Tech Blog

Apples and Oranges: Netflix Vs Netflix Canada

by Blogger on ‎09-27-2010 12:45 PM



We've been bamboozled. There I said it. After a two week hands-on period I can comfortably say Netflix Canada is nothing like it's counterpart in the US. I was hoping for the best but I have to admit I am deeply disappointed in the watered down service we get north of the border.


I got my first taste of Netflix earlier this year when I was able to trick my Xbox 360 into thinking it was in the US through some IP masking. I know, I'm not supposed to do that. I was able to download Netflix to the dashboard and stream movies. While the streaming service did not give me access to the full Netflix library I still got a decent selection of flicks to choose from. Eventually I got tired of hiding my IP address and gave up on the American version of Netflix.


A couple of weeks ago I was asked by Netflix to test out the service before it launched here in Canada. if it was anything like the service I tried I the US I knew I would be in love. After signing an NDA I got the service up and running in my home. Within minutes of logging into my account I began to realize just how different this was compared to what our friends in the US are enjoying.


The movie selections, and TV selection for that matter, is very limited. Don't expect to stream Hollywood blockbusters to your computer or portable device. You won't find any new releases here, just older titles that many wouldn't even rent at their local video store. Television shows available to Canadians aren't much better. I though for sure we would see some Canadian shows, maybe a few hit American shows that we would find on the larger networks. Wrong again. True a few series like Mad Men and Hoarders are available, but the majority of the series are outdated.


Reading this you may think I'm exaggerating on the poor selection. Well let's compare our new releases available via Netflix compared to those available in the American version. A quick call to a friend south of the border gave me an idea as to what we are missing out on. New Releases (or New Arrivals as Netflix calls them) include Iron man, The Princess and the Frog, Gi Joe, Star trek, and the Proposal. Here in Canada new arrivals include Dark City, The Blair Witch Project, Open Water, All The King's Men and Mercury Rising. That along with a number of titles I have never heard of. I tried searching for any of the titles that were recently added to Netflix in the US - all of them stated they are not available in Canada.


The reality is Netflix has its hands tied. Working in the TV industry I'm all too aware Canadian broadcasters own the distribution rights to many television shows and movies in Canada. They will not be giving those up easily. And until Netflix hands over some serious cash to Canadian broadcasters, those movies and shows will never make it onto the service. It's the sad reality.


While I loved the user interface, and the video quality, the content just doesn't measure up. Many Canadians would have no idea what they're missing out on unless they were told about the selection available in the US. It's unfortunate Netflix isn't able to offer higher quality shows since most people will probably cancel their subscription after the 30 day trial period. Unless Netflix works out some deals quickly it could die even before it had a chance to launch in the Great White North.


Have you tried out Netflix? What are your thoughts?

by Recognized Expert Recognized Expert on ‎09-27-2010 03:47 PM

I am in the same boat!


I tried it the day it was available here and boy was I instantly disappointed. I watched a movie here and there just because they're movies I've seen before and wanted to see how well the service worked. While the streaming was seamless and I was impressed otherwise, it just came down to me thinking "I could turn on basic cable and watch 75% of these movies on any given day"... And I don't think I'm exagerrating either.


The service seems solid, but without substance I can't see many knowingly renewing their service for the following paid month.

by Blogger on ‎09-27-2010 06:43 PM

I already canceled my free trial. The "wait until it gets better" isn't even an option for me. There is just no waiting at $8/mo. Oh I feel their pain about licensing, but man why offer us some ground beef and try to get us to believe that it's a NY Strip?

by tachyondecay on ‎09-27-2010 08:25 PM

Wait, so does this mean we aren't burning down the video rental stores?


*drops his torch and pitchfork*


This party isn't fun any more. I'll be in my trailer!

by Cuppojoe on ‎09-28-2010 12:06 PM

Agreed. I'm also tired of seeing "-------------- is not available. You might like these:"


Yes, we should be patient with a service that is so new. After all, Netflix needed to test the waters of Canadian acceptance before investing too much time and too many dollars into something that could have flopped. That being said, I think the author of this article is right, unless this trial-period dance is performed perfectly, it could fail before it has a chance to succeed.


Offering so many B-titles is actually bad press, in my opinion. It gives the wrong impression of what we will be expected to pay for in the coming months. Definitely a good reason to cancel a subscription on Day 29, right? Maybe we should wait a few months (without paying) to see if it gets better... But without that infusion of Canadian cash over the next few months, will Netflix be able to AFFORD to be better? It's a Catch-22.


Maybe we have to have a little faith, or maybe Netflix has to be willing to gamble a little more. Most likely, it's going to take a combination of the two to get this thing off the ground. Netflix HAS to purchase the rights to show SOME newer content to Canadians. Canadians, in turn, need to keep their accounts active long enough for Netflix to see a turn-around on their investment.


I'm eager to see Canadians finally given something even CLOSE to the entertainment options afforded our neighbors to the South, and I'll do my part. I'll keep my account active for 3 months (1 month of trial, and 2 paid months). If I see improvement in the catalogue in that timeframe, I'm in. If not... Well, I'm only out $16.

by jayme on ‎09-28-2010 01:39 PM


Its not fair to compare it to netflix in the states now compare it to netflix when it first did launch.It was not instant it took years for the library to grow.Were about a week in you have to give it time over time it will get better.


Cable vs Netflix

If you went the basic route on most cable and dish company your looking at around $30 per month and to be honest you may get 40% of what is offered on netflix.Alot of what is on netflix is on tmn and super channel so your looking aat serious cash per month.


Ondemand vs Netflix

Many movies on netflix are $3.99 ondemand.


New movies and tv shows

For $8 your not going to get alot of new movies and shows it won't happen.A brand new ondemand movie is about $7 netflix is not going to rent unlimited for $8.


The bottom line is its not perfect but its not bad as some are making it out to be.Some are expecting way to much for 8 dollars a month and no i don't think most will cancel.

by Robert Chapman on ‎09-28-2010 08:46 PM

I really have no problem with the current lineup, I've found a great movie to watch at least once a day. It's a week in though, and if there isn't an update soon I may cancel before my trial is up. We'll see how it goes though.

by Jayme on ‎09-29-2010 02:35 PM


You have to give it more then a month.By the way there has been atleast 2 updates since last wednesday.

by Trusted Expert on ‎09-29-2010 08:24 PM

You guys are being too generous, offering it a 3-month trial.


Having success in the South means that they know what works and what doesn't.  Why should we, or I, have to pay for a half-baked service when I know full well what I want and what I don't want.


I checked out Netflix on the first day.  Selection was quite poor.  There are some quality movies on there, but nothing that I would watch if I didn't have to watch *something*.


Besides, and this is a big beef for me, the video/audio quality will suffer and that is probably my biggest reason to avoid downloadable movies.  I have spent both time and money investing in my HT that fully supports 1080p.  If I wanted to watch 480p or 720p, then I would have bought such a display.  That is the biggest downside to me for Netflix.  It will never reach the video/audio quality of blu-ray discs.


Besides, have you guys checked out the cost of blu-ray discs now?  They are $5.00-20.00 almost everywhere now.


So there you have it.  Poor selection + poor quality = half-baked solution and that is why Future Shop and video rental stores will continue to get my money.

by jayme on ‎09-30-2010 08:37 AM


You can't look at it as a challenge to blue ray will it challenge ondemand it could.For $7.99 it does have a good selection i think some people are expecting way to much.

by Trusted Expert on ‎09-30-2010 08:31 PM

Jayme, I don't expect it to challenge Blu-ray, although that is obvously where the industry is headed.


Yes, it could challenge on-demand, but doesn't on-demand have more recent releases than what Netflix Canada offers?  Despite their pompous launch, their 'bite' doesn't seem to have much to offer.

by Jayme on ‎10-02-2010 09:16 AM

Yes there are new movies thata re about $6.50 ondemand.However most of the movies on netflix are $3.99 on demand and its the older movies that do appeal to alot of people.

by p4jimmy on ‎07-17-2011 05:33 PM

Netflix has zero support for Canadian customers. That is when they're down or there is an issue. This is a fundamental fail on their part. Tech companies that do this really **bleep** me off. Netflix has many, many, many login issues. I have Apple TV and Wii. I run Apple content (iTunes) no problem, YouTube, Flickr and other Apps no problem... Netflix constantly reports errors "Netflix is currently unavailable. Try again later". This also happens on my Wii. It's an issue at Netflix and when I call their 24/7 support number, no one answers,... ever! It just eventually disconnects. If you call when there are no network issues, then you might get someone, but they have serious technical issues at that company, they do not report network errors as such anywhere on their site, so customers are left in the dark, for sometimes hours. They basically spit in Canadian's faces expecting that we would want less than their American customers. We actually demand more on average. If you're currently not a Netflix customer, wait for them to get much, much better or find an alternative. The aggravation is not worth it. 

by Bandolin on ‎10-01-2011 05:37 PM

We started our Netflix account about a year ago and although I'm not 100% satisfied with the selection, I am not completely disappointed.


My wife and I enjoy the foreign film selection. Movies you would never find in a video store or even know existed.

My kids love the family movies and show. And they had the great foresight to include Farscape. I just wish they could get the rights to Red Dwarf and Babylon 5 and I'd be in heaven. Forget Star Trek, Paramount would never allow that. Although I was amazed to see the latest Star Trek movie up there (which I d/l months before it became available on Netflix)


Sure the selection isn't the most recent, but quite frankly I'm not impressed with recent movies anyway. Not to mention its faster to d/l a recent release via torrent than it is to stream it using Microsoft's Silverlight technology.


Apparently the costs are going up. They've already increased the price in the U.S. and I'm sure Canada is in for a price hike to the tune of $10-$12 per month if not more.


U.S. has the better selection but then again, the U.S. creates 80% of the world's content anyway so why shouldn't they.


If the price hike tops $12 though, I'll be cancelling my Netflix and I will rename it Netsux (as in sux money from wallet).


I have had no network problems, and my net connection is less than ideal. Quality is acceptable, even on my 42" LCD although it comes through my laptop and not full screen.


We need more competition in Canada and less CRTC interference. I hope GoogleTV comes here.



by greatarctic on ‎11-01-2012 07:10 AM

I started using UnoDNS from the other day. It lets me watch the American version of Netflix here in Canada. It even works on my Samsung SmartTV!

by flyerman on ‎01-16-2013 12:52 PM - last edited on ‎01-16-2013 12:55 PM by Moderator

i switched to Bell : there are many video disponible. you can check more about their promotions ....

by davidbeale1977 on ‎04-12-2013 01:50 PM

I recently looked into this after being in the USA for a couple of weeks and seeing how much better the Netflix is when you're down there. Most importantly they have the latest season of Top Gear! :thumbsup: 

Note that this is only one way of doing this, there are many more websites available, some may be cheaper/easier, this is just what I did and was very simple.

1. Go to
2. Sign up for an account, they don't need anything more than an email and a stupid address and crap required.
3. Go through the setup instructions which are very easy and detailed.
4. Click the link to view their servers and get the IP of the one closest to you.
5. Edit the DNS Gateway setting on your device and change it to the IP you got in step 4.

That's it. There are even detailed instructions for every device you might have including each specific media player, Playstation 3, Android phone, Ubuntu computer, anything you have.

This will give you a free trial period, 1-2 weeks or something, I forget. Then it's $5 a month which is totally reasonable for what you get. I have this set up on my PS3 now.

by frank1988 on ‎04-22-2013 06:29 AM - last edited on ‎04-22-2013 08:27 AM by Moderator

I'm not a techie.Just looking for input from others online. Is anyone here familar with this service. (competitor)

I signed up last week. It works great. I now have to sign up for a monthly fee, and

just wanted to hear anyone else's experience before I do?

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎04-22-2013 07:51 AM

Frank1988 dont waste the $5 there is many services that do the same thing that are free

by frank1988 on ‎04-22-2013 09:44 AM

Drax86, thanks. Do you advise a particular one?

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador ‎04-22-2013 09:56 AM - edited ‎04-22-2013 11:54 AM

When I went researching for a VPN, I wasn't sure who to trust.

  • Some VPN sites sounded legit, but they were obscure and I read warnings that some sites were setup by trouble makers to capture your activities.
  • Some VPN sites would work with one device but not another
  • Some VPN sites would not work when I travel to another country
  • Some VPN sites were loaded with advertisements/popups

Then last fall, I heard about Symantec offering a VPN with the Norton name.  I've been using Norton Hotspot Privacy as a VPN since then.


  • Works great with CW & Hulu.  Just tell it where you want to be seen from.... San Francisco?  London?
  • Had a friend test Netflix quickly and it appears to work.
  • Does not work with CBS.
  • $2.99 day pass, $19.99 month pass, $49.99 year pass.  Good for 5 devices
  • says it works with iPads.  However, it rejected my iPad Canadian iTunes account.  Bummer.  It could have been when I registered in December, they only offered it in the states.  I notice there now is a Canadian Symantec site, so it might work with new accounts for iPads.
by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎04-22-2013 02:32 PM

Not allowed to post a specific website it appears. So just google "us netflix in canada free" and im sure you will find lots

by JasonE on ‎05-22-2013 07:11 AM - last edited on ‎05-22-2013 07:14 AM by Moderator

Well i solve the Netflix issue for Canada,  it uses a canadian dns proxy to route you to the US. Now my Netflix is a whole new world with all the US content. There VPN and non-Vpn services, but im finding it great for my Netflix now.

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