Tuesday, April 21, 2009

DialogTV vs SLT PeoTV

This article does not wish to market any SLT or Dialog products by any means.

I have been a consumer of DialogTV and SLT PeoTV for some time now. We have PeoTV at home and DialogTV at my uncle's. Since some people have asked me about their qualities (specially about PeoTV) I thought of putting an article comparing the user experience you will get. I will not discuss about their monthly rentals or initial costs or whatever because there are official ways to get them.

Another thing to mention is that these details are gained from my experience. The details may vary for you or other customers.


As you may know, DialogTV uses a dish antenna and the receiver unit located near your television will get the signal from it. The receiver unit have several video-outs to be received by a television or any display device. Recently, guys from Dialog came and they replaced our receiver unit with a different model. This model basically sucks! It has old-style menus and the previous one was very user-friendly than the new one. I don't know why this happened but if you have a simillar story please do tell in the comments section.

PeoTV needs an ADSL connection to operate though the receiver unit is not directly connected to the telephone line. The receiver has an ethernet port where you can give an output from an ADSL router. Assuming you have another computer at home, both the computer and the receiver can be connected to the router. When we bought PeoTV they provided a 4-port router. But that router model has very limited capabilities compared to a usual D-Link or Prolink router we use. As I remember, its make is UTStarcom.

Startup Time

Both DialogTV and PeoTV has an initial delay to display the TV channel on screen. For DialogTV, this is only a single phase. You switch on the device, it scans the signal then it starts displaying video.

For PeoTV, there are two delays. Assuming you haven't connected to internet already, the router needs some time to connect to internet through ADSL. Then the receiver unit needs some time to connect to the PeoTV server and begin downloading channel menus and the video stream.

Intial delay for PeoTV appears significantly larger than the delay of DialogTV.

User Experience

This is the most important aspect of any commercial product, but there are significant shortcomings of PeoTV in this area.

Navigation in Channel Menus
Basically the PeoTV receiver unit is an internet video streaming device. It connects to the video server through internet and display video outputs on the TV screen. Channel menus are merely web pages (and poorly designed ones too) which takes ages to load. I know this because some times it displays "Web page unavailable offline" error message on the TV screen. Even when the menu is fully displayed it's very hard to navigate and select channels. The device is very slow to respond to key presses from the remote. For example, when you press the arrow key it takes like half-a-second to move the selection rectangle to the next item. It's like browsing the internet in a very slow computer!

Before you jump into any wrong conclusions, I have to say there's no problem with our ADSL connection. It operates really fast as expected when browsing the internet and we can watch YouTube videos straight away without waiting for buffering.

Jumping Between Channels
As most of us do, another way to change channels is by using the Channel Up-Down keys on the remote. This is faster than going to the channel menu since there's no need to load and display a web page. You just jump straightly to another channel. Although this is possible on PeoTV, the device literary gets stucked if you do it too much! By "too much" I mean the normal usage pattern of any user. We tend to change channels frequently and we don't have to think about the strain it puts on the device!

You don't have problems like this in DialogTV. When you need to change the channel you go to menu and just change it. That's it. It very much responsive than PeoTV.

Video Quality
There's not much to whine about video picture quality in PeoTV. In fact it is pretty good. There's an initial shuttering for few seconds just after you switch to a channel but that's excusable since the video stream needs some time to be buffered.

With DialogTV you have these occasional glitches of squares appearing and stucked video which is pretty annoying. This maybe due to effects of the ionosphere on the singal transmitted from the sattelite. Other than that, the experience is the same as PeoTV.

Time-Shift TV

This is a facility solely provided by PeoTV. Despite all other shortcomings, PeoTV can get ver useful with this facility. Time-Shift allows you to go back in time (up-to 48 hours) and watch any program that was telecasted within the last 48 hours. You get fast-forward and rewind capabilities when you are watching anything. Even if you are watching a live cricket match you can rewind the video and watch the places you missed. (Of course you CANNOT fast-forward into future!)

There's no alternative provided by DialogTV for this facility.

My Favorite Channels

This part is fairly personalized. Some of my favorite channels are missing from PeoTV. Although Discovery and National Geographic are available on both, I miss AXN, Pogo and ZeeCafe from PeoTV. PeoTV does not provide any other channels worth watching either.


Considering all these facts, it seems DialogTV provides a better user experience. On the other hand, PeoTV provides the time-shift facility which maybe loved by some users. In short, DialogTV is simple and responsive while PeoTV is complex and bloated. This is a good example showing that when we incorporate more and more featured high-tech devices into our lives, we have to face the overhead they puts on us. Nor DialogTV, nor PeoTV is as simple as classic television we get from the good-old RF antenna!

Please put your experience on the comments section.


There's another very disturbing fact about PeoTV. If you have both PeoTV and ADSL, you HAVE to use the same crappy router they are providing to access internet as well. If you plug your own router, you will be able to access ADSL, but PeoTV won't work. PeoTV receiver unit requires the provided router in order to access PeoTV server.

This is inexcusible since their so called router has very limited functionality. It requires "dialing" (PPPoE) to connect to internet which has few drawbacks including single-user limitation and lack of support on Linux platforms! So if you are a heavy internet user with multiple computers you might be better off with DialogTV.


Thiwanka Manamendra said...

Great article. Thanks for the sharing your experience.

K.C. Hewage said...

A good comparison.

Anonymous said...

What about nickelodeon?

ravinsp said...

:-) Nickelodeon is there in PeoTV as well as DialogTV.

Anonymous said...

Is it the US:English channel or some other?

ravinsp said...

I think you'd better ask that from SLT. Some channels are from India (Discovery for example). In DialogTV, Pogo and Nickeldeon includes some Indian cartoons which basically sucks!

RazeTheWorld said...

How about HBO and Star movies?? Are those from India?? (Its filled with crappy ads all time)
One of mu cousin bought a Dish Network http://www.dishnetwork.com from some in USA, it has a hell of lot of channels including HBO Showtime and Starz. Movies and TV series with no stupid commercials. But problem is that he said that the monthly rental is about 6000 rupees :O which only a rich man can afford for entertainment :P

ravinsp said...

I don't hv PeoTV with me right now but it had HBO channels with Ads as I remember. DialogTV has serveral like HBO, HBO Hits, HBO Signature (none of which I like). But no HBO ShowTime. I haven't heard of Starz but we have StarWorld and StarMovies which is better than HBO. But literally every channel has Ads (indian Ads).

Actually you won't need HBO kind of movie channels if you download Torrents.

Anyway it's better to check with SLT and Dialog about specific details on channels.

Dimuthu said...

Good comparison.
Thanks for sharing. Does peoTV still has that menu navigation problem? Aren't they gonna do something for it?

Ravin Perera said...

Actually no. The problem still exists. It takes so much time to access the menu and change the channel.

If so many users complain about it they may look into it. But maybe there's nothing they can do. The solution would be to update the software inside the console.

PEO TV said...

I will answer your questions in the blog:http://peotvnews.blogspot.com/

please start your message threads in http://peotvnews.blogspot.com/ blog.

This blog is frequently monitoring and valuable comments are passed to the responsible sections. So I welcome all the active bloggers to leave your comments on http://peotvnews.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

peoTV actually sucks. I like in Kotte and during off-peak hours it works fine, but during peak hours (when there is a Cricket Match going on or from 7 to 9) it really suks, I can only see a message "Waiting Signal" and it goes on and on and on....

I got this connection with a ADSL, Telephone all included, during peak hours, except te peoTV connection, the Telephone and the ADSL works fine.

I comlained few times and SLT Techies came few time, checked the line quality, it was fine...

But it was quite obvious that there is nothing to do with the Line or Connectivity, it is the Streaming Servers @ SLT. It seems that the Servers can not handle the load during peak hours.

But they dont accept that it i an issue with the servers and the capacity of them. It seemed a joke.

Is any of you wath the "Waiting Signal Channel" on peoTV??? Join the club....


Dhanusha said...

I have a peoTV connection and during peak hours I can only watch the Cahnnel "Waiting Signal"

It really suks...

Anonymous said...

Is dialog tv rain proof?One of my friend said that sometimes when its rain the tv displays "No Signal" error message.it this true or false?please help me.

Ravin Perera said...

Sorry for the late reply (but I haven't been moderating the blog for months).

Anonymous: DialogTV does display "No Signal" just as it starts raining. But from my experience sometimes the device seems to adjust itself (after a minute or so) and starts receiving the signal again.

The Scientific explanation might be that due to rain drops, the signal gets distorted but the device is intelligent enough to apply some error correction and adjust itself.

Eranga said...

Dialog is sucks during the rain. I,m using PEO.Tv and it is better than Dialog
specially i don't get Waiting signal as others saying

kithsiri vijayarathna said...

i am using the dialog tv. the problem is when its raining the signal becomes very poor and pictures dissapear.this is a very bad problem for me. what is the reason for this matter?