Getting Screwed by Rogers: A Sports Fan's Dillema

televisionI watched a lot of Summer Olympics, including the closing ceremony. That closing ceremony was pretty much the last bit of television I watched via my Rogers digital receiver until the baseball playoffs started on Friday. Both the Olympics and MLB playoffs looked fantastic in HD on my LG television, though.

Reading the above, you're likely thinking I don't watch much television. In actuality, I do enjoy a number of television series, and many movies, I just don't watch them on conventional television. I play them on my laptop and use an HDMI cable to see it on my LG TV. Rogers doesn't get involved.

Each month, Rogers gets approximately $100 from me. I absolutely hate spending this $100, but I haven't figured out a way around it without sacrificing live sports. About 18 months ago, I got an amplifier for receiving digital OTA signals, and tried living without paying Rogers a dime for cable. I got a few stations, in HD no less, but then the NHL playoffs started and I wanted to watch. I couldn't pull in the stations OTA, nor could I find decent, clear streams on the web, so I bought the smallest package that would get me CBC, Rogers Sportsnet and TSN / TSN 2 in HD. That's how I got to $100 a month.

There's always something coming up around the corner that stops me from cancelling the service altogether. The NHL Playoffs, the Euro Cup, the Olympics, MLB playoffs, and soon NBA and WJHC. So long as I want to sit in my living room and watch these sporting events live in HD, I'll have to pay the piper. And that doesn't seem fair to me.

Since I'm only watching one of five stations to get my live sports fix, why can't I buy these HD stations a'la carte? I figure I pretty much live on CBC, TSN and Sportsnet. $100 / month sounds crazy for a handful of stations.

Help me stop getting screwed by Rogers. Other than going to a bar to watch live sports, do I have any other option? I've looked at Bell, I've tried OTA with an antenna, and finding streams over the Internet didn't cut the mustard.

What's a sports fan to do?


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Tom

I'm not in the GTA, so I don't know if it's available to you, but I am with Shaw Direct and am pretty happy. I pay ~$60 and get all channels you mentioned with the exception of TSN2, but could add it for little more. They do allow some a la carte choices, but I believe you have to have some base requirements first.

October 9, 2012 @ 11:34 AM

Frankie Segreti

A dilemma felt by many a fan,,,when I lived in OHIO, I had to deal with Time Warner. Soon I discovered that I could get almost ALL my sports from streaming services online,,most in great HD. ESPN has European Rights for the NHL. No need to watch the LEAFS every week. Justin.tv is the streaming site that shows CURRENT Movie releases and SPORTS. Others are Ilemi.com and Blogspot.com There are also P2P services: check out myp2p.eu.

Good luck,

Frankie

October 9, 2012 @ 11:42 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Tom

Talking with all the digital cable vendors in my area, it quickly came down to Rogers or nobody. Bell's Vibe wasn't available for my building, their regular dish thing didn't work b/c my balcony faced the wrong way, and Rogers was the only vendor left standing.

If I wanted TSN in HD, I had a problem. This was a deal breaker for me, b/c of the NHL Playoffs at the time and Euro Cup this past summer. Basically, to watch the live sports I wanted to watch, TSN had to be in the mix, and in HD.

I ended up having to buy something called Digital VIP Cable. No movie channels or anything, just Digital VIP Cable to ensure I was getting the Sportsnet stations. But, this came with TSN in Standard Def.... not HD. It looked awful, and I was paying about $80. To get TSN and TSN 2 in HD I had to buy an HD sports package that was another $10 or so. Next thing you know, after taxes, I'm hitting $100 / month.

Understand, I'm a savvy consumer. I tried to do this without a digital cable vendor, I looked at all the options, and with only three HD stations on my must-have list, learned there was no cheaper way to do this.

And yes, I'm aware I could save money by watching TSN in SD and that this is a first world problem, but that's not helpful...

October 9, 2012 @ 11:47 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Frankie

During my month without cable, I tried the online streaming sites. I watched a couple of Leafs games this way, using myp2p.eu and justin.tv, but it was unreliable and looked awful and at some point you give up making that work for live tv.

But I definitely tried it... but not being able to find a first round NHL playoff game was the deal breaker for me a couple of Aprils ago.

October 9, 2012 @ 11:51 AM

Lyle Lanley

Mike, I'm in the exact same boat. I download all my shows and movies but like sports live. That's where they get us!

October 9, 2012 @ 11:52 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Lyle Lanley

I should point out, I have no fancy extras. Only that one HD sports package so I could get TSN in HD.

No PVR or anything like that.... just the rental of an HD digital receiver and the minimum package to get Sportsnet and TSN in HD.

October 9, 2012 @ 11:54 AM

CQ

Ha. You're just like my parents who have an HD TV, a TV package, plus the loud - its not loud, just more audio compression - commercial breaks and provider promos(?) and then really only watch 3 or 4 channels. Half the time they neglect to tune in the HD channel instead of the cropped SD channel - as still listed in the weekend newspaper.
Back in the late 90s, LookTV first offered individual channel selection, after its basic service. Half the picks just needed to be Canadian, all priced the same. They had enough spectrum allotment to broadcast(!) their entire and scrambled SD line-up. You could phone them and have any channel switched within minutes. Then Bell began its own ExpressVu service and Look's financial backing went instantly poof.

October 9, 2012 @ 12:20 PM

dsscpu

Mike, I would take a look at - http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=149570

All you have to do is commit to Rogers for 1 or 2 year term and they will discount cable anywhere from 15-30% per month, depending on what you can negotiate.

I for one have Digital VIP + HD Sport Pak (aka TSN/TSN2) + TMN/TMN Encore (formerly Mpix) + Super Sports and I pay what your paying now when my discounts are factored in.

October 9, 2012 @ 1:43 PM

Rosie

Call Rogers and tell them you are thinking of switching to Bell Fibe and that a free PVR would certainly help change your mind. You should be able to squeeze something extra out of them. It makes the $100 a month a little easier to swallow.

October 9, 2012 @ 2:32 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rosie

I hear you, but I don't want to squeeze more out of them. I want to spend less. I have absolutely no use for a PVR and haven't missed it even a little bit since I lost it almost two years ago.

I just want my 4-5 HD stations without having to spend $100 / month.

October 9, 2012 @ 2:33 PM

elvis

An option I've heard about - UnBlock US sets your DNS to US based servers and then you can use Apple TV, Netflix and Hulu Plus with the American options (and you could order Leaf games because they wouldn't be blacked-out). It won't be zero but it would be less than $100. My last stumbling block is getting a US credit card but you can apparently use a certain type of prepaid Visa that will allow for a US mailing address.

October 9, 2012 @ 2:40 PM

Rosie

@TO Mike ok, then call them and say you are thinking of switching to Bell Fibe and would prefer to not go through the inconvenience of switching, but they made you a great introductory offer. Ask them to straight up discount your bill. Or at least try to get the Movie Network for free!

October 9, 2012 @ 2:46 PM

Douglas

I'm not so sure that the "blame" lies with Rogers. Or Bell, Shaw, et al. I would hazard a guess at the CRTC. Remember, what Canadians watch and hear must be regulated, and that means some very undesirable (for some) outcomes.

October 9, 2012 @ 2:52 PM

elvis

I would agree with Douglas - the CRTC does not allow for a'la carte pricing.

October 9, 2012 @ 3:04 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

You'd think the CRTC would allow for a'la carte pricing considering I want to buy Canadian channels. I think I'd like:

1. CBC
2. CBCNN
3. Sportsnet
4. TSN
5. TSN 2
6. Leafs TV

That's it. All Canadian!

October 9, 2012 @ 3:07 PM

Jason from Sudbury

I've got Star Choice, have had it for the last 7 years, and for 70 bucks a month I get just about everything except the movie channels.

October 9, 2012 @ 3:26 PM

CQ

@ Douglas and Elvis
Read the Look TV example I wrote. They DID originally have a la carte availability: A Basic level (with TSN, MM, CNN, etc.) Then it started with pick 10, 11, and so on at $1 per. They also had a value price for approx. 20 or all added channels. Leafs TV was an early holdout which charged about $3 when it finally arrived. All with official CRTC approval.

October 9, 2012 @ 3:33 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Jason from Sudbury

Looking at Star Choice now.

You buy your HD Hardware, which starts at $99, and then there's a $47.69 package that seems to include the CBC, TSN and Sportsnet HD options. No TSN 2, or Leafs TV, but we're getting there...

I'm going to take a deeper diver later. Thanks!

October 9, 2012 @ 3:39 PM

MrFascination

@Mike - Star Choice Is ShawDirect Now... Decent prices but you need to buy the receivers and getting a package with TSN2 is a bitch.

October 9, 2012 @ 4:00 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@MrFascination

I see this... buying the receiver and trying to get TSN2 seems to be a serious wrench in the plans.

October 9, 2012 @ 4:05 PM

Tim

I hate Rogers too...Oh God do I hate Rogers. I do have satellite TV and pay around 60.00 for all sportsnet channels but sportsnetworld and tsn but no tsn2. My TV is too small to care about HD. You are right though, no sports no need for regular tv

October 9, 2012 @ 4:08 PM

ROb

I too am facing a similar situation. I can watch any show now online (apple tv2 jail broken) its just the live sports where I am having the hard time with and paying Bell TV $80/monthly
Apple TV does carry NHL Game Centre and MLB, though I do not want to commit to both without seeing the streaming quality.
Anyone see these in action?
(I use unblock us and it works perfectly for HULU etc.)

October 9, 2012 @ 6:14 PM

Cheryl

Well, I don't have Rogers. $100.00 a month is out of this world. Anyway, I don't know if Primus has TV. Actually I don't think they do or I would say get Primus. Primus is the best for internet and phone. Customer service is the best.

October 9, 2012 @ 8:22 PM

dsscpu

Mike, I thought you said you had no line-of-site for a satellite dish. Star Choice/Shaw Direct is a satellite based system.

Seriously, just call Rogers Retention Department and negotiate a price out with them. If you have them for any of their other services, they will also apply the discount there.

October 9, 2012 @ 9:05 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@dsscpu

That's what I'll do. I'm just surprised we have to beg the Rogers Retention Department in order to get things closer to fair in this country.

October 9, 2012 @ 9:08 PM

Blind Dave

I have very little use for tv in general. We watch CTV News, and the occasional show on stations like History, OLN, Food etc. Then there's the odd football or hockey game. My wife's one guilty pleasure is Grey's Anatomy (gak!), which I pull off the internet so she can watch it at her leisure. There are a couple of British shows I grab on torrent sites as well, but I think that just about rounds it out. Oh, we'll sometimes catch the occasional CBC doc (Passionate Eye etc), but again, that can be seen online via CBC's streaming website.

So all in all, ad-hoc internet availability covers most things for us. I'd love it if one could choose a cable package by the station only. That would be great. I didn't realize the CBC prevents such things, and we were talking about this very thing a few days ago. Ahh, the things you learn on Toronto Mike!

October 9, 2012 @ 10:16 PM

Blind Dave

CRTC, not CBC. What a dumbass...

October 9, 2012 @ 10:39 PM

Argie

I'm no fan of Rogers or Bell but its obvious why they charge our friend Mike a $100 per month. The answer is that he continues to pay it - that's why!

They exist to make money for their shareholders and its really foolish when consumers use words like "unfair" or ask "why can't the consumer select only the channels he wants". It will never happen and of course there is that useless govt agency called the CRTC. As long as there is a country called Canada, viewers will be forced fed several unwatchable channels that cater exclusively to French and Indian (so called First Nation) people. Anything else that's worth watching will be cost us.

October 10, 2012 @ 10:00 AM

dsscpu

Mike, let us know what you work out with Rogers retention.

October 10, 2012 @ 10:47 AM

Corey

I'm with Bell, and hate paying the monthly fee too, but I've also become an HD-snob. I can't stand watching standard def anymore. It has to be HD TV or Blu-ray. I've always wondered about those of you who stream HD content - don't you just end up paying your ISP huge money for the bandwidth you consume?

October 10, 2012 @ 12:34 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Corey

I get 300 GB a month from Teksavvy. I've never come close to hitting my cap.

October 10, 2012 @ 12:41 PM

Jason from Sudbury

For those who can get Eastlink, they have a package with no cap.

October 10, 2012 @ 3:49 PM

Corey

@Mike - so a 300 gig cap will give you approx. 50 hours of HD content (average 6GB for a one hour HD show). That sounds like plenty, but what do you pay per month for that, and what kind of speed are you getting?

October 10, 2012 @ 8:42 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Corey

It's $42 / month, but I own the modem.

October 10, 2012 @ 8:51 PM

Jason from Sudbury

@Toronto Mike: What speeds are you getting?

October 11, 2012 @ 12:27 AM

Justin

Call Rogers, say you're fed up, and threaten to move to Bell. Make sure you bring up one of Bell's current promotions. Seriously, it depends on who's on the other end of the phone, but it's worked for me before...

October 11, 2012 @ 8:01 AM

Lorne

@Jason, if Mike's got the same one I do, 10 down, 1 up. (They offer a 15 down, 1 up).

Note also that Teksavvy has an unlimited plan. And from 2am - 8am, on all plans, they turn off the bandwidth meter. It's pretty nice.

October 11, 2012 @ 8:44 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I just did the speedtest.net test and got 20.96 Mb/s download and 0.99 Mb/s upload speeds, but I've seen higher.

October 11, 2012 @ 9:25 AM

MaxP

This might be a bit outdated now.

#1 I've been told (can't confirm) that Rogers is piloting a la carte-like programming on Kitchener.

#2 @Mike: what's the speed like during peak times (6-11p) or weekends? Unless I'm downloading movies overnight, a throttled Internet isn't that great for streaming.

#3 You can get "good" quality live sports streaming from sites like vipboxsports.tv or adthenet.net and so on. I stream those from my Playbook and connect to my tv via HDMI. Mind you it's not always HD quality so it may not satisfy your requirements. I'm in fantasy sports for everything, so being able to access multiple out-of-market games is important for me.

We have the VIP package at home where everything except TSN/TSN2 is HD. It really only bothers most during MNF.

January 24, 2013 @ 10:42 PM

king pin

I hate rogers and bell they charge people too much and consumers should have more providers to choose from in canada

February 23, 2013 @ 6:28 PM

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March 21, 2013 @ 4:49 AM

Stephen

You could try VMedia, a new player that has alacart. it streams everything over the internet.

I don't have it my self as My wife tends to want to watch other shows... I'm working to get her off of Rogers and watching shows via the android box I have and XBMC.

But I have been hearing good things.

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May 10, 2014 @ 7:56 AM

Jim

I once phoned Roger's after the Playoffs finished and told them to cancel my service until the regular hockey season started up in October. They suggested not cancelling but just not charging me over the summer months.

October 6, 2018 @ 9:46 PM

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