Join Greg and Diane on Mondays as we debate a TV-related issue that’s on our minds. This week: CraveTV vs shomi vs Netflix.
This could be my shortest She Said ever: Netflix. Because it’s the only one available to me.
But to expand, CraveTV has the HBO and Showtime libraries which give it a great competitive advantage over shomi … except you have to have cable TV with a select few providers in order to subscribe. They’re also doing smart things like streaming original series the day before they’re broadcast.
shomi is more expensive than CraveTV, but you can be an internet or cable TV subscriber with Rogers or Shaw in order to subscribe, and rumour has it eventually it will be available more widely. In its collection are shows previously unavailable in Canada, such as Amazon’s Transparent and The CW’s Jane the Virgin.
Streaming rights have an expiration date and many TV shows I saw on Netflix are now on one or the other of the Canadian streaming services. I expect as time goes on — if CraveTV and shomi both survive — we’ll see the libraries both swap rights and grow. If I had a cable provider, I wouldn’t change based on the streaming service given the offerings might not outlast my contract.
Neither CraveTV nor shomi are likely to create truly original series as Netflix does, either. Since they’re owned by Canadian broadcasters with CanCon rules, their homegrown shows are likely to air on both the networks and streaming services.
None of that matters to me, since I’m back to where I began: Netflix is the only one available to me, so Netflix wins. Because of its HBO and Showtime library, CraveTV is the one I most wish were open to all, but it would be a supplement to rather than replacement for the movies and original series of Netflix.
I’m in the same boat as Diane in that I prefer Netflix over the other two offerings, but as a Rogers subscriber I do have access to shomi. As a television critic I’ve also gotten the chance to try out CraveTV.
Netflix will always be head and shoulders above the other two just because I have more international tastes in television and that’s a hole Netflix fills nicely. Sure there is House of Cards — which I plan to binge-watch ASAP — but U.K. series like Happy Valley, Hinterland, Silk and The Bletchley Circle keep me entertained. Add in European offerings like Wallander, Lillyhammer, Dicte and the original version of The Bridge give and I have access to wide range of programming I can’t get on conventional TV or PBS.
Unfortunately, shomi just doesn’t cut it for me. It’s nice to have access to Jane the Virgin and Transparent — programs I plan to watch eventually — but there is nothing on it that I haven’t already seen or causes me to think, “I’ve got an afternoon to kill … I wonder what’s on shomi?” I’m happy to see the original Star Trek and The Twilight Zone available, but much of its stable of TV programs contain seasons of shows I’ve already watched. I love Sons of Anarchy, but the most recent season isn’t there. Same goes for Vikings. Yes, I’m already up to date on both, but the point is, why would I bother watching a series like SOA if I know the latest season isn’t there for me to tune into?
As for CraveTV, I’ve loved what I’ve seen on it so far. The Showtime and HBO back libraries bring incredible value to CraveTV, as well as the wonderful cop drama Bosch, which I blew through over the past week. CraveTV feels exciting and bingeworthy and less like a catch-all for old shows like shomi’s vibe is. The sad part? Since I’m not a Bell subscriber, I won’t be able to enjoy CraveTV for much longer and I’m unwilling to drop my cable service just for that. And that’s a pity, because if I was able to have CraveTV and Netflix, I would be close to cutting the cable completely.
Where do you sit in this discussion? How do Netflix, shomi and CraveTV rank for you? Comment below or via @tv_eh.