cable

Who wants to pay more for basic cable?

Yes, Telus has been charging a 1.5% fee whenever their customers use a credit card since mid-October and now Bell Canada, Cogeco, Eastlink and Sasktel applied to start upping their rates every year “based on the annual consumer price index for the period ending December 31 of the preceding calendar year”, which means everyone will likely be paying way more for something that gets less and less appealing every year.

I currently stream most of the television programs I watch on a Roku television or watch over the air broadcast using a digital antenna and LTE/5G filter so I question the logic of hiking basic cable when most people are cutting the cord and starting to watch the Canadian networks online.

Some of them still charge fees for some of their programming but when it comes to news and weather, these are available free from CBC, Radio Canada, Global, CTV and The Weather Network via their apps, which are available for mobile devices and on smart televisions. And I suspect they will eventually offer advertisement sponsored streaming and time shifting, like CBC and Radio Canada have.

When it comes to comedy and drama that also airs on television, I now find myself watching them on Youtube, Prime Video and Disney+, basically viewing cable as a bonus in a discounted package with cell service, where I occasionally record programs that are unavailable online.

I also binge watch series on Netflix and Prime Video, the latter making Global and multiple other networks available for relatively affordable rates, so I believe these hikes are not conducive to the retaining of subscribers.

Bell just recently upgraded their fibre network, allowing some to download and upload at speeds up to 3 GBPS. And these occurred in multiple cities where over the air broadcasts are strong and readily available to most residents of these cities, so what could stop an independent provider from offering basic cable packages at less than $20.

I suspect most subscribers would be happy paying less for 1080p broadcasts, which is what one finds over the air, and prefer tuning into 4k primarily for films and sports. And Netflix is also still loosing subscribers so I think this hike is not fully thought out.

Is Bell trying to nudge people towards Crave, a streaming service that has just recently dropped prices to attract more subscribers? Who knows. But you have until October 28th, 2022 to comment on the proposal to hike basic cables rates from $25 to $28 “with subsequent yearly adjustments based on inflation“.

Sennheiser (Canada) Inc.

Free Previews Extended

Rogers Communications and several other cable providers have decided to extend their free previews for their customers due to the COVID-19 issue.

Rogers will be extending their free previews until the end of June and have added Tubi TV to their apps, which enables customers with compatible set-top boxes to access free, ad-supported movies and television programs.

I will, of course, add Tubi TV to my Links To Pass The Time blog entry as soon as possible.

Save on Music, Books and DVDs at Indigo.ca

More Competition For Cable

Not only is Apple expanding their live television offerings to Canadian Apple TV users in the Fall but Corus Entertainment has just announced that they will provide live broadcasts to Amazon Prime Video subscribers in Canada:

“Available soon to Prime members in Canada, STACKTV includes some of the best entertainment, drama, lifestyle and kids television channels, delivering audiences the latest episodes of hit series live and on-demand.

STACKTV will include: Global, Food Network Canada, HGTV Canada, W Network, HISTORY┬«, Adult Swim, Slice, Showcase, National Geographic, Teletoon, Treehouse and YTV.”

Unfortunately sports and news fans will need to wait for more channels to be added to this service. But Greg Hart, vice president of Amazon Prime Video, said he’s hopeful that voids in the offering will be filled over time, in an interview with The Canadian Press.

This additional service will be available for a monthly fee of $12.99 (plus taxes) via the Prime Video app on smart TVs, on Roku devices, iOS and Android mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV and the Amazon Fire TV Stick. And Nickelodeon subscription video on-demand service will cost an extra $5.99 per month.

Prime Video is currently $7.99 plus tax or free to Amazon Prime members. And that streaming service currently offers film and television programs on demand, their catalogue expanding slowly to offer content that is currently only accessible by American users.


Indiegogo – ASAP Connect

This new device, called ASAP Connect, enables iPhone and Android device users to plug and unplug their devices easily using magnetic USB connectors that are available in four colours ; Silver, Gold, Rosegold and Gunmetal.

I’ve pre-purchased one for my mp3 player and one for my phone. And I thought you guys might be interested in learning about the technology.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child now available + Save an Extra 15% Off with Visa Checkout

Predictable…

Some of the cable companies have managed to get their way on skinny basic.

Yes, you will be able to get your local channels, the major American networks and the CRTC mandated channels for $25. But depending on your provider you could pay from $4 to $7 for the individual channels you choose extra, causing many to pay as much as they do now by simply choosing five or six extra individual channels.

Some of the providers are also limiting their skinny basic to standard definition, forcing their customer to pay more for the high definition channels. And one has to wonder how much they will charge for the rental of their boxes and extra outlets.

Those getting cable television over the internet don’t fare better either. To watch television they must subscribe to a high speed service and rent or buy modems, which adds to the bottom line. And in the end most will simply be offered an existing package by the customer service representatives, who were asked to downplay skinny basic.

Unfortunately those wishing to cut the cord have also been subjected to off the air signal reductions, requiring outdoor antennas. But I suspect more independent providers will take advantage of these issues and offer cheaper services.

Vmedia is one of the few IPTV providers to offer their services nation wide but Ontario and Quebec are also serviced by Beanfield, Distributel, Vianet Canada, and Zazeen. And many of these providers are expanding.

Apple TV is also an option, as are streaming serves like Netflix, Crave TV and Shomi, although the streaming services are still catching up on content.

I’m personally waiting for the dust to settle and for my contract with my cable company to expire to investigate my options. But i’m leaning towards cutting the cord if the shenanigans continue.

Changes Coming To Cable

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has issued a schedule in regards to the implementation of the “skinny basic” and pick-and-pay cable rules.

By March 1st, 2016 cable providers will be required to offer their basic package at $25, which will include the “must carry” status channels. And by December 1st, 2016 cable providers will be required to offer the remainder of their channels individually or in small packages.

I watch mostly my local networks and on occasion the American networks so my cable bill should drop considerably once my contract with Rogers is over. But I am still looking into foregoing cable entirely and going with an external television antenna.

When Much Music, Musique Plus and the other music video stations aired actually musical content it was worth paying a few bucks a month but i’ve had Youtube/Vevo, iTunes and my music video collection for a while now. And the news, weather and other content that was once exclusive to cable are now online.

VMedia are currently offering their skinny basic package of approximately 30 local and American network channels for $17.95 so perhaps we’ll see some deals before the new year. Hopefully.