I was invited to Telus Garden in downtown Vancouver last week for a private demonstration of Telus’ new Pik TV service, and let me tell you this: it’s one thing to learn about the ins and outs of a new product or service by researching it online, or by attempting to understand its nuances during a 30-second television advertisement when you are only halfway paying attention. It’s an entirely different experience to be given a demo of that product or service by the very people responsible for its development.
However, I was able to spend 45-minutes with Telus staff learning all about Pik TV and asking far too many questions. Here’s a rundown of what I learned about this new addition to the Telus product lineup.
Telus Pik TV in a nutshell
Powered by Android TV™ and operating on a Telus Pik TV media box, Telus’ new Pik TV service “doesn’t play by the rules.” Instead, it breaks the mold of traditional cable TV services by giving subscribers the very best of both worlds–live TV and streaming–all from one device.
That means that with Pik TV you can access your live TV and On Demand channels, as well as all your streaming and gaming apps like YouTube and Netflix, in one place, with one controller. You can also download and play any Android TV game. Think about it as an all inclusive entertainment service.
What you get
For $10 a month, Pik gives you access to all major Canadian network channels, including CTV and Global, as well as major US primetime shows. On top of that you can hand pick five additional specialty channels from a list of 25 that speak to your personal preferences. The beauty of this is that you aren’t constrained to “theme packs” that include channels you may never end up watching. You can further curate your programming by adding additional channels from $4 each.
Also included with a Telus Pik subscription is the Pik TV app, which lets you watch select shows on your tablet or smartphone.
You do need to purchase the Pik TV media box separately, however, that is a one time cost, and even if at some point in time you choose to terminate your Pik TV service, you can continue to use the media box as a media player.
Pik TV design and functionality
Ok, now for the fun stuff: how Pik TV looks and how it works. My first impression of the Pik media box was that it was sleek and compact, and similar in size to other media streaming devices like Roku.
The box itself comes with 2GB RAM, 8GB storage, along with Ethernet, USB and HDMI ports. If you want to see the Telus Pik TV media box and remote control in the flesh, you can by visiting a Telus store in Alberta or BC.
As for the remote, it is about the same length as the media box itself, and a limited number of controls, making it exceptionally easy to navigate through the Pik TV interface.
Another great feature that will soon be added to the Pik TV remote is voice control. That’s right, you can simply speak to your remote and it will find the show, app, channel, or movie you are looking for and it will do all the work for you.
If you’re familiar at all with the interface on an Android smartphone, then you will easily adapt to Pik TV’s interface. From an aesthetic perspective I found it extremely slick. As far as navigation is concerned, as a non-Android user, I was able to easily jump in and find apps, launch live TV, and search TV listings.
The way in which the various elements on Pik TV are organized is also intuitive, and as you use the media box, it will learn your habits and preferences and populate certain areas with content catered to your habits. For example, if there are certain shows you watch every week, Pik TV will populate your “Favourites” with new episodes as they become available.
Perhaps best of all though is the ease at which you can scroll between Live TV, On Demand, and your Apps. By simply clicking the right and left arrows on the Pik TV remote, you can quickly go from watching the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory to watching that much talked about documentary on Netflix. One device. One controller. Very cool.
Who would benefit from Pik TV?
During my private demo, I asked the question: “Who would benefit most from TELUS’ Pik TV service? Who is your target market?” And I must say that the response I received was one of my favourite parts of the visit as it introduced me to a few terms that I am going to try and incorporate into my day-to-day conversations.
The answer was “cord cutters,” “cord nevers,” and “cord savers.” Let me explain. Every year more and more Canadians are coming to the conclusion that they either don’t want, or don’t need to pay for full TV services. Instead, they are cancelling their cable entirely and opting to stream all their entertainment because that’s what they want to do (cord cutters) or because they want to save on their monthly expenses (cord savers). Or perhaps they have simply never had traditional cable service (cord nevers).
With Telus’ Pik TV, these groups can take advantage of a service that gives them the best of both worlds.
Pik TV is also a great option for students and ex-pats who live a flexible lifestyle and can’t necessarily commit to a two-year contract.
While the benefits of Pik TV are lengthy, there are a few things to keep in mind if you are considering making the switch.
- You must be a Telus Internet subscriber.
- Each Pik TV media box requires it’s own internet connection.
- The media box is not equipped with a recording device, so if you are a big recorder of shows, this is something to consider. That said, you can use On Demand to go back and watch shows you may have missed at any time.
- Pik TV only works when you are online. However, watching live and On Demand TV will not contribute to your data usage.