In the past, IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) was considered the future of television. All major Canadian cable companies switched to IPTV, enabling high definition broadcasts and next-generation features for their customers. The competition is more intense than you might think; even telephone companies are using IPTV to compete with traditional cable companies.
Find out what IPTV is and how it differs from other TV services. Learn how to spot legal IPTV and avoid shady grey markets. By learning the benefits of premium IPTV and the value of independent providers, you can find the best internet and IPTV bundle for your home.
IPTV: What Is It?
IPTV refers to any broadcast system that delivers live television over the internet. Canadians usually see it bundled with high-speed internet plans from Bell, Telus, SaskTel, and other telecom companies that don’t offer cable TV. Like traditional cable, IPTV brings local and specialty channels to your home. Additionally, the technology supports HDTV and 4K resolution, surround sound, interactive guides, and cloud-based PVRs.
What is the legal status of IPTV?
Over the internet, you can legally access broadcast TV channels. You can choose from paid television services and free IPTV (sometimes with advertisements). The majority of Canadian households receive live TV channels via IPTV. Additionally, many independent internet providers offer IPTV reseller services in Canada at a lower cost. Your smart TV or media box may also offer free “channels.”
Due to the fact that they operate outside of Canada, some internet TV providers operate in a legal grey zone. They broadcast local and specialty channels, including TSN, Sportsnet, CBC News Network, and Discovery Channel, for a very low price. Although grey market IPTV is not explicitly illegal, there are other reasons why you shouldn’t use it.
What companies sell legal IPTV services?
Paid IPTV services delivered by companies registered with the CRTC are legal. You can receive legal IPTV from major telecommunications companies such as Bell, Telus, and SaskTel. Rogers, Shaw, Videotron, and Cogeco, which traditionally used analog cable signals, have switched to IPTV over coaxial cables.
IPTV services are also provided by independent internet providers such as Teksavvy, oxio, and Distributel. To use any legitimate IPTV service in Canada, you must also subscribe to their home internet service.
IPTV channels for free
CBC News, WIRED, and The Red Green Channel are among the free internet-based channels available on many smart TVs. As a general rule, preloaded apps on your television, tablet, or phone are likely legitimate services with appropriate broadcast rights. You might want to investigate new apps that promise free TV channels before downloading them.
IPTV on the grey market
In Canada, IPTV services that deliver live channels without an appropriate licence are illegal. Illegitimate IPTV services have only been shut down a few times in Canada’s broadcast history. It is generally safe for companies outside of Canada not to be prosecuted for violating our broadcast laws.
Because you’re using grey market IPTV, it’s unlikely that the authorities will break into your home and confiscate your home entertainment system. Even so, if your internet provider suspects that you are engaging in unlawful activity, it can restrict (or cancel!) your service.
Canada’s IPTV providers
The days of calling one local TV provider for cable service are long gone. With IPTV, any company that provides high-speed internet to the home can also sell access to network and specialty television channels. The major IPTV providers offer the most features and the newest technology, but independent services are far less expensive.
Providers of IPTV services
In order to provide IPTV services, companies use coaxial and fibre optic cables, the same ones that deliver high-speed internet. One or two major providers offer IPTV services in most urban and suburban areas, including:
Canadian Telecom Company
The TELUS Corporation
It is Cogeco.
IPTV must be bundled with high-speed home internet from the same provider if you wish to subscribe. To stream high-quality television, you’ll need an internet connection with at least 50Mbps. To bundle services, some service providers may require a minimum internet package with a 150Mbps download speed.
Providers of independent IPTV
Almost as soon as the Canadian market opened to independent, third-party internet providers, IPTV services became available through many of these same providers. The setup can cost as little as zero if you already have cable internet and a FireTV, Apple TV, or Roku device. Additionally, the service price is typically lower than major facilities-based providers, starting at $20/month on top of an internet plan.
IPTV providers outside Canada can also provide Canadians with local and premium channels. They may, however, pose a security risk to your bank account or home network since they are not required to operate within Canada’s legal framework.
Alternatives to IPTV in Canada
The evolution of IPTV hasn’t changed the fact that cable TV wasn’t for everyone. Satellite TV and antenna broadcasts continue to serve some niche markets. Netflix and other over-the-top (OTT) services changed the landscape of movies and television. Discover alternatives to IPTV by reading on.
TV via satellite
In spite of the fact that analog cable television has gone the way of the dodo, satellite television is extremely popular across Canada. Shaw Direct (formerly Star Choice) and Bell Satellite TV (formerly ExpressVu) have broadcast local and specialty TV nationwide for decades. Therefore, it remains a viable option for Canadians without internet access or who depend on rural internet.
Streaming services over the Internet
On-demand video streaming over the internet is known as over-the-top (OTT) service. In addition to their large library of movies and TV shows, Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Crave have built broadcasting empires. The newest Disney+ series can be watched on any device with an app and an internet connection.
Over-the-top IPTV subscription services can also deliver live sports events such as hockey, basketball, soccer, baseball, and football. If you subscribe to an existing cable package, you can even stream copyrighted video content directly from the broadcaster’s app, such as CBC Gem or CTV.
You should only download apps from trusted sources like Apple’s App Store or Google Play. There are several IPTV services based outside of Canada that can compromise your bank account or home network.
HD antenna for over-the-air transmission
A truly free, legal, and visually superior broadcast format (over-the-air or OTA) is already available to couch potatoes. Over the past decade, Canadian television networks have broadcast HDTV signals over the air using the digital ATSC standard. For the cost of a TV antenna, you can watch all major networks broadcasting within 50 kilometers of your home (sorry, Sci-Fi fans).
For the past 15 years, I have watched television via OTA signals. I spend some of my saved money on OTT streaming services like MLB.tv and Sportsnet so I don’t miss out on content normally only available on specialty channels.
Check out TabloTV if you want to switch to free OTA broadcasts. DVRs built for recording antenna signals are available from this Canadian company. Like having your own IPTV service, you can watch live and recorded signals on your TV, tablet, or iPhone.