9 Aug 2014

Total TV International subscription

Submitted by drhans

For whatever reason, the Total TV package seemed like an interesting choice, mostly because of channels such as FOX, Comedy Central Extra, Ginx and a couple of others, not available on any other local (Czech) pay-tv. Also because of the relatively low price, getting Total TV was an impulse purchase. I even threw in the HD receiver, even though none of the HD channels were interesting to me (all sports). After a couple of phone calls and a wire transfer, I had the Total TV decoder shipped from Slovenia.

Once received, I went through a simple setup, setting the receiver to English and letting it download the latest channel list. The first impression was less than favorable: the receiver was just awful, the remote unresponsive at times, while at other ocassions, the "channel up" button actually jumped 2 channels. This was worse than cheap crappy receivers like Ariva, HD-Box, AB IP box and similar garbage. The front display is too bright and disturbing.

Unfortunately, the Videoguard smartcard would not work in any other receiver as it was paired to the Total TV box.

I've actually tried using the card with Oscam first but that just got the card locked and I had to make more phone calls to Total TV in order to unlock and activate the card, which took about 2 hours. As a result, the receiver downloaded another channel lineup. Luckilly the Total TV customer support speak English.

The back side of the receiver is what you would expect from a cheap satellite receiver. The RJ45/RJ11 ports are not used. USB port allows you to connect a hard drive for PVR functionality.

The remote control is OK, not bad button layout. But the material feels cheap and the response time of the remote is painful.

You're probably wondering why do Total TV sell to Czech Republic and even offer English support phone number. Well, there's a package they offer, called Total TV International and that's the one available across Europe. Although the channels offered in this package do not officially include English-language channels, you can rest assured that many of those work as well, apart from the channels advertised. The package even includes couple of HD sports channels.

The EPG is very simple and does not work as I'd like it to. For example, the info banner locks the receiver in a way where you can't push any other buttons and must wait till the banner goes out in a couple of seconds.

Unfortunately not all of the chaneels I wanted were included  but at least I was able to get Comedy Central. No FOX and no Ginx. I even tried calling Total TV again to see if they could do something to include those channels but this was a no go. It seems the smartcard/receiver is regionalized and some channels (Fox, Ginx) don't even appear in the receiver's EPG.  I think the channels would work if the card was not paired as those are usually part of thr same channel package as the other channels I was getting just fine (Comedy Central, Fox Crime, Fox Movies, E!, TLC and others).

The channels that work are actually quite good when it comes to picture quality and content. The best part is that there are no hardcoded subtitles and even the channel promos are often in English since the feeds serve multiple countries.

There are a couple of movie channels too. Even the old favorite TV1000. In this case, though, it's a toned down version of TV1000, meaning old movies and no porn (the Adult movies you can see in the EPG are censored softcore).

Unfortunaly, Comedy Central was not quite enough to justify the purchase and the difficulty working with the crappy receiver. As a result, I have not switched on the receiver for couple of months now and once my subscription runs out, I will not renew and send the box and card back to Slovenia. If there was no pairing or a CI module available, with the possibility to get Fox and Ginx, I'd pay for this package. But not like this. Even though Ginx is a really bad gaming TV, maybe even worse than the old Game Network, it's the only one if I don't count the French Game One channel which has very little gaming content. 

Here's the list of English language TV channels which you can get with Total TV's International package for approximately 12 Euros a month with 12-month contract:

Comedy Central Extra

Nat Geo

Discovery

Animal Planet

Viasat Explorer

Viasat History

Viasat Nature

History

24 Kitchen

Fox Life

Fox Crime

Fox Movies

Discovery ID

CBS Reality

CBS Drama

Universal Channel

MGM

Cinemania

TV1000

AXN

AXN Spin

Sci-Fi

TLC

E!

Eurosport 1&2

MTV

VH-1

Disney Channel

Crime & Investigation

which is not bad but to some people this is completely worthless because of the really bad satellite receiver, making watching Total TV an unpleasant experience.