The Buymusic.ca Blog

A blog by a Music Consumer for Music Consumers

Is Free Television Being Phased Out ?

Do you guys remember when we were first told that off air television broadcasts would go digital and that more people would be getting free television using antennas ?

Do you remember when we could watch television programs for free online legally through the Canadian network web sites ?

Well, if you want proof that the cable and satellite companies don’t want people to “cut the cord” you just have to look at the current status of television in Canada.

It started with Global Television in my area.

I had decided to stop paying $7 plus tax per month for extra outlets and although I was able to receive Global Television clearly for months, it has suddenly disappeared one summer.

Apparently the owner of the network decided to reduce the strength of the transmission so now an external antennae is required. But this was of course no problem because I was able to access television programs online via the network’s web site.

Then a few months back I noticed I was no longer receiving CTV, which had a strong signal until then.

I am located within 15 kilometers from the broadcasting tower for both stations so there was no reason for my loss of CTV as well. But like Global Television, CTV is also owned by a cable or satellite provider so I had assumed that they also reduced their off air broadcasting strength. And again I decided to stick to on demand and online broadcasts until I get an external antenna.

By then I had switched from Rogers Cable to Bell Fibe TV so I was mostly just watching television programs on demand for free, just like I has done with Rogers. But since Rogers had purchased the rights to the hockey broadcasts there appeared to be issues relating to what could be viewed by what subscribers online.

Now Canadians are being asked to login their cable or satellite provider accounts to view television programs on the major network sites. And the selection of programing is currently  limited to the networks owned by their provider.

Bravo.

Personally I think we should be able to get our local channels off air and online based on our IP address.

There should be enough advertisement revenue there for networks to profit on and cable and satellite providers could always give people access to specialty networks and  on demand programming.

We should be progressing off the problematic off air VHF frequencies and move stations to UHF like most American networks have.

Phase 3 of the “Let’s Talk TV” consultations at the CRTC will begin in April with the publication of details on the public hearing scheduled in September. And from the government’s response last Budget Day, it appears that our cable/satellite channels may get unbundled.

Hopefully this will not be more expensive for consumers, a concern we should all share because these companies have been hiking their rates excessively over the past few years.

The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting estimated in Oct 2013 that many of Canada’s cable companies had hiked their rates from 81% to 96% since 2002 ; Almost five times inflation. And Forbes believes the model is unsustainable so we’ve got to wonder what exactly we’re going to be subjected to as consumers.

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty had mentioned that “cable-TV companies have become like utilities because there are only so many providers that offer the service in a certain region” in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last October so perhaps the current government is considering regulating them. But I guess we’ll only know for sure after  the public hearings in September.

By the way, you can access information in regards to the previous phases of “Let’s Talk TV” on the official CRTC web site, which includes comments from the public.

More Gift Card Offers

There are two overlapping gift card offers this week, both offering $5 off $25 iTunes gift cards.

You can take advantage of this offer at participating Sobeys stores up to the 20th of November or you can visit your local participating Rexall Pharmaplus for the same offer up to the 28th of November.

Check your local flyer for details one whether your local stores have this offer or not.

Update: Additional offers can be found at participating Metro and Best Buy locations.

At participating Metro grocery stores you can get $5 off a $30 iTunes gift card multipack whilst at participating Best Buy locations you can get $12 off a $60 iTunes gift card multipack.

Google Play Gift Cards Now In Canada

Google Play gift cards are now available in Canada, in increments of $15, $25 and $50.

They are available at select Shopper’s Drug Mart/Pharmaprix, Future Shop, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Mac’s, Couche Tard and 7-11 stores.

Click here for your nearest participating location.

Where is Puretracks ?

Puretracks and several Puretracks powered sites appear to have gone down over the weekend.

My brother made me aware of this problem last Friday and I had assumed they were updating or were subject to a glitch. But I am still unable to access the sites as of 1 AM Eastern Time on September 3rd, 2013.

Complaints about the inaccessibility of the site also appear on the service’s Facebook page. But I have not been able to find much of anything else online.

They haven’t posted anything on their Facebook or Twitter account about an issue, though the latter has entries from the 30th of August that imply Puretracks is gone, allegedly from people in the company.

A new version of Puretracks had gone online on June 14th, 2013. But apparently customers weren’t satisfied with the new site according to several Facebook entries and I’m guessing that some of their customers were lured elsewhere with lower prices.

More and more cell providers are also offering unlimited streaming of music so I suspect Puretracks may be gone, though I have no confirmation of this other than a few rare scattered pieces of information on the internet.

I’ve contacted Pizza Pizza in regards to this issue because they seem to be having problems as well with chooseyoursongs.com, a Puretrack powered site where their customers can redeem Peel ‘N Win music downloads.

I will of course update this entry if I find something else.

UPDATE: Pizza Pizza has moved their Peal ‘N Win music download code redemption to Universal Music Group’s Getmusic.ca.

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