BlueCurve Wireless 4K TV (Xi6) Player - my review

rickatk
Master

I would like to share my experiences and opinions about the BlueCurve 4K Xi6 wireless tv player technology with the Shaw Comminity forum.

Background

In 2015 I started to follow developments around Internet Protocol Television(IPTV). In July of that year Shaw announced they were abandoning their IPTV efforts and were pursuing the licensing of technology from Comcast in the US. According to the news outlets Shaw wrote down over 50 million dollars for their research efforts. Rogers later announced writing down over 500 million for their efforts around IPTV and went on to acquire the Comcast technology as well.

Since then Shaw has rolled out BlueSky TV which I have been using for the past year or so. Shaw has been rolling out additional technologies including new routers and wifi pods for mesh coverage. All of which I have trialled and used.

At present I don’t have pods enhancing my home wifi network. I had already dropped my Apple AirPort Extreme and was running my wifi setup using a Technicolour Blue Curve Gateway. I was pretty satisfied with the performance of the 600 Mbps service and the stability of my home network without the pods. Further, I wanted to use proprietory equipment for consistency and reliability.

Recently Shaw announced their latest product rollout - BlueCurve Total TV which incorporates, Internet, WiFi and TV technologies.  After much hunting around, reading, research and phone calls to Shaw I decided to take the plunge and pick up some BlueCurve wireless tv players.

Sales

I had been watching the advertising around BlueCurve products and found it to be very catchy and colourful but it wasn’t until a couple days ago the light went on (for me at least) that this new product was indeed IPTV! I didn’t realize that the new Xi6 boxes were in fact streaming boxes. Looking at the hardware lineup I thought there was still a master tuner controlling the wireless boxes, similar to my BlueSky wired setup. I am please to say that indeed the new boxes are streaming devices. No master tuner required!

I made a couple phone calls and got mixed information and advice about procuring the new BlueCurve TV players(streamers). Initially I was advised by a very helpful agent that the gear was not available and in order to use the new tv players I would have to change my legacy tv package. I was advised that it was best to wait till the wireless gear became more readily available and using it would be less disruptive to my existing plan. The agent booked a 4K BlueSky box for me to try in the mean time. I also explored the possibility of getting a Shaw tech out to run a cable from my den to my kitchen as they shared a common wall. This would incur a $50.00 charge.

I decided to call back a few hours later and ask about the wireless tv players again and this time was advised by another agent there was no need to change my tv plan. The agent arranged for the players and reconfigured my account. There was an issue of an additional charge for the extra wireless tuner. I decided I would contact the Loyalty Department in the morning on that point. The next day I was advised by a third agent 4 boxes were ready for me to pick up and self install using the activation service. I also received additional consideration for the fourth box rental.

Activation

In the evening when I got home I placed a call to Shaw activations was put the call back cue (250) and then proceeded to ready the wireless boxes, unpacking and connecting them to my TVs but not powering them up. The wait of approximately 30 minutes allowed me just enough time to ready 4 devices. I was then taken through the activation procedures and final setup. This went very smoothly. Not only did the devices connect to my network with ease they all chose 5GHz. Pairing the remote to each tv and speaker was a breeze. I was very impressed with the BlueCurve device library. All my devices were recognized.

Wifi Bands

During his parting comments the tech advised that in fine tuning the wifi reception I did have the option to reconfigure each device to 2.4GHz or 5.0GHz depending on my requirements. Seems in my setup two of the tv players didn’t have as good reception on 5GHz given their location. They did show “excellent and full bars” on the 2.4GHz setting however. I am still unclear about how to change the individual tv players. I have only been able to figure out how to change the Gateway settings to reflect either dual band or discrete for my whole setup.

In dual band the tv players select 5GHz but that impacts reception performance of the devices furthest away from the gateway. 2.4GHz seems to give an all round good connection. Oddly my Samsung TV reacts oppositely preferring 5GHz.

At any rate I have  opted to use the BlueCurve Home app to set wifi network to discrete and left the tv players at 2.4GHz for the time being.

The BlueCurve Home app is a great way to manage the home network and connected devices.

Wireless TV player Performance

Overall I have been happy with the performance of the devices. The picture and sound is very good. I noticed as I was switching between the wifi bands and configuring devices to the Gateway app the remotes had to be remapped. I found the  devices worked very well with my tv optimizing the picture settings and the external Bose speakers on their own , all working very well.

I had to sign in to my streaming apps like Netflix for each tv player just like my Apple TV’s. I found very few episodes of lag and for the most part the tv guide and channels worked and looked very good. The cloud PVR recordings were right where they were supposed to be.

I could also verify my device settings and network connection quality using the BlueCurve remote navigating to the apps section then device settings.

In the morning everything was where it was supposed to be. All my home control network devices were showing to be working using the BlueCurve Home app and the tvs were looking good. All in all I was very happy with this setup. I now have a fully functioning BlueCurve TV player in the kitchen and able to stream Netflix, Prime, Crave, HBO, YouTube, On Demand titles and rentals and have a functioning cloud PVR. All of which I have been requesting in the forums for some time.

Note: Data limits are not affected by the wireless tv player streams according to the Shaw agent at the retail store I picked up the gear at.

Comcast and Shaw have done a great job with these products. Right now I have 4 Apple ATVs v3 and v4 I am not too sure what I am going to do with.

Troubleshooting

After being away for a couple days I returned to the TVs for more testing. I ran into some pixelation, stuttering when starting up a couple tv players. My internet connection was getting good speed. Rebooting the Gateway cleared up the poor performance.

Other screen and audio hiccups calmed down after taking my  iPads off 2.4GHz and putting them on 5GHz.

I have approximately 30 smart home devices showing on my BlueCurve network. I noticed my internet feed remains constant at around 600 Mbs. Ensuring device balance between 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands seems to have helped. My Bose speakers and Apple devices are operating on 5GHz. The rest of my smart home devices are running on 2.4 GHz.

Sum Up

All in all the new wireless boxes are working well. The picture quality is good. Netflix and Prime Video 4K streams look very good and a pleasure to watch. I did a comparison with my HDR TV and the picture quality results were negligible. At one point I got lost between the BlueCuve stream and the Samsung tv stream of Peaky Blinders. All this gear is running pretty seamless.

TV setup and remote syncing was a breeze and well executed.  I am very happy to have my kitchen TV connected to BlueCurve TV now.

Best to ensure the home network is stable and home devices are well balanced between the bands. There are still occasions where the stream hiccups. In fairness this is the first time I have been running 4 streaming devices with a continuous feed as compared to one stream watching a movie. Hopefully the Shaw streams will settle down.

I use the Blue Curve Home app to control my home network.

BlueCurve TV with the wireless tv players is IPTV streaming with a Shaw TV guide, video on demand, the major apps like Crave, Netflix and cloud PVR.

You shouldn’t have to change your legacy BlueSky TV plan.

At present the wireless boxes are in short supply but there are options for mail out, pick up or tech delivery.

Recommendations

The sales folks seem to be operating with different information about acquiring the Xi6 boxes. But for my persistence and inquiries, I wouldn’t presently have a full BlueCurve Internet and tv setup running. More consistent information from the sales teams would be appreciated.

A little more clarity about the wireless tv player hardware in the advertising would be a good idea. I don’t think the sales information and faqs clearly explain that the 4K Xi6 tv players are indeed streaming devices. No master terminal is required. Much like Apple TV and Roku boxes, the devices carry major services like Netflix and Prime but also BlueCurve carries Shaw programming and cloud PVR.

Additional apps like CBC Gem and Disney + would be great!

Time for 1GB service?

 

28 Replies

After a few days with the Shaw BlueCurve wireless tv plat...

rickatk
Master

After a few days with the Shaw BlueCurve wireless tv platform, I have decided to get on with turning in my BlueSky gear. The BlueCurve streaming equipment is working relatively well. Picture quality is good and certainly the voice navigation and app aggregation works well. Shaw brings a live TV guide, Netflix, Prime, You Tube, VOD services and movie rentals and Cloud PVR to it’s IPTV platform. Apple TV+, Disney +, CBC Gem TV and a few others are missing but would be great additions. 

The BlueCurve TV streamers do strain a bit with the occasional hiccup, skip and loss of audio. This seems to occur when there are a number of devices pulling on the BlueCurve gateway at one time. I have counted 27 connected devices on my BlueCurve Home app. A lot of these devices are home control apps and I don’t believe bring a lot of overhead to the system. What seems to cause hiccups are multiple devices like iPads and a v4 Apple TV running along side the Shaw TV players(streamers). 

My experience in these matters has been that over time systems improve with tweaking, updates and of course more bandwidth. 

 

 

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>What seems to cause hiccups are multiple devices like iP...

rickatk
Master

>What seems to cause hiccups are multiple devices like iPads and a v4 Apple TV running along side the Shaw TV players(streamers). 

I moved my iPads and Apple TV(v4) over to the 5GHz band...seems to help.

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After a few weeks now, some tinkering and support calls m...

rickatk
Master

After a few weeks now, some tinkering and support calls my wireless Xi6 system seems to be working quite well now. Picture quality is very good and stable. The pods I installed have settled in following a few days of adjusting themselves to the correct antenna be it a pod or the main gateway.  Very nice to have just small streaming boxes bringing in the Shaw guide and On Demand content, not to mention Netflix, CraveTV, HBO and Prime. The Cloud PVR is working quite well too. 

For me less hardware is always better. I think this latest implementation of Xi6 cable boxes is a great step forward. Following Shaw and Comcast on their respective web sites and reading articles about this new wireless cable tech, there is much more coming down the big pipe. 

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Bluecurve

leechap1
Grasshopper

I am unclear as to the advantage of this device. I still use the old Shaw DVR boxes and I am able to access 4K Netflix and Nature channels through my smart TV, so what else does this add? 

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I think it is a matter of preference rather than advantag...

rickatk
Master

@leechap1 wrote:

I am unclear as to the advantage of this device. I still use the old Shaw DVR boxes and I am able to access 4K Netflix and Nature channels through my smart TV, so what else does this add? 


I think it is a matter of preference rather than advantage. With the ever increasing availability of streaming services and hardware to carry those services, the cable companies are working hard on their own streaming options. What BlueCurve offers, in addition to Netscape, Prime, YouTube and movie rentals, is Live TV and PVR. I think these two features alone differentiate cable from the streaming only platforms “go apps” and Smart TVs.

I have a late model Smart TV. It offers most the latest streaming apps including Disney and Apple TV. Unlike Shaw BlueCurve, my smart tv doesn’t offer live TV or PVR without some sort of cable terminal. There is still no one solution that provides everything. So it is up to the consumer to decide what they are looking for and choose accordingly.

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How much cloud storage is available for each xi6 box. Can...

bcarter
Grasshopper

How much cloud storage is available for each xi6 box. Can you get mores storage with more boxes. Also want to know how many simultaneous recording you can get and does this increase with exrta boxes. Haven't been able to get a straight answer from the shaw articles. Much thanks.

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Cloud DVR storage would be 200 hours for your account, it...

shaw-valerie
Moderator
Moderator

@bcarter Cloud DVR storage would be 200 hours for your account, it does not change with the number of individual boxes that are associated with your account. 

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Sounds like 200 hours is the total storage. Also there is...

rickatk
Master

@bcarter wrote:

How much cloud storage is available for each xi6 box. Can you get mores storage with more boxes. Also want to know how many simultaneous recording you can get and does this increase with exrta boxes. Haven't been able to get a straight answer from the shaw articles. Much thanks.


Sounds like 200 hours is the total storage. Also there is no hard drive for local storage on these devices, so the 200 hour cap is set by Shaw policy. I think that is whether you have 1 player or 4.

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Thanks...thought that was the situation but was good to h...

bcarter
Grasshopper

Thanks...thought that was the situation but was good to hear from another xi6 user...

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