Change is in the Air: Netflix Officially Launches in Canada

by Jordan Richardson on September 23, 2010

Netflix officially launched in Canada and a free one-month trial is available to kick things off for new users. As I reported in July, the Netflix launch in Canada involves streaming movies and TV shows and not the mail order delivery service currently offered by With a small hiccup regarding the use of actors posing as “fans” of the service, the doors opened and the wave of change continued to roll for Canada’s sick-of-the-norm consumers.

My wife and I have already signed up for our free trial period and, judging from the stream quality and movie selection so far, have all but decided to continue the service for as long as it suits us. The normal service plan is as advertised at $7.99 a month for unlimited streaming of movies and television shows.

The selection is impressive and HD streaming has been available on everything we’ve watched so far (which, for interest’s sake, has been Satoshi Kon’s Paprika and John Carpenter’s classic The Thing). As mentioned, the picture quality is crisp and the stream runs smoothly after an extremely brief period of buffering the content. We have been streaming on the laptop and have connected the laptop to our TV using a simple HDMI cable. We have also requested the disc that allows us to stream content directly from our Nintendo Wii. Similar discs are available to enable streaming content from PS3 and Xbox units.

My wife and I are far from the only Canadians ditching traditional cable packages as of late. In fact, it’s becoming more and more common to see consumers dropping cable altogether in favour of viewing their favourite programs on the internet. With Netflix, more doors are open and the entertainment value for the price is hard to beat. Add to the mix the lack of commercials and the ability to control when and how you want to view content and the cable companies have a heck of a battle to fight if they want to start getting consumers back in traditional plans.

To illustrate just how far the idea of internet television is going, my parents are even considering dropping their cable plan in favour of an internet-based entertainment line-up. My parents have, to date, never had a computer in the home, but the lack of selection and the cost has got them seriously reconsidering standard cable. They are not alone.

So while Shaw tries to convince the CRTC that its Canwest purchase is essential, consumers are moving on. The carriers are attempting to head this whole thing off, with Rogers announcing that they were lowering usage limits right around the time Netflix decided it was bringing its streaming content to Canada. Coincidence? Hardly.

The fact of the matter is that the launch of Netflix and the continued search by consumers for other methods of acquiring entertainment, whether through things like Apple TV and Google’s offering or just a simple HDMI hook-up, threaten the status quo. Without significant offerings for consumers, Shaw and Co. will struggle in markets they used to own. True choice isn’t coming from a loosening of regulatory strings or a proclamation from the Throne; it’s coming from fed-up consumers taking to the internet and to other means to entertain themselves in ways they see fit.

As with all historical examples of significance, true change doesn’t come from the top. In Canada’s telecommunications sector, change will come from consumers, even consumers like my parents, making demands for better service and better products. The long-predicted exodus from cable companies is just the beginning.

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Matt Klassen September 23, 2010 at 5:09 pm

When I saw this on TV I thought a noted cinephile like yourself would be happy 🙂

awnings york pa January 3, 2011 at 9:00 am

That’s great to know about. However I have heard people facing many problems with it. I am thus sticking toi which I am currently using. It has amazing combo deals to offer and a huge collection.

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