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September 25, 2010

Netflix comes to Canada!

Yes, I know this announcement is a few days old, but I've been immersing myself in it so that I can comment on it, rather than just announcing it.

As of Wednesday, Netflix is now available in Canada, but only for streaming video. They will not be offering the "mailing you DVDs that you have to mail back" option up here. And really, with the way streaming video works nowadays, how many people will really mind that?

For $7.99/month (a dollar cheaper than in the US, and even cheaper still considering the Canadian dollar still isn't quite up to par with the US dollar), you have unlimited streaming access to the entire Netflix library on your PC, iPhone/iPad, PS3, Wii and eventually Xbox 360 (I'm assuming that will be after the Fall Xbox Live Dashboard update, but that's just a guess), as well as wireless-capable televisions.

Even better is that you get a free month to try out the service to see if it's something that you're interested in. I'm not sure if that's an introductory offer because of the Canadian launch, or if it will always be that way ( has an introductory offer as well, so it may very well be permanent), but if you're Canadian and you just *might* be interested, now is the time to try it out. That offer may not last.

We signed up Wednesday night, even though we generally don't watch that many movies or TV shows, just to see what it offered and whether we would be interested in it. So far, so good.

I've watched a couple of episodes from Season 1 of the BBC Robin Hood series, as well as started In the Name of the King: a Dungeon Siege Tale. Yes, I said "started," as I haven't been able to finish it yet. (And it's a *really* bad movie, but kinda/sorta in an enjoyable way)

But that's the cool thing about streaming. If you go back to a movie or show that you started watching, it will allow you to resume where you left off. You don't have to try and remember where you were at.

I realize this is probably old-hat to all of you American Netflix users, but it's very cool that they finally made it up here. Will this threaten Zip, the Canadian Netflix equivalent, that started doing the "by mail" DVD distribution method up here after Netflix pioneered it? Zip has supposedly announced they'll be offering streaming service soon as well. Zip's current price of $10.95/month for 1 DVD out at a time (higher cost for more DVDs) will have to change to compete with Netflix once Zip goes online.

It will be interesting to see.

Of course, the Canadian Netflix launch didn't go off without some hitches.

It closed down part of John St. in downtown Toronto and attracted a crowd to the launch event, but neglected to say that many of those in the crowd were actors paid to be there.

An information sheet handed out to the paid extras said: “Extras are to look really excited, particularly if asked by media to do any interviews about the prospect of Netflix in Canada.”

After word of the ruse spread on Twitter, Netflix apologized and said the extras should not have been talking to reporters.

A spokesman for Netflix said the handout for extras was required to obtain a film permit for the launch. The instruction sheet referred to Wednesday’s event as a “corporate documentary.”

“I was unaware that script was handed out to extras and that was not supposed to happen,” said Steve Swasey, vice president of corporate communications for Netflix. “Some people got carried away and it’s embarrassing to Netflix.”

Another thing to be cautious of. Many Canadian ISPs have download limits, which will incur charges if you exceed them (we pay for having a greatly increased download allowance for Shaw). You should definitely watch out for that.

"Hastings said a good ballpark figure is one hour of video equals 1 gigabyte."

Judging by our use of it so far, I have a feeling we will remain Netflix customers, though only time will tell.

I'm just glad that we Canadians have options now.


  1. - uwe boll sucks so one must keep that in mind when choosing a movie of his.

    the wife

  2. You guys just got Netflix?!?! I can't believe you were able to survive this long without it! That's what you get for living in Canada lol Well hooray for Netflix finally coming out there. It's seriously the best thing ever!!! :)

  3. Yeah, it is definitely pretty cool! Though we haven't used it that much this week. Too busy.


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