Best streaming services in Canada

But which service is the best of the best? Let's take a dive into the most popular services Canada has to offer, and see which ones offer the best content, for the best price.

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Netflix

Pros: About 68% of Canadians had a Netflix subscription as of 2020. It has the most loyal customer base of the bunch, and has a head start compared to other streaming services.

Netflix's selections include eveything from Hollywood films to popular Netflix original content such as "Squid Game."

Right now, the company is ad-free, and can be used on any streaming service. Netflix also allows five profiles to be set up under one account, allowing five users to watch content and receive customized suggestions based on their interests. Plus, you can download content to watch later.

Cons: Netflix has been in the headlines lately over subscriber losses. Its first quarter earnings for 2022 revealed its first decline in subscribers since 2011. The streaming giant lost 200,000 paying viewers, which was a “total shock,” according to Bloomberg intelligence analyst Geetha Ranganathan.

Some of the subscriber loss may be due to concerns about Netflix’s future pricing and features. While Netflix is ad-free now, it may not remain ad-free for long. There are reports circulating that it may start showing advertisements, according to sources such as the New York Times. The ads are meant to bring down costs for Netflix’s cheaper packages, but could lead to a greater loss in viewers.

As costs continue to increase, some Netlfix users can’t help but wonder if another price bump is coming.

Bottom line: Netflix costs currently range from $9.99 for basic to $16.49 for standard and $19.99 for premium. The higher the tier, the more devices you can watch on at one time. Basic allows you to watch on one device, standard allows two and premium allows four. So to get the best quality and most watching options, you’re looking at $19.99 each month, which is looking pretty pricey compared to peers.

Crave

Pros: Crave is great for Canadian content, including Francophone options. Beyond that, you also get access to HBO, Showtime, and other platforms that usually come with cable. Crave has also been expanding to create award-winning Crave Originals, such as “Letterkenny.”

Like Netflix, it’s ad-free, and offers ways to download content to watch offline as well. You can also have up to five people using one account at a time.

Cons: Crave costs $19.99 a month. You also have to pay for access to additional premium content, such as the STARZ channel.

A common complaint is that the service isn’t as user friendly as Netflix or others. There isn’t an algorithm looking out for what you may be interested in watching next. Instead, it mainly offers new additions to the platform, or what’s trending.

And while five users is good, be aware that each device counts as a user. If you’re logged on to your phone, TV and iPad, that’s three users right there. So it quickly adds up.

Bottom line: Crave is great for Canadian content, and is ad-free at the moment. But at $19.99 per month, it’s not cheap compared to Netflix. Still, Crave remains one of the few places where you can watch Hulu shows and top Canadian content. So it could be worth it if you’re a super fan.

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Prime Video

Pros: The first obvious pro for Prime Video is that it comes with any Amazon Prime account. So along with free shipping of Amazon purchases, you get access to Amazon Prime Video, including originals such as “Invincible” and “Reacher.”

It also comes with ad-free listening for Amazon Music, Prime Reading, games and photo storage. It now offers some live TV options as well, such as Olympics coverage. So it really is an all-encompassing service. Furthermore, it’s cheap by comparison to its peers and includes student pricing, along with a 30-day free trial.

Cons: While Prime Video is certainly improving its service, along with its original programming, it’s still leagues behind Netflix and even Disney+. While it offers a lot of programming, not all of it is included with your subscription. In fact, you’ll find a lot of premium content or even kids' programming is only available via another subscription or a rent/buy price that is typically around $4.99 or $24.99 respectively.

Bottom line: Prime Video is an amazing bonus if you already have Amazon Prime. Plus, if you’re a student it’s practically a no-brainer since it’s only $4.99 a month. For those of us who aren’t students, $7.99 is still worth it. But unless you’re a huge fan of some of its original programming, it still needs work in the content department.

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Disney+

Pros: Disney+ has become the one to beat in the last few years, buying up some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, including the Marvel and “Star Wars” franchises. Other than Netflix, its peers don’t stand a chance when it comes to creating original content, which the company continues to create month after month.

Another great note is that everything comes with one price. There are no tiers. You have access to the full library of content for $11.99 per month. Furthermore, it’s not just kids' stuff. You can create profiles suitable for kids, where you watch shows such as "The Book of Boba Fett," while keeping shows like “Pam and Tommy” and “Atlanta” on an adult profile.

Cons: While the new stuff is definitely great, the release schedule generally follows a monthly timeline. So if you zoom through a new series, such as “Moon Knight,” you’ll have to wait a few weeks for more new content. When it comes to Disney+, we’re still waiting for more original content to come out on a weekly basis, akin to Netflix. But it should get there with the bulk of Disney cash behind it.

Bottom line: The price is right for Disney+ at $11.99, and it's within range of its peers. Disney+ allows seven user profiles under one account, but only four devices can be in use at a time. If you want to access "Star Wars" content, and your favourite Disney movies, it’s a must. But it’s more of a secondary streaming service if you’re looking for new shows on a weekly basis.

Apple TV+

Pros: Apple TV+ certainly has some talked about shows, such as “This is Us” and “The Morning Show.” It is also just $5.99 per month. What’s even better is that if you’re looking at purchasing a new Apple product, they’ll usually throw in a year of Apple TV+ for free. If not, you can still try out the seven-day free trial before purchasing the subscription.

It also offers the highest amount of devices for viewers to use at the same time, with six allowed at once. Apple TV+ also doesn’t have multiple pricing tiers. You can watch 4K right away, and have access to all Apple TV+ shows.

Cons: Even with Apple’s growing number of shows, it’s still far below what’s offered by Netflix, Disney+ and others. And so far, there aren’t any shows or films that have the award-winning levels of Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+. Another downside is you can't make separate profiles under one account. And finally, perhaps the biggest issue is it remains unavailable to many Android and PC users.

Bottom line: Unfortunately, Apple TV+ seems to be at the bottom of the bunch when it comes to both offerings and watching options. It may be cheap, but if there’s nothing to watch, is it even worth it?

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About the Author

Amy Legate-Wolfe

Amy Legate-Wolfe

Freelance Contributor

Amy Legate-Wolfe is an investment junkie, who aims to help others get hooked by providing well-researched advice. After receiving a masters in journalism from Western University, Amy worked for Huff Post and CTVNews.ca, while freelancing for organizations such as the CBC, Motley Fool Canada and Financial Post. Amy Legate-Wolfe is an experienced personal finance writer and freelance contributor working with MoneyWise.ca.

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