Before I get to the review, I would like to give a special shout out to the very helpful support staff over at ITVN HQ. I had some shipping issues, and they were more than happy to help. It has been a very long time since I have felt like a customer on a support line and not a burden to an operator.
I plugged everything in, took a step back and watched in horror as I had a black screen. I then realized that I had the TV on the wrong input and was greeted by a simple menu. The only way to operate the box is by remote control, I would have liked to see some sort of navigation option on the box, and some blinking status lights would be nice as well.
The navigation window is easy to go through, and I quickly found a movie to test the Encore inDemand (or is it onDemand? I can never remember). The quality of the movie was surprisingly clear and the movie didn’t seem to stop to buffer until 10 minutes in.
My connection is a dsl line split into a router that feeds wireless for all my neighbors and my two computers. I was dreading that I would not have enough bandwidth to go around, but I was wrong. This could change once everyone gets home from work, and I will have to turn off the wireless during movie watching time.
After finishing my first movie, Fun With Dick and Jane; I decided to call up another movie. You know. For further testing purposes. I chose Neighbors, an older movie staring Dan Akroyd and John Baluchi.
Frustration levels are growing, the box had to negotiate with the server four times in the past five minutes. Hard. To. Sustain. Rage. Must. Walk. Away. From. TV.
Thinking it may be the server for encore, I have switched back to the stars server to see if there is any change. No change, except more rage directed to the ringing phone.
It looks like I am going to have to put some sort of limit on my wireless connection if I am going to enjoy this service. In the time of writing this last sentence, everything seems to be back to normal, but if I am going to lose connection every time someone fanatically checks their ebay auction, I am going to go nuts.
The next test is to watch their broadcast tv. So far so good. All the stars and encore channels are streaming without interruption. I just subscribed to their Silver Screen slection, and have found a treasure trove of really old, and really bad cartoons. Forgive me if I now cut this review short, so I can watch Ali Baba and the 40 thieves from 1974.
Yes, the silver screen channel is great if you are into movies that have just entered the royalty free zone. Tons of ancient kung-fu, horror, westerns, and tv shows that were old back when I was really young. Oh the useless knowledge that will soon fill my brain, and poor souls that will be forced to “Check this out.”
If you are on your own high speed connection, and don’t have a dozen lechers or a hard enough heart to cut people off your connection, it is an excellent alternative to cable tv. Now all they have to do is keep bringing in more channels.
More to come after a week with the thing.