Today I received an email from Seppo Sahrakorpi of Pilvi Computing announcing his new ‘Streaming Guide’ which links to all the disparate TV streaming offerings available to Canadians. I tested it and it works well. The interface is rather sparse, yet simple and effective. It’s a simple alphabetical list of all TV shows that can be watched online in Canada. You can sort by various genres.
Putting this together must have been an awful lot of work. What’s more, to keep it up-to-date, will require a herculean ongoing effort. Let’s hope Seppo is up to the task! Thanks for all the hard work Seppo.
NOTE: Last I tested it, Hotspot shield still allowed Canadians full access to Hulu.
With a few easy steps that take only minutes to complete, iPhone users the world round can get access to some (but not all) of the iPhone Apps that are only available in the U.S.. I’m surprised it took me so long to try this. I just used it to d0wnload the Lose It! which was previously not available to me in Canada.
Setup is a breeze. It took me about two minutes. You essentially set up a VPN connection to the U.S. through the HotSpot Shield servers. This, of course, would also be useful for safe surfing at coffee shops and other wifi locations.
Once you have set up your account, configured and activated the VPN (see instructions below), navigate to the App Store on your iPhone. Search for the app you want and (if its there) download it. It’s that simple.
Survives Desktop Sync
I was concerned that if I downloaded apps this way, they would be wiped out after I synced my iPhone with iTunes to my desktop. Not so. The sync went fine and the apps remained on the iPhone.
No Need to Keep VPN Turned On
After years of putting it off I finally installed and learned how to use Hotspot Shield last week. It worked wonderfully. I was all set to write a blog post about it. Wouldn’t you know it, within a week Hulu has found a way to block it!
I just tested it and indeed I’m blocked. I’ll still use Hotspot Shield for the plethora of other free services not available in Canada (eg: Pandora, last.fm) for so long as it works. But, once again, it sucks to be a new media enthusiast when you live in Canada!
See: Control Freaks: Hulu Now Blocks Anonymous Proxies Too (TechCrunch)
Following my recent ‘Canada’s CTV Puts Full Primetime TV Episodes Online’ post, my commenters (see here and here) have justly schooled me in Canada’s current TV episode streaming offerings. While I was aware of the rather piddling offerings that had been available over the last few years, as of late, it seems, there is a lot more on offer than I was aware.
Case in Point – GlobalTV.com’s increasingly impressive array of full-episode primetime and daytime TV streaming offerings. Global is one of Canada’s three nation-wide broadcasters. It carries about half of all U.S. primetime network content.
The index of shows available from GlobalTV.com is here. Only clips are available for some shows like Survivor and ET Canada. But recent full episodes (plus indicated bonus materials) for the following shows are available:
Canada’s CTV Network hast recently started putting full-length episodes of prime TV shows online. CTV is one of Canada’s three major television networks. It carries about half of the major U.S. primetime shows in Canada. Global carries the other half.
The new service is available here (see the ‘Watch Online at CTV.ca’ heading to the right). Episodes can be viewed full screen, though the resolution is quite low by Hulu standards. Episodes are divided into segments/clips, presumably matching how shows are segmented between commercials when broadcast. Canadians can fast forward and rewind or jump from segment to segment. Users cannot, however, fast forward through the short commercials (about 10 to 15 seconds each) that play before some, but not all, segments. So far I haven’t seen many commercials. Below is a picture of the interface:
A FAQ is available here. Multiple seasons/episodes of some shows, like ‘The Daily Show’ are available. Only the most recent of others, like Lost and Grey’s Anatomy, are available. I’ve tested several shows and so far the system works well – though the resolution certainly needs a boost.
[June 25, 2009 Update: I was able to download Lose It! using Hotspot Shield on the iPhone. See my post: “How to Use Hotspot Shield to Get U.S.-only iPhone Apps” for details.]
As a Canadian long suffering the woes of countless U.S. web-based and other consumer applications, products and services not being available here, I had been extraordinarily happy with the understanding that iPhone apps would not be blocked by national borders.
After hearing so many comments on how terrific the ‘Lose It!’ iPhone App was, I decided to try it out today. When I tried to access it I got this error message:
Sad, very sad!
I recently read Brent Evans’ ZNF post on Vista Media Center’s (‘MC’) new MSNBC video on demand service. As with virtually every-other Internet-related video distribution announcement these days, I fully expected this service not to be available in Canada.
Here’s a typical message I get when I try to access this type of MC functionality from Canada:
Much to my surprise, as I was testing out the Xbox 360 media-extended piece of the latest MC upgrade (the upgrade got my MC working again for the first time in over a year), I saw the msnbc.com item (circled below) on the 360’s MC screen.
Fully expecting the usual ‘Not Available in Canada’ notice, I clicked on it anyway. To my surprise, however it worked.
Sony Movie and TV Service: The biggest ‘news’ of the Sony press event was the U.S. launch, today, of the previously announced (see here) video service. Sony, Fox, MGM, Lion’s Gate, Warner, Disney, Paramount and Turner Entertainment have partnered with Sony to provide movie and TV content for the on-demand download service. The system uses progressive downloads so users can watch as a movie/TV show as it downloads. Sony says, content is playable a minute or so after ordering. Purchased content only plays on PS3 and PSP. No PC, iPod, iPhone or other device support was announced. No official word yet on how long rentals will be available for viewing – one site mentioned that it will be the usual 24 hours and 14 days to start.
Note: While the previous announcement stated that a service like this would be made available ‘world-wide’, I checked my PS3 in Canada and there was no such content available. Note the "video" button circled in red in the picture above (click for larger view). If it isn’t there, no movies for you!
Resistance 2: They showed a little of Resistance 2. It’s looking good and includes 8 player online co-op support (probably only for certain missions). I quite enjoyed Resistance 1 so I’m looking forward to this one. What is it with the ‘brown’ colour in all the PS3 and 360 games this year?
Massive Action Game ("MAG"): This massively multiplayer shooter looked interesting. MAG supports up to 256 simultaneous players with 8 player squads, ongoing faction campaigns and character growth. The trailer looked great. It’s hard to imagine that 255 players will follow a command hierarchy that goes up to one or two generals. In my experience 8 players will rarely ever co-operate in an online shooter battle. I’ll have to see this one to believe it. See the blatantly pre-rendered trailer below.
Starting today (press release), Apple Canada is making movie (and some TV show) downloads available to Canadians through the Canadian iTunes store. Apple says 1200 titles are available at launch, including 200 ‘high-def’ titles.
Despite Canadian dollar parity, as usual Canadians will pay more per rental ($4.99 for new releases, $3.99 for older titles) than our American friends who pay $3.99 and $2.99 respectively. In both countries ‘high-def’* versions cost $1.00 more when available.
Canadians will have 48 hours to view iTunes movies after pressing play. This is surprising because Americans have only 24 hours to finish watching iTunes movies. I expect the U.S. service to follow suit shortly. As in America, Canadians have 30 days after downloading to start watching their rented movie before it is deleted.
I took a quick look at the iTunes Canada movie offerings. There seems to be a good selection of new and older movies. Unlike in the U.S., there are no current prime-time T.V. shows available for download through the service. The available TV shows are either shows you never heard of or older TV shows. I expect that to change over time too. Participating studios include Disney, Paramount , Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, Universal, MGM, Sony, Lionsgate and Maple Pictures.
Below I discuss your iTunes movie play-back options and compare the iTunes movie service to Bell’s recently announced video download store, the Xbox 360 movie download service, the Amazon Unbox-to-TiVo video download service and the pending PS3 movie download service.