Bell ExpressVu: Finally a week-long on-screen guide

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Bell Satellite
August 28th, 2007 • 10:43 am

It has taken a scandalously long time, but finally ExpressVu users Canada-wide can rejoice: the on-screen guide now extends to a period of 9-10 days from the current date and time.

From the very beginning (1999), the on-screen guide was limited to 48 hours, which was highly insufficient. And there was really no excuse for it when all the other competitors had week-long on-screen guides.

I don’t know why it took so long for Bell ExpressVu to address this issue, but they finally did. Yesterday, I was browsing the on-screen guide and expecting to hit the snag at 48 hours as usual and, much to my surprise and delight, the guide just kept scrolling and scrolling on the screen, and indeed was showing stuff farther in the future.

(The Bell ExpressVu on-screen guide can be buggy at times and, depending on which channel you are looking at, sometimes when you hit the 48-hour limit it just keeps jumping back a couple of hours and showing the same thing over and over again, giving you the impression that you scrolling farther to the right when you are not.)

Of course, this much-anticipated improvement does not address the more general issue of the actual reliability and accuracy of the on-screen guide information, but I suspect that this is a problem with all TV providers and depends on a number of factors, including the reliability of the sources of information.

And I also can’t help but find it slightly insulting that Bell ExpressVu implements such updates without any kind of attempt to communicate with its users about it. I mean, what’s wrong about just sending us a short update message announcing this improvement? Does the company really have to do those things stealthily and leave it to the users to find out by themselves, accidentally, that things have been improved?

Still, it’s somewhat encouraging to see that the company is indeed working to improve the overall experience. There are still numerous bugs and interface flaws in the system, but on the whole things have gradually gotten better over the years. (I no longer see the problem with stuttering playback, for example, so it must have been addressed in a software update at some point.)

The latest issue of the company’s “entertainment magazine” also mentions (p. 57) that a new satellite will be launched in the first half of 2008, so there is hope for more HD content in the near future…

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