Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Altech Node: 'If you want to review the unit go see it in the shop'.

I've answered and responded directly to several readers who asked personally, but just a note as to why there wasn't (yet) any review on Altech's new Altech Node console on TV with Thinus the past two months - and why there won't be one: Altech's PR company told me if I want to review the Altech Node I can go and see it in a store.

Altech and its PR agency used, Atmosphere Communications, in September couldn't be bothered to invite national TV critics to the launch event of the Altech Node, nor even just told them beforehand that it would be launching the new video-on-demand (VOD) console which is now competing with MultiChoice's DStv and Times Media's VIDI.

Those covering TV still reported about the console though, although up until now there's been no definitive list of what the actual TV programming and shows are that buyers and users of the Altech Node costing R3 499 plus a monthly subscription actually get with the device and service.

Don't bother with the Altech Node website, its not there nor anywhere else. Altech didn't release a list of the TV programming and movies available at launch and has not responded to a media enquiry seeking a list way back in September. Even I gave up and couldn't be bothered further.

The company also doesn't deem it necessary to keep the press informed about new content being added and cycled content - something which would presumably help drive sales. Presumably Altech doesn't have a problem selling Altech Nodes and therefore doesn't need press coverage.

Before the mid-September launch of the Altech Node and after, demo models were given and installed for certain tech trade journalists; no journalists covering television however.

TV with Thinus did request a review unit for the purposes of a review after launch and didn't bother again. It took weeks for a response - unintentionally hilarious when it finally arrived:

"Unfortunately we do not have any active Node units available for review at this time," Atmosphere Communications told me and said that if I want to see or test the Altech Node I can go see a demo unit in one of the stores stocking it "if you are interested in experiencing Node for yourself".

So. You can stop asking about why no Altech Node review and have the reason as to why.

Given the price of the Altech Node and its features, as part of the range of options for consumers with some Christmas cash to perhaps burn, my recommendation would be to rather opt for MultiChoice's DStv Explora decoder.

The price point is basically the same and with a DStv subscription comes the latest content in TV shows and movies - something which none of the available video-on-demand services like Altech Node can currently offer.

If you're more into home tech and less about actual television watching and TV entertainment - things like home surveillance, creating a WiFi hotspot or turning your house lights on or off and not perturbed about watching older shows and movies - then the Altech Node might be for you, given some of its other features.

You'll will however have to physically go to a store which sells the Altech Node to check it out for yourself as I have been advised to do.