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There was a time in the 1990s when Blockbuster was going to offer customers the ability to watch movies on their computers. You would rent the movie online and view it through your browser. The idea was seen as laughable at the time due to the internet speeds required to do such a thing.
But that idea, as you might know, did not go away. In fact, the people who had that idea went on to form Netflix. Even back when they were mailing people DVDs, they had ambitions on streaming.
These days it is the go-to streaming service for most people. But things have gotten complicated. There are multiple tiers of subscriptions, different content in every country, and rumors about features being added or taken away just about every other day. So, what is the deal with Netflix in Canada?
What Netflix Plans Are Available in Canada?
To keep it simple, there are three Netflix plans in Canada. The differences between each plan can be boiled down to three components: The price, the number of devices you can watch on simultaneously, and the quality of the video. We mentioned rumors of other limitations, but none of those are there yet.
- The first plan is about $10 a month. You can watch on one device and get no HD video.
- The second plan is about $17 a month and grants you two devices, as well as HD video.
- And the third plan is about $21 a month, giving you up to four devices to watch on simultaneously, HD video, and “Ultra HD video” for the movies and shows that support it. Just be sure that your monitor and your internet connection can also support it (though most monitors can at this point).
But the longer you look at those features, the stranger they probably seem. So, let’s talk about whether or not you are getting what you are paying for, and how to negotiate getting more.
Why Are The Number of Devices Limited?
Back when Netflix first launched their streaming service, there was no limitation on how many different devices could use the same account. There weren’t any limitations on the number of simultaneous streamers either.
Basically, everyone in the world could agree to use the same Netflix account. That is against Netflix’s end user license agreement, but they had no way of tracking it at the time.
Once other streaming services showed up on the scene, Netflix tightened their grip. They developed their own video player and started tracking how many users were on the same account at once.
For a brief time, they only let you have one device running one Netflix account. That proved to be a PR disaster—people expected to be able to use accounts on at least two devices. And that is what Netflix gave their users for a long while: Two devices and nothing more. But then came the price increases.
When the price of Netflix went up, multiple plans started coming out too. And here we are.
How Does Netflix’s Price Compare with Other Streaming Services in Canada?
The cheapest Netflix plan is cheaper than the cheapest plan for Hulu, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video. Of course, there are some important caveats to that cheapness.
The cheapest Netflix plan also only allows one device to stream at a time and disallows HD video streaming, whereas all these other services allow at least two devices and HD video.
It should be noted, however, that both Hulu and HBO Max have a slightly cheaper option that is the same price as the cheapest Netflix plan. We are not comparing it to Netflix’s price though. Why?
Because both Hulu and HBO Max’s cheapest plans come with ads in their videos. This basically makes them into overpriced, inconsistent cable TV packages and not worth counting in the competition.
How Does Netflix’s Content Compare with Other Streaming Services in Canada?
Many people have called Netflix’s movies and TV shows a mixed bag, which is a kind way of saying that they will have one hit TV show for every ten disastrously bad movies. But when compared to other services, one in ten is not a terrible average for quality, unique content.
Most other streaming services have one show to justify them. Paramount Plus has the Halo show and Star Trek (both of which have had terrible reviews), Disney Plus has the Marvel library, including the new TV shows, and Apple TV Plus has Ted Lasso (which is good enough to warrant trying Apple TV Plus). Peacock has the Office, and finally HBO Max has the Wire, Oz, and many other legacy shows.
- Stranger Things
- The Queen’s Gambit
- Squid Game
- And more
Basically, if you have heard of a show on a streaming service, then it was probably on Netflix.
When it comes to movies, however, Netflix is outclassed on all sides. Just from the law of averages, Hulu has made more good movies than Netflix has made movies. HBO Max has HBO’s massive catalogue of extremely high-quality movies (and TV shows, making it competitive on multiple fronts).
Even after losing the Office, Netflix is still arguably the place to get bingeable TV.
Can You Use Netflix With a VPN?
There was a golden era of VPN use from the early 2010s to the late 2010s, where you could easily use a VPN (also called a “virtual private network”) to explore Netflix’s foreign content by spoofing your location. However, they have made the use of such software against their terms of service.
To enforce this, they employ special tracking software on their websites. But that tracking software is far from perfect. And if you are able to tinker with the right settings, you can still use a VPN. Namely, you are looking to spoof not only your IP address, but your IPv6 address.
This setting should be in your VPN’s tools somewhere (every VPN is different). But if you can find a way to mask that, then you will be able to hide from the software Netflix uses to check for a VPN.
One last note: Be sure to look for a VPN that lets you choose your spoofed IP address. At the very least, you want some sort of assurance that your IP will not be a “commercial” IP address.
Every IP address is unique, and its content identifies its use. A computer can look at an IP address and tell what country someone is from, whether they are connecting from a residence or a business, as well as whether or not they are spoofing their location if you don’t hide that in advance.
Netflix no longer allows its services to be streamed to commercial IP addresses. That means that if you are watching at work, or spoofing a commercial IP address, Netflix just won’t work for you.
What Does Using a VPN Get You?
The two biggest benefits of using a VPN are that the limitation on the number of simultaneous users basically disappears, and you can use the VPN to spoof your location to other countries.
Let’s start by talking about the first one: Netflix tracks the number of users by looking at how many different IP addresses you are connecting from. If you spoof all of them to be the same IP address, then you can bypass the simultaneous viewer limit. All you need is a VPN that will let you do that.
The second thing is much more common among users of VPNs: Getting access to Netflix’s foreign services. You see, every country is given a different suite of content by Netflix. This content is catered to the tastes of the country.
Korea hosts far more Korean dramas, for example.
By spoofing your IP address, you can make it appear as though you are connecting to Netflix from one of those other countries. This lets you view the content Netflix is offering them, which sometimes will include content that is not available in your country.
Is Using a VPN Legal?
Yes, using a VPN is totally legal. As we mentioned before, both the end user license agreement and the terms of service for Netflix disallow it. But these are not the kinds of things you are going to get sued for.
Worst case scenario, Netflix will punish you for using a VPN by deleting your account. But if that happens, you can always open a new one.
Netflix in Canada has three options for paying for the service, each one more expensive and offering slightly more features than the last. Its prices are competitive with other streaming services, with the content it offers putting it over the top. And alongside that, you can use a VPN to get even more.
Netflix might do some strange things in the coming years. Price increases and the introduction of ads are both likely, as other competitors have gotten away with them. But for now, Netflix is a good deal.