Netflix

Rogers & Netflix

Rogers has decided to extend their Netflix offers to their existing Ignite subscribers, in lieu of the Shomi subscription that was included in some of their packages.

The offer, which will include a six month subscription to the Netflix Standard Plan, will be made available November 30th, 2016. And current members of Netflix will also be able to obtain a credit for this membership.

Unfortunately data caps will be an issue to some Ignite subscribers, who will need to limit their viewing to a select number of concerts, music documentaries and films in standard definition to avoid a data overage fee of $1.50/GB.

Existing Ignite users with unlimited usage plans will be able to view films in high definition but at about 4 GB each these films can burn through a 100 GB or 200 GM monthly usage limit quite quickly. And although newer Ignite subscribers have 125 GB and 250 GB monthly usage limits, they will also need to keep an eye on the amount of films, etc they view to avoid the data overage fees.

This of course depends on a person’s surfing habits. For example, i’m not a gamer, I watch television broadcasts on cable/PVR and I already own my favourite films on DVD and Blu-ray so i’m not expecting to stream a significant amount of content off Netflix. But even I am considering an upgrade to an unlimited usage plan because i’m a regular Youtube and Facebook user.

The success of this partnership will also depend on Netflix Canada’s content, that they have been promising to extend.

I haven’t been a Netflix Canada member for months so I don’t know if they’ve had some improvements. But i’m going to give them a chance for those six months.

VPN/Netflix Petition

Open Media has created a petition asking Netflix to stop blocking customers using Virtual Private Network services to access their larger American repertoire. Click here for details.

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Paypal Says No To VPN

In response to potential copyright issues Paypal has decided to stop offering their services to VPN services. And unfortunately that means that those of us who want to secure our tablets, laptops and phones whilst traveling or using public wi-fi will need to pay using other methods.

The first VPN company to receive notice was Canadian company UnoTelly, whose account have been limited by Paypal on the third of this month. And although other VPN providers appear to still be offering Paypal as a payment option, they are expected to be limited soon.

VPN services are not illegal but their use to view copyrighted content that has been limited to a specific country is technically illegal, even when payment has been provided to legitimate services like Netflix.

Netflix is working on providing more material to Canadians but people will always be tempted to use VPN to access the American version of Netflix as long it provides more content.

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Netflix USA and VPN

Netflix has issued a statement that they are working on offering content universally and will therefore start blocking Canadians from their American service.

“Some members use proxies or “unblockers” to access titles available outside their territory. To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it. That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are. We are confident this change won’t impact members not using proxies.” – January 14th,2016 Blog Entry

There is doubt in regards to the possibility of blocking proxy services like VPN on the net but if they do license more content the need for such a service would be reduced, which is great news for Canadians.

I’ve tried Netflix a few times and found myself leaving shortly after joining because of a lack of content. And now they’ve got more competition because of services like Shomi and Crave TV so it is in their best interest to start offering more content to Canadians.

BTW, if you are subscribed to a VPN service don’t get rid of it unless you do not use public wi-fi often. You can use it to secure the smart phones, tablets and laptops you use when you’re away from home.

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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.

What Netflix Tax ?

It should be noted that the CRTC ruled against a “Netflix tax” in March 2015, as stipulated in a March 12th, 2015 thestar.com article. And that all of the major parties have categorically denied wanting such a tax.

Apparently the only major proponent of this tax was the provincial government of Ontario. But they have since changed their minds according to University of Ottawa Law professor and internet columnist Michael Geist. His March 10th, 2015 blog entry on this issue can be found by clicking here.