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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Is Netflix Canada Worth it?

Posted by Tim Stobbs on February 23, 2012

So after hearing about Netflix Canada off and on for a while I decided to look into the service a few weeks ago.  I realized I really didn’t know much of anything about the service, so here is the deal. First off it offers unlimited downloads of steaming movies and TV shows and you can watch them on a variety of devices: like your computer, iPod Touch, some Blu-ray players and even stream it through your gaming system (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3).  Netflix Canada also has a free month trial to make sure you actually like it and then the cost if you keep it is only $7.99/month. Yet like all things there are good things and bad things about the service.

The Bad

The most important thing to note about Netflix Canada is it is NOT the same as the US version.  The selection is a lot less (I can’t recall the source, but I believe the Canada version has about 7000 movies and TV shows, the the US has like over 20,000).  You won’t find any new releases on the service and the coverage for TV shows is very hit or miss.  So know this going in and I highly recommend the free trial to search the system for what you may want to watch.

The other bad thing about the service is if you have caps on your bandwidth downloads from your internet service provider you could end up breaking them easily and paying a lot more in extra fees depending on how much you download.  In my particular case, this isn’t a problem.  I do have truly unlimited downloads from the internet.

Then lastly, your device to stream may very well limit your image quality on your TV screen, so if you have a 720p TV and you hook up your 480p output from your Wii you are going to notice a massive drop in the image quality. I’ve seen some reviews that say the Apple TV is perfect to avoid this, but I’ve yet to test it out myself so I can’t confirm any specific devices.

The Good

What somewhat surprised me about Netflix Canada was they have an entire section called: Netflix Kids, which is like crack to small children.  They have a good selection of kids shows to keep the kids happy in case they are sick over the weekend (like I just had). Also you can stream to multiple devices at once, my kids were watching a show on the one TV while I watched a different movie on my laptop.

Netflix does carry some odd titles, and I’m saying this as a good thing.  If you like documentaries, you will likely enjoy the service as it carries ones in some cases that I’ve heard off, but never seen anywhere else.  Or older movies that you wanted to see at the time, but completely forgot about.  I have an old list that I’m currently inputting and more often than not they have it. Also if you can I would suggest setting up the rating system, so you can input ratings on movies you have already watched to help Netflix make suggestions on shows you may enjoy.

Let’s face the facts to that the real plus of this service is the price.  $8/month is dirt cheap (as long as you don’t get nailed with extra data charges).

The Result

In our particular case, I can see us keeping Netflix Canada.   At $8/month it is great value for entertainment, despite it’s obvious issues.  Perhaps the only thing I would like to do is test some other devices for streaming to find out which works the best, since my Wii is somewhat limited.  While some people might hate this service based on what they watch, I actually have been enjoying it a lot.

Comments

19 Responses to “Is Netflix Canada Worth it?”
  1. Adrian Crook says:

    With a bit of fiddling (unblock-us.com will guide you through) you can get US Netflix in Canada. Works great for me.

  2. Poor Student says:

    I have never used NetFlix, not really my thing, but I have heard nothing but bad things. Of course all the people who say the bad things still have the service so it obviously has some good side. In the future I might consider Netflix but right now I am fine.

  3. funkright says:

    tried it. cancelled it. not worth it yet. if it compared to the US version (w/o having to fiddle with some other site), well, we would try it again.

  4. Kevin says:

    I have been using Netflix for a while and I call it a layer on my TV Stack.

    I cancelled cable and currently use a HD Antenna (First layer of my TV Stack)
    TV Channels like Global,CTV and CityTV provide on demand content for some current TV shows on their websites. I do not get all the channels from my antennae, so I use the on demand content to supplement.(layer 2)
    Netflix is layer 3 of my stack. I agree that the Netflix Canadian content is not great; however depending on your taste in TV and movies you will find something. I have come across some good movies and I am able to watch some TV series I have heard about. Netflix does give you the option to select from low(non HD quality) to high bandwidth(HD quality) when you stream. I read some time ago that Netflix promised better things for Netflix Canada. Despite some shortcomings I like Netflix.

  5. Traciatim says:

    To address some of the bad points, number one is not a Netflix Problem but a licensing problem. Blame the CRTC.

    The second is not a Netflix problem but an ISP problem. If you have caps that are going to be a problem by streaming a few movies then you need to move your dollars to another service provider. When the money starts moving, so will the service.

    The third thing is not a Netflix problem but and end user device issue. I’ve found the Wii output to be mostly good anyway, and only on a few cases have we hooked the laptop up to the TV via HDMI to get 720p content. Even then, you actually don’t notice that huge of a difference in actually watching the movie. Sure if you pause frames ant flip back and forth you can notice the difference, but with the way the compression works and the non digital output of the Wii it seems to almost look better in some cases depending on the content. This may be teh way the player and the video card on the laptop stretching the 720P signal full screen to output 1080 instead . . . who knows.

    So realistically all of the problems you cite are not netflix problems at all, so you should stop thinking about it and get enjoying movies. Since when did a movie have to be out less than 4 months to be entertaining? I’m sure in 7000 movies you can find something to watch almost anytime you want. By the time you make it through a bunch of them, new ones will be on there anyway.

    Also teh delay isn’t really a netflix problem either, it’s also a licensing thing. They could have the content on Netflix the day it leaves theaters if movie makers would allow it, and I’m sure they would do it in an instant if they could.

  6. Marianne says:

    We do the same as Kevin: antenna, TV channels on the Internet and Netflix. We loved Netflix especially at the beginning. We loved watching documentaries and there was a goldmine on there. Once we had watched the bulk of those we were considering cancelling because we couldn’t find much else to watch but then they started adding all sorts of new content. It seems that they’ve been listening to the complaints and have started to add some really great shows and movies. It is also awesome for kids! When my husbands little brother and sister come over they are often bored because they are used to cable at home but with Netflix they can always find something good to watch.

  7. Canadian Dream says:

    Thanks for the feedback everyone on your experience. I did realize that the image quality was actually a bit of my fault. Thanks to Traciatim for your input which lead me to find the issue.

    I didn’t know that Netflix has a lower image quality due to ISP caps, which you can increase the image quality by changing your account settings. Well I have to say after just one show last night, that yep that makes a difference if you go from ‘good’ to ‘best’.

    Tim

  8. Jacq says:

    I’ve had netflix for quite some time now – about a month after it came out in Canada. I really enjoy the British TV shows and older movies. I watch on average about 10 hours of TV and movies a month on it and that’s 100% of my TV viewing time and has been for years so there’s always something for me to watch that I haven’t seen. My youngest kid likes it as well and hasn’t even turned on the TV to watch cable for the last few months. It’s on my to do list to cancel cable. And keep checking back for Season 4 of Breaking Bad. ;-)

  9. Matt says:

    I’m very pleased with Netflix Canada. The selection is good enough for me. That may sound like a downer (or a self limit), but I realize that I really don’t care about watching shows as they air. I hate reality TV, and I don’t talk about TV around the water cooler at work. I hear about good shows, and then watch them, one episode a night (while eating dinner). Almost every show I care about is on Netflix (and the few that aren’t, well there are ways to get them).

    I use an Xbox360 (you need the $60/year Live Gold membership in addition to your netflix account) and it streams in nice high quality. A PS3 also works well (better actually, since you don’t need the stupid annual fee). I’ve got my parents using it netflix now, and they’ll be buying an $80 western digital or Roku streaming box from the local computer shop (not FS or BB).

    I live in Ontario, and use TekSavvy for my internet. 12mb cable connection and 300gb cap for $45/month (after tax). In comparison, Rogers charges $10 more and gives you 60gb. If you are using Netflix, you owe it to yourself to investigate local non-telco ISPs. I never worry about my cap, and I always stream at top quality.

    I have an HD antenna fr local TV, but honestly only use it to watch hockey.

    I’ve got friends who spend $200/month between internet and cable. I enjoy my TV experience every bit as much, and I spend $60/month (including xbox membership).

  10. Johan says:

    DEFINITELY worth it. 7 or 8 bucks a month? Well worth that expense. I cannot vouch at all for cable, or satellite or anything else. They all suck imo. I haven’t had them for years because im not paying 20-40 bucks for garbage tv. Then if you “upscale” you get 5x the garbage for 100 bucks…with a few decent shows thrown in. No thanks.
    Netflix is the only thing I can actually say I’m glad I pay for it. If they get too expensive or run out of good movies and tv, you can always cancel easily.
    I wish more companies followed netflix lead.

  11. Cable Guy (JK) says:

    Netflix has saved me a lot of money in a couple of ways and improved my internet experience.

    Thanks to Shaw, I have been able to tailor my service bundle to save 20%. First, I upped my Internet speed from 25mbs to 50mbs with a 400 GB monthly cap (I use less than 100GB per month even with Netflix). Second, I cut out a bunch of cable channels I wasn’t really using, keeping the basics and kids’ stuff.

    The result is that we watch even less TV than before because we so enjoy watching what we want, when we want. There’s always something interesting on Netflix. Their recommendation system is quite good at suggesting things to you based on your past interests.

    One additional savings is that we don’t see as many ads. If you have kids, you know that most of the things they ask for come from the ads they see on TV. My little guy is asking for a lot less junk than he used to. And I don’t have to say no so often.

  12. Billy Bean says:

    6-12 months ago, Netflix’s library sucked. However, they have added significantly more content since then, and are now worth $8/month. Hopefully they continue to improve.

  13. Sheamus Patt says:

    I just bought a Samsung Blu-Ray with wifi access and Netflix capability, and it works pretty good. I’ve had occasional network issues but I blame my router (tends to shut down wireless occasionally). Other than that, the picture quality has been pretty good. So far it looks like my 60GB plan with Rogers will handle the strain, as well (I’ve been watching about 2 hours on Netflix a day since I signed up).

    I wasn’t aware that we don’t get the same shows as the U.S., which makes it even more puzzling that they haven’t offered more British dramas. I’m a fan of murder mysteries e.g. Rosemary & Thyme or Sherlock Holmes (the Jeremy Brett series, not the neo-Holmes series with Benedict Cumberbatch). I would have thought these old shows would have been inexpensive acquisitions for Netflix Canada, but there’s little like this.

  14. Joshy says:

    I stream netflix using Apple TV and the quality is great. However, I am not very happy with the selection of titles. I hope they add more recent release titles (say one year old). I am running out of selections to watch and if they do not add more titles, I may just have to unsubscribe.

  15. Brad says:

    I dont think it makes sense. My Internet bill would be through the roof which defeats the whole purpose.

  16. Tim Stobbs says:

    @ Billy,

    I agree, they seem to be rolling out several good title over the last few weeks. I hope it continues.

    Tim

  17. Ralph Billings says:

    We live in a rural area and only ISP is Xplornet. We are paying $50.00 per month for 3mbs but in reality are lucky if we get 500kbs to 1.5mbs. No cap on service. What is minimum speed required for NetFlix?

    Our TV is 34″ HD with excellent resolution. We subscribe to Bell Satellite TV at a whoping $120.00 per month. Favorite programs are CNN TCM Silver Screen Classics and the wife’s Young and Restless. We do love our PVR and tend to watch mostly pre recorded programs. Also have an External HD with about 200 previously recorded movies etc.

    We also have a 40′ tower with rotor and amplifier and can receive all Free to Air channels.

    Thinking of cancelling the Bell Satellite service and getting a new DVD that receives NetFlix.

    Comments would be appreciated, especially as it applies to minimum ISP speed.

    W

  18. Traciatim says:

    Ralph, I was under the impression that although there are no ‘caps’ per say with xplornet that if you are using lots of bandwidth in a certain time frame your connection gets throttled to near unreasonable levels.

    For one I would like to point out that you can try netflix free and just cancel if it doesn’t work out.

    Netflix does have quality settings where you can set it to ‘good’ (0.3GB/hour), ‘Better’ (0.7GB/hour), or ‘Best’ (1GB/hour for regular, and 2.3GB/hour for HD). If you do the math this translates to a requirement of about:

    700Kbps
    1.7Mbps
    2.4Mbps
    6Mbps (HD on Best)

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