February 2, 2008
I live in a condo building that provides Bell ExpressVu to all the units in the building at no additional cost (I’m paying for it through condo fees). We used to have ExpressVu for Condos which I didn’t mind, but I’m guessing they switched to regular Expressvu in order to get HD content.
Now, I don’t have HD so I didn’t really care when they switched. I was actually excited to get a PVR with the deal. My enthusiasm was short lived.
Here are 5 reasons in no particular order why ExpressVu sucks:
1. It’s SLOW. Don’t ask me why they call it ExpressVu… it takes up to 2 seconds to change from one channel to the next. Channel surfing is impossible, instead you will inevitably memorize your favorite channel numbers and jump directly between them. Even bringing up the menus is like waiting for molasses in February, which brings me to the next reason.
2. Bad GUI. The graphical user interface is slow, cumbersome and ugly. The GUI has not changed (it seems) since ExpressVu first came out. It is incredibly SLOW to browse the channel guide, and pulling up a system menu will mute the audio (why???).
3. Channel Lineup. If I ever meet the person who organized the channel listing for ExpressVu I’ll punch him in the face. For example, they put tens of channels dedicated to pay per view or sports that are off-air 99% of the time right between the big networks and the news channels. Even if you could channel surf (see #1), you’d have to surf through this desert of off air channels.
4. Reliability. Because ExpressVu relies on a satellite dish to pick up the signal, it is prone to bad weather, interference from objects such as trees, neighboring buildings, snow/dirt buildup, etc. Basically anything in-between the satellite and your dish will degrade the quality and interrupt your signal. These signal interruptions always seem to occur right at the worst possible moment when a key piece of dialog is being spoken. Of course this is total coincidence… or is it?
5. Bundles. ExpressVu seems to think that because you want to pay a little extra for a specific channel, you’re willing to pay a bit more for a bunch of similar channels. They only offer bundles of channels for you to subscribe to. To me, this is just a waste. Get into the 21st century and let us choose only the channels we want, and skip the others.
I should note that ExpressVu for Condos had a few improvements (though it lacks HD content). Because it uses a fibre optic link rather than satellites and dishes, the reliability is much better and is not affected by weather or your neighbor’s tree. This also improves the speed of channel surfing too. Maybe it’s because it’s a bit newer, but I also thought the GUI was a bit better but not by much.