When it comes to entertainment in Canada, we’re so behind the times. We’re on par with the US when it comes to movie releases and TV scheduling, but any means to obtain said entertainment aside from the traditional hard copies is severely lacking. Typically, a service that is released in the US will make it to Canada no sooner than a year post launch, if at all. And even then, the amount of quality content is diminished and the price is normally jacked up. This past month has brought some goodness north of the border, but as usual, it’s not up to par with our neighbors from the south.

iTunes Movies

A few months back, iTunes Canada received TV shows. Which to date, is a laughing stock. It’s chalk full of purely can-con and I can honestly say I’ve heard of about 10% of the shows available… and I live in Canada! None of the shows I watch are available, so I’ve pretty much written off iTunes TV entirely.

iTunes Movies

When iTunes Movies in Canada was announced earlier this month, I was skeptical to say the least. Surprisingly, there’s a decent amount of content available from the get-go. But more importantly, there’s actually movies I would watch. There looks to be a couple dozen less than the US store to rent. And just over half of the total amount of movies available. The overall selection looks comparable to what you would see on the “previously viewed” wall at the local rental shop, with the odd “just released” title, but it’s an admirable start.

What got me really excited, is the pricing. New releases are $4.99/$5.99 for standard definition and HD, respectively. While “library” titles are $3.99/$4.99. Compare that to Canada’s only other form of multi-platform digital distribution ((Bell recently launched a digital distribution service for movies, but it uses Windows DRM, so is not compatible with Mac, iPods, etc.)) – Xbox Live Marketplace, which charges a ridiculous 440/580 MS points ($7.04/$9.27 CDN) for new releases, and 300/440 ($4.80/$7.04 CDN) for library titles and you’ll see why this is exciting.

iPhone Cometh!

Apple.ca

I wasn’t sure if the iPhone was ever going to make it to Canada. It just didn’t seem like Comwave was going to budge on the trademark dispute. Personally, I believe anyone who snatches “iAnything” should have their business licensed revoked, as it’s clearly an Apple thing. Regardless, they seem to have made an agreement and the hotness that is the iPhone is finally going to be available here in Canada on July 11.

The odd part of this whole deal, is how Rogers is handling it. Apple has made it quite clear that Rogers and Fido are carrying the iPhone in Canada, yet Rogers is playing coy. Someone thought it would be a great idea to go with a teaser campaign leading up to release of price plans. Despite Apple and all news outlets already having let the cat out of the bag. What makes them look even more lame though, is the fact that the silhouette they’re using on the teaser campaign is clearly not an iPhone.

Rogers.com

I’m definitely not getting my hopes up at this point for a couple reasons. I’m currently half way through a 3 year contract with Telus, and I’m waiting to see how Rogers is going to price the data plans. I have full faith in Rogers to completely blow the pricing as they have with this marketing opportunity, so until I’m proven wrong, I likely won’t be owning an iPhone any time soon.

20 Comments

Oh, you mean you don’t love awesome Canadian TV shows like Robson Arms, Whistler or Corner Gas? Haha.

I’ve been watching Canadian Idol the past couple nights and it seems like if you have an acoustic guitar in your hand, your automatically put through to the next round. It’s embarrassing to watch.

Oh, and speaking of Canada lacking services, SkypeIn would be great in the near future.

Good article, Matt.

Bah, I can’t stand Canadian television. Especially East Coast shows. Worst!

We don’t have SkypeIn? Didn’t know that. Add it to the pile!

I couldn’t agree with you more Matt, on all counts.

Regarding the iPhone 3G, I was (naively) hoping that I’d be able to purchase an iPhone 3G from the online store, drop the Rogers SIM from my 1st Gen. iPhone into it and go. I should have known better.

I’m honestly hoping that as the quality of wireless networks increases, that Apple will see the light and see there is just as much potential for revenue (if not more) to sell the iPhone at a slightly higher price and not have it tied to any mobile providers.

Because of this, I’ll not be upgrading my iPhone any time soon. I’m quite content with what I have for the time being. Even though I had been fully prepared to slap down some cash on July 11th for two new iPhone 3G’s (one for me, and one for Krista).

Regarding the iPhone 3G, I was (naively) hoping that I'd be able to purchase an iPhone 3G from the online store, drop the Rogers SIM from my 1st Gen. iPhone into it and go. I should have known better.

Why won’t that work? I don’t know much about the whole unlocking iPhones for Canada scene.

From my understanding (correct me if I’m wrong) is that, at least in the US, the 3G iPhone is only being sold by AT&T with a contract. Meaning you don’t get the phone until you sign it. Is that right?

James, from what I understand from the little information we have from Rogers so far, you’re correct.

I wasn’t entirely clear in my comment. What I meant was that I was hoping to purchase a phone directly from Apple, and not have to deal with any Rogers contract bullshit.

i’ve have a first gen. iPhone that i picked up in the US a few months ago, working through Fido, and i haven’t had any problems. although a friend of mine ended up with a $5000 data bill after his second month of service (we bought phones at the same time), because Fido decided to change his "unlimited surfing" plan to some other expensive data package without letting him know. that’s right! $5000! Fido realized that there was an enormous loophole in their bargain data features and cut him off without any notification. he was able to talk and reason his way out of the bill, thankfully.

all that being said, i don’t plan on picking up a 3G iPhone any time soon. i’m going to wait until Rogers/Fido can start providing decent data plans before i feel the need for the switch. luckily, i was able to pick up a sim card through Fido without signing a contract, so i’m currently in what i like to call "cell phone freedom-ville". i’ve got an awesome phone without being tied down, and have been pretty successful at using unlocked wi-fi networks for data related use in the city for the last couple of months.

iPhone FTW!

$5000! That’s insane! I heard stories of people getting nailed with $300-$400 bills the first month from data transfer fees, but $5000?

In the UK we have a problem where networks don’t clearly inform people of overseas data charges.

I saw a show the other night where some poor son of a bitch got hit with a £9000 data bill from VodaFone for browsing the web and playing game online from Sweeden or something.

To be honest, it’s not like the US has it much better. More options avenues for digital delivery, maybe, but the choices almost always look like a bargain bin.

Television is actually in a much better state that movies, it seems, with sites like Hulu and ABC’s streaming of new episodes.

Honestly, most of my media arrives via my DVR or bittorrent. There’s just not a good enough balance of selection and price to bother with most of the other options.

I was taking those streaming services into account as well. Hulu, ABC, Disney, etc… none of them are available in Canada.

Currently, all TV my wife and I watch is downloaded. I can’t stand the HD PVRs that are available here, and fast forwarding through commercials still sucks. Bittorrent is throttled pretty bad by all the major ISPs here as well, so I stick to newsgroups.

The data plan is what I am holding out for also. We all knew we were getting the iPhone sooner or later, but what use is an iPhone if the data plan sucks, which knowing Rogers is a very high probability. Fingers crossed.

Man, if you think that Canada is behind you should take a look at Poland.

No iTunes, no movie rentals, no Xbox Live.

iPhone 3G on 11 July? Nope. End of summer if nothing goes wrong.

Seriously – you are a lucky guy 😉

Yeah, I know other countries are far worse off than Canada. I guess it’s just really frustrating here since we’re so damn close to the States. We see all the commercials and hear about all these great services, but can’t make use of them. Or when they do come, they’re garbage in comparison.

My thoughts exactly. That and ‘technically’ you don’t own the iPhone until your contract is up. So, if you decide to cancel, you’re shit out of luck because you have to pay the cancellation fee, as well as return the phone for a partial refund.

So yeah I’m still stoked about the 3G.

I’m quite certain that purchasing a phone off the apple site should work but you will have to have it unlocked. (there are people that will do this on craigslist, so I’m told)

But as far as the plans go…

I remember hearing that another (other than the trademark thing) of the big reasons the iPhone took so long to come to canada is that Steve Jobs and Ted Rogers were butting heads over the price of the plans and what they consisted of. The argument being that Jobs loved unlimited plans and Rogers, well, doesn’t….. I’m going to hope that Mr. Jobs got the best of this battle and beat Teddy Boy down.

Canada really does suck in comparison to many countries when it comes to voice & data plans.

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