I have recently noticed that Shaw has started to follow the path of Xfinity and X1 with BlueSky TV. Though I have one problem and that is when will Shaw reach the full potential of X1 that Xfinity has shown.
1. Apps - After looking on the Xfinity website I have seen that they offer many more apps such as, Pandora, iHeartRadio and even free games to play.
2. Voice Commands - I just saw the greatest thing ever in the voice commands options on Xfinity which is the ability to purchase movie tickets through Fandango or vote for a contestant or team right from your Remote's Voice Command.
3. Security - The biggest problem I have is with the fact that Xfinity can connect your home to your TV so you can simply ask home camera and they appear on your TV screen.
4. xFi - The coolest thing I have seen to date in integration is Xfinity xFi which allows you to control your internet in a very simple UI from any Xfnity devices or your phone. The Basics & Benefits of XFINITY WiFi
5. 4K - Now I have realized that Shaw recently released the 4K box for Netflix and Youtube, but I have seen that Xfinity has been able to enable HDR for it too, which means Shaw can probably do it too. This is not where I am trying to go with this though. I have seen that Telus has TSN an Sportsnet in 4K so why can't we have those in 4K on the XG1v4.
6. Remote - The last point I would like to make is the actual remote for BlueSky, the one I currently have at home is the XR11 but Xfinity has the XR15 which looks much better as well simpler so why can't we have those.
I hope somebody can clear all this up for me.
ROGERS Ignite uses the same platform out East *but they have an APP that allows you to remotely record shows (so if you are not at home, you can still find a show and record it so it is ready to watch when you get home) and also watch recorded content on the Go. I know we have FreeRange APP but that only allows you to watch LIVE TV and OnDemand.
I have been on BlueSky for over a year now. Overall very happy with the picture quality, voice navigation and integration of live TV and VOD.
I too would like to see more improvement in the following areas:
More apps, please add CBC Gem and Prime TV to start with. A podcast app would be very useful as well. How about Apple Music, Spotify iHeart and Radio Canada and a few other music services.
Expanded VOD libraries. Current series sometimes only show one or two episodes of a current season.
Clean up Stingray. Why is Stingray so poor on BlueSky, choppy, no album art, low audio resolution. Stingray on BlueSky is a real disappointment.
BlueSky is a pleasure to use and watch and has so much potential. However streamers like Apple TV and all their apps, voice navigation, 4K are starting to look interesting again.
More areas for improvement...
I think the whole BlueSky hybrid cable / IPTV implementation is pretty good. While Telus has rolled out a complete IPTV solution, it was relatively easy for them insofar as they got into the TV game with no TV legacy. Shaw and other cable - cos, on the other had attempted IPTV and ended up stopping the research, securing licensing from Comcast in the US as an alternative.
Comcast has done great things with their X1 system over the last five years offering all kinds of TV, on Demand, streaming solutions. That is why we are seeing similar features being rolled out by Shaw. I assume it’s all part of the Licensing deal with Comcast. Certainly in my experience there are many pluses with BlueSky least of all very good picture and sound.
One area for improvement is the arrangement of apps. User interface is alway very subjective but I will,
say I do find things still a little disorganized and confusing on BlueSky. On the TV guide side, no problem, good old linear guide. But then on the Demand side it gets a little confusing. Especially where YouTube, Netflix, Crave, Networks and Premium shows are concerned. Right now we have to really hunt to find the YouTube and Crave apps. For some reason there are two types of Crave apps displayed and in one section there are something called Crave 1,2,3. These are more like sections in the VOD library.
A further example, if you click on apps there is only Netflix and some lifestyle apps. No Crave TV or YouTube. I would think a better better way to do things is to create an apps section that houses all the apps: Netflix, Netflix Kids, Crave,YouTube, the TV Network apps and any new apps as they come along. Perhaps even move Stingray to app status, it might work better.
I am sure a lot of work has gone into the BlueSky user interface and we will see improvements in the future. As I write this and navigate the On Demand section, I can find all offerings, it just does’t seem as organized and straight forward as what we have become used to with say Apple TV or Roku.
Technology is running so fast it is very hard to keep up. Two years ago I was posting about the virtues of Apple TV, last year BlueSky and now my Samsung TV as a streaming device. By the way, iTunes is around the corner for Samsung TVs. What a difference a couple weeks and a TV upgrade can make.
Since commenting about the lack of apps on BlueSky and feeling pretty encouraged about streaming devices again, I have found success in yet another platform...Smart TV and in my case Samsung Tizen. Presently I am pulling my content from the built in apps on my new 4KHDR TV. This was my last choice up until recently, not being totally sold on a TV as a smart device. Having my TV set up on a good Shaw internet connection, I am finding apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube are all pushing out gorgeous smooth 4KHDR all with no extra gear, or 4K 2.2 HDMI cables. I also have access to CraveTV, Ted and the list goes on. I am sure the networks are gearing up for an all app solution as well. CTV has announced their new streaming platform which can already be seen partially on CTVGo. The Samsung TV does have access to the BlueSky terminal and menus. Access to live TV over BlueSky is as simple as clicking the Shaw Blue Sky icon that the TV added to the home bar on setup.
Shaw has very good internet service(the key to the streaming part of the equation), live TV, PVR, integrated search and a good picture on BlueSky going for it. I don’t know how much longer BlueSky is going to last however limping along with one 4K option and a few apps.
I think at this point Shaw would be wise to invest in more 4K and app offerings if BlueSky is to survive. Telus now has live TV as an Apple TV app. That might be something to consider with Free Range as well.