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Netflix competitor incoming, skinny basic rules kick in

(Courtesy: Netflix)

How you watch TV is about to see some big changes

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – How you watch TV is about to see some big changes, with a new streaming service appearing set to join the market.

Amazon looks set to launch its streaming service Prime — that’s according to comments made by a Bell executive at CRTC hearings this week.

Patrick O’Rourke with the tech website MobileSyrup.com says if you subscribe, you might not get the full experience however — similar to how Canadian Netflix doesn’t have all the same options as its American equivalent.

“There’s more parity but it’s still not quite there,” says O’Rourke of Netflix’s offering in Canada compared with the US. “I expect the same with Amazon Prime when it launches, but there will be originals, the same with Netflix originals available in every region.”

O’Rourke says this could add further pressure on Bell’s Crave TV — but says it could have a better chance of holding on than Rogers’ failed Shomi given that service is launching original content.

“There’s also an added value proposition with Crave because it gave users access to HBO’s back catalogue of content as well, so you’re not getting new episodes of Game of Thrones or more recent HBO shows, but if you want to go back and watch The Wire or Oz or something like that, for a relatively low monthly fee, you can legally stream all that content,” says O’Rourke.

This is also the first day where TV service providers must adhere to the new skinny basic regulations outlined by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

It was an idea most people loved in theory.

A cheap $25 basic package, with the option to add individual channels you actually watch.

But David Christopher with Open Media says providers appear reluctant to offer a la carte channels at a reasonable price.

“It’s ludicrous some of the prices that they’re charging for individual channels that clearly they’re not getting into the spirit of this new system at all,” says Christopher.

The CRTC has also been critical of how TV providers have responded to the new rules — even releasing a consumer guide recently which encourages you to shop around for the best price.