The Future of TV Isn’t Anytime Soon

There’s a rumour going around that HBO will be launching its new HBO Now with Apple as a partner, via the Apple TV. This is exactly what cord-cutters have been waiting for: access to premium content without a cable or satellite subscription. And it’s exactly what the cable companies have been dreading. But it’s not all roses for cord cutters, and it won’t be for a while.

I want to cut cable, but I watch HBO shows and live sports, and I often like to watch things when they’re on – like the Oscars, certain TV shows, and local news. Netflix, Crave, Showmi and all the other on-demand services don’t solve those problems. They’re great for legacy content, and original shows (especially Netflix), but they’re not enough for a lot of folks. Continue reading “The Future of TV Isn’t Anytime Soon”

Eastlink vs. Aliant, Part One: Local, Bundling, and Contracts

In Halifax, there are two major players when it comes to home internet and television services: EastLink and Bell Aliant. There are a few other options, but this series of posts will concentrate on the two main providers in the area.

Both companies offer packages that include high-speed internet, home telephone, and television services with HD and PVR options. They both offer various packages that contain different internet speeds, channel packages, calling features, and so forth. And, confusingly, both offer packages that are more and less expensive than a similar package offered by the other. So, which one should you choose? Unfortunately, it’s not a simple decision. Over the next four posts, I’ll take a look at all the options and hopefully by the end, it’ll be just a bit easier to make that call.

For perspective, I spoke with several people from the region, as well as representatives from both companies – Jill Laing from EastLink, and Christine Manore from Bell Aliant.

The four parts will be:

  • Part One – Local, Bundling, and Contracts
  • Part Two – Television Service
  • Part Three – Internet Service
  • Part Four – Conclusion

So, let’s get started.

Continue reading “Eastlink vs. Aliant, Part One: Local, Bundling, and Contracts”

Netflix and Canadian ISPs

When Netflix launched in Canada last fall, it landed with a bit of a whimper. The selection of titles was minuscule, especially compared to the US version. There was some confusion with the Wii player – at first you had to order a disc that would need to remain in your Wii if you wanted to access Netflix, but before mine arrived in the mail there was an app in the Wii store. Finally, there were some streaming and quality issues out of the gate.

Within a couple of weeks though the selection began to improve, and it is now expanding each day, adding newer content like current TV series Mr. Sunshine, hit movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and some great archives of TV shows like Arrested Development.

I complained about the quality at first, and spent a few minutes on the phone with some very helpful Netflix people. They explained that the streaming quality slowly improves while you watch, and usually within five minutes Netflix figures out the optimal settings and you will then be served the HD feed if your connection is fast enough. When you first start up a movie, the quality isn’t great so it may be a bit of a turn off. Rest assured that most of the titles do substantially increase in quality as you watch.


Continue reading “Netflix and Canadian ISPs”