Ticketmaster Settles

Ticketmaster L.L.C., TNow Entertainment Group, Inc. and Ticketmaster Canada LP has agreed to pay $4.5 million dollars to settle the Competition Bureau’s case against them for misleading prices, according to a news release that was issued today by the bureau:

“As part of a consent agreement registered with the Competition Tribunal, the companies will also establish a compliance program to ensure their advertising complies with the law and will implement new procedures to prevent advertising issues in the future.”

The Bureau had concluded that Canadian consumers were paying 20% to 60% more than the advertised price due to fees, which were mandatory. And had decided to sue Ticketmaster and several other associated companies on January 25th, 2018 (PDF).



OTA Television Changes Along The Border

Yesterday I received a notice from WPBS-TV, the PBS station based in Watertown NY that broadcasts to Eastern Ontario, that they will be changing over-the-air channels on July 29th, 2019. And apparently several American television stations have already begun transitioning to new channels to free up frequencies for wireless services.

People who use television antennas in southwestern Ontario area have already needed to rescan to find WMYD broadcasts from Detroit on June 1st, 2019 and a new wave of channel changes are expected in July, this transition eventually ending in the summer of 2020.

If you’re getting these stations from cable, satellite or online, you will not see any changes. But if you use a television antenna to get any American station you will need to pay attention to notices by your favourite stations, that will be posted on their official sites and social media feeds for information related to this transition.

Many channels will also start airing notices featuring known personalities from television programs like The Doctors, Inside Edition, Entertainment Tonight, Dr.Phil, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy a month or so before their transition date. And monthly roundups of these transitions are also posted on the official TV Answers Blog, with occasional posts regarding individual channels appearing on TV Answer’s Facebook page.

I’m a bit too deep into Ontario to get American television stations via my antenna but thought people along the border would like to know.

Mark Your Calendars

Prime Day will be on July 15th & 16th this year. And Canadians can also get a free year of Amazon Prime by opening an All-in Banking Package account with Manulife.ca, provided you use this unlimited daily banking account to make 10 in-store or online purchases per month for the first two months you’ve had this account.

I’m not paid by the bank but thought you’d like to know. And yes, I do believe current Amazon Prime members would have their membership extended by a year on that offer.

By the way, you should keep an eye on Newegg.ca, who may also be offering deals to their Premier members on these dates. And both Indigo and Barnes & Noble are also known to have competitive sales and discounts at the same time.


Free eBooks & Audiobooks

Amazon.ca is now offering free book downloads to Prime Members and I thought i’d also point you to other free sources for reading material:

Enjoy.

Download an eBook today

Please Back Up Your Music

Have you ever wanted to listen to a track you’ve purchased and downloaded some time back only to discover it isn’t in your library?

With digital rights issues and hard drive errors it pays to back up your music – A lesson i’ve been reminded of today when I tried to listen to Zappacosta‘s 80’s Canadian rock classic “Nothing Can Stand In Your Way“.

I believe I had originally purchased this song years back from the now defunct Puretracks music service, well prior to that service’s closing in the fall of 2013, and although it is on my MP3 player it disappeared from my iTunes library because it had been purchased on a previous windows operating system based computer and the digital rights had likely expired before I had noticed.

Unfortunately I had encountered this issue a few times but was able to copy music back from my mp3 player into my library or copy the music from old CD or DVD backups of these recordings to the original media. And this issue is why I kept my hard copy collection of compact discs, cassettes and LPs, to restore music from if someone happens to the recordings on my computer and mp3 player.

As a precaution I make backups of my music (and films and audiobooks) to an external hard drive and other media. And I suggest that you consider doing so as well as Apple transitions from iTunes to the new app, if you use that service as I do.

You can also convert recordings off that service into mp3 or buy mp3s from Google Play, which takes care of some of the digital rights management issues some people have been encountering. But even then you should back up your media because of losses that can happen due to hard drive errors or other more complex issues one can have with mp3 players, phones, tablets and computers.

Yes, you could stream music to some of these mobile devices instead from services like Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play Music or Spotify. But data rates are expensive in Canada and public wi-fi is preferably used with VPN due to security issues. And sometimes specific tracks aren’t available on those services or suddenly disappear due to distribution issues.

I use some of these services at home, to keep from using space on my mobile devices, and prefer to use my mp3 player when I travel. But if I couldn’t I would probably get a micro-sd card and copy my music to it for my tablet, which is cheaper than paid internet access and less spotty than public wi-fi, which can be a pain when you’re trying to look at music videos on Youtube.

Your best bet is to always download and backup your media, to avoid having to contact a customer service representative that might be busy handling calls from other people whose access is also down, or might not be available due to the streaming service’s limited business hours.

I was quite happy to find the previously mentioned recording on an old writable CD-Rom I had burned years back and you should probably consider the possibility of this issue happening to you in the future.

More Competition For Cable

Not only is Apple expanding their live television offerings to Canadian Apple TV users in the Fall but Corus Entertainment has just announced that they will provide live broadcasts to Amazon Prime Video subscribers in Canada:

“Available soon to Prime members in Canada, STACKTV includes some of the best entertainment, drama, lifestyle and kids television channels, delivering audiences the latest episodes of hit series live and on-demand.

STACKTV will include: Global, Food Network Canada, HGTV Canada, W Network, HISTORY®, Adult Swim, Slice, Showcase, National Geographic, Teletoon, Treehouse and YTV.”

Unfortunately sports and news fans will need to wait for more channels to be added to this service. But Greg Hart, vice president of Amazon Prime Video, said he’s hopeful that voids in the offering will be filled over time, in an interview with The Canadian Press.

This additional service will be available for a monthly fee of $12.99 (plus taxes) via the Prime Video app on smart TVs, on Roku devices, iOS and Android mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV and the Amazon Fire TV Stick. And Nickelodeon subscription video on-demand service will cost an extra $5.99 per month.

Prime Video is currently $7.99 plus tax or free to Amazon Prime members. And that streaming service currently offers film and television programs on demand, their catalogue expanding slowly to offer content that is currently only accessible by American users.