Rogers On-Demand Online premieres today.
Starting today, the Canadian media giant that is Rogers is offering Rogers On-Demand Online—Rodo—to all of its cable, Internet, home phone, and Fido customers. The one-stop beta site will stream current and archived TV shows, movies, sports, and music videos, available anytime and anywhere in Canada.
We were able to peruse the site before the grand release, and it’s pretty nifty. The content is nicely organized under the tabs “Channels,” “TV Shows,” “Movies,” “Clips,” “Genres,” and “What’s Hot,” making locating your choice video a breeze. The video quality is excellent, and should improve as HD content is added. Except for one commercial at the beginning, and a few inserted throughout, the streaming is uninterrupted. Finally, we can all watch Glee in peace.
Well, not quite.
The hit Fox show, and many other online television favourites, aren’t available. So far, Rodo has only fifteen content providers. Some are well-known channels, such as CityTV and the Food Network, and others are more unfamiliar, like Vuguru and Setanta Sports (which we hadn’t heard of until now). This leaves the selection with something to be desired, as the majority of the shows and movies available are rather obscure. Mantracker, Sorority Forever, Captain Flamingo—anyone? But on the bright side, it offers all the Ultimate Fighting Championship matches you could ever want.
Many of the TV shows offered on Rodo are lesser known, such as OLN’s Mantracker.
If you compare Rodo to Hulu—the similar and very popular online video source only available in the United States—Rogers’s version seems paltry. Hulu has 190 content providers, and is still expanding. However, Rogers does hope to develop one new partnership each week for the next year.
Another drawback is that Rodo cannot be accessed by non-Rogers customers (sorry, Bell loyalists), whereas Hulu works for those with any Internet Service Provider.
“Well yeah, but us forlorn Canucks can’t access Hulu,” you might say. Think again. As long as you have a proxy—a fancy Internet tool that can trick Hulu into thinking you have an IP address that originates from the States—you can watch Grey’s Anatomy until you’re blue in the face. Proxies are available for both PCs and Macs, but their effectiveness varies from user to user. Of course, we at Torontoist would never endorse such circumvention of Hulu’s rules.
And here’s the big catch. If you’re a Rogers Internet customer, Rogers counts the videos you watch on Rodo towards your monthly bandwidth allowance. Considering most of us online junkies get the vast majority of our movie, sports, and reality show fixes from the web, this could leave us paying extra at the end of every month. So beware of your megabyte consumption.
So okay, maybe Rogers isn’t the Canadian online television hero just yet. But you can still feel good about using a legal, Canadian provider. If you’re one of the lucky Rogers customers, go here to sign up. Who knows? Captain Flamingo may not be half bad.