Hey Canada, Looking to Lower Your Cable Bill? Meet VMedia TV

vmedia

This is not an advertisement
This is not a sponsored post.
This is not a promotion.

What this is… is a post written by a Canadian TV Addict, nay consumer, fed up with his television provider. So much so that I decided to look into legal alternatives to Canada’s cable giants Bell and Rogers.

Enter VMedia

Since 2013, VMedia has been providing Southern Ontario (and soon the rest of Canada) with television services via their IPTV solution. IPTV by the way, stands for internet protocol television and basically means that the traditional channels that one would normally subscribe to in any cable package are delivered via the internet* Oh, and did we mention that they arrive at a fraction of the cost versus what I am currently paying for now.

(*Note: Subscription to any VMedia television package requires a very affordable unlimited VMedia internet plan)

Now I know what you’re thinking: Sounds too good to be true right? My thought exactly! Which is why I decided to put in a call to VMedia’s Toronto head office and see if they’d do up a little demo for theTVaddict.com and my readers. A request, the young upstart VMedia was only too happy to make happen. But before I get into the positives following a two hour demo let me first go into a little more detail as to why I’m so fed up with my current cable provider.

Simply put, they are no longer living up to their end of the value proposition. Putting aside the TWO HUNDRED PLUS dollars per month I currently pay for cable and internet combined, the most offensive thing about my cable provider isn’t so much the cost, but rather the value. No, really. As my oodles of Apple products so clearly illustrate, I have no problem paying for quality. What I do have a problem paying for — particularly in an age where my Apple TV allows me to flawlessly cue up Netflix through a simple voice command — is an antiquated PVR/DVR solution complete with a sluggish and incredibly un-user-friendly interface. I also have a problem paying for premium programs that aren’t ever ever on demand when they need to be, a PVR/DVR that never seems to record programs I’ve asked it to, and a big and bulky black box that crashes virtually time I try to load a menu! (Don’t even get me started on their insanely bad iPhone apps…)

Okay, I’ll just say it, ROGERS should be embarrassed by their NextBox 3.0. It is virtually unusable and the major reason as to why I’ve begun investigating alternatives for my cable needs. Which brings me back to VMedia and the demo they doled out. Here are my five big takeaways:

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Technology
VMedia has developed all of their own technology from the ground up. Their non-descript small Apple-TV-like device known as the Vbox (pictured above) was developed in-house using the Android platform as its building blocks. Which means, consumers not only get a very easy-to-navigate interface in which to navigate their channels, but also access to everything the Google Play store has to offer. Netflix, Shomi, CraveTV, Plex, Kodi, you name it, you’ve got it! Cooler still, since VMedia is constantly looking to expand the feature set of their VBox to provide their customers with the latest and greatest, it’s constantly being updated with new and exciting features. Features such as…

CloudTV
Forgot to schedule a recording of one of your favourite shows? Never fear, VMedia is here! Here that is with their (patent-pending) CloudTV which constantly records twenty-five of the most popular channels seven days at a time. In other words, thanks to VMedia, you’ve automatically got the previous seven days worth of programming at the touch of a button regardless of whether you recorded them or not.

Expandability
If you’re anything like this TV Addict, you’re constantly making that “Sophie’s Choice” when it comes to freeing up space on your always overstuffed PVR/DVR. With VMedia, that struggle is no longer real (!) because, unlike Rogers’ neutered NextBox, your Vbox allows you to plug in any USB 2.0 thumb drive, flashddrive or harddrive to vastly expand the recording capabilities to the size of the device that you plugging into it.

Price
I hate to harp on price, because it’s not everything, but Canadians are paying far too much for cable television these days. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge believer in paying for content — just ask my friends who no longer mention GAME OF THRONES lest they run the risk of a twenty minute lecture on why stealing is not okay! That being said, when not a week seems to go by without a story about how Netflix has turned us into a nation of “Cord Cutters,” I can’t help but feel that Rogers, Bell et al should be rewarding those of us who still believe in paying for cable versus stealing it rather then gouge us with bigger bills and insulting offers such as the recent roll-out of so-called skinny packages.

Competition
Bell, Rogers and, to a lesser extent, Telus and Shaw, have far too much power as a result of a feckless CRTC. As such, when I discovered that there was a more affordable and equally awesome option, I immediately thought I should look into it. And look into it I did!

That being said, there is one caveat to this entire love letter to VMedia. I haven’t actually signed up for the service myself because I’m a bit daunted by the headache that is switching to a new provider. Rest assured, every time my NextBox crashes on me, I’m inching closer and closer. But am I really ready to throw away fifteen years with the devil I know (Rogers) for the “devil” I don’t?! It’s a big decision and one that I am continuing to wrestle with. In the meantime, more information on VMedia can be found over at vmedia.com And if you happen to be one of VMedia’s 18000 strong subscribers and growing, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Mike A

    After reading this article I think your first three statements are erroneous. This does seem to be an advertisement/promo. I looked at the VMedia site (which is http://www.vmedia.ca/tv and not the incorrect links in your article) and it doesn’t seem much better than Rogers. In fact, one of the statements on the site is ” To enjoy VMedia’s innovative IPTV service, you will need VMedia’s
    Internet and the good news is VMedia has great internet plans at low
    prices with no contracts and no limits. Plus it is easy to switch.” So great you need to signup for their internet as well.

    On top of that the “Premium Basic” package at VMedia is $44.95 for 60 channels while Rogers is $40.48 for 225 channels. This doesn’t seem like I’m getting any real benefits (and by the way I was a Rogers customer but dropped the service).

    If you want to really start cutting the cord, people should start looking into Android (KODI) boxes that can easily be found on Amazon/Ebay or sites like infinitytv.ca. Here you will pay for the hardware and then you can stream the content. I’m sure the legality is a little grey but it’s still better than paying over $600 a year on “basic” cable.

  • Dear Mike,

    Thanks for visiting the site and the freelance edit (link fixed!). A few corrections if I may:

    1) Rest assured, this was not a paid advertisement. BELIEVE YOU ME, I would love for someone to pay me to blog, I’d happily promote that and tell you upfront in the hopes that it would start a trend.

    2) Based on my calculations, signing up to a bundle of TV and internet with VMedia would save me $100 a month versus Rogers. I’d say that’s pretty good!

    3) I don’t want to become a full out cord cutter, because I believe in paying for content. TV shows aren’t cheap to produce, and I have no problem paying for them. I do have a problem over-paying for them though, which was the impetus for me looking into alternatives to Rogers.

  • Gabriel

    Hi, I’ve been using Vmedia since 2013. Their service was great. I never had any major issues with the Internet or Iptv. I loved the technology, and prices. Vbox was great too, especially the new Quad Core. I like Vcloud, and their hdd PVR. My issues with the Vbox were the closed captioning, pausing/skipping during peak hours while watching tv. and also a 30 sec delay for the live sporting events.

    The problem with a “no contract” company is that their prices go up often. When I originally signed up with them I was paying $52.95 for internet (45mbs down/4mbs up) and $39.95 for their premium basic TV (also i bought my modem and Vbox directly from them for around $200). And because their TV is based on the internet, at night it might be a nightmare watching your AMC Walking Dead or HBO’s Game of Thrones without some pausing or skipping. It’s all based on the congestion in your area. In 2015 I was almost forced to switch from my $53/mo internet to a higher package $71.95 (60down/10up) hoping that my evening tv service will be fine. it was for a while…

    Now I moved to Rogers mid March 2016. Why? because I called in and got a better deal then Vmedia was offering. My March Vmedia bill was $135+taxes. (including Internet 60 + Premium Basic TV + HBO/TMN theme pack). Rogers offered 100u Internet + Extra Plus Tv package (includes HBO&TMN) and all equipment rental free for $126.97+tax for 2 years. Is not a big difference, but Rogers TV is more reliable then Vmedia IPTV solution. If in 2 years their service becomes more reliable, i will be more then happy to call them back and sign up.

    I’m looking excited to see how their technology will evolve in the future. Vmedia, I thank you for over 3 years of service and looking forward to sign up again in 2 years.

    Cheers,
    Gabriel

  • MJS

    The Rogers Basic TV package for $40.48 is better compared to VMedia’s Basic TV package, which is $29.95 and includes a similar set of principle channels.

    Premium Basic is closest to Roger’s PLUS plan, in that in includes the channels from Basic as well as A&E, AMC, CNN, Showcase, Much Music, MTV, both TSN & Sportsnet, etc. Rogers charges $65.99 for this plan and it still doesn’t include BNN, Viceland, or Peachtree. VMedia is $20 cheaper and includes even more key channels. You’d need to go to Extra Plus or VIP with Rogers to get all the channels VMedia has in Premium Basic – which will run you $79.99.

    Rogers also says you’ll get 225 channels, but the problem is they aren’t unique. That number includes regional affiliate channels which play duplicate content, 50+ radio channels, and then each channel comes in an SD and HD version – which counts as two channels. Let’s not forget the fireplace and aquarium channels!

  • All I know is that right now my Rogers bill is $230 per month which is completly unacceptable!

  • Hank

    I was looking to switch to VMedia as well.
    I’m with Bell and pay approx $120/month for their premium tv services.
    I use Teksavvy for my internet $50 for 30/10, 400GB (teksavvy BTW, has been unbelievable to work with. Not one issue in nearly 2 years and my speeds typically exceed what I’m paying for).

    I want to get rid of bell because they’re way overpriced and I desperately want the MLB Network.
    The only providers that offer the MLBN are Rogers (which is unavailable in my area) and VMedia.
    VMedia’s Premium package has all the stations we want minus HBO/TMN – which we would probably add.

    The issue I had going to VMedia is that it will cost me close to $300 just to try it out for a month.
    That’s how much it is for installation, shipping, Vbox rentals, etc.
    And what if I don’t like it?? That’s a lot of money just to try something new.
    They really need to offer a test package that costs nothing to test out.
    Go ahead and ask for my CC number in case I steal your equipment.
    But I shouldn’t be charged for shipping or installation.
    At the very least, give me a reasonable number like $100 if I promise to try the service for 3 months.

    If I had the HBO/TMN package, it would take me a year or two in order to make up the $300 I paid to try the service out.
    And again, what if everything I’m reading about the service is true? Capped speeds during peak hours, tv shows skipping, audio delays and constant reboots of the VBox?
    I’d probably get rid of the service after a month or two. But please, take my $300 for giving you a shot.
    No thanks.

    P.S. Personal rant: Why can’t Bell or Cogeco add the MLB network!!! (not the MLB Package, but the actual MLB channel).

  • I’m in complete agreement. VMedia sounds great in theory, but I’m nervous. It’s a very different service then the traditional Rogers and Bell and while I liked what I saw during the demo. It’s a scary proposition flat out switching. I wish VMedia would offer some sort of one month test run. Maybe in the future they will.

  • Ken Maynard

    I sure wished I did more research in Vmedia before I purchased a vmedia service, a DSL modem and vBox. I guess I was wishing and hoping for a fresh way of thinking. Like Clearnet was in the early days and how Telus is now. The service well I think they took all the worst from customer service policies from Bell and Rogers. Nothing new and nothing fresh … they are right you are so very wrong.

    They sell you a modem they have locked down with their PIN. So if want to change settings and dsl providers your modem is nothing more then a brick and you are back to buying a new modem.

    I wonder if the CRTC knows.. I wonder if most users know.

    Then there is the vbox the TV device. While setting it up I entered the user name and password time and time again for a few hours.. Turns out there is a bug with that so I wasted a few hours not knowing there software is problematic. VMedia Client Care would not as much acknowledge is issue … I Got “SORRY”

    Sorry does not feed the CAT. Why should a support person say SORRY for the poor value provided by the company.

    Billing Practices. They prorate your bill to the expected service start date. Yet in my case the service did not start until a couple days later.. Fine enough.. But I had to call them to get my $5.28 billing adjustment. Which they called a discount. Its not a discount its an adjustment or a credit.

    There is strange yet familiar attitude at VMedia .. They seem to think they some big telcom, Yet they are small time rookies. Prone to rookie mistakes like supplying me a password with ambiguous charters like a “0” or “I”… hmm is that a number one or is it a lowercase L or is it a uppercase “i” .. Or like the password field in the set of their TV Vbox will not display the characters all you see is *************…

    I know they think the password must be protected at all costs…..PLEASE this is a password to tv box not your online bank. Make it easy… show the password as its entered !.

    If you think you are going to enter your user name and password with the supplied TV remote keypad.. JUST FORGET ABOUT IT…

    You can not see the letters and numbers as the printing is so faint. and the print colour is dark blue on flat black. Just try to see that with your family room lighting. I had to hookup a Bluetooth mini keyboard I had for myGICA device so I could see the keys and enter my ambiguous user name and password for the 145th time.

    I ordered a static IP address … but the modem arrived with no documentation as to how to setup the static IP. Which I do know how to ..I just wanted to know what is my Static IP address Another rookie oversight. I find out later I was billed for a static IP but it was not turned on at vMedia. Another 30 minutes waited calling support again.

    Hear is the rub I talked with tech support a few times. billing once and client care another time. NOT ONCE WAS I ASKED what it would take to make me a happy.

    I just was hangup on by a VMedia Support Manager when I asked for a full refund.. Yep she hung up the phone. The ultimate FU

  • desicat

    expensive crap. Old android box which you have to buy or rent. You can’t use your own android that you probably already own. Expensive channels. A skinny package that you can pick up with any tv antenna for free and they don’t have all the channels in there pick channels. Nope you can keep it and I’ll stick to my antenna and kodi.

  • Freddy D Roberts

    I’m only paying $140 for Rogers Ignite 100u unlimited bandwidth,TV plus package & home phone. I’d have to spend $300 for vmedia even though it’s a one time fee and I’m not even sure how their service would be plus I wouldn’t be saving that much really,I haven’t had any problems with Rogers their service actually has been very good.

  • Chris

    Ive been a long time customer of Vmedia and decided to switch back to Rogers recently. My experience with them has been relatively good, mixed with some bad.

    The good…

    Great technology in having an android box be your TV as well as having access to Kodi and pretty much any other app available on the Android platform all in one box. However, many Android apps are meant for touchscreen and therefore dont have the same “flow” and ease of use with a remote.

    It is technically cheaper when you compare side by side TV channels with Rogers. Mainly because of the sports channels (TSN 1-5) and a few specialty channels like AMC, TLC and A&E, etc. So if you dont watch those, then you shouldn’t care. With Rogers, you’d have to upgrade to the next tier over Basic which brings the price to about $15 more.

    Their CloudTV PVR is fantastic. Probably my favourite part of it all. They constantly record some channels (mostly local and US channels but not specialty ones) so when its done all you do is navigate back to the program date and time, press play, and its good to go! You can also attach an external HD or USB drive to record other channels like a PVR. But theres no “record series” option, remote recording options or being able to watch something while its recording.

    Unlimited internet is nice and at decent prices, however Rogers now has unlimited for many packages now (especially if youre bundling) with even higher speeds like 100Mb/s. I was paying about $100 with Vmedia for 30Mb/s + TV which is what im paying for Rogers now, minus the aforementioned specialty channels but with the higher 100Mb speed tier, unlimited.

    Now, the bad…

    Yes its cheaper when including those specialty channels, but, you have to buy or rent all the hardware which can run you up to $200+ if buying. God forbid that after the one year warranty one of those items goes or youre on the hook for some more money. With Rogers, wait for promotions and you can rent these for free which means if they do go you get instant replacements. Negotiate like i did and you can get a free PVR.

    Their TV service is limited to 720p and is sometimes dodgy. Channels go out or get out of sync often. AMC went down during the Walking Dead finale! Had no choice but to acquire it using “other methods” but because i get home from work during “throttle time” i had to download this at 20kbps, which as you can imagine, meant i was watching it the day after. More on this in the next paragraph.

    Internet service bogs down quite often and between 8pm and 12am theres some serious traffic shaping that goes on to ensure their IPTV service goes on uninterrupted. Which is great if you’re watching their TV but if you happen to not be and want to download ANYTHING, your internet speeds will the throttled down. Most nights mine went to about 20kbps.

    So all in all..Vmedia is NOT a bad option at all. In fact its an exciting technology which has a lot of promise. Unfortunately for them, they are shackled by the irons of Rogers and Bell as they control the network Vmedia utilizes which can sometimes cause issues. Furthermore, because their IPTV is on the same “stream” as their internet, they need to have measures in place during peak hours to ensure their bandwidth limitations are not interrupting their TV service, hence the traffic shaping. This combination can sometimes wreak havoc on their service over all. In my humble opinion, if you can catch Rogers during a promotion and you haggle a bit, you can get the same equal service for an extra 10-20 bucks with the convenience of having full bandwidth on your internet all the time and rarely seeing any interruptions on their TV service. Sometimes, you have to pay a little extra to ensure what you have works as promised and so far, so good.

    If youre flexible with this, then Vmedia will be great for you. If not, then stick to Rogers as long as you’re taking advantage of one of their promotions.

  • A MP

    hey! how’s it been so far?

  • Rob Elliott

    Just for the sake of accuracy.

    the 175+ that rogers offers for $40.48 includes 89 audio stations that brings it down to 86.
    21 are duplicate Channels 3 are rogers channels (on demand, rogers TV and their Grid) And one is NFL ondemand. That leaves 62

    Vmedia offers 82 Channels on the Premium Basic but Advertise as 60 because.. 12 of them are duplicate channels but even then you are still at 70. Plus the on demand stuff… and the Android ecosystem

    So it is actually fairly comparable. Not arguing that one is better.. just being clear.

    Now you also have to have their internet service due to CRTC rules and rules imposed by Bell.

    Let the facts speak for them selves. I personally don’t agree with stealing Cable. Which is why I haven’t had it in a long while. (1 year of the last 7)

  • Rob Elliott

    So it’s been 7 months. I’ve been researching VMedia for 7 Months since I saw an advert on a subway. I have just ordered. I’m intrigued by it. So I will know in 2 weeks (which was a choice I made)

    I have heard many issues, you seem to have had a good experience, and it would seem that good experiences come from Cable Internet and proper expectations. I’ve already had a few issues.. which we will see how they are sorted.. I shouldn’t have to explain what a Strike is to an employee.

    I’m cautiously optimistic about it.. and I am hoping it works well. If not for a possible Bell Canada Strike I would have done this much sooner.

  • Lord

    I feel I have to chime in here: My reasons for switching to vMedia are different than yours. I haven’t had cable or satellite TV in over 5 years.

    I do have a digital antenna on my roof that picks up 22 channels including CBS, NBC, FOX and all the Canadian OTA channels + CBS Movies, CW (yes over the air for free) and another classic TV channel from NBC. I was fine with that, Netflix, Crackle and Shomi plus the odd download here and there, mostly F1 races.

    In my case because I tend to download a whole lot of games from the PS Store at sometimes 60Gb/game. That plus I do a lot of YouTube uploads and I broadcast on Twitch, add that to all the streaming from Netflix and company and I would bust my cap often even though I had the highest capacity offered by EBox.

    Despite my repeated plea to have them offer me an unlimited package they’ve always refused so I requested the switch from EBox to vMedia last month and it’s been rather painful: vMedia decided to ship the modem on my install date, which was a Thursday, the same day that EBox was disconnecting me. This had a net result that I’ve now been 6 days without Internet at home. Customer service was abysmal and not in the good “Joey Trebbiani” way, the real abysmal way.

    For example:

    Once I realized (the day before the install date) that my modem wouldn’t be here on time, I called vMedia and asked them to postpone the switch over, TO WHICH THEY AGREED but failed to follow through.

    Then I asked them if I would be credited for the Internet downtime for which I already pre-paid, and of course they said to just call in once my modem is received and hooked up. Possibly tonight…

    But add that to the fact that somehow speaking to different people on their phone support results in different answers to the same questions and you have a very worried customer.

    I’m glad my installation was free (current promotion) and that I only leased the modem, because frankly if their customer service is a good as their Internet service I’m not going to suffer through it too long and either switch back to EBox or go for Videotron altogether.

    Note that here in Quebec, because we have a government made up of corrupt politicians that are hand in hand with Videotron and Bell, the rules are different. For example VIDEOTRON force them to switch modem each time you switch cable Internet provider even though the new modem will be indentestical to the old one. More to the point, if I were to go back to EBox, I’d have to purchase or lease another (third) Thomson Docsys 3.0 modem.

    What a waste…

    It’s Videotron’s way of herding customers back “home” to them and out of the grasp of their resellers.

    Anyhow we’ll see how it goes tonight in terms of modem installation/activation and speed. I heard that vMedia throttle Netflix during evening prime-time, which is exactly the same time I watch it. I will report back.

  • Lord

    Well then time to report back: Picked up the modem (tiny little thing) from the post office, got home, swapped out the old modem and within 5 minutes everything was up and running at 60Mbit+ solid. The next day I got a phone call from a gentleman that is the supervisor at vMedia who apologized profusely for what happened and assured me I’d be reimbursed for the 6 missed days. Now my biggest issue is that EBox still billed me for July even though I’m not with them any longer. No idea how that will work out… 🙁 Anyhow almost a week in and I’ve had 0 interruptions, 0 slowdowns and 0 issues. It’s going to be similar to EBox IMHO in terms of reliability as they’re probably stuck with Videotron’s network so whatever happens to that, happens to theirs.

  • Lord

    Well then I have to stand corrected: vMedia is terrible. The first few days were fine and I was getting 60Mbits 100% of the time. Then as time progressed the bandwidth diminished. At first it was subtle like in the evening you’d get occasional slowdowns to 45, 30 or 20Mbits, then it became more prominent with speeds between 8~11PM being constant at 12Mbits. I later learned through a friend that vMedia simply didn’t buy enough bandwidth every month from Videotron (Quebec wholesaler) and were getting throttled. It was all a budget thing. Since they can’t guarantee my speeds I have already taken action to switch back to another provider. Good call renting the modem instead of buying it.

  • Marina

    I just had the worst experience with VMedia. I’ve been a customer for 3 years and I tolerated their crappy service because it was also cheap, but more. My internet was down for 11 days. I had to pay Rogers to add data to my cell plan just so I can do my on-call night shifts and get my paycheck. After numerous phone calls, escalations and promises I’ll hear back from them, they finally fixed it after almost 2 weeks. Not a single phone call from VMedia, not even a single sorry. But I did get charged a full month’s fees! So I call them and once again not even a single sorry, just “here’s your 11-day credit”. Seriously? After everything Ive been put through by their tech support! They even tried up-selling me to a higher plan, because they claimed my plan’s been discontinued and that’s why I have no internet! Finally they blamed Rogers for everything and since it’s not their fault, there’s nothing they can do. I was also told I’m a small client for them, if I was paying them more money, for example if I had their TV package on, then they’d be able to compensate me for my additional expenses, but as it stands they’re not going to make any money off me if they offer proper compensation! I’m looking for a new company now, one that values their customers and one that takes responsibility. VMedia apparently only cares if you pay them a lot.

  • Maverdick MWO

    I’ve been a cable internet and TV customer with Vmedia since 2013. The wires used are the same wires as Rogers and Rogers technicians come to the house to install the service. My experience is Vmedia internet is as reliable as Rogers internet. I’ve had the service across 3 different addresses now. I have not had Rogers TV since the analog days which was very reliable. For Vmedia TV, the service is for the most part reliable but there has been few 1-2 hour outages over the years. Some times when internet is intermittent, TV can be out for a few minutes while the Vmedia box is re-connecting to the service. Bell satellite TV is probably the least reliable of the 3 as it is often not available during big rain storms. Vmedia internet and or TV price is always lower than Rogers and Bell. The TV picture quality of Rogers and Bell are poor when compared to over the air TV in the Toronto area. Depending on the specific channel and specific TV programs, Vmedia TV can sometime be equal in picture quality to Bell and Rogers and sometime Vmedia quality is worst.

  • kalikasanipagtanggol

    I just chat with VMedia rep. to inquire if it is worth switching from BIG Telco to theirs. It doesn’t look like I’d save money after all!…. I have to shell out $500 in order for me to save $200/year….Plus, the bundle package is $195 for three services which is no different than BIG telcos!..

  • Daniel Trottier

    The service is always down and when you call in you wait on hold forever. They pre-charge you then don’t provide the service, you spend all your time on the phone with tech support, then Billing to be reimbursed for the days it wasnt working. It took forever to get installed and has been a nightmare since day 1