tv limited to 3 live stream viewings

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we have been MTS customers for years and when we made the upgrade to ultimate TV/PVR a long time ago, we were told that the live streaming for 3 tv's was something that would be changing down the road. We have 4 boxes and 5 people living in this house, all with different interests. Well we have walked long and far down that road and many, many months (years) later we still can only live stream 3 tv's at a time. Yes I know that we can actually watch on all 4 tv's but that would mean that 2 would have to watch the same channel and like I said, with different interests, this doesn't happen. And God forbid you are PVRing a channel, now you are down to 2 live stream! This is just archaic - in this day and age, and for the money we are paying you would think that there would be this upgrade we were promised that would allow viewing on all tv's. So now I sit, watching a blank tv screen because I refuse to tune into the Kartrashians, Duck Dynasty or any other form of reality tv that my kids buy into. Yes I know, first world problems but hey it is just another promise that MTS made to me that has yet to come to fruition.
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Audra Kushner

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Posted 2 years ago

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gordon1111, Champion

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I agree with you - it is quite frustrating. I made a post probably spring 2015 and a 4th hd stream was in testing but had to be pushed back. I do hope by end of 2016 we can have 4 HD streams. I remember back in 2011-2012 MTS only had 2 HD and 1 SD streams so we got to be thankful for that increase!
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Matt, Alum

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Hello Audra,

As you are aware, MTS offers three simultaneous streams of TV. We are actively looking at ways of getting a fourth stream deployed in our network and we are making good progress. As gordon1111 mentioned, sometimes these things don't come as soon as we'd like. There are a lot of factors that influence our ability to accomplish four streams. The most important factors are network speed, line health, and testing/deploying new technologies and techniques to get faster speeds. Together, these factors give us the ability to get that extra stream.

So while I don't have a timeframe to offer, I can assure you we are actively working on it, and are making progress.

Thanks for taking the time to let us know your concerns.

Matt
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Megan, Official Rep

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Hello, 
I just wanted to add that renting our equipment definitely has some benefits over owning the boxes.The outright purchase price of the equipment is quite expensive. $3 a month to rent the box, is a lot more affordable then paying $140+ per box to own. If anything does happen to the boxes, or any required upgrades are necessary we will replace the equipment at no cost, since the equipment is only rented. As well, our TV equipment won't work with any other service provider, so owning the equipment would not benefit you if you no longer had MTS Service. 

Megan
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gordon1111, Champion

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Megan I have actually seen a few ads on Kijiji in the past I think even December where people are selling MTS equipment and no it's not the classic HD which you could buy but the new ultimate tv boxes.
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CoryB, Champion

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Without seeing the specific ads I do know other providers use the same hardware as MTS. It is possible it was from one of those sources and might not work on the network.

It is also possible someone that does not understand that MTS always owns the boxes had posted them for sale.
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Megan, Official Rep

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Selling MTS equipment online really doesn't benefit anyone. The Seller is going be charged unreturned equipment charges towards the equipment we provided them, that was not returned after disconnecting their service. Anyone purchasing MTS equipment from these sites, would need to understand that if they want to use the equipment on their own account, would start paying the rental fee's for the equipment bought as we never sell our Set top boxes, or Routers.
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gordon1111, Champion

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So if I see a post on those sites I might just message them or report the ad to Kijiji. Maybe MTS should put a note up about not purchasing equipment from 3rd party because then the person buying won't likely get there money back.
(Edited)
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CoryB, Champion

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I wonder if it is possible for MTS to light up TV service on the second wire pair but limit costs to the rental of the additional boxes. The trade off with that setup is the tv sets would be spilt and could not share a common PVR.

Something else that comes to mind is that with the move to stream services like Netflix, Shomi and CraveTV that might offer some relief too.

As for the three stream limit, that has been in existence as long as MTS has offered TV service and it actually predates Ultimate tv. The end of the day the issue is one of bandwidth. The reason 4 streams aren't offered is that it would not be possible for all tv customers. Rather than offer it for some but not all MTS has chosen to offer it to none.

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Arnold J

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Hi guys,

okay, here is what I am able to say regarding 4 streams...

Cory is right that it is all related to bandwidth, but the bandwidth roadblock is not pipe into the home, rather it is the PVR.  All streams are managed by the PVR, and when you use “trick-play” controls (pause, rewind), the stream is written to the PVR hard drive to allow those functions to work.  The current generation of PVR can only handle a certain amount of bandwidth.  4 HD streams puts us over that limit given the current encoding rate we use for HD.  This translates into the hard drive and PVR not being able to read and write 4 live streams at the same time.

The solution is to reduce the encoding bit-rate or to get a set top box that can handle more bandwidth.  We have done a lot of work with the encoding bit rate, and on our current generation of encoders, the quality of the HD signal would be affected too much if we lower the bit rate.  So the dilemma is 4 streams of lower quality HD, or 3 streams of high quality HD.  And Picture Quality wins out every time.  The next generation of set top box will have more bandwidth but they are not yet available.

In short we can absolutely go to 4 streams (and possibly more), but it requires some upgrade projects to be completed before we can do so.  The timing of such projects is confidential so I can’t speak to when.

I hope this somewhat helps to explain things.

AJ
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Peter Parker, Champion

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Hey Arnold, I noticed Shaw's new Gateway and Portal devices are made by Arris which is the same company that makes the wireless tv boxes for MTS if I'm not mistaken.  Does Shaw have a contract with Arris that only allows them to use that equipment or is MTS able to deal with Arris to get the same models, or similar, to allow access to a 4th, 5th, or 6th stream?
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gordon1111, Champion

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I believe only cable company systems use that arris model. I know both Shaw and Westman Communications group in Brandon use it. I was thinking perhaps the boxes that Telus use which is different one but I can't recall at the top of my head what system they use but its similar to MTS. Plus the Shaw system does not have wireless capability so you must have a cable outlet at each tv.
(Edited)
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CoryB, Champion

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AT&T Uverse has historically been the lead company on Mediaroom setup boxes in North America. They are currently limited to 4 HD streams so likely a similar issue to what AJ mentions but running at a lower bit rate.

The future for Mediaroom does not seem promising either. It seems work on new hardware stopped around the time interest was transferred from Microsoft to Ericson. Also with AT&T acquisition of DirectTV and the recent announcement of the Internet streaming DirectTV Now service which essentially replicates uverse but over the open Internet that seems to be the future direction.

This all sort of loops back to the discussion that I mentioned elsewhere on the site about how I hope that MTS is actively looking at transitioning to a streaming (aka over the top/OTT) service similar to Netflix which runs as an app on customer owned hardware like Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku. Being more software based than hardware based would allow for changes to be made quicker. The current downside is the customer side hardware isn't quite to the same friendly levels of what customers expect from a STB. Providers need to weigh the backlash from customers losing their 100 button remotes against everyone like me that would be happy to run the whole thing from my smartphone.

End of the day, UltimateTV as a platform is starting to show its age much like Classic did before the jump the Ultimate started. I hope MTS is planning on their next move but based on the current state of the industry it is likely a year or two out still.

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Arnold J

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Peter, the hardware that Shaw uses from Arris is a completely different technology.  it would be a very technical answer to describe the differences.

Cory, There is still a long life for Mediaroom, the road map extends well into the future and is actually very exciting.  You have to think of the industry in a cyclical manner, where technology is changing faster than the life of the hardware.  This has been the way the industry has been for the past 30 years that I have been in it.  What typically happens is a Company invest is a technology, and shortly there after competitive hardware designs come out with new features based on new technology innovation, those new technology are not always backwards compatible so it takes time to pivot to the new technology without stranding investment.

The Industry has always been a big game of "leap frog".....

It is not unlike buying a Personal Computer.  you pay a bunch of money to get the cool gaming rig with the great graphics card and fast processor, and the next year there is better cards and processors, so  the game developers develop to the new standards, and you can't run the new games on your old rig without upgrading.  So maybe you upgrade your RAM, or a video card, but then a new video card standard comes up and you motherboard can't handle it.  so you live with what you have until you can justify the investment in the new motherboard, because buying that means also a new CPU, and Memory, and video card.  It doesn't mean the brand of computer you bought is a deadend, or the OS you are running is dying, just that there comes a time where key components need a refresh, and those take a bit more of an investment to make.  They come it just takes a bit more time.  but when they come, they also come with a leap frog effect that see the new build becoming the new "standard", at which time those with the other technologies begin their move to update. 

Hope this makes some sense.

AJ
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Arnold J

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oh forgot to point out that you are correct,  AT&T has had 4 HD for some time now, but they have also been vilified for the terrible quality of HD they present.  If you have ever seen a HD stream on AT&T uverse you will know why.  :)