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Looks like we here in Canada that subscribe to either Super Channel or TMN or both will not be getting Avatar anytime soon because both companies refuse to sign a deal with Fox for some reason. Super Channel has been purchasing individual titles lately but most are DTV Fox releases with a few theatrical films thrown in. I just received an email back from Super Channel telling me they have no intention on going after and showing Avatar on there service and TMN(Astral) refuse to go after any Fox titles what so ever so we are left out on seeing Avatar and a lot of other Fox theatrical films again because both services refuse to make a deal with 20th Century Fox. I don't have a lot of spendable cash and rely on SC and TMN for all my movie viewing and it pains me to see both are not making any effort it seems to sign one of the biggest studios in Hollywood. Avatar premiers in the US on HBO on Nov 6th but we here in Canada are left out in the cold and will have to cough up even more cash to rent it or purchase it which some of us are unable to do. sad.....
 

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Is it because SC and TMN refuse to sign with Fox or the other way around? Some studios do not distribute all their material in Canada for various reasons. The same terms are certainly not available to Canadian services as US services (such as HD title availability.) OTOH, an unlimited DVD rental service can be purchased for about the cost of both TMN and SC.
 

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My guess is Astral doesn't want to pay what Fox is asking.
 

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On the other hand we watched Shutter island weeks ago on TMn and theres still no sign of it on US TV. So sometimes the Cdn stations get big movies first!
 

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My Kid recorded on Bell PPV in HD, I have protected it and can watch it anytime. Their are sources out on the net/rental/torrent to get that movie.....
 

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@recon, you are totally misunderstanding the topic at hand..Were talking about Super Channel and TMN not PPV, torrents or any other part of your post. READ POST #1 FULLY
 

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I agree Movie Central/The Movie Network seem to do a very mediocre job of things, and appear to be staffed by people who barely care about movies.

From bizarre cropping, to total aparthy and excusing-making over poor audio, to blatantly inept scheduling... it's an overpriced mess.

I sometimes imagine what it would be like if they employed some actual film fans. Would we see improvements, or would those employees eventually be worn down by the MC/TMN habit of putting out the weakest effort possible. You know, these are the ignoramuses who often schedule the same movie to play twice in a row, then not have any re-airings for the following 3 weeks. Or who think it's OK to broadcast a blockbuster movie with only stereo sound. Or worse, surround channels only. Or no sound. Or who don't take the time to send correct program schedules to Rovi.

I dream that someday one of these companies would accidentally get a CEO who was actually a film enthusiast... someone who would clean house of the lazy and ineffective management, and recruit and promote people who actually take some pride in the service they sell. Who would find like minded people who strive to get the best films, with the proper audio formats and the proper aspect ratios.

In the meantime, customers have a choice: stay honest and legal and pay top dollar for the legacy cable/satellite, or go to the grey market, and streaming options. As you can probably tell, I've elected to stay honest. But that doesn't mean I don't have to be happy about paying good money for a crummy product.
 

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I fully agree with you Neil. To pay big bucks and get nothing in return was never my bag.
 

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I did not see it in the theater but on HBO US I thought it was kind of crap (just my opinion) probably should have seen it in the theater or at least blu-ray.

@Bayguy - Shutter Island premiered on Epix over 5 weeks ago
 

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That's the nice thing about having competition. It expands choices and improves availability of products and services. IMHO, TMN and MC act too much like a cartel. SC looked promising at first but obviously hasn't gone to great lengths to obtain top grade content. Is it time for another service to step in?
 

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Netflix is that competition. If a distributor can't sell to MC/TMN instead of being SOL like they used to be, they'll sell to Netflix. (Sorry I'm leaving SC out of the argument.)
 

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Netflix is that competition.
I'd like to think so. I wonder when the CRTC is going to stop ISPs from limiting competition from companies like Netflix.
 

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I think we (as a society) have some major hurdles in front of us. This issue of Premium Movie channels is just opening the huge can of worms.

We've had mass mainstream adoption of this internet thing for about 15 years now - yet I think we haven't really worked out how we going to properly use it and regulate it and we're about to run into some major issues with it.

As the cable companies get reduced to being simply ISPs, Telco's become simply mobile data providors because of VOIP (aka ISPs), and even as we loose the need for networks (studios can cut out the middle man and sell directly to internet devices) we have some major players and big big companies that are not going to be happy. For example Shaw could loose their cable business and their need for the TV channels they just bought. They're not going to take that lightly and are going to fight back with data caps and packet prioritization. Net neutrality could become a big issue. And will the CRTC help us with this or cripple us by protecting the big companies? (Probably the later.)

None of that's going to happen over night but I'm saying that the ball is starting to roll on it. With big companies at stake none of that's going to happen easily. Look at the issues with GoogleTV and the networks blocking them in the US. That's just the beginning of the fighting.

Back to the post heading "no Avatar" on MC/TMN. Maybe in the future we won't need MC/TMN. All studios could sell the rights directly to Netflix. Or even cut out Netlix. Maybe each major studio provides a mobile app (say like a Roku app for example) and we the customers pay a monthly fee to each studio to keep the app going. Ditto for HBO so I can watch their shows. GlobalTV can become a news only channel also selling to me directly through the intenet. Or maybe someone will come up with a cheaper internet friendly local news show and GlobalTV will be gone.

So in 5 years or 10 years time will we even have to worry about whether Avatar 2 or 4 or whatever it will be gets picked up by MC/TMN?
 

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I think you offer some very keen insights about how protective and defensive some big powerful companies will be about the coming changes. I have a feeling change will take longer than you as expecting. I know many people without STB, without PVR, without Netflix and without HD even.

My prediction is somewhat cynical, and that is that more regulation or intervention will have the effect of even more reducing, blocking, or downgrading content for Canadians.

I picture a simpler day when Canadians can simply subscribe to something like DirectTV, and get so much more content at higher quality for a fraction of the price.

Of course I would still want the good aspects that are a byproduct of the highly protectionist Canadian monopoly structure of today... things like wall-to-wall CFL and Olympic coverage, unique Canadian content like your Corner Gas and your 22 Minutes type of programming.

I sometimes wonder how it would work if suddenly overnight my TV bill was chopped from $150/month to $100, and from that was split a portion of $75 to provide a bountiful package of DirectTV channels and receivers, and the remaining $25 went to fund the uniquely Canadian stuff that would be delivered on tier of channels and on-demand frequencies for Canadian subscribers.

And probably $25/month per subscriber is much more than those interests are receiving now. And surely, a $75/month DirectTV package has to be much better than the patchwork low-def-over-compressed-most-programs-simsummed-or-not-available-frequently-out-of-service-poorly-run cable package I have now.

If you break it down, the vast bulk of delivery by Canadian channels is American programs that have been delayed, shortened, down-rezzed, audio-degraded, or otherwise worsened. These programs are used to harvest revenue that then directly or indirectly funds a small slice of the unique Canadian content. But it's so much duplication of effort, content, and bandwidth that you have to question how much efficiency is being wrung out in the process... and it all leads to a less than desirable resulting product.

This idea would change everything and would eliminate so much of the bad (waste and duplication) but still provide stable net revenue to make sure the good can remain. I shudder when I think of how much time, money and energy gets burned creating and running the existing simsubbing landscape that is quite rightly reviled.

Regarding the thread topic... I wish that we (meaning Canada) would leave the acquisition and delivering of features like Avatar to the entities who are clearly best able and equipped to do so (ie: HBO, DirectTV) and that we instead deploy our Canadian resources to more gainful pursuits where their efforts won't be a poor duplicate.... putting them instead into creating unique programming and enhancing the delivery of all the content both Canadian and the rest.
 

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Interestingly there is a bit of greener grass working both ways. I'm in the US and have been a Dish Network subscriber for several years. I've compared Dish to DirecTV in multiple dimensions and consider them pretty much functionally and quality equivalent. Depending on what type of programming one prefers, one's choice could go either way.

While these providers offer a lot of channels, there is an incredible amount of duplicated content, especially within the premium movie channel packages. To cover all the studios, one has to subscribe to a lot of different packages and the costs spiral quickly up. On top of this the HD (and SD) picture quality is very marginal, likely because so many channels must be compressed to fit into a finite bandwidth. As strange as it may seem, a year ago we dropped all of the premium packages we had on Dish and subscribed in parallel to Shaw Direct, mostly for their premium packages.

We've been very, very happy. To start with, the Shaw HD video quality on the movie channels is outstanding when compared to Dish. We've seen both the Canadian and US channels mess up audio formats, picture aspect ratios, etc. But on average the Canadian channels tend to provide more OAR and the best available audio format for a given film. We really like the fact that a given HD movie is usually shown only a couple of times every few months, rather than dozens of times every week across multiple channels. In the balance, this seems to provide more time for a wider range of films than with the US premiums.

There are a few movies that don't make it onto Canadian TV, but there are far more quality independent, international and older films that simply are unavailable from the US satellite providers. All-in-all we've preferred Shaw hands down.
 

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The real issue is one of content supply and delivery and who is going to profit from it. IMHO, internet should be sold like land line phone service. That is, a basic fee for "local" service plus bandwidth at a reasonable cost. Taking the analogy to it's full extent, we might pay $20/mo for the line (analogy: dry loop.) Then we would pay $0.10/GB (analogy: long distance.) Then we might purchase premium services such a IPTV at a flat monthly rate (analogy: local calls.) Each of those services could be purchased from different suppliers or the same supplier, as required. In addition, all those entities should operate at arm's length, even if owned by the same people. If competition abuses occur and are not resolved, they need to be split up. The regulatory framework would not be that simple, of course, but it is probably where most truly democratic countries will end up.

For example, a basic IP service could be purchased from a local phone utility, data from a competitive supplier, a premium movie service from a company like Netflix and TV shows from a company that purchases streaming rights from TV networks.

We are already seeing instances of anti-competitive behavior in the US and Canada. The CRTC decision to allow Bell's UBB of third party customers is probably the worst example. For another, see this article about Comcast's billing of content delivery company Level 3 Communications Inc., for data sent over it's network. Now if this sounds suspiciously similar to my proposal above, it is, except that Comcast is billing both sender and receiver for data delivery. IMHO, Comcast (or bell, Rogers, etc.) should be able to charge sender or receiver reasonable rates for data delivery, but not both and not unreasonably high rates that amount to anti-competitive behavior.

I doubt we will see anything like this in Canada in the near future, mostly due to regulatory issues. So we will have to put up with situations where content, like Avatar, is missing from available services. OTOH, there are options, such as using rentals instead of PPV, VOD or broadcast movie services. It's kind of like using Canada Post instead of email but it gets the job done at a reasonable cost.
 
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