TVision through T-Cellular sprang from T-Cellular’s acquisition of streaming TV carrier supplier Layer3 TV previous this yr—a transfer that left a large number of folks scratching their heads over T-Cellular’s technique. TVision, in any case, relies now not on wi-fi carrier however on stressed broadband, and it’s recently to be had in only a few markets: Chicago, Dallas-Castle Value, Los Angeles, New York Town, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.
Being a resident of a Philadelphia suburb, TechHive requested me to provide TVision a shot to look if it used to be a awesome choice to conventional cable and satellite tv for pc TV. The fast resolution for cord-cutters is “nope.” TVision prices $100 per thirty days ($90 per thirty days should you’re already a T-Cellular buyer), plus $10 per thirty days for each and every further set-top field you make a decision to put in in your house. You’ll to find quite a few less-expensive choices in our roundup of streaming TV products and services, none of which contain apparatus leases.
And in spite of T-Cellular CEO John Legere’s boast of “taking up Large Cable,” you’ll additionally wish to subscribe to one among a restricted choice of ISPs to get entry to TVision: Altice, Constitution Spectrum, Comcast Xfinity, RCN/Wave, or Verizon Fios. To be truthful, T-Cellular additionally says its long-term plan is for TVision consumers to make use of the 5G wi-fi community that T-Cellular is development out—however that received’t occur sooner than 2024. (T-Cellular says it’s going to have the ability to ship speeds upper than 100Mbps to 66 p.c of U.S. citizens through 2021.)
The longer resolution for cord-cutters is extra nuanced. Not like some other TV supplier, TVision doesn’t have carrier tiers, so that you don’t wish to come to a decision which channels you need and which you’ll be able to are living with out. It’s an all or not anything or proposition, however “all” comprises greater than 150 channels—together with your native community associates—plus on-demand get entry to to 18,000-plus techniques. And TVision doesn’t tack on charges for high-definition or 4K answer, DVR carrier, or regional sports activities networks. You’ll upload top rate channels corresponding to HBO and Showtime a los angeles carte.
TVision lacks a cellular app, and it’s solely unavailable while you’re clear of house. You’ll’t remotely get entry to your DVR recordings, both. You’ll use each and every community’s app—offering they have got one—to get entry to their content material, however that can require separate log-ins to each and every channel. T-Cellular makes use of synthetic intelligence to floor the forms of content material you favor to look at, so there’s a minimum of one get advantages available in comparison to each conventional pay TV (i.e., cable and satellite tv for pc) and streaming TV products and services corresponding to Hulu + Reside TV, Sling TV, and PlayStation Vue. However saving cash isn’t one among them.
Putting in place TVision carrier
Not like cable or satellite tv for pc TV, putting in place TVision is a completely DIY affair—you don’t wish to stay up for a technician to return to your own home to mount anything else, pull cables via your partitions, or set up any bins. (T-Cellular will ship an installer to your own home if you’re feeling the desire.) DIYers will however wish to set up a field, and it should be hardwired on your router. The instrument you connect with each and every TV will connect with this field wirelessly, over a hidden community (those bins even have stressed ethernet ports if in case you have the infrastructure to profit from them). The principle and satellite tv for pc bins come pre-populated together with your account data, pre-paired to one another, and fully in a position to head. I used to be looking at TV inside of 10 mins of plugging within the .
Each and every member of a TVision family can create their very own profile, and you’ll want to profit from this option to get the entire good thing about what the carrier has to provide. That’s as a result of TVision will customise the TV-watching revel in to each and every individual’s viewing personal tastes, one thing you’ll realize after only a few makes use of. The house display is split into 3 sections: A field within the decrease left-hand facet showing content material from whichever channel you had been ultimate tuned to, a quadrant of are living previews above that, and a stacked listing of are living and recorded presentations to the best of that. Icons for more than a few streaming apps are stacked to the best of that. Those apps don’t come with Netflix or Amazon High Video, however T-Cellular says those apps and extra are coming quickly).
After only a few days of viewing, TVision’s AI had already evolved a good suggestion of my favourite channels and techniques and used to be already suggesting related content material on this house. After the primary complete week, TVision even knew which channels I generally tend to look at at a given time of day. I used to be inspired with the velocity at which this option realized, and it temporarily was one among my favourite sides of TVision.
Very top of the range video—more often than not
I skilled a couple of cases of choppiness and degraded video high quality, however the high quality of TVision’s video (and audio) used to be higher than maximum streaming products and services I’ve used—it used to be very just about that of cable, even with two bins streaming on the similar time. TVision is the usage of the similar HEVC codec that Layer3 TV used, which is in a position to streaming 4K video the usage of as low as 10- to 15Mbps of bandwidth. But it surely’s price noting that T-Cellular recommends having broadband carrier of a minimum of 50Mbps all the way down to get the most efficient revel in (my broadband downlink pace measures about 450Mbps).
Some channels performed better than others, and the box installed in my upstairs location exhibited more dropouts than the box that was physically closer to the main box connected to my router. Changing channels was a bit slow, and changing channels too quickly exacerbated the problem—to the point where the box seemed to hang, and I had to reboot it. If you decide to try TVision and you have the flexibility to hardwire the boxes to your network, do it.
Local DVR at no additional cost
Nearly everyone time-shifts their TV viewing these days—except for live events such as sports—so a DVR is a necessity for many of us. Some streaming TV services—including Sling TV—charge extra for DVR service in the cloud. A TVision subscription includes a whole-home DVR that can record up to eight programs simultaneously—provided you have the bandwidth to handle that much data. If your ISP imposes a data cap, that could be problematic. The 1TB DVR has enough capacity to store about 400 hours of high-definition TV.
I ran into some problems programming the DVR while in front of my TV. The program guide loads slowly, and the user interface would sometimes report that the recording request had failed when it hadn’t. Programming the DVR from the TVision web portal wouldn’t show up on the DVR itself for up to an hour. The web portal isn’t useful for much else beyond maintaining your TVision account; adding, deleting, or changing your subscription lineup; and contacting tech support.
Still rough around the edges
There’s a lot to like about TVision, especially if you want to save a little money without agonizing over which non-premium channels to take and which to give up. But it feels like you’re paying $90 per month to be a beta tester (and that’s including a temporary discount for T-Mobile customers that’s available to all for a limited time). While video quality was very good most of the time, the quality on some channels was less than stellar in my experience. And the inability to access TV programming while you’re away from home is a major shortcoming compared to most cable and satellite TV offerings (not to mention many of the competing streaming services).
TVision as it exists today is far from the la carte TV programming that cord-cutters crave, but if you don’t want to make any TV-entertainment sacrifices and you live in one of the few areas where the service is available, it’s not a bad deal. Just be prepared to live with a few bugs while T-Mobile works out the kinks. We’ll keep our eye on TVision, especially as T-Mobile builds out its 5G network, and will update this review accordingly. But for now, it gets only our very highly qualified recommendation.