alternatives

Redbox Canada Closing

Redbox Canada has decided to stop renting movies on February 13th, 2015 and will be turning their boxes off on March 5th, 2015.

“We were excited to bring our service here, but unfortunately, demand just didn’t meet our expectations. We will be focusing our attention on our U.S. business, where demand for physical media remains strong.”

Apparently most Canadian consumers have moved on to online movie renting from companies like iTunes, Cineplex or Cinemanow and I suspect more services like Amazon Instant Video will make their way into Canada shortly as streaming devices get cheaper.

Google’s Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player was recently promoted with $20 gift cards for Google Play and both Rogers/Shaw and Bell are now offering alternatives to Netflix to their subscribers with Showmi and CraveTV so the online movie rental market is heating up.

Unfortunately I liked picking up Blu-Rays at my local store at $2 a pop. And although discounts can be had on Tuesdays on Cineplex, I suspect I will be paying more for rentals again.

$4.99 appears to be the average price for standard definition rentals but i’m hoping more discounts will come our way, especially on the high definition rentals ; Those can be as expensive as $7.99 on some services.

I seriously doubt I will be renting high definition films at $7.99, especially older releases that I can view on my Hollywood Suite package on cable. And chances are I will simply wait to purchase individual blu-rays when they are discounted at Amazon.

Alternatives To Zip.ca

Now that Zip.ca has closed its doors I’m sure some of you are looking for alternatives, so I thought I’d provide a few.

Unfortunately there are few alternatives when it comes to rentals by mail now that zip.ca is gone.

It appears that only DVD Link is offering a mail rental service at the moment. But their rates are pretty good at $9.95 to $54.99, depending on how many DVDs or Blu-Rays you want to rent per month. And unlike zip.ca, this Vancouver based company rents games and don’t charge more for Blu-Ray rentals.

People who like renting from kiosks will of course fare better because Redbox  just recently expanded into the Atlantic Provinces and Western Canada.

Redbox kiosks have pretty much invaded my city (Ottawa), and can be found at most Sobeys, Loblaws/Real Canadian Superstore, Walmart and Giant Tiger stores.

They’ve placed kiosks at quite a few of those stores through-out Canada, both indoors and outdoors. And I like them because you don’t need to return your discs at the specific Redbox kiosk they were rented from.

I believe they’ve replaced most of the Bestbuy Movie Kiosk locations at the 7-Eleven, Mac’s, Safeway, Real Canadian Superstore and Walmart stores in western Canada. And possibly the Moviemagic kiosks in Ontario as well.

In the Montreal area they have opened locations at IGA stores. But until they expand further the best solution for rentals in the province of Quebec are the Superclub Videotron stores.

Independent stores can still be found in the largest cities, through-out Canada. But the largest video rental store chain in Canada is now Jumbo Video/Superclub Videotron, which operate stores in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.

Quebecor Media owns both of these chains along with Microplay, a chain that rents videogames from some of the Jumbo Video/Superclub Videotron locations. But whether these chains will fold like Rogers Video and Blockbuster Video is unknown.

High speed internet remains prohibitively expensive in many areas, especially in rural communities, so renting individual films from iTunes, Netlix, Cineplex or Cinemanow may still not be a viable option for some.

Another option is to bite the bullet and rent films via the on demand and pay per view services offered by the cable and satellite companies. But at $5.99 to $7.99 per film this can get quite expensive.

They do occasionally offer some discounts on The Movie Network/TMN Encore and Super Ecran but the delays on new films remain on those channels and I’ve found that the Hollywood Suite package is much better if you’re mostly interested in classic films. The later is much more affordable at the moment.

Those are pretty much my suggestions on this matter. I will of course post updates, if some occur. I hope that you found this information useful.

UPDATE : Redbox left the Canadian market in Early 2015, significantly reducing our options. Some public libraries have limited selections of rentals offline but it appears that online film rentals have killed off the physical rental market in Canada. Click here for my first impressions on the Shomi service.

Postal Strike To Begin on June 2nd

Canada Post has issued a statement in regards to having recieved a 72 hour notice from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

A postal strike is scheduled for 11:59 EDT on June 2, 2011. But some retailers do offer alternatives.

The following Canadian retailers offer an option to ship to their local stores :

Bestbuy.ca
Futureshop.ca
www.sears.ca
thesource.ca

The following Canadian retailers offer courier shipping :

chapters.indigo.ca (Greater Toronto Area)
Sony Style Canada (Major Cities/By Appointment)
Tigerdirect.ca – FREE SHIPPING* on selected PC Deals at TigerDirect!

There is a possibility that Amazon.ca might use courier services like UPS or possibly DHL for some of their domestic shipments durring the strike but there is no news in regards to this possibility on their web site yet.

It should be noted that Amazon.com do offer courier service regularily to Canadians.

They use DHS Global Mail for Standard and Expedited Shipping, and UPS or DHL for Priority Shipping. BUT shipments valued above $20 Canadian may incur importation fees, which in this case would be administed by the courier, in addition to the standard duties and taxes.

International shipments valued at less than $20 are not subject to duties, taxes or importation fees because of the Low Value Shipment (LVS) process at the Canadian Border Services Agency, with some restrictions.

Additional information in regards to possible alternatives and the strike will be added to this blog as we near the strike date.

Canada Post Strike Alternatives

It appears that a strike at Canada Post may be possible as of May 25th, 2011. But, there are alternatives. Some Canadian retailers ship to local stores while others use courier services.

The following Canadian retailers offer an option to ship to their local stores :

Bestbuy.ca
Futureshop.ca
www.sears.ca
thesource.ca

The following Canadian retailers offer courier shipping :

chapters.indigo.ca (Greater Toronto Area)
Sony Style Canada (Major Cities/By Appointment)
Tigerdirect.ca – FREE SHIPPING* on selected PC Deals at TigerDirect!

UPDATE : Please read the latest blog entries for updates on the postal strike and alternative shipping options.