Options to Watch TV (online too!)
A variety of TV service technologies
You may want to upgrade or change your TV service. What kinds of services are currently available for you to choose from? Will you need a set-top box to use them? If you are looking to find service providers in your area, check out our online tool!
There are different types of TV service providers, all of which offer a wide range of TV and other programming, including high-definition programs.
These service providers typically redistribute programming from conventional over-the-air television and radio stations and distribute discretionary and on-demand services such as specialty services, pay audio, pay television, pay-per-view, and video-on-demand services.
- Internet Protocol television (IPTV)
- Direct-to-Home satellite (satellite)
Most Canadians use cable services, and the majority of cable companies now offer hundreds of standard and high-definition channels using digital technology. To get digital cable services, you need a set-top box from your cable provider.
With IPTV services, digital TV channels are delivered to your television through a high-speed Internet connection. To get TV services from IPTV to your home, the IPTV distributor needs to provide you with a set-top box and the requisite access.
Satellite distribution services deliver broadcast signals directly to small dishes installed at your home. To receive satellite services, you need both the dish and a set-top box from your satellite distributor.
Depending on the number of subscribers a TV service provider has, it may or may not need a license from the CRTC.
These are also other options to watch tv:
- Online video services
- Over-the-air stations
- On-demand services
Online video services
Online services include any audio-visual content available on the Internet. Some are free and others have a subscription fee in order to access content. A high speed Internet connection with a data plan is necessary in order to download and view this type of programming.
Note: Online video services don’t need a license from the CRTC. You can learn more about TV online here.
You can access television for free by simply using an antenna. If you choose not to pay for cable or satellite subscriptions, you can still have free access to your local television stations, many of which are available in high definition with minimal one-time equipment costs. Find out more about over-the air television broadcasting and our policy on over-the-air transmission of TV signals and local programming.
On-demand services are available from TV service providers and are increasingly becoming available over the Internet. They allow subscribers to choose the programs they want to watch at a time of their choosing. On-demand services such as pay-per-view and video-on-demand are typically available when you subscribe to TV services.
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