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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's been a long time coming, but Netflix finally launched a Canadian service. They don't seem to be mailing DVDs out. They're focusing on video on demand: all you can eat for $8 a month, downloaded to your videogame console.

Need I say that could potentially rock the world of television? You have to watch Hulu on your computer screen, which is fine for college students but not so great for families. But if I can watch my TV on demand -- why the hell do I need to pay $80 a month for cable? Plus $25 a month for Zip.ca to mail me DVD's?

As a consumer -- yay! As a content creator -- yikes!

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8 Comments:

I've been waiting a long time as well for this, but two issues cropped up as I looked over the netflix.ca site.

1. Selection. pretty weak right now.
2. Time to release. If you're lucky enough to find the show you want to watch, you're likely going to have to wait until the show season comes out on DVD before they release it. It's more than a patience game; if you want to join the water cooler conversation and talk about the show with your friends, you can't really do that through Netflix.

In Canada, it's more of a gap filler at this point. The shows you didn't watch when they were on the air, or catching up with a show that you joined in the third season. Movies that you've kind of heard of but passed by them at the video store, but it's raining outside and you're tired and you can always turn it off after 15 minutes and, oh, what the hell, I'll watch Good Luck, Chuck again.

But I applaud the change, and add my voice to the minions yelling at our cable companies to start innovating and leading instead of fighting and bleeding.

By Blogger beingbrad, at 1:31 PM  

It is no coincidence that some of the Internet providers are cracking down on the bandwidth limitations. Their "Fair Use" policies were antiquated already and many are actually lowering the maximums allowed before they will throttle the feed.

The baseline bandwidth for a wired house that wants to cut the tethers of cable TV would be more reasonably estimated as 10Mbps for surfing and then another 10Mbps for each (highly compressed) HD feed coming into the house... and two simultaneous feeds could be the minimum for a household. While many countries with a greater population density (easier to wire up) can deliver multiples of that 30Mbps feed, Canada is technologically crippled in this area.

The data cap is even worse. If you want to sit down and watch House and Lie to Me while your significant other watches the two hour Dancing with the Stars results show... you've downloaded about ten times your monthly limits and somewhere in there your provider will have throttled you back to a bandwidth that is unable to sustain even a single SD video stream.

Our infrastructure is just not able to carry this and it won't be for years. Even a small audience show like Little Mosque on the Prairie would bring the Canadian Internet to its knees if all the viewers decided to watch it online on the same day it aired.

Dedicating our entire Internet system to television would not be able to replace a fraction of the cable and satellite delivery system. The one feed to many of the traditional delivery mediums is several thousand times more efficient than the one feed per viewer structure of the Internet.

The primacy of content delivery via the Internet is inevitable... but not imminent. When a true >25Mbps feed with >1TB monthly limits can be had for less than $100 per month by the majority of Canadians- that will be the inflection point. The backbone infrastructure of the Internet will probably have to grow by at least a factor of ten to accommodate that.

By Blogger Clint Johnson, at 1:49 PM  

Just had to say that I loved your book, man. One of the building blocks that made me a better writer. Just discovered your site. Hope to meet you around town.

Todd Klick
writerwrench.com

By Blogger Todd, at 5:07 PM  

Getting 1g fibre optics at our business as
one of only 2 pilot projects for Shaw in
Western Canada.
Went to a presentation for the project
and downloaded a 9mg song to my ITunes
off my IPhone via a WiFI that they had set
up from the fibre optics in less than the time
I could read the progress bar. Really,
less than a second. I am about
as ignorant as they come when it has to
do with tech, but this was impressive.
Is fibre the future?

By Blogger fredr, at 9:18 PM  

I don't think we content providers need to feel threatened. Netflix is potentially one more outlet for our material.

Of course they want the major movies and network series like everybody else and are in bidding wars for that stuff.

But their library is filled with a lot of indy material and I doubt they'll turn down the chance to offer something exclusively if its good enough.

By Blogger jimhenshaw, at 3:38 PM  

If you are looking for an online dvd rental along with game rental online, then look no further more. DVDLink.ca is one of the best option for you. DVDLink.ca has a big collection of movies and games for PS3, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and it has got the finest variety of blu ray movies. Plus, they are continously increasing the collection each and every day.

By Blogger Gursewak, at 11:45 PM  

In US here & just got a TiVo that can access Netflix. They only have certain shows/movies available for streaming. The rest of their catalog is available by DVD delivery.

I love the streaming capability, though. Yeah, can't watch current shows or movies, but it's great for catching up on stuff I've missed, re-watching shows and watching shows like Doctor Who that were cut for commercials in the US.

TiVo integrates Netflix right into the search function for broadcast TV, Amazon rentals and so on and so forth. There's not much of a learning curve for people upgrading to the TiVo that has this capability.

If Netflix started streaming current or even just week old TV shows, I would cancel my cable TV subscription in a flash!

And oh yeah, we go through DSL with approx 5mb download/.64mb upload bandwidth. Hiccups occur infrequently during streaming HD, but we only have one TV in the home and live in Chicago. The infrastructure might just be in place for consistent bandwidth compared to less dense areas.

By Blogger The_Lex, at 4:26 PM  

I had to start renting a wireless modem from Shaw for three bucks a month and bought one of the new Apple TV units ($119) and my initial experience with Netflix is fantastic. I cancelled my Zip.ca membership and I expect to no longer borrow DVDs from Edmnton Public Library. I've had some Netflix system interruptions but it's great to be able to select a movie and watch it instantly (well, almost...). (Although some of my content choices are unavailable (eg I wish they had the Foyles War series), I'm very happy with what's available. Only a couple of Rogers video stores remain in Edmonton and I won't be surprised to hear Zip.ca goes under thanks to this tech change.

By Blogger Don B Thomas, at 5:37 AM  

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