This past March I cut my extravagant cable bill and purchased, for $20, something on Amazon many of you probably didn’t even know existed: a digital television antenna. I know, old school, right?
Now, while I basked in the illegal freedoms of accessing a cheap and extensive American Netflix library through Hola, my virtual private network (VPN), I could fill in the TV gaps with free, pristine-definition CBC, Global, and CTV, among other channels. It’s only the smartest route for today’s cheapskate television viewers, said my rationale.
However, a month later I fleetingly wished I’d never left cable in the first place. Netflix suddenly betrayed my bountiful programming choice for an empty screen that said “Whoops!” and a virtual wall that left me and the other ‘immigrants’ permanently blocked from accessing the American library.
Crushed and dismayed, I accepted my fate as a Canadian viewer and turned to Twitter for consolation. There I found other VPN users angry “AF” that Netflix had finally acted upon last year’s statements on ensuring illegal Canadian users couldn’t joyride through the American abyss of seemingly endless choice.
Yeah, I was peeved. Now I’d have to torrent the rest of American Horror Story. But I’ve since had a chance to collect myself and see the light.
The truth here is that Canadian Netflix users still angry that they can no longer skirt the American border to watch illegal programming are a small but vocal group of self-entitled babies. I understand that many Netflix users are still upset that the company seemingly had no problem with these illegal practices for years, and this sudden change in business model has left border hoppers feeling mistreated. But I’ll confidently state that as unfair as this crackdown may seem, it simply isn’t.
Sit down, hush up, and be happy that you at least have access to a half-decent version of Netflix.
The Canadian Netflix library is significantly smaller than its American counterpart. That doesn’t discount the fact that Netflix is a multinational business that sets its boundaries in a contract we, the customers, readily agree to when we fork over our monthly $10. And while we snivel that our customer service experience was below our standards because ‘Canadians are people too, and we should have access to everything everywhere because that’s freedom of choice,’ we have to remember that we’re still subject to whatever Netflix gives us.
End of story. That’s the business agreement, plain and simple.
Last week, CBC published an analysis on the issue, citing fresh comments and labelling the arguments a border hopping “battle.” But there is no war to be waged here. Netflix has spoken, and it’s decided the time has come to respect Hollywood’s country-exclusive licensing agreements.
Thankfully, CBC also shed light on those who agree with me, feeding me morsels of hope for today’s greedy consumer base. These commenters are similarly fed up with all the first-world “whiners” who feel disadvantaged.
Sorry, Northerners. It’s a shame that Americans won’t share their treasures, but we can’t get everything we want in life for $9.99, even if we knowingly break laws to do so. So sit down, hush up, and be happy that you at least have access to a half-decent version of Netflix. And if you’re a cheapo like me, who’s cut the cable for good, perhaps it’s time to invest in a $20-antenna to replenish the cracks in your abused television soul.