Trying Disney + Again

I’ve decided to try Disney + again, mainly to binge watch The Mandalorian and to see how they’ve improved in regards to the Classic cartoon shorts.

They’ve added a few of the latter but it appears they are taking their time up converting their most popular shorts to HD, unless i’ve missed a menu option; I’m still going through what’s available on the site.

A significant amount of content will be added to the service in February 2021, from Disney TV, 20th Century Fox and the FX Channel. But unfortunately the monthly subscription fee will go up to $11.99 so i’d advise new users to use the Air Miles Shops offer before December 31st, 2020. They get a bonus 100 Air Miles on a yearly subscription ($89.99).

It’s a shame the five episode Loki series is only coming out in May 2021. I would have definitely kept my subscription going if it had been released in January or February. But I already have most of the films I would watch on Disney + and Starz on Blu-Ray, although the 4k UHD upgrade would be nice.

The original Star Wars film series looks great. But I don’t know if it’s worth $12 per month. I guess i’ll know in a month…

I’ll post an update then.

The Taxman Cometh

The Canadian government is again considering a digital services tax on foreign services like Google Play, Netflix, Prime Video and Spotify, whose operations are not based in Canada.

Unlike Cineplex and Apple/iTunes, these companies are not compelled by law to collect taxes on their services because they have no physical presence in the country, no Canadian subsidiary, and simply broadcast services to Canada.

The CRTC had ruled against a Netflix Tax in March 2015 and in June 2018 the federal government had passed on implementing the tax. But the provincial governments of Quebec and Saskatchewan have collected provincial sales tax on these services since January 2019 and British Columbia followed suit in July 2020, setting a precedent that could ease the introduction of a federal tax.

Monthly subscriptions could get costly for some but I suspect these services will continue offering incentives and promotions to keep their clientele.

Discounts and bonus rewards are usually offered on gift card purchases throughout the year, some of which are considerable.

For example, Shoppers Optimum points users will get 7500 points when they purchase $50 iTunes cards from select Shoppers Drug Mart stores until December 11th, 2020. And the same offer will be made available to some users who purchase $50 iTunes gift cards at select Real Canadian Superstore locations from December 10th to December 16th, 2020.

I occasionally encounter similar offers for discounts and bonus points for Google Play, Netflix and Spotify gift cards. And in regards to Prime Video and Prime Music, these services are made available free to Amazon Prime members.

Apple TV is also offered free for a year on new Apple product purchases so some relief can be had on some digital purchases and subscriptions. But I don’t think the tax will be implemented for some time.

The provinces that have yet to implement a provincial sales tax on these services will likely wish to discuss the possibility of a Harmonized Sales Tax so I suspect our foreign digital services won’t be taxed until July 1st, 2021 or January 1st, 2022.

Cyber Monday Week

The deals continue at the major online retailers, like Amazon.ca, Best Buy Canada, Chapters / Indigo, Microsoft Canadaicon, Newegg Canadaicon, The Source, etc. But don’t forget to visit the smaller chains like Archambault and Sunrise Records, and your local record store sites. They’ve got deep discounts as well.

In Ottawa, my go-to records stores are Legend Records, The Odds & Sods Shop, Turning Point and Sunrise Records and I’m hoping to browse the stores along Bank Street shortly after the pandemic is addressed, including the new location for Vertigo Records, a store I used to visit on Rideau street.

Whenever I’m in Montreal I try to drop by at the Archambault store at Berri and St. Catherine Est and nearby records stores on Berri and Saint-Denis, like Beatnick Records and Disques Sonik. But it’s been a while and many stores on those streets may have moved or closed since I visited five or so years back, unfortunately.

By the way, Nord VPN, ESET North America, Kaspersky Canada, Intego Antivirus, and VIPRE Antivirus are offering deep discounts on their services as well, in case you were looking to secure your computers and devices.

Have a safe Cyber Monday week.

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

Black Friday Week Tips

It’s Black Friday Week and lots is going on:

On Friday, some of your local record stores will be participating in the Record Store Day Black Friday events and will have exclusive merchandise collectors will want to have a look at. Go grab that mask and hand sanitizer and enjoy.

Speaking of COVID-19, Best Buy Canada has decided to offer “Quick and Easy Store Pickups” so you will be able to get your purchases curbside for “in as little as an hour” in some locations. This option should be listed during the checkout process and extended curbside pickup hours are available at some stores.

Curbside pickup and/or free shipping are also available at select Chapters / Indigo book stores, Michaels art and craft stores, The Source and Bad Boy electronics stores, The Bay department stores, Staples Canada office supply stores, IKEA and The Brick home furnishing stores, Canadian Tire and home improvements stores like TSC/Peavey Mart, Lowes, Home Depot and Home Hardware.

You’ll notice that some locations will be open earlier than usual, like my local Lowes location which is open at 6 AM. This is due to the line-ups, which will probably be an issue because of the maximum occupancy rules that have been set up to avoid the propagation of this disease.

To avoid these longs lines, ordering online is a better option (if not the only option). And if you don’t have a credit card you can always pick up gift cards for some of the aforementioned retailers at your local convenience store, gas station or pharmacy.

Amazon Cash is an option for Amazon Canada shoppers, which allows people to load cash or money from their debit card into an account at Canada Post Outlets, MacEwen convenience stores/gas stations, Mobile gas stations and participating 7 Eleven, Circle K and Hasty Market convenience stores.

Paypal and debit options are also available at some retailers, so you might want to investigate what options are listed on their web site.

By the way, professional speaker retailer Sonos, office supply site 123ink.ca and online electronics retailer Newegg Canadaicon are also having Black Friday week sales. And you should also note there are also great deals to be had online from American retailers Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Entertainment Earth, although you should account for delays at customs for foreign orders.

Canada Post had warned of Christmas volumes for some time now but there should only be slight delays for domestic shipments. And some retailers are using independent shippers to deliver locally so look for that option as well.

Sonos Wireless Music Player

PS5 To Only Be Sold Online

I’m not much of a gamer but I thought those who are would like to know that Sony has decided to only offer the Playstation 5 online due to COVID-19. And here are the online retailers that will sell it on November 12th, 2020:

Click here for additional information on the Sony PS5.

Newegg Canada

Closures and openings

Although Cineplex Theatres expect to re-open on November 7th, the other chains have decided to close their doors until further notice in the province of Ontario, including Landmark and Cine Starz.

On the other hand, Sunrise Records is opening a new store in Toronto, at Sherway Gardens, and their stores are open with reduced hours and extra precautions due to COVID-19. And the Record Fair at the St. John’s Farmer’s Market in Newfoundland appears to be on schedule for Sunday, the 15th of November from 10 am to 4 pm, with precautions of course.

In regards to postal deliveries, Canada Post is still operating at Christmas parcel volumes and have advised individuals to shop and possibly ship early. And shipments have been suspended to multiple countries so you may want to consult their Delivery service interruption page prior to sending anything overseas.

Black Friday will be on November 27th this year so I will be adding information on that event later on.