CraveTV vs Netflix Canada vs shomi: Which Canadian Streaming Service is Right For You?

netflix shomi cravetv

With the war for your streaming dollar heating up thanks to Bell Media and Rogers/Shaw’s recent unveiling of CraveTV and shomi respectively, theTVaddict.com thought now might be as good a time as any to offer up a down and dirty comparison. Should you press pause on your Netflix subscription and give newcomers CraveTV and shomi a try? The answer isn’t as simple as one would hope. But don’t take our word for it, see for yourself, after the jump.

Overview:
At their core, it’s important to note that CraveTV, Netflix and shomi offer up slightly different variations of the same service: A legal and easy way in which to stream high quality entertainment on virtually any device.

Who Can Subscribe:
CraveTV: As of this posting, CraveTV is only available to current TV subscribers of Bell, Bell Aliant, NorthernTel FibreOp, Telus and Eastlink. (Update: CraveTV is now available to all of Canada)

Netflix Canada: Anyone with an internet connection and a spare $7.99 per month is welcome to subscribe to this service.

shomi: As of this posting, shomi is only available to Rogers and Shaw internet or TV customers. (Update: Shomi is now available to all of Canada)

The Content:
CraveTV: What CraveTV lacks in HOUSE OF CARDS-esque original content that can’t be found anywhere else, they more than make up for with their catalogue. Thanks to parent company Bell Media’s ownership of a staggering amount of Networks and channels across Canada, CraveTV truly is a TV Addict’s dream. Be it comedy (SEINFELD, FRASIER, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND), drama (HBO Hits such as THE SOPRANOS, SEX AND THE CITY and THE WIRE), action (AGENTS OF SHIELD, ARROW) or science fiction (STAR TREK: TOS, TNG and DS9 among others), CraveTV has everything. Must See Exclusives Include… one of this TV Addict’s favourites from 2015, MANHATTAN: A fantastic fictional account of America’s race to beat Germany to the development of the world’s first atomic bomb.

Netflix Canada: With a two year head start, incumbent streaming service Netflix Canada continues to set a high bar for content thanks to a fantastic collection of television shows and movies. Not willing to rest on their laurels, Netflix Canada recently added the complete runs of both GILMORE GIRLS and FRIEND and has big plans for 2015.. Must See Exclusives Include… HOUSE OF CARDS and ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK.

shomi: Much in the same manner in which Bell Media leveraged their relationship with Hollywood to secure streaming rights to most of their company’s over-the-air programming, so to did shomi. Combining the libraries of both Global and City, shomi has a slew of popular shows like SCANDAL, MODERN FAMILY, NEW GIRL, SLEEPY HOLLOW and BOB’S BURGERS not to mention FX Canada and Shaw specialty channel favourites like SONS OF ANARCHY, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, VIKINGS and HAVEN. Unlike Bell Media though shomi is already in the midst of shooting their first HOUSE OF CARDS-esque original series called “Between.” Must See Exclusives Include… Recent Golden Globe winners JANE THE VIRGIN and TRANSPARENT, the latter of which is scheduled to premiere on January 23.

Ways to Watch:
CraveTV: Watch via your television cable box, online at cravetv.ca, mobile via Apple’s App Store or Google Play, and coming soon to Samsung Smart TV’s and XBox 360.

Netflix Canada: Watch online at netflix.ca, mobile via Apple’s App Store, Google Play or Windows phone, across countless video game systems (Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Wii and DS).

shomi: Watch via your television cable box (Rogers and Shaw Only), online at shomi.com, mobile via Apple’s App Store or Google Play and your Xbox 360.

Cost:
CraveTV: $8.99 per month, cancel anytime.
Netflix Canada: $7.99 per month, cancel anytime.
shomi: $8.99 per month, cancel anytime.

Hidden Cost:
Warning: Each of these three services will eat into the ridiculously restrictive bandwidth caps that Canadians are forced to live with. So if you’re not careful,
that $4 or $7.99 or $8.99 per month could end up costing you much more depending on what level of bandwidth you pay for. Pro Tip: Subscribers to Bell Media’s CraveTV and Rogers/Shaw’s shomi can access each services through their respective cable box to avoid eating into your bandwidth.

Secret Differentiators:
CraveTV: The coolest thing about CraveTV — aside that is from the fact that we have every episode of SEINFELD, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND and FRASIER at our fingertips — is that as of this posting, we could still stream any program from our iPhone or iPad to any television via Airplay. Which means, we could binge-watch any show with a friend or family member as long as they had an internet connection and an Apple TV connected to their flatscreen.

Netflix Canada: Tired of what Netflix Canada has to offer? Why not take the far sexier Netflix US for a spin at no additional cost with the use of a VPN connection. Click here for details.

shomi: Unlike their competitors, shomi relies on actual human beings to hand pick their programming. According to shomi, “Every shomi title is chosen by in-house experts who have an unmatched obsession for this stuff.”

The Bottom Line:
On the one hand, we applaud CraveTV, Netflix Canada and shomi. As a bonafide TV Addict and lover of all things small screen we commend any company (or companies) that brings Canadians easy, not to mention legal ways in which to watch their favourite shows at a reasonable price. Truth be told, if given the opportunity we would probably subscribe to all three of these services. Unfortunately, since Bell Media, Rogers and Shaw continue to use their customers as pawns in an infuriating attempt to attract new customers, that won’t be happening anytime soon.

More unfortunate still, the answer to “which Canadian streaming services is right for you” is moot and probably the one that you aren’t actually able to subscribe to! Case in point, as a current Rogers customer, I found CraveTV far more appealing due to the fact that most of shomi’s offerings were already available to me via my current cable package. Conversely, we suspect that a current Bell customer would very much enjoy being able to access the likes of SONS OF ANARCHY and AMERICAN HORROR STORY since FX Canada was just recently made available to Bell subscribers.

That being said, you came here to find out which Canadian streaming service is right for you and here’s our answer. Until Bell Media, Rogers and Shaw get their heads out of the sand and realize that they should spend less time competing with eachother and more time competing against the actual alternative (Editor’s Note: “Actual alternative” being code for all of my friends and family who despite my protests, continue to simply steal content from the internet!) the winner is Netflix.

Suffice it to say, I will never stop championing a company that continues to put their money where their mouth. Whether they’re rebooting my dearly departed friends (ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER), streaming my actual FRIENDS (You know, Monica, Chandler, Ross, Phoebe etc) or spending hundreds of millions of dollars to introduce me to new friends (Hello Daredevil!), the $7.99 a month we happily give to Netflix on a monthly basis is pretty much the best investment this TV Addict can make.

Related:
“How Bell Media Bumbled the Launch of CraveTV”

shomi Review: Why We’re Not Buying What Rogers and Shaw are Selling (At Least Not Yet!)
Review: CraveTV

For all the latest TV news and reviews

  • Ravyn Darq

    Just how do I get CraveTV through my Bell receiver? I didn’t know that was possible.

  • Me Ted

    Exactly. The antiquated and archaic method of sending content: the cable box. What a joke.

  • Murray Picardy

    Good luck canceling Shomi. I called and was bounced around to 4 different people and no one at Rogers could figure out how to cancel it. They told me it didn’t matter since it was free until the spring, but the fact is they still couldn’t figure out how to cancel it.

  • Kendra

    Thanks for the article. :) Just want to inform all folks who live outside US that Xbox360 is a great media Player. If you want to access Netflix and other streaming stations on your Xbox 360 you can use UnoTelly as I do to get around the geo block.

  • rrkk2015

    Shomi is garbage. Half the shows say no videos available yet.. ie. all seasons of Sons of anarchy, American horror story, the league. Most movies/shows are old n are regularly shown on cable..
    Just get Netflix. Once again, shomi is garbage.

  • Peter Kane

    One question …Why would I pay so much a month for programs that I have seen before ? I can download pretty much anything for free of the internet…and watch for free on CTV or CBC home sight…

  • http://www.stephenharper.org/ coddman

    It’s interesting that you should say that. The *only* reason I signed up for shomi (Shaw’s answer to Bell’s CraveTV) was precisely because I can watch it on my cable box. With a 20 GB internet bandwidth cap, I wouldn’t be able to watch much Netflix at 1GB/hour — and that’s for the crappiest possible quality stream. With shomi, I can watch as much HD content as I want.

    Not that there’s much content. For example, they have Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but nothing newer than that. Maybe in three years they’ll add The Animated Series, and by 2021 we’ll get Deep Space Nine! Lol

  • Me Ted

    20gb? How much do you pay for that? That’s a complete and utter disgrace.

  • http://www.stephenharper.org/ coddman

    Actually, I’m the complete and utter disgrace :) I’m one of those people who are too poor to pay for internet and a cellphone at the same time, so I use tethering as a home connection; the great Canadian taboo. $50/mo for 20GB (unlimited use after that, but throttled), unlimited N.A. text, unlimited in-province calling. Even though the unlimited stuff only works inside my city, that’s still a pretty good deal for a cellular plan

  • Me Ted

    No you’re not. You do what you’ve got to do. Sorry for being pissy. Telco and cable providers just drive me insane. Constant record quarters and they still can’t get enough blood from these stones (us).

  • Ali
  • Elizabeth

    Shomi sucks. No selection compared to Netflix. Just tried cancelling Shomi since I haven’t used it since before Christmas and noticed my free trial was up. You have to call to cancel even though you just click a button to sign up. The customer service was horrible. They have no respect and no manners for their customers, even before I told them I wanted to cancel. Then when I told them I wanted my money back for the last month even though I haven’t used it since before then, they said they can only pay back the majority of it. Apparently this is because they charged me on the 16th and now it’s the 17th. So the money they won’t give back to me is my charge for 1 DAY. Absolutely ridiculous. I suggest never to get Shomi, Netflix is way better.

  • Nadia Wangon

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  • disqus_GB8lUuziuG

    Still can’t get SyFy shows.. This is why people Torrent content! Most would much rather pay but the distributors refuse to provide the content.

  • Gargoyle905

    I just wanted to post a few notes as updates. First, all three services (shomi, Netflix Canada, CraveTV) are available through many app stores, including Apple, Google Play and now Windows 10. Second, there actually is a way to distinguish the three services. If you want to focus on TV series, as well as HBO & Showtime specials, consider CraveTV first; however, they have far fewer movies. Do you prefer older (20th century) movies? shomi may be the better choice. Latest & greatest series & movies? That is when Netflix comes ahead. Hope this helps.

  • Peter Kane

    I really can’t see why anyone would pay to watch old shows…I’m sure you can watch them for free somewhere on internet…