With a recent rise of streaming opportunities on the internet, Canadians are dropping their cable subscriptions and are watching television shows online.
By Jacob Serebrin
But not everything is available through these different avenues and one Ottawa-based company sees that as an opportunity.
Grant Hall, the CEO of Nuvyyo, says he wants to give people who have “cut the cord” the best of both worlds.
"They still want their local news, they still want their local sports, they want the key network shows and they want them when they air, not six months later," he says.
Nuvyyo has developed a device called the Tablo, which streams over-the-air television broadcasts to TVs and other devices. It can also record those broadcasts for later viewing.
Mr. Hall says that the Tablo can stream to almost any device using apps, works with both Android and iOS phones and tablets as well as Mac and PC computers.
He says it can stream between four and six devices or TVs at the same time, depending on the network and in Ottawa, 15 channels are available over-the-air.
"You get a lot of content," he says. That includes the most popular network television shows from the United States as well as any sporting events that are broadcast on major networks.
Since 2011, over-the-air broadcasts in Canada have been in digital high-definition.
"Over the air has a bit of an advantage because they’re broadcasting at a very high bitrate," he says. "Typically with cable and satellite, because they need to support a lot of channels, they have to compress or they have to make compromises."
Mr. Hall says the majority of his customers are still watching TV on traditional televisions. Around one-third use the device to watch TV on tablets, laptops and phones.
Mr. Hall sees his product competing against the $25 "skinny basic" packages that cable companies were required to develop by the CRTC.
"We kind of view ourselves as the true skinny basic," he says.
That’s not just because of the price.
"Typically with skinny basic, you don’t get the DVR feature, you still have to pay extra for that through the cable company," he says. "We think we are very competitive, we are the real alternative."
While the Federal Court of Canada recently issued an injunction blocking the sale of some set-top boxes, devices that can turn regular TVs into smart TVs, Mr. Hall says there’s “no comparison” between those boxes and the Tablo.
He says the Tablo is more like a VCR and that court rulings in the 1980s established that recording over-their-air television broadcasts is legal.
"The challenge for us, as a small company, is that people have forgotten that this signal is up there and that broadcasters actually broadcast over the air," he says.