CRTC-Mandated “Basic Skinny” Cable Packages Surprise And Disappoint

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The new, cheaper options for cable subscribers have been revealed this week, and many customers are less than thrilled with what their $25 (or thereabouts) will get them. What seemed like a godsend when it was announced last year has, in preliminary reviews, turned into a bit of a boondoggle—many people are finding that their bills will go up, not down, if they opt in to the new “basic” packages, as the most in-demand channels are frequently spread across multiple small bundles. And as the CBC pointed out, many critics of the new rules foresaw this problem before any plans were even announced:

Some critics of the new regime say consumers may end up paying more for fewer choices, depending on how the cable companies bundle and price individual channels or packages of channels.

And some specialty broadcasters worry they’ll be left out in the cold if their signals aren’t bundled with popular or must-have choices.

On top of that, the $25/month minimum plan does not include hardware, which for some providers is required technology. Rogers customers, for instance, will need to add a $12.95 monthly fee for rental of their “Nextbox”. Bell subscribers will have to meet a significant minimum monthly cost in order to have their $15/month PVR fee waived, though there is the option of purchasing the unit at a cost of $499.

Worse yet are the one-time installation fees and lengthy contracts, which will lock customers in to specific plans for up to 2 years. Some providers are even requiring a bundled internet package. All these costs add up to hefty final bills, and customers who were hoping these additional regulations would offer reasons to keep the cord un-cut are being forced to reconsider their options.

Cable companies won’t necessarily have to offer “pick-and-pay”, or a la carte options until December. Until then, there’s always Netflix, Hulu, and the old fashioned antenna.


9 responses to “CRTC-Mandated “Basic Skinny” Cable Packages Surprise And Disappoint”

  1. Sara says:

    That really sucks! Wait! We can get Hulu in Canada!?! I thought only Americand could get it. That made my day!! I’m totally signing up.

    • Alexander says:

      Yes, and no. You’d have to find a VPN/proxy to watch Hulu.

    • JT says:

      Alexander is right. A proxy is the way to go, and you may even want to use Hulu gift cards as payment rather than a Canadian bank card. But it is possible!

  2. Maggie says:

    …..And Cable companies wonder why they loose so much customers.

    I have not have cable for years. Don’t miss it, don’t want it, never will have it again. Netflix all the way!

  3. Jason Reid says:

    Kodi all the way. Buy a device that runs Kodi, download free add-ons, bang! Better than netflix plus tons of live tv options. Want free HD local channels(cbc, global, city, ctv etc) buy an indoor antenna that sticks to your window for around $30 from amazon. I pay no monthly fees, everything is free and legal.

  4. ATSC-compatible HDTV’s can get over-the-air HD television signals (provided you connect a good-ol’-fashioned antenna to your CABLE IN coaxial input). Also, aside from NetFlix and other such monthly-subscription internet services, many Canadian broadcasters (Global, CTV, CBC, Comedy, etc.) have full-episodes of their popular shows available on their websites and mobile apps for streaming (unfortunately, the newest episode of any given series is generally only available for a week’s time, so this eliminates the ‘binge watching’ appeal of NetFlix, not to mention that these broadcast networks splice-in commercials into these programs that cannot be skipped).

  5. sandra5 says:

    Got a clearstream2 antennae for $120 from Best Buy,

    http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/antennas-direct-antennas-direct-clearstream-indoor-outdoor-digital-tv-antenna-c2-v-cjm-cn-c2-v-cjm-cn/10319740.aspx

    in Dec and Netflix for $10 month, and kissed cable bills goodbye.
    Do NOT MISS CABLE even a bit.
    Best Buy has a generous 30 return policy so if your antenna doesn’t work out to your liking you can exchange or return it.

  6. sandra5 says:

    Sorry meant to say 30 DAY return policy above:)

  7. Shin says:

    ATSC antennas are great for free TV and can get you what a skinny package will get or more depending on your location. Depending your distance from the transmission sources, it may be exceedingly difficult to aim for those signals without instrumentation. It is best in those situations to pay a professional installer to install an antenna.

    While Android boxes and Kodi are legal, much of what they are capable of streaming is not. While many people are using a curious definition of downloading to exclude streaming, its banning may be just one court case away. Either way, the people sourcing these streams are breaking the law and sources are disappearing all the time.

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