A new era of choice starts today for Canadian television consumers.
For the first time, cable providers are being forced to offer so-called “skinny” cable packages at an affordable price.
In theory, it’s a win for Canadian consumers, as TV watchers are no longer forced to buy channels they don’t want to watch.
“If you went into a shoe store to buy a pair of shoes, and they said ‘well you have to buy four pairs’, you’d say ‘what?’. But that’s kind of how cable has been operating,” says Michael Real, a Professor of Communications at Royal Roads University.
That is no longer the case.
The CRTC has mandated that, starting today, all cable companies must offer a slimmed down selection of basic channels for $25 dollars per month.
But that doesn’t automatically mean you’ll save more money.
“The natural assumption would be you would save some money,” said Mario Mota of Boon Dog Professional Services, “But when you’re adding channels on top of that, ultimately it doesn’t save you much money. In fact it may in up costing you more.”
For example, the “skinny” package being offered by Telus offers 35 channels, 15 in high definition, for $25 a month.
But a look at their website revels that downgrading to that package will require a $100 installation fee.
Victoria’s other cable provider, Shaw, offers 40 channels, 13 in high definition. But you’ll have to pay more to get the HD equipment.
Still, Real says it’s a good start, “Finally the CRTC is standing up to that and listening to some consumers.”