Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Cell Phone companies coming to Canada and maybe the iPhone with them

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The Government of Canada has just announced that new cellular spectrum licenses will be issued giving preference to brand new companies. What this means for cell phone yammerers is that they are not forced to subscribe to the Bell, Telus, Rogers triopoly for post paid contracted cell phone service. While this was tried before in the mid 1990's when Clearnet and Fido entered the Canadian market, but the new competitors collapsed and Clearnet was swallowed up by Telus and Fido was then bought up by Rogers.

That was then this is now. Back then cell phones were just for yakking and texting but now there is more interactive tasks that cell phones do things like Broadband over cellular, video calling and multimegapixel photo sharing are demanding uses of cellular networks. The traditional cell carriers have charged very high rates for data plans.

The long rumored future entrants in Canada cell phone industry is Quebec based Videotron and Manitoba Telecom Services which is looking to expand outside of Manitoba. Since MTS already has a CDMA network it goes without saying that is the technology that they will stay with for a nationwide network. Videotron and other entrants if they choose GSM could also offer the iPhone in Canada. Even the possibility of an upstart bringing the iPhone to Canadians would make Rogers reconsider their data plan rates making it feasible for Rogers to offer the iPhone. For all cell phone users in Canada that means interesting and hopefully less expensive times ahead.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

TiVo Finally Arrives in Canada yipee

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After eight years after it's introduction to the World (Within the United States that is) the device that first recorded TV shows without video tape - The TiVo has finally arrived in Canada. For those first eight years TiVo was unrelenting in their refusal to offer recorders North of the 49th. As DirectTV and Dish Network learned before about Canadians, if they can't get it legally they'll hack it and get it illegally. That's what exactly with the TiVo, the recorders were bought over eBay and Craig's List and the boxes were hacked to load Canadian TV listings. A little less than a year ago TiVo formally supported use in Canada but didn't actually sell hardware through retailers.

TiVo's denial of hardware and service to Canadians has cost itself a lot. The personal video recorders offered by cable and satellite companies have a big head start. Even as TiVo arrives in Canada they have already put themselves at a huge disadvantage, The TiVo boxes only support standard low definition television. All the cable and satellite PVR's support High definition recording. Likely to say that TiVo is just using the Canadian market to dump a large inventory of standard low definition TiVo boxes.

TiVo's are going to be good for those still using analog cable or over the air reception who are having more and more trouble finding blank VHS casettes. For those with digital cable or satellite getting a PVR from the cable or satellite company would cost about the same as the monthly service fee that TiVo charges.

It is very hard to despute that TiVo at one time was a cutting edge technology, but Canadians were forced to sit on the side lines but by now we have gone somewhere else, too late Tivo too bad.