Learn how you can stream, save and enjoy TV and Movies on a budget!


Let’s face it.

At the end of a long day or week, there’s nothing quite like relaxing and catching up on your favourite shows.

Only one problem: basic cable can cost upwards of $45 a month! Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives for you to consider – a major reason that’s afforded upwards of 95,000 households the opportunity to cut the cord and cancel their cable TV or satellite subscription in the last calendar year alone.

Are you looking to save and thinking about doing the same? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Content: Streaming services don’t offer live TV. So if you’re a sports fan, you’ll need to explore other options.
  • Streaming: Unlike downloadable files, streaming is done as you’re watching. Meaning, you can’t (or shouldn’t) take content with you on the go
  • Internet usage: Avoid using your smartphone data and ensure that your Internet plan can accommodate your needs. If your plan has a limited download allowance, try streaming your content in standard definition, as their files sizes are smaller.
  • Accessibility: Make sure your home is well equipped. If you’re looking to stream directly onto your TV, there are cost-friendly options such as the Google Chromecast, which you can pick up for as low as $39.

Now that you’re prepared, here are 5 streaming services in Canada that you should know about:

Netflix has thousands of ad-free movies and TV shows for (almost) all of your binge-watching needs. While their content varies by country, Netflix features highly popular original shows such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Marvel’s Daredevil. Plus, they’ve developed new seasons for cult classics such as Arrested Development and the Trailer Park Boys. The only true void in Netflix’s content offering is HBO and Showtime programming, which is available exclusively on CraveTV.

Netflix offers a free trial month and monthly plans that range from $7.99 up to $11.99. The key point of differentiation between the plans is the availability of HD (and Ultra HD for certain titles) and the number of users that can watch simultaneously. To lower your cost per month, try sharing an account with three other friends and/or family members and save up to 75% on your monthly bill!

CraveTV is a new service from Bell Media that’s currently available to subscribers of select TV and Internet service provides (there’s a detailed list, here). As mentioned above, the service has an exclusive Canadian partnership with HBO and Showtime, so if you’re a fan of titles such as Ray Donovan, Homeland, the Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm (seriously, this list could go on for ages), you’ll be glued to your seat watching commercial-free TV.

As well, the cost is extremely reasonable at $4 per month. Again, the catch is that you need to be a subscriber to an affiliated service, so check back early and often as their partnership base is growing quickly.

Shomi is also a relatively new service that is currently available exclusively to Rogers and Shaw Internet and TV subscribers. They have exclusive rights to the award-winning show, Transparent, and content from BBC Worldwide North America. They also offer a wide array of movies and a series of ‘collections’ selected by their in-house experts, making your late-night decision making process that much easier.

At $8.99 per month, the monthly cost is a little more expensive than CraveTV, but is included with select Internet and TV packages from Rogers and Shaw.

Vimeo has a lot in common with Shomi in that they provide curated video content. Where they differ is their content itself. Vimeo offers a ton of independent creative content such as arts, animation, documentaries and music videos.

A lot of their content is free – but they also have several series and movies that you can rent or download, beginning around $2 per video. If you’re looking for some inspiration or perspective, the service is definitely worth exploring.

Crackle has a number of decent movie titles that are a little out-dated, but they more than make up for it with exclusive content such as Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – 6 seasons worth!

It’s supported by ads, which can be a little annoying at times… but we love the cost: FREE!

The Bottom-Line:
Canadians are looking to save and cutting the cord at an unprecedented rate. If you, like many others, are deciding which streaming service to use, consider the following:

  • Is my current setup (speed/download limits) capable of handling streaming?
  • How much can I afford to spend per month on streaming? Can I split the cost with a friend/family member?
  • Which shows do I really want to watch? Some shows are exclusive!
  • Can I bundle the service with an existing TV or Internet package?