Canadian cable giants launch a Netflix rival

Canucks don't have much choice for streaming video services. Netflix is the de facto pick, and its Canadian division's selection (historically smaller than in the US) isn't going to satisfy everyone. However, cable giants Rogers and Shaw think they have a better option for some viewers -- they've just unveiled Shomi, a mostly TV-focused service that might have a few aces up its sleeve. The offering blends automatic recommendations with handpicked selections; if you're looking for nothing but comic book adaptations or movies with dating disasters, you may have an easier time finding what you want. Shomi is also leaning heavily on exclusive deals for past seasons of big TV shows like Modern Family, New Girl and Sons of Anarchy, so it may be your best bet if you're looking for a Hulu Plus equivalent.

The service will initially work on mobile devices, the web, Xbox 360 consoles and cable set-top boxes when its public beta test launches in the first week of November. Naturally (if unfortunately), Rogers and Shaw customers will have first crack. The pricing is definitely competitive at $9 Canadian per month, although you may not want to chuck any existing subscriptions just yet. While Shomi will have 340 TV series and a strong dose of Canadian content (30 percent), it has just 1,200 "cult-classic and fan-favourite" movies -- if you want to watch a recent blockbuster, you're probably better off sticking with Netflix for now.