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  1. #1
    mikeys_mom is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Default TV options outside cable in Canada

    I am sick and tired of dealing with Rogers (Ontario). Service sucks, prices are ridiculous and we don't watch much TV. Our cable bill is insane considering we are not big TV watchers so we have been exploring alternatives to cable and I'm wondering if anyone here has any insights. There is always Bell but I feel like it will end up being the same as Rogers where they give us a good deal initially then slowly jack up the price over time.

    Netflix Canada doesn't have great content, but I hear it is supposed to improve. Plus, DH and I love Arrested Development and the new season will only be available on Netflix.

    We have an ipad mini so we've been considering buying Apple TV to stream stuff from the networks like ctv, global, etc...

    Our current tv setup is still from the dark ages. A ten year old non-flatscreen tv and a regular digital cable box with no pvr. We also don't have any gaming systems like an xbox or wii. The only series we typically watch are the Amazing Race and Big Bang Theory. Since we usually can't catch them when they air and don't have a pvr, we have made good use of the On Demand service. Well, it seems as though ctv has recently removed all their On Demand content and now we are stuck watching stuff on the laptop because we can't even get it on demand. Grrrr....

    DH likes to flip around and watch movies in the evenings so we do have the movie channels. Basically, at most 4 times a week, we will sit together for an hour and watch old episodes of Seinfeld or Big Bang. Kids watch a couple of treehouse shows also, maybe 4 times a week.

    If we were to get Netflix and/or Apple TV, we'd have to get a new tv because we can't stream through our current one so we need to factor that cost into the savings. We are content with the old tv for now so it's not like we are itching to upgrade.

    If you don't use cable, what is your setup and are you happy with the content?
    DS - 10
    DD - 8
    Twin Girls - 6

  2. #2
    mom2binsd is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    My family lives in Ottawa, my brother has Bell and really likes it and another friend has Shaw and thinks the choices are better.

    I don't know anyone who doesn't have either Bell or Rogers or Shaw.

    Do you have something like Direct Tv up there, I love them.

  3. #3
    mikeys_mom is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Thanks.

    Most people around here have Rogers or Bell. Prices are pretty similar. I hadn't heard of Shaw. It looks interesting but it also seems like it will end up costing around the same as the other 2.

    No direct TV here or anything similar .

    I know some people have found work-arounds to using US Netflix and direct TV but it's not really legal and DH isn't comfortable with it.
    DS - 10
    DD - 8
    Twin Girls - 6

  4. #4
    EllasMum's Avatar
    EllasMum is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeys_mom View Post
    I know some people have found work-arounds to using US Netflix and direct TV but it's not really legal and DH isn't comfortable with it.
    I was just about to reply and say that a good friend alerted me about a service that allows us Canadians to get US Netflix. I see that your husband isn't comfortable with it - too bad, because it ROCKS. The content really is vastly better. Although, I enjoy a lot of the BBC series (Misfits, Bedlam, etc) which are available on Canadian Netflix but not American! Having said that, we had Canadian Netflix for over a year and loved it. It is especially good for kids' shows. I cancelled the extra kids' channels we were paying for and DD just watches shows on Netflix.
    ~~~
    Susan
    DD 08-2005
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  5. #5
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    I thought I'd bump this after 2 weekends of basically nothing to watch on our over 60 cable channels. Yes, we were that addicted to Downton. We have Videotron cable, which I'm guessing is Quebec-only. I've been thinking about Canadian Netflix, but have been told that selections are pretty limited. Any way to get a list of what's available before signing up?

    Does anyone have Fibe? I keep seeing ads for it and I'm curious. Does it just give you more control over channel selection? We've got a bunch of channels that I'd rather not have but they're part of a package which is kind of how Videotron works.

    Apparently, DH's boss gets US Netflix via VPN to his brother in the US. Is that how everyone does it, or is there another way? Not that I'm ready to sign up on the spot, but I will admit that I'm curious if anyone wants to share
    DS, Summer '07

    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." ~Jack Layton

  6. #6
    Neatfreak is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    We're moving back to Canada in a few months, and I'm sort of unsure what to do about tv! All I really want is to be able to watch Top Chef and Project Runway, but I'm loathe to subscribe to 60+ channels beyond basic cable just to watch two programs!

    My sister is pretty happy with the offerings on Canadian Netflix. I'm tempted to maybe go the VPN + American Netflix route. This website seems to have a good listing of what's currently available on Netflix on both sides of the border: http://netflixcanadavsusa.blogspot.com/

    Related: What kind of internet package are you all using for streaming content?
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    One in 2004 and the other one in 2008

  7. #7
    mikeys_mom is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by MontrealMum View Post
    I thought I'd bump this after 2 weekends of basically nothing to watch on our over 60 cable channels. Yes, we were that addicted to Downton. We have Videotron cable, which I'm guessing is Quebec-only. I've been thinking about Canadian Netflix, but have been told that selections are pretty limited. Any way to get a list of what's available before signing up?

    Does anyone have Fibe? I keep seeing ads for it and I'm curious. Does it just give you more control over channel selection? We've got a bunch of channels that I'd rather not have but they're part of a package which is kind of how Videotron works.
    Yes, Videotron is Quebec only. My parents had that for many years and switched to Bell about a year ago. They say they are much happier with the way Bell does their pricing. They also bundle channels together but you have more options in terms of only paying for what you want.

    Fibe is just Bell's new Fibre Optic network. They used to run the signals over the copper phone lines. Initially it was sufficient to compete with the cable companies but the phone lines are too slow to handle today's high volume of data necessary to provide high quality images. My basic understanding with Fibre Optic is that it is way better than cable if you run the lines directly to the house. Bell is not planning to run their network to the house because it isn't necessary for them. All they need is a strong enough signal to compete with the cable companies. I don't think they have finished running their new network across Canada yet so before subscribing, you need to figure out how far your house is from the closest hub. I know in our area they were running the lines this past summer but I don't know how close they are to our house at this point. DH says he thinks they are "close enough" for our needs but I'm not 100% sure.

    We are considering switching to Bell fibe but I need to look closely at the pricing vs what we are currently paying with Rogers. Plus I need to figure out how far we are to the fibre optic network. I don't think the prices are that significantly different, it's more, which plan will meet your needs best.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neatfreak View Post
    Related: What kind of internet package are you all using for streaming content?
    The big issue in Canada is that most ISP's don't offer unlimited internet plans. They have no incentive to because of the lack of competition . The problem is that most streaming content is really designed for unlimited plans. I have a feeling that will change soon because in the past month Bell has just rolled out an unlimited plan that is not ridiculously expensive. I'm hoping that is a good sign because the current pricing plans are crazy, at least here in Ontario.
    Last edited by mikeys_mom; 03-11-2013 at 12:03 PM.
    DS - 10
    DD - 8
    Twin Girls - 6

  8. #8
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    Thanks for all the info, everyone!

    I will have to check into Fibe further. We redid our package with Videotron last year in order to pick out some a-la-carte channels, but we still get a bunch we don't want/need with our 1st level up add-on package and are not allowed to drop but I wonder if it could be better with another provider. Not necessarily cheaper, maybe just the same total cost, but just less wasteful and getting more bang for your buck, KWIM? Of course, we're bundled - cable/internet/phone so I'd have to check that out as well. We've had trouble with Bell over the years so I'm not sure if I want to do everything with them.

    Why is all this so complicated???
    DS, Summer '07

    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." ~Jack Layton

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