I have an IPTV provided by biggest national IPTV/IS provider. The current service is poor at best. We have FTTH (the slowest is 20Mb – that’s awesome) but really lousy (~4Mb at best) MPEG2(!) encoded streams. The most obvious consequence of such encoding is pixelation when there is a faster change on the picture and poor quality in general. To make things worse there is a crappy, yet somewhat functional UI that lets you select channels and read EPG. It mostly works (except for occasional ASP.NET 1.1 server too busy error) and its speed is decent. IMO it mostly lacks two features:
- one can’t browse other channel’s EPG (electronic program guide) without actually changing channel (IOW watch a channel and read other channel’s EPG). I once asked SIOL about this and the response was: “Check out the teletext – you can’t perform this stunt in teletext either”. So much about understanding the technology progress.
- one can’t mark favorite shows and have an option of notification before the show
Now, both features are minor, yet SIOL isn’t capable of implementing them. Since the UI is built around ASP.NET 1.1 (as seen on occasional errors) it shouldn’t take more than a week to implement the two features. But they didn’t change the UI for years now. Except for upgrading the progress icon to an animated gif.
Then, one day, they started a SIOL TV+ UI. (note the + char). It features a newly organized and richer UI, plus VOD and a recorder through UI (storage is provided on SIOL’s server). Sounds great, right? Not at all. Here is the list of consequences:
- You have to buy a newer STB (or get one for free if you sign with SIOL for 2 years)
- UI is slow as hell. I mean really really slow at the point where it is unusable.
- UI is cluttered as hell – it is really bad and a total mess.
- It doesn’t have favorite channels group.
- Recorder doesn’t work and even when it will it will be useless: it is enabled only for a couple of Slovene channels (due to legal issues) and those shows will be persisted only for at most 2 days (the total place for storage per user is 6 hrs in total) . It won’t be free as well since it uses SIOL’s storage. There are other problems with recorder not listed but the question is why they bother at all with such crap service?
- VOD: after you pay for the movie you have 24 hours to watch it. The library is poor, at least the last time I’ve checked it.
True, I didn’t check it lately. But for a reason. There were reports that lately people who checked out the new UI couldn’t go back to the old, functional, one. The two UIs could coexist until recently.
And now, actually 10 days from now, SIOL is disabling the old UI for good and forcing everybody to new great new one – with or without the new STB. That’s indeed a great move, kill the customer’s will to watch TV, way to go! On the other side I’ll watch less TV and spend more time with other activities I guess.