The power button is on the right side below the volume up and down buttons. One suggestion to HTC would be to make these buttons physically different because I made the mistake of pressing the volume up button thinking that it was the power button. On the front are the front-facing BoomSound stereo speakers which put out some of the best sound from a mobile device that I’ve heard. It also has a 5″ 1080p Super LCD display that is clear and readable in most light.

Here’s what you get under the hood:

  • Android 5.0.2 w/ Sense 7.0 skin
  • 5″ 1920×1080 pixel SuperLCD panel
  • 8 Core 1.5 GHz CPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage (expandable via microSD)
  • 20.7MP rear camera
  • 4MP front-facing camera using UltraPixel technology
  • 4K UHD video capture

The phone is quick. But when I was testing it to see how it could handle heavy usage, it actually got warm enough that it was uncomfortable in my hand. This has been an issue in the past and HTC released a software update to try and address this issue. It seems like they have some more work to do. Having said that, common usage should not make this an issue for most users. In terms of LTE speed, I averaged 24.40 Mbps downstream and 8.86 Mbps upstream on the Rogers LTE network. Software wise, it comes with the latest and greatest version of Android Lollipop with HTC’s Sense 7.0 Skin which unlike most Android skins that I can’t wait to get rid of, was quick and unobtrusive. It also comes preloaded with a number of Rogers apps including SureTap wallet and Anyplace TV.

When it comes to the camera, you get a 20.7MP rear camera that takes outstanding stills and 4K UHD video. The camera is outstanding as far as I am concerned when I tested it at my usual test site which is Pearson Airport in Toronto. First here’s the stills. Click to see them in full resolution:

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When it comes to the video, here it is in 4K UHD. Set it to full screen and 4K if your monitor supports it to see it in full quality:

If you want a great camera on a smartphone, the HTC One M9 has to be on your list.

When it comes to the battery life, I got just over a day in normal usage. That’s pretty good and it is what you should expect from a flagship smartphone. The HTC One M9 goes for $199.99 at Rogers on a 2 year plan or $700 outright. That puts it in line with most of its competition from Samsung and Apple. You should take a look at it as it is definitely a top tier choice in the Android smartphone space.

Rogers Lights Up VoLTE Support

Posted in Commentary with tags , on March 31, 2015 by itnerd

Rogers has announced that they are the first carrier in Canada to turn on turn on Voice over LTE (VoLTE), the next evolution in wireless calling. VoLTE technology allows customers with a compatible phone to place and receive calls over the Rogers LTE network instead of the traditional voice network.

Here’s the non-nerdy explanation of how this works and why this is a big deal. Currently if you’re on LTE and you make or receive a phone call, your phone drops down to 3G speed until you hang up. Then it goes back to LTE speed. Now the problem with that is that the speed of anything that you’re doing on the phone drops as well. For example, if you get a phone call while your phone is tethered to your laptop, your laptop’s ability to surf the net will take a hit.

With VoLTE, you stay at LTE speed. Not only that, voice calls improve as the way that voice calls are packaged up and sent across the LTE network is improved. That means you get much better sound quality.

Now, there are some caveats:

  • Users need a smartphone compatible with VoLTE
  • Users need a software update to enable VoLTE
  • Users need to be in an area where VoLTE is available
  • Users need to be calling another customer that has a VoLTE enabled phone with all of the above

As of now, there’s only one phone that Rogers carries that works with VoLTE and that’s the LG G3 Vigor which coincidentally launches today for $0 on a two year plan. But I would expect that this support will come to other phones soon. For example, the iPhone 6 does support VoLTE. So one presumes that Rogers simply has to flip the switch on that for those users to be supported.

Rogers To Refund Customers Who Got Unwanted Premium Text Messages

Posted in Commentary with tags , on March 16, 2015 by itnerd

Rogers has reached an agreement with the Competition Bureau to offer a refund or credit to customers who were charged for receiving premium text messages. These text messages are ones that are games, quizzes, facts, horoscopes, ringtones and the like. Here’s what they had to say on the matter:

As part of our new 3.0 plan, we’re committed to putting our customers front and centre. And we want customers to know that going forward, this is how we’ll operate.

That’s why Rogers and FIDO customers will receive a credit or refund if they were charged for third-party premium text services provided by Jesta between January 1, 2011 and August 31, 2013 and Mobile Messenger between January 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012.  These services included Mind Quiz, Love Crush and Joke a Day.

This issue came to light when the Competition Bureau did a an investigation and as a result sued Rogers, TELUS, Bell, and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association for $31 million. Rogers is the first carrier to settle the issue. Thus I expect that other carriers may do the same shortly. In any case, if you’re a Rogers or Fido customer, you might want to read the post that I linked to. It is possible that you might be getting some money back.

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