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Telus HDTV: 175 Channels and (Almost) Nothin' On


Here it is summer, the days are warm and the sun shines, and what has VanRamblings all excited? HDTV. That's right, High Definition Television.

Yes, in the sweltering days of summer, VanRamblings has signed on to the Telus HDTV package, replete with 57 channels and nothin' on (well, actually, there are more like 175 channels, and nothing to watch). Be that as it may, we're still pleased that we switched to Telus TV.

And why might that be? Because we've saved money on our home phone, Internet and TV package -- with more goodies than we had before -- over what we'd been paying previously. Here are the Telus TV packages ...


Being cheap, VanRamblings went for package number 1, including ...

  • Telephone: Telus IP phone with crystal clear reception; call waiting and call display (including call display on the TV when someone phones); 200 minutes of long distance free, and 7 a minute after that
  • Telus high speed enhanced, which doubles the speed of downloads, and makes surfing perceptibly quicker
  • Telus HDTV, with the essentials, and two theme packs. There's an additional $15 charge for HDTV.


Total cost of the package: $95.95 + $15 = $110.95, plus tax.

Telus Optik TV Channel Guide, June 8, 2011

Well, hold on a minute. Things aren't quite what they seem at first glance. There were some hiccups that occurred on the way to achieving HDTV bliss.

First off, according to the somewhat confused folks who initially answered the phone at Telus TV in late June, if you want almost all of the HDTV channels available in Canada (the few of those that are currently offered), as well as most of the U.S. networks that are broadcasting in HDTV, we were told, latterly, that you have to sign up for theme packs that include those channels. HDTV for those channels is not automatic. Well, if you have a look at the Telus HDTV page all of the HDTV theme packs come in at $15. Which is where Telus gets its $15 HDTV subscriber "come on" from.

But the Telus TV folks told VanRamblings that subscribers have to subscribe, at a cost of $6 for each theme pack, to the conventional digital theme packs that include those HDTV channels. And pay $15 more to watch those channels in HD. Confusing. Misleading. And off-putting.

So, if you want the Discovery Channel, the Time Choice channels, Movie Central HD, TSN and Sportsnet HD (which broadcast out of Toronto), you'll end up paying another $24, plus another $15 for those channels in HD! Telus HDTV isn't quite what it seems, then. Not good. We were not happy.

On top of that, Global TV Vancouver HD is not (currently) available on Telus HDTV, although it is available to Shaw and Bell satellite subscribers.

Locally, only CBC broadcasts the local news in HD. Global news programmes may go HD in the autumn, BCTV's engineer told VanRamblings; hopefully Telus will have initialed a broadcast agreement with GlobalBC by then. CTV Vancouver broadcasts most American programming in HD, but not their news programmes. CTV Vancouver promises full HD by 2010, in time for the Olympics, which will likely mean sometime towards the end of next year.

Telus also does not currently offer a PVR, as Shaw does, so subscribers cannot record HDTV programming for viewing later.

Shaw, if you indicate that you're leaving them for Telus will offer you a bundle package, including Shaw High Speed and IP Home phone with unlimited long distance in North America, for $95, plus $29 more for the HDTV package. But VanRamblings did not want to move to Shaw at this point, although we were most recently on Shaw's digital TV package.

VanRamblings called Telus TV to express concern about their confusing and misleading advertising, and commitments not met, and was forwarded to Telus' Loyalty and Retention division (where we found some fine folks).

Telus finally stepped up to the plate, and during the course of a quite pleasant discussion about what we had been promised at the time we signed up for Telus TV in May, not to mention the information that appears on their website, we arrived at a joint agreement which offered VanRamblings: 3 months of Telus TV (including HDTV) for free -- so VanRamblings won't begin paying for TV til October -- with an additional $144 in credit on VanRamblings' Telus account, for a total saving of $330.

Beginning October 1st, VanRamblings will pay $136, plus tax, each month, for the phone (with call display and call waiting, plus 200 minutes of long distance, monthly, in North America), high speed enhanced Internet, and the essentials TV package, plus 5 theme packs. VanRamblings will receive almost all of the HDTV channels available in Canada with this agreement.

If VanRamblings deducts the $144 credit offered by Telus, as well as the $186 three month saving on the TV / HDTV that was agreed to by the Loyalty and Retention division, VanRamblings' monthly HDTV / telephone / Internet package, in reality, will come to only $108.50 per month.

VanRamblings can live with that. Cheaper than Shaw, with a decent service.

Come fall, though, when we switch to the five theme packs from the full-meal deal that VanRamblings is receiving for the next three months for free, we expect trouble with Telus (not to mention, we're not sure that we want five theme packs).

So far Telus has not been great at keeping their word, or being consistent from Telus salesperson to Telus salesperson as to what Telus offers respecting HDTV, and how much that will cost a subscriber. Come late September, chances are that we'll end up writing more about Telus TV and what shenanigans, if any, Telus may be up to at that time. Stay tuned.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at June 27, 2008 1:38 PM in Web & Tech


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