The State of WebTV in Canada, Part I: Opening Salvos



To Americans Canada is like that cousin who lives outside the city and sadly doesn't have access to the same great things as you. In Canada we once longed for Target and TiVo now we have those 'great' things and more. Sadly the Google Chromebook is skipping us on it's initial launch in favour of more European markets. That's ok, but that's the way it is and once that's the way it was with everything. The iPhone didn't come here for at least a year after it's launch in the United States. Canadians have long made trips across the southern border to acquire some of those things that aren't available in Canada. Whether it's Trader Joe's or Duty-Free liquor, which happens to be 25-50% cheaper.

This post isn't about that inequality it's about the inequality presented by our archaic, controlling, short-sighted telecommunications providers. "The Cartel" as I like to call them are Bell, Rogers and Telus. There are a few larger regional players (Quebecor and Shaw), but for the purposes of this post I am going to focus on the offerings of the big three. Now it's time for a confession. I've long been a downloader of content that I cannot otherwise access whether because I lack Cable TV or the content I seek isn't even available in Canada (see the first season of Dexter). This is a confession because I WANT to pay for that content I WANT to ensure that those that create the things I enjoy receive funding to continue to create that content, but content distribution is the bottleneck in my ability to do that.

Hulu and Netflix have been creating strong digital content distribution channels in the US for years. Netflix in Canada is like dial-up internet compared to Netflix in the US which is comparatively like ultra-fast internet connections of today. Our Netflix has almost zero new content and when movies come their either from the archives are straight to DVD. Yes there are the rare high production value films in there, but it's nothing compared to what is available in the US. This is only the start of the problems presented by the current structure of the cartel's telecommunications Oligopoly in Canada. In the next part of this 3 series we'll get into the trenches on state of web TV in Canada.

In the meantime read this inspirational post from Jesse Brown: Honour among thieves: the only way to the best selection of television show and movies [in Canada] is to steal them. True. See you next time.

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