First Impressions of shomi

Canadian media giants Rogers and Shaw launched shomi this week, which is positioned as their answer to Netflix Canada. With a free 30 day trial, I signed up yesterday.

Overall, it seems Netflix has a greater inventory of TV shows and movies. But, shomi does have some more recent TV shows like Modern Family which aren't on Netflix.

I like that shomi works with my cable box, as it means that none of my internet data usage limit or bandwidth is affected when watching in that manner (although watching via an iPad or other device would use up internet data). This is especially important for HD content, and for 4K content in the future.

Netflix has a more mature user interface. For example, they allow users to mark shows they want to watch in the future, by adding it to a list. shomi should copy that feature eventually. shomi supports this feature via their shomi_later system (I couldn't find it on the cable box interface, but it exists on the web and tablet interface, according to the help files).

One feature I'd like to see both services offer is a mechanism to provide feedback for subscribers (and non-subscribers) on high priority shows that should be added and which are not currently offered. For example, if 10,000 people wanted Friends but only 2,000 wanted South Park, then the former should be given a higher priority, all else being equal (e.g. the cost to license the content).

I expect that many households, including my own, will decide to subscribe to both services, as much of the content doesn't overlap and the pricing is just $8.99/month (each). If the CRTC eventually implements pick-and-pay in Canada, shomi would complement smaller TV packages, and thus offset losses that cable companies would suffer from viewers who downsize.

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