X1 IPTV service

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BS
I'm a Senior Advisor
Posts: 2,154

Re: X1 IPTV service


Pauly wrote:They do testing with employees.


 My response - not that I have anything wrong with internal testers, but it is a very limited set of users when you have millions of customers on the product - often an internal tester has a bit of a conflict in front of them along with the testing team - corporate level has deadlines and objectives (they have already done a lot of advertising of their hoped for time lines and feature sets in their financial statements and industry reports), and if the results of the internal testers provide hurdles, it is not uncommon for companies to disregard and take the risk of going forward.

We something similiar to this where we hear that lots of testing was done on Navigatr, but obviously no user had ever seen the product (I was on the forum in 5 minutes with a concern about font size and visual acuity for my own vision issues, and a wife who was furious at the changes and the absence of any communication that happened - then quickly the issues of performance, featuers failure and loss of recordings and product issues on the older boxes arose, and it was 2 years almost before everything got cleaned up.  A run by a small set of users would have highlighted all of these - we often wondered if the product had ever been tested on a PVR, or on the older NextBox 2's with PVR.  So history shows what happens when you don't ask for beta testing - it is a disaster.


They have different levels of testing,

My response - there is Alpha testing of modules and complete sets and this is standard in the engineering and programming phases, but does not reflect a user point of view, merely does a feature set work.  Beta testing can be skipped at the risk of the product deployment -  Beta testing also provides the opportunity to understand the changes that users will have to learn and allow for well develop support documents for front line support staff tutorials and FAQ's,  If you just drop it in their laps, you have a huge number of annoyed customers - think of Windows Vista, and Windows 8 before 8.1 and finally the change to 10.0 and beyond - Windows beta tests predevelopment improvements, and user feature set testing and wants feedback on show stoppers, and communication on how they can be tweaked for ease, as well as testing across a broad range of configuarations and products, and then beta testing to finalize before production rollout, then there remains beta testing on that rollout, and begins the next cycle.

One of the most popular is Operation Readiness Test (ORT) where select employees will get to test products that are consumer ready however they do not have pricing finalized so the employees will test these products at possibly no cost to them. - I ask, how can any product be consumer ready, if they have not been tested by a consumer in a beta testing process - the Soft launch described provides for that feedback, but not beta testing - they are two different processes, but bugs can be passed on so there is a bit of an informatl beta test.
Trust me, I have been in different phases of testing with many companies, you do NOT want to be a beta tester, there will be pleanty of bugs which may render your device unwatchable at times, and its also your job to track them and report them and a lot of people don't want to be bothered by that.  Beta Testing is a full time job, its not something you should do after a long day at work and come home and turn on the tv hoping to watch your favourite show and lounging on the couch, its not meant for that.

 

Bruce's response: Trust me, I have been through many beta testing - I am in three right now - the key is I have a live system so that I can keep using my product, alongside a duplicate beta system for testing.  One product, I have been through preproduction testing, delay in production as a result, assisting with knowledge and feature testing and instructional material to confirm we understand it and can use the material, we change beta's once per week based upon electronic feedback to them and modifications, alongside a production version that I use for my live work.  6 months later, we will see a major update with all the improvements from the current beta testing.

 

It is not a full time job, we each take a feature set and test and provide feedback, some more some less depending upon time.  If we don't have time, we pass over a test.  There are many on this board who have offered to be beta testers, I would also argue testers of instructional documentation and feedback on understandability of material, so I don't doubt your experience, but beta testing has never been a full time job from my experience of both running them and doing them - people do as much as they want, with deadlines, and if they can't meet them, they drop out over time. 

I too have seen the results of lack of beta testing - navigatr - MyRogers website, early modems with Hitron - now fortunately, there is an active testing done (with mixed purposes - bad Intel chip, what feature sets will they run - implementation of Docsis 3.1 and full upgrade of system, and how it interfaces with IPTV wiht comcast and this has included volunteer beta testers in great numbers it looks like.

 

Customers who feel involved, understand how they had input are happy customers, and understand why somethings they want don't come.  Rogers lack of beta testing is flawed - even Comcast has beta versions running in their implementation in the US. 

 

I will continue to say that they put their business at risk the more they keep doing this.  Hopefully, this will roll out well, but keep in mind a soft rollout is a consumer ready product with no consumer input, and a hard rollout is what navigatr was and nothing needs to be said on that one.

 

So I remain unconvinced by your experience of testing - people do want to be Beta testers, and you haven't convinced me otherwise and I honestly believe Rogers approach of testing and rollout is seriously flawed and we have and is in serious contrast to the principle of end to end customer experience that CEO talks about.

 

I hope it comes out without too many issues, and continued improvement and that Comcast works through the licensing issues soon and allow both the IPTV and the legacy product to get back to what it used to be.

Bruce

Pauly
Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 2,813

Re: X1 IPTV service

Hi BS,

 

My response may not be the answer your looking for, but I am not here to contest or dispute or argue with what others have said or believe.  I actually was selected to do ORT testing from an unnamed company, for multiple products ranging from Broadband Internet, Cellular Wireless, and Television related.  I know for sure that The products were close to Launch Ready, and had a small amount of bugs to iron out and our job was indeed to test it during Work AND outside of work hours.  Obviously if we encountered a problem while using the products  outside of work hours, we were required to send the error report during work hours, they did not expect us to send reports after hours when no body was checking the mailbox.

 

I must say, putting in the bug reports during the ORT phase of the trial, I did indeed see a FAST response to getting the errors fixed.  Much faster than if I were to put a report in after a product launch has gone live. There could be many reasons for this, maybe they had a dedicated team handling only these specific reports and maybe they had a specific budget to fix them within a specific time, that I do not know, I was only on the end-user side of the ORT. 

 

I also agree fully with you about the Navigator fail. I do not own a Navigator, never have, never will, however many family and friends of mine used navigator, some are no longer customers of Rogers Cable because of this and boy o boy did I ever get an ear full from them about the problem day after day of how bad it was.  I also read these and other forums very frequently and I was quite shocked as to how a project could go to launch with all these bugs and glitches.

 

After working with project managers and even doing an acting project manager role in my past, this failure would be totally unacceptable and I would not expect key people who worked on this project to be employed by the company any longer.

 

With that said, I do wish there was some pre-prouction testing of the iptv cable to select customers, though its not my call and knowing the company, it probably will not happen based on what I've seen in the past from working with an unnamed company in the Telecom indusry.



OLDYELLR
I'm a Senior Advisor
Posts: 3,720

Re: X1 IPTV service


@Pauly wrote:

I also agree fully with you about the Navigator fail. I do not own a Navigator, never have, never will, however many family and friends of mine used navigator, some are no longer customers of Rogers Cable because of this and boy o boy did I ever get an ear full from them about the problem day after day of how bad it was.  I also read these and other forums very frequently and I was quite shocked as to how a project could go to launch with all these bugs and glitches.


@Pauly Just curious what cable access  or STBs you currently use.  I have a couple of 8300 PVRs and DTAs and have been apalled at all the Navigatr interface problems reported over the years with newer boxes, some of which probably will never get rectified before the Nextboxes are obsolete.


Rogers PayGo. Location: S-W Ontario
BS
I'm a Senior Advisor
Posts: 2,154

Re: X1 IPTV service


@Pauly wrote:

 

With that said, I do wish there was some pre-prouction testing of the iptv cable to select customers, though its not my call and knowing the company, it probably will not happen based on what I've seen in the past from working with an unnamed company in the Telecom indusry.


I have learned a lot more about how Rogers tests and rollouts their products - I actually like what I just heard from you.

 

The new announced Soft Launch method is coming from a CEO who was with Telus before and I have a daughter who works for them in their IPG metadata quality management and has told me about some of their testing and quality expectations.

 

The soft roll out with engineers and staff provides them the framework for skilled people to work hands on in the "wild" not the internal lab, then bringing in customers on the next pass will give them the chance to give their feedback on bugs, and hard to learn features that need well designed FAQ's and feature descriptions, so it is a chance to make it all user friendly.

 

Each company decides on their testing and implementation model, I have been somewhat soured by some of the glaring failures from what I perceive as clear examples of not involving the customers in the development and final implementation and documentation phases.

 

I actually feel a bit more comfortable with the current process, as well as the beta process on the Hitron modems and maybe Rogers is deciding that they can't risk the failures of the past.

 

As a final point, thinking over this whole thing the last while, we are in the middle of massive change in technology and customer expectations, which when a company moves these too fast, is ripe for significant failures.  And we also are beginning to become much more aware of just how much copyright, distribution rights, patents, licensing is coming into play and creates a very confusing scenario for customers as to why I can watch a channel on one device and not another, in my home, but not outside my home, why a feature like manage my PVR suddenly disappears and coming soon is much more a hope than reality - it is not a technical issue to do this, it is a patent issues that lies with the supplier Comcast and Tivo patents, and many of the failures of the Navigatr lay with a grand vision that Espial would be able to put their RDK (middleware) on existing Cisco Nextbox 3, not so much the 2's, then Cisco pulled out and gave it to Technicolour, Espial proved unable to deliver and were pulled out of the IPTV, Rogers tried to take inside and do it them selves as did Shaw, and it failed, so aside from customer input, changing technology and ownership of the hardware, software, and licensing is all being rebuilt at the same time.

 

So, my hope is that they will get it right when it starts rolling out on their projected time of this fall and that I can keep my old Nextbox 3 PVR and nextbox 2 (not by choice, just no 3's were available in inventory and I didn't want to pay to go up to the 4K).  I hope to keep it running as long as I can, and the bottom line is I can't afford all this new technology and new pricing structures anyway, so the final decision for me when changes come is what I can afford, and how well it works.

 

Bruce

Pauly
Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 2,813

Re: X1 IPTV service


@OLDYELLR wrote:
@Pauly curious what cable access  or STBs you currently use.  I have a couple of 8300 PVRs and DTAs and have been apalled at all the Navigatr interface problems reported over the years with newer boxes, some of which probably will never get rectified before the Nextboxes are obsolete.curious what cable access  or STBs you currently use.  I have a couple of 8300 PVRs and DTAs and have been apalled at all the Navigatr interface problems reported over the years with newer boxes, some of which probably will never get rectified before the Nextboxes are obsolete. 

@hi  OLDYELLER,

To Answer your question, in the most simple terms, I am NOT a Rogers Cable Subscriber, I am with a different  legitimate provider for my Television Services.  The only time I have used Rogers Cable was when I was living with my parents before I got married. My parents never owned any netboxes the only thing they owned was the Scientific Atlantic Set Top box that runs on Sara, which does NOT run navigator, phew, what a releif



pvanb
I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 26

Re: X1 IPTV service

BS wrote:


There is a lot of traditional inventory of set boxes under the old mdel available, and a TIVO has provided the ability to run IPTV access to Netflix and over the top systems, shared access to devices in the home, alongside over the air antenna, or traditional cable...

What I wouldn't give to have TiVo on my STB.  I was a TiVo user for 10+ years and boy did I miss it when I switched to Rogers Navigatr box. It's a usability hot mess. I have no idea how Rogers employees can use it and think it's acceptable. And the remote... don't get me started on the remote!

 

Anyway, here's hoping the X1 IPTV software and hardware is an improvement. And that there's better usability testing along with the ability and willingness to fix problems.

BS
I'm a Senior Advisor
Posts: 2,154

Re: X1 IPTV service

@pvanbAs to your point of how can Rogers employees find the Navigatr unacceptable, that has always been my concern with internal testing and no user testing is the challenge is the tester works for the company and the goal of the company is to get the product out.  There is a built in bias that the internal tester is operating from, which potentially prevents them from viewing the task as a user would.  I have always said, testers are not users, but users are the final testers of what finally comes.

 

Bruce

BS
I'm a Senior Advisor
Posts: 2,154

Re: X1 IPTV service

Minor edit - changes meaning, but think people knew what I meant.

 

"how can Rogers employees find the Navigatr unacceptable"

 

That should read acceptable.  Oops, remember those disabilities around print I mentioned. I can type, but I have difficulties reading.  I tend to catch my errors later on. but thought I should fix that one.

 

Here's to as much user input and willingness to change as Rogers is willing to allow for.  It would be a real breath of fresh air.  From one of the many who went through the Navigatr mess from start to now.  I actually knew little about set top boxes and TV before I got involved in providing feedback and analyzing and understanding what happened that time around and from day one, I never could figure out how they ever let that one out, but I now believe it was part of a larger plan and they had deadlines to meet and suppliers changed ownership and some didn't come through as expected.  That is the only thing corporately I can see could have happened - they got sold on a future with Espial and Cisco, Cisco got out of it and Espial couldn't deliver and the whole project got stalled, but unfortunately, they had no alternative to fall back on.  Cisco was the original supplier of the Nextbox models and we the customers got caught in a disaster - my hope is that in future  if they get caught in one of these again, they have the courage to support the customers who pay for everything and sell holding back to the shareholders.  Better than spending almost 3 years to try build IPTV on a poorly supported hardware and network platform and then have it all fail.

 

In a lot of ways though, I suspect they are probably pretty confined to the Comcast model that ultimately comes out.  Looking at all the current versions out there at Shaw and their freerange TV, download to go, freezing playback and start at same spot on another device, ultimately a manage PVR of some kind to come, stream on demand, DVR, whole home DVR, Blue Sky TV, ability to view Crave and Netflix and integrated search and voice activated remote - sound familiar - should it is Comcast, looking the same as Rogers, just different names. Don't see a cloud PVR though which Comcast can do and Bell already does as does Vmedia.

 

And they have a mix of hybrid cable and IPTV and Internet over the top, and even selling legacy refurbished boxes, so can expect to see them keep the older model for a while at least.

 

Go to Xfinity, and you will basically the same things, under different names, - but in the media you will see that a lot of things not rolled out onRogers (PVR management and others) and on Shaw are tied up with Tivo and Comcast licensing issues, which I have no doubt will get worked out at last hour of expected rollouts.  Just hope they don't delay it too long as that will impact testing of those features and keeping the QAM system functioning alongside the IPTV.  We have already seen how in the process of rolling out the new apps for IPTV model that glitches can happen.

 

The other customer is Cox Communication in the USA and again, lots of similiarities, same licensing limitations.

 

Shaw has taken a slow phased out proces, similiar to what has been described by Rogers, so there is hope that at the end of the day it will work well.  Seems to for now keep the best of the old world and adds in features of the new world, in particular the access in the home and out of home on PC and apps, the over the top apps like Netflix and Crave, voice control for those who like that (I prefer to talk to people or myself thank you (; ), and the PVR cloud along with at home PVR for whole home.

 

So it all looks promising, I will be sticking with what I have, and one thing I have noticed on boards for these companies is cost for equipment, and feature sets, so at the end of the day, after getting to work, will be the competetive cost issue.  For me it is kind of like the 30,000 plus cost cars with all sorts of bells and whistles.  I can't afford to buy a car for over 10,000, so I buy used and live without the bells and whistles.  And my experience with some of the bells and whistles, is does the software in the cars keep up with entertainment device software, and when one of those features goes, the cost can be steep to repair.

 

So at the end of the day for me, cost will come into a play - a Tivo PVR box over the air antenna with Internet and a few OTT networks like Netflix and Crave can give me a full set of TV entertainment.

 

Think I have said enough - will wait to see what comes after the soft rollout to customers, and final rollout, the pricing structure.

 

 Bruce

 

Bruce

 

 

pvanb
I Plan to Stick Around
Posts: 26

Re: X1 IPTV service

@BS Agree with you re testing and the hope that they're more open and responsive to feedback.

 

I'm not optimistic about the new system being competative with say, TiVo. I'm not familiar with Comcast's XFinity offering, but I'm pretty sure it's already starting at a disadvantage (whether due to patents or just not having years of refinement.) Add to that the inevitable restrictions imposed by Rogers technical limitations and business interests (artificial or otherwise) and it can't help but get worse. I am optimistic that it's better than what we have now though, so I'm willing to take a chance on it.

 

I also agree that OTA TiVo + some OTT services is the way to go. I went into my 2-year contract with a NextBox 4k expecting it to be a stop-gap before transitioning to the aforementioned combo. My NextBox experience has been much worse than I could have imagined so the upcoming X1 IPTV service is going to have to be dramatically better for me to change my mind.

wayner92
I'm a Reliable Contributor
Posts: 366

Re: X1 IPTV service

I would argue that there are other options that are superior but they take more know-how.  I have been using PC based DVR software for well over a decade.  First I was using Windows Media Center Edition but about nine years ago I switched to SageTV.  I have two Rogers boxes (SA32500HD and SA4250HD) hooked up to Hauppauge HD-PVR capture devices via component cables.  This lets me capture any and all content on cable TV.  I also have an OTA dual tuner - a HD HomeRun.  At each of the nine TVs in my house I have SageTV HD200 or HD300 extenders.  This gives me a whole home solution for playing back TV as well as ripped DVDs/BRs or any other video files.  The only thing it doesn't give me is easy access to streaming content.  But there is now a client for SageTV that runs on AndroidTV devices so that gives you a great solution - all of the streaming content that you want from Netflix, YouTube, etc, plus ripped video files plus RecordedTV.  You need several TB of hard drive space and some IT know-how but this is the best solution out there.  The only trick will be capturing 4K content but there are capture devices on the horizon to do that (search AliExpress for 4k encoders) and hopefully there will be tuners that can receive ATSC 3.0 content when that starts broadcasting in the near future.