With online options coming available for TV service (called IPTV) I set out to play with some of the offerings and determine if we could become “cord cutters” and get a whole whack of channels for a lot less money. In short? IPTV was a huge disappointment. If you want to stick around I will describe our experience.
First of all, IPTV is not without its problems. If you don’t like to tinker? Stay away! If you don’t like channels being available one time and then suddenly not working another time (be that the next day or the next hour)? Stay away!
The second thing to consider is how you are going to watch IPTV. Are you using a computer? That is easy as most people have a computer or laptop that can be used to watch TV on a large screen of some type. Will you use Kodi [either on a computer or an Android device or Set Top Box]? As I discovered some providers use Kodi Add-ons while other providers supply a separate program or “app”. Like the Android boxes there are also “Set Top Boxes” that are specifically designed to manage IPTV viewing.
What equipment you use may add to your initial expense, and then if you find you don’t like IPTV you are stuck with the equipment. And keep in mind that most IPTV services charge “per screen” so if you have 4 TV’s you want to be in use at the same time you would need to buy 4 subscriptions. The average price is $15/month so for a large family the difference in price may not be that great.
One “good” thing about IPTV is that most bill monthly so it’s easy to jump from one provider to another over a few months and test them out until you [hopefully] find one you like. That was my goal, but as mentioned, our attempts at cord cutting weren’t that great.
So what systems did I try? Let’s review them in the order I tried them and keep in mind I used a Computer or an Android Box with Kodi during my testing.
The Players Klub – unable to find a current Sign Up url
This was the cheapest (only $5 U.S. a month) and offered a very good variety of TV Stations, Pay Per Views and Video on Demand. This would actually be my #2 choice out of the batch I tried. The problems here were channels that don’t work, buffering, and a terrible TV Guide that did not properly list what was playing. The awful Guide got me thinking it was time to check out the competition. But if you want to try something on the cheap, I would recommend them!
Gears Reloaded – Sign up here: https://hostingbrosreloaded.com/acc/cart.php
This is the #1 choice for me right now. This comes with a great TV Guide that is very accurate. Pretty well every channel works every time. No buffering. This package just works and it’s only around $18 U.S. a month! What I didn’t like was the lack of Canadian News Networks by Province and for me, running on a Windows computer with Kodi, I found it difficult to exit the Guide and the Reloaded add-on! I discovered you have to press the “Back” button multiple times. If it would let me back out and get back to the Kodi main screen many times the Guide would just re-appear and I would be stuck in an endless loop of trying to get back to the Kodi main screen.
This was a real nuisance and required me to press the Windows Key, open up Task Manager and kill the Kodi process. Not too handy because I normally just use the mouse and store the keyboard by the TV. I put in a ticket about this and they eventually said the programmer knows about it and is working on it. But assuming they get exiting the program under control, and you don’t care about the lack of Canadian news content, this is a very good package and is my #1 choice.
Gears Reloaded has a great selection of channels from various countries, good categories you can pick to narrow down what you’re after, good Movie Channels, plenty of Sports, Pay Per Views, good family content and kid channels. And it all “just works!”
Info Tip: For Players Klub, GearsTV and Gears Reloaded, you can configure their add-on on any number of systems but your number of active screens is limited to the number of subscriptions you purchased. For example, if you bought 2 subscriptions but set it up on 4 different devices, only 2 of the 4 devices can be watching TV at the same time.
SetNow.ca – Sign up here: https://www.setnow.ca/
I was excited to try this one because they say they have lots of Canadian channels and you can get 3 screens for $45/month! I opted to try out their free 24 hour offer. I’m glad I did as this didn’t last more than a few hours for me. There is no add-on for Kodi. They provide an “App” for just about any platform so I experimented with their Windows program and their Android app.
The Windows program hogged up all my system resources and the video playback was bad. It was somewhere between choppy and smooth and really kinda weird. I opened up task manager and the software was just too much for my little PC on a Stick I use. So if you’re going to run this under Windows you will need decent hardware to do that.
Note: This is what I use: Azulle A-1063-AAP-1 Access Plus, Fan less Mini PC Stick, Cherry Trail T3 Z8300, 4GB RAM+32GB storage, Black. When I bought them they were only $200 so look around.
The Android App was easy to install and configure. It ran just fine on my cheap Android box. Channels played well and they had a good variety.
But I hated the look and feel of this one. The Guide was terrible and I found it awkward to move around and try to find something to watch! The whole thing looked very out of date and old, in either the Windows program or Android app. I don’t know but I just couldn’t get past the interface. I thought it was horrible.
This may work better on a “Set Top Box” but if it looks the same as what I saw? Skip this one completely.
VooDoo IPTV – Sign up here: https://myiptv.store/
This came highly recommended on the YouTube Videos I watched (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJQNM6FiI7w as an example of one). A Canadian reviewer ranked this #1 out of his Top 5 Canadian IPTV systems. (second was IP Guys TV). Lots of channels from many countries. And it had the Canadian Networks broken down by location so you had CTV, CBC, Global etc available from Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, etc. Exactly what I was after.
On Kodi this can utilize the Stalker app in your PVR Programs Add-on section. It’s quite simple to setup and is more integrated into Kodi making it easier to navigate and use.
When I set it up in the morning everything seemed to work fine. Almost all channels loaded fast and the video quality was excellent. My Toronto networks I was after didn’t load at all which was disappointing, and I was unable to use the TV Guide as it was completely empty even though the notification windows said it had gathered the channels and updated the guide.
I’m assuming the Guide issue is a problem with the Kodi Stalker Client and not something that happens under all systems? If you use Kodi and the Stalker Client (at least under Windows) then you likely won’t end up with a guide and having 2000+ channels without being able to see what’s on is quite useless.
Also keep in mind that the IPTV services that use a MAC address in their configuration limit you to viewing TV from that setup only. You cannot set it up on multiple devices at all or you get banned and all your channels will stop working (I found this out the hard way).
I wish I could recommend this one but it failed to meet my requirements.
GearsTV – skip it and Sign up with Gears Reloaded
This is from the same people that bring you Gears Reloaded and was made first [before Reloaded]. Reloaded works much better and offers “Catch Up” on most channels. I wanted to give this a try for comparison reasons and although it is good I find it really slow on my Windows computers and you have to buy the Guide separately and get it all set up.
Save yourself some time and skip this one and just go with ReLoaded which will likely replace GearsTV altogether anyway.
GearsTV used to come bundled with Streams ‘R Us which offered On Demand Videos but due to legal reasons they discontinued this product late April 2018 which is another reason why you’d be better off with Reloaded.
Premium IPTV Service – Sign up here: https://myiptv.store/
I emailed the Admin at MyIPTV.Store to explain my disappointment with VooDoo and he offered to give me a trial account with their Premium IPTV Service. This works much like VooDoo, but even faster when switching channels and I guess there are even more (over 3000?) channels but under Kodi with the Stalker client the Guide still didn’t work and since I can’t see what’s on the channels it is just as useless to me as VooDoo so this too was a big failure.
During my morning test of VooDoo and Premium both had issues with random channels not working and I have yet to be able to view Global Toronto on either system. Some of the other Toronto based news channels were unavailable in both VooDoo and Premium as well.
This is another service that failed to meet my requirements and I don’t recommend it.
The Admin at MyIPTV Store was very friendly and offered to help me out. You may find orders take 24 hours or more to complete and emails can take a while to be answered but you have a good Admin who is willing to work with you. I certainly appreciated the assistance.
We still aren’t sure what we’re going to do. Our Satellite TV is only $65 CDN a month and we have 4 receivers in our house that all work just fine (mind you there aren’t many channels to watch!).
If we were to cancel our Satellite TV we would still be paying $36-$45 (sometimes in U.S. funds) a month for maybe 3 stations, and depending on the service purchased you may be locked to those 3 stations and can’t use it elsewhere.
And don’t forget that you will be using lots more Internet Bandwidth which may mean you will have to update your Internet package and that could cost you more money each month too!
If you’re interested in local Canadian News Channels I think you’re out of luck. But if you don’t care and just want to watch lots of stations from all around the world and some Pay Per Views and your Sports (all services have plenty of Sports channels) you will be very happy playing with the various IPTV providers.
It seems to me that IPTV is still very much in the early stages.
To really get a feel for IPTV I think you need to purchase one of the Mag 254 Set Top Boxes. Amazon.ca has them for about $139 CDN + HST. In a few months when I have time I will likely purchase one, go back to MyIPTV.Store and get an account for a month and see what happens. When I do that, I’ll write up another article about it.