Canadian cable firms Rogers and Shaw have hogged the Shomi video service all to themselves during its testing phase, but they're loosening up now that they're nearly ready for prime time. The two have revealed that their answer to Netflix will be available to all Canadians this summer, not just the companies' internet and TV subscribers. As during the beta, you'll plunk down $9 CAD ($7 US) per month to get a mix of shows and (mostly older) movies, including Transparent and other series that are Amazon exclusives in the US. The service already works through Android, Apple TV, Chromecast and iOS devices, so you won't be hurting for places to watch.
The expansion isn't just about giving domestic cablecos a shot at money that would otherwise go to Netflix and other American providers. It's partly a foil to CraveTV, a service meant only for Bell customers. Also, Rogers and Shaw are under pressure from Canada's telecom regulator, the CRTC, to open up. The agency has ruled that any video-on-demand exclusives must be available to every Canuck online -- if companies want sole access to a hot series, they can't force you to sign up for other services in order to start streaming. This probably won't get you to drop your existing US subscriptions, but you at least won't have to jump through hoops to check out options from the Great White North.