Canada

Shomi – First Impressions

Now that Shomi has been made available to all Canadians I thought perhaps i’d give you my first impressions on this service.

I started using Shomi a few months back when I switched from Bell to Rogers and I currently get it for free with my cable package. But I don’t think if i’d pay $8.99 per month for the service.

Although I can access the service conveniently via by set top box and view content without it counting towards my download/upload limit, I still have issues with the service in regards to content.

Like the Canadian version of Netflix, Shomi has a limited catalogue of television series and film. And I happen to already own the vast majority of my favourite films on the service.

On the other hand Hollywood Suite is being offered to me at $5.95 per month and features quite a lot of films, including some on demand. And Crave TV has a significant amount of television series i’d be interested in at $4 per month, but the later would count towards my download/upload limit.

If Crave TV was offered via Roger’s set top box i’d go for it, in a heartbeat. But Crave TV is operated by Bell Media, Roger’s competition. And they’re only going to start offering the service to the rest of Canada on January 1st, 2016.

I’m hoping Shomi will expand their selection considerably to compete but I seriously doubt it will happen for some time because of licensing.

Netflix Canada have been plagued by licensing issues that have kept them from offering as many titles as their American counterparts and i’m guessing that both Shomi and Crave TV will be subjected to the same limitations.

I’m definitely going to keep checking Shomi for new content. But I suspect Crave TV will win me over by February because it has South Park, Little Britain, Monty Python and several music documentary series like Classic Albums and the INXS television mini-series.

International Record Store Day 2015

It’s International Record Store Day and many independent retailers in Canada will be celebrating the event with sales and other promotions.

This is of course a great opportunity to find the vinyl you’ve always been looking for, or that rare CD that has yet to make it to iTunes. But you can also find memorabilia at some of these local stores like posters, hats, embroidered patches, etc. Or DVD/Blu-Rays featuring live concerts or music videos.

Click here for a listing of participating stores in Canada.

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.

Gift Card Offers At Target

It may be too early for the clearance sales at Target Canada stores but some are currently offering discounts on select iTunes gift cards until January 29th, 2015.

Participating stores will offer 10% discounts on $25, $50 and $100 denomination cards so consult your local flyer for details.

You will also notice that some select Real Canadian Superstores are offering a 10% discount of $25 and $50 iTunes cards until February 5th, 2015. Your local flyer should have details on this offer as well.

Cyber Monday Sales

It’s Cyber Monday and here are some of the retailers with offers, for either the day or week :

Black Friday Sales Now Active

The following have just published their Black Friday Sales :

You will also notice that the offers i’ve listed on yesterday’s blog entry are valid today and that some of the above mentioned offers include Cyber Monday discounts.