What is IPTV, and How Much Does It Cost in Canada?

How Much Does It Cost in Canada?

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How Much Does It Cost in Canada?

Once considered the future of television, IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) is now very much the present. Every major Canadian cable company switched over to IPTV, enabling high definition broadcasts and next-generation features for its customers. And there’s more competition than you might realize; even telephone companies began competing with traditional cable companies using IPTV.  

Learn what IPTV really is and how it’s different from other TV services. Find out how to spot legal IPTV and avoid shady grey market services. Once you learn the benefits of premium IPTV and the value of independent providers, you can subscribe to the best internet and IPTV deal for your home.

Independent IPTV providers in Canada
Internet ProviderBase IPTV price*Live local TVCoverageInternet plans
IPTVDIGI$9.99Canada-wideView Plan
$24.95+Canada-wideView Plan
$35+ON, QCView Plan
$25+QC onlyView Plan
$25+ON, QCView Plan

* Prices accurate June 2, 2022. Plans require home internet service from the same provider.

What Is IPTV?

Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is any broadcast system that uses an internet connection to deliver live television broadcasts. Most Canadians see it packaged with high-speed internet plans from Bell, Telus, SaskTel, and other telecom companies that, historically, haven’t offered cable TV. IPTV brings local and specialty channels into your home like traditional cable did. However, the technology supports additional features, including HDTV and 4K resolution, surround sound, interactive guides, and a cloud-based PVR service. 

Yes, you can legally access broadcast TV channels over the internet. Your options include paid television services and free IPTV (sometimes with ads). Most telecoms use IPTV to deliver live TV channels to Canadian households. Additionally, many independent internet providers offer an IPTV reseller service in Canada, frequently for a lower price. You may also find free “channels” on your smart TV or media box.

Some internet TV providers exist in a legal grey zone—what they’re doing isn’t explicitly illegal since they operate outside Canada. Commonly priced very cheaply, these services broadcast local and specialty channels, including TSN, Sportsnet, CBC News Network, and the Discovery Channel. You may not be explicitly breaking the law by using these services, but there are other reasons you should never use grey market IPTV. 

Who sells legal IPTV services?

Any company registered with the CRTC to deliver paid IPTV service is a legal operation. The simplest example of legal IPTV is the service you receive from major telecommunications companies, including Bell, Telus, and SaskTel. Even companies that traditionally used analog cable signals—including Rogers, Shaw, Videotron, and Cogeco—switched to IPTV over coaxial cables that deliver broadband internet service.

Independent internet providers like Teksavvy, oxio, and Distributel also provide IPTV services. For any legitimate IPTV service to work in Canada, you must also subscribe to home internet service with that provider.

Free IPTV channels

Many smart TVs include free internet-based channels like CBC News, WIRED, and The Red Green Channel. Generally speaking, preloaded apps on your television, tablet, or phone are likely a legitimate service with appropriate broadcast rights within Canada. When downloading new apps that promise free television channels, you might want to look deeper into that service.

Grey market IPTV

Any IPTV service that delivers live channels without an appropriate licence in Canada does so illegally. There are only a couple of examples in Canada’s broadcast history where the legal system shut down illegitimate IPTV services. Companies outside Canada don’t need to adhere to our broadcast laws and are generally safe from prosecution.

It’s unlikely that the authorities will break into your house and confiscate your home entertainment system because you’re using grey market IPTV. Still, your internet provider can restrict (or cancel!) your service if it reasonably suspects unlawful activity.

Why you shouldn’t use grey market IPTV services

WhistleOut Canada researched Canada’s most popular grey market IPTV services. Several of them—including Northern IPTV, Diablo IPTV, and Apollo Group IPTV—were dummy brands for BestBuyIPTV. Each brand used a different fake address in the United States. In truth, the company operates from Vietnam. Additionally, the headquarters for the popular IPTV Smarters is in India. These companies do not adhere to Canadian broadcast, telecommunications, or fraud laws.

It’s a bad idea to share your credit card information with a company that doesn’t provide truthful information about where it’s based and how it operates. Additionally, installing an untrusted app on your phone or computer opens a backdoor to your network and compromises your security.

IPTV Providers in Canada

Long gone are the days when you called up the one local TV provider to get cable service. With IPTV, any company that delivers high-speed internet to the home can also sell access to network and specialty television channels. Major IPTV providers offer the most features and the newest technology, but independent services cost far less per month.

Major IPTV Providers

Today, companies use coaxial and fibre optic cables—the same ones that deliver high-speed internet—to provide IPTV services. Most urban and suburban markets have access to IPTV services from one or two major providers, including:

  • Iptvdigi
  • Rogers
  • Shaw
  • Telus
  • SaskTel
  • Videotron
  • Eastlink
  • Cogeco

To subscribe to IPTV service, you must bundle it with high-speed home internet from the same provider. You will need internet speeds of at least 50Mbps to stream high-quality television. Some service providers may require a minimum internet package with a 150Mbps download speed to bundle the services.

Independent IPTV providers

Just as the Canadian market opened to independent, third-party internet providers, the ability to order IPTV service through many of these same ISPs followed. If you already have an existing cable internet service and own a FireTV, Apple TV, or Roku device, setup can cost as little as $0. The service price is also typically lower than major facilities-based providers, with rates starting as low as $20/month on top of an internet plan. 

Canadians can also get local and premium television channels from independent IPTV providers outside Canada. However, these companies are not required to operate within Canada’s legal framework and may introduce a security risk to your bank account or home network.

IPTV Alternatives in Canada

Cable TV wasn’t the best solution for everyone, and the evolution of IPTV hasn’t changed that. Some traditional services like satellite TV and antenna broadcasts continue to provide service for a niche market. Newer over-the-top (OTT) services like Netflix changed the landscape of movies and television. Read on to learn more about alternatives to IPTV.

A satellite TV dish on a cabin

Satellite TV

Even though analog cable television has gone the way of the dodo, satellite TV is popular throughout Canada. For decades, Shaw Direct (formerly Star Choice) and Bell Satellite TV (formerly ExpressVu) have broadcasted local and specialty TV nationwide with a digital signal. As a result, it remains a viable option for Canadians who depend on rural internet or have no internet connection whatsoever.

A person browsing Netflix shows on an iPad tablet

Over-the-top streaming services

Over-the-top (OTT) service is any on-demand video streaming method that works over an internet connection. Companies like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Crave built broadcasting empires with their large library of movies and TV shows, along with platform-agnostic apps. A device with a compatible app and an internet connection is all you need to watch the newest Disney+ series.

IPTV subscription services are also available using over-the-top methods to deliver live events like hockey, basketball, soccer, baseball, and football. You can even stream copyrighted video content directly from the broadcaster’s exclusive app like CBC Gem and the CTV app, provided you subscribe to an existing cable package in your home.

Do your research and only download apps from trusted sources like Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Several IPTV services based outside of Canada can compromise your bank account or home network.

TV antennas on a townhouse

Over-the-air HD antenna

Many couch potatoes are surprised to learn that a truly free, legal, and visually superior broadcast format (over-the-air or OTA) is already available. Canadian television networks have broadcasted HDTV signals over the air using the digital ATSC standard for more than a decade. You can’t get specialty channels this way (sorry, Sci-Fi fans), but you can watch all major networks broadcasting within 50 km of your home for the cost of a TV antenna.

Personally, I’ve watched television via OTA signals for 15 years. Some of the money I’ve saved goes into OTT streaming services like MLB.tv and Sportsnet so I don’t miss out on content normally limited to specialty channels. 

If you decide to switch your home to free OTA broadcasts, check out TabloTV. This Canadian company sells a variety of DVRs built for recording antenna signals. You can watch live and recorded signals on your TV, tablet, or iPhone—it’s like having your own IPTV service! 

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