Is IPTV Legal in Canada?

Is IPTV Legal in Canada?

Woman watching show using IPTV
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We live in a day and age where everyone is moving away from traditional television and toward streaming services. This makes sense because it allows us to watch the content we want whenever we desire it. Of course, various recording features are allotted to users. Still, traditional television simply doesn’t offer this level of user experience quality. 

When we consider what’s turning us away from traditional television, minds immediately go to Netflix, Crave, or Hulu. However, there’s also grey market services focused on illegally streaming copyrighted content. These options fall under the same umbrella—what we cal Internet Protocol Television, known as IPTV.

Specifically, IPTV is all televised content provided through an internet connection. The acronym doesn’t apply to cable, OTT (Over the Air) antennas, satellite dishes, or other conventional options. What it does apply to are the popular streaming services we’ve become accustomed to over the years.  

However, it is slightly complicated, and legalities do come into question. We’ll say that IPTV is legal as long as it adheres to copyright laws. 

What Are the Different Kinds of IPTV? 

IPTV comes with many functions and forms. We’ll examine them in greater detail over the course of this article.

Video on Demand 

Video on Demand (VOD) is an IPTV designation for platforms that allow you to stream content on your own time without worrying about a schedule. 

Two VOD examples that immediately come to mind are Netflix and YouTube. In many cases, this feature exists as one component within specific streaming systems. 

In fact, it’s expected that VOD is available even on platforms centred around live television. Providers lacking these capabilities don’t appeal to customers and are a step in the wrong direction. Without this feature, any IPTV provider is bound to hit rock bottom fast. 

Live Broadcast

Live broadcasting IPTVs are becoming increasingly popular in today’s landscape.

Many consumers are replacing watching events over a cable or satellite hookup with live streaming capabilities. It’s mainly prevalent with news and sports events, such as the Superbowl. While this option hasn’t reached the popularity of VOD, it’s making waves in the market. 

 Time-Shifted IPTV 

Time-shifted programming has become a must-have feature for both consumers and IPTV providers. It comes in various forms—you may recognize it as a “Pause” capability allowing you to pause live TV, or perhaps as a DVR or PVR feature that uses a set-top box or remote storage to record programs for future viewing. You might recognize time-shifting as a “catch-up” function allowing you to go back in time to watch shows that have already aired.

Which Canadian Companies Sell IPTV? 

When two-way internet broadband access networks were developed, it meant Canadian operators could bolster their traditional television services. This meant additional video (and voice) services could be added.

Many national telecom providers began offering digital subscriber line connections with their television services about a decade ago. 

Compared to today, the availability of these services was much more limited. Today, IPTV services are widely accessible across Canada. 

Major western Canadian companies offering IPTV:

  • Sask Tel (MaxTV)
  • Telus Corp (Optik TV)
  • MTS TV in 

Major eastern Canadian companies offering IPTV:

  • Bell Aliant 
  • Bell Canada (Bell Fibe TV) 

Quebec, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada also receive Bell Canada’s IPTV services.

In addition, other smaller providers, such as Zazeen (Distributel) and VMedia, are available, and Toronto users receive exclusive access to Beanfield. 

Cable Companies vs IPTV

IPTV isn’t something that Canadian cable companies can pump out like McDonald’s does Big Macs. Too many complexities are involved that go into functionality and other vital factors.

Traditional television broadcasts were delivered to viewers through Comcast, Rogers TV, and other cable networks. These are one-way networks with limitations—the same could be said for satellite companies, such as Bell Xpress Vu. 

Conversely, as we’ve moved further into the digital age, all industry innovations revolve around IP environments. 

Just as telephone companies entered the IP space as a primary transport mechanism, TV transportation is happening over internet connections. 

Cable companies are trying to deliver wired connection-based content with broadcast signals. It’s worth pointing out that broadcasting has almost relied on a central point. From there, these organizations aimed to combine TV with internet connectivity through engineering methods. 

These companies’ main obstacle is that the television side isn’t conducive to IP delivery. Thus, trying to “keep up with the Joneses” has proven challenging for the cable industry when offering IPTV products. 

Will cable companies find out how to adapt, or will they be left in the dust over the next generation?

 Why Illegal IPTV Streams Are a Bad Idea

Let’s take a deep dive into why illegal IPTV streams are a terrible idea:

Illegal IPTV can waste your money:

  • Plenty of illegal IPTV providers charge a monthly fee ranging between $10 and $15—but it’ll cost more if you want additional features.
  • Illegal providers aren’t regulated and could vanish at a moment’s notice due to various legal actions. Suddenly, your money will be flushed down the drain.

Illegal IPTV leaves you at risk to cybercrimes:

  • Illegal IPTV developers and providers load their websites with obnoxious ads that often possess links to various malware. 
  • These ads are often very deceitful, describing themselves as ‘play’ or ‘close’ buttons. Furthermore, ads are layered atop one another. 
  • Regularly, many ads need to be closed before watching an illegal video. 
  • Even with your Android and FireTV services, both malware and viruses are factors. Illegal IPTV services exist in apps for those platforms, and they’re not adequately vetted with security checks. 

Many illegal IPTV streams lack quality and reliability:

  • Even when you’re paying money for illegal IPTV, you’ll find abundant buffering and non-functioning streams.
  • The more viewers there are, the likelier it is that the stream crashes, which frequently occur with significant sporting events. 
  • With illegal TV streams, rights holders are becoming increasingly vigilant. Thus, there’s a significant chance that your content disappears mid-watch. 

Illegal IPTV might lead to legal consequences:

  • The odds of prosecution for illegal streaming aren’t great, but it stores temporary data in a cache on your device. Authorities have some impetus to pursue your prosecution.

Using illegal IPTV often leads to ISP headaches:

  • Your internet service provider (ISP) won’t look kindly upon your forays into content pirating. 
  • Some ISPs will reduce your accessibility to the bare minimum if you’re a frequent offender.
  • You’ll likely receive a warning email for starters, which will give you a chance to start flying on the straight and narrow. However, if you persist, the chances are you’ll face the consequences.

Beyond all these factors, there’s an ethical component. At the end of the day, you’re taking what isn’t yours through illegal means, even if you are paying.  Is it worth the risk considering the lack of quality?

 Conclusion

While not all IPTV forms are legal, they are entirely lawful when used properly.  

After all, most mainstream streaming services out there, such as Netflix and Hulu, are IPTV providers and 100% above board.

Realistically, IPTV encapsulates the future of content. When used through legal means, it comes with an exceptional user experience. You’ll enjoy television shows, music, and related offerings when you want, the way you want them.

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