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    Readers rage against Videotron over AMC


    The mere mention of the name Videotron can transform the most mellow of Montrealers into prime candidates for anger-management therapy.


    By BILL BROWNSTEIN, The Gazette

    September 16, 2010 8:07 AM


    MONTREAL - Yeow! Evidently, the mere mention of the name Videotron can transform the most mellow of Montrealers into prime candidates for anger-management therapy.


    Saturday's column on the fine Sunday-evening TV drama offered by Rubicon and Mad Men on the AMC pay/cable network drew a torrent of angry email. All from frustrated subscribers of Videotron.


    While AMC is available to satellite subscribers of Bell TV and Shaw Direct, among other providers, Videotron, which services a huge chunk of this city, does not offer the network.


    When asked whether Videotron would carry AMC, Manon Brouillette, an executive vice-president in charge of content at the company, couldn't say when or if the outlet might be available to its subscribers in Quebec.


    "If there is a major demand for AMC here, we might be able to offer it," Brouillette said last week. "We are in the process of upgrading our network, which will give us more capacity. And as soon as there is more capacity, we will deploy more channels, with both French and English content."


    Judging by the reaction from readers, there has been a "major demand" expressed to Videotron over the last few years, but nothing has been done to rectify the situation.


    As to my suggestion that AMC-deprived subscribers switch providers if not happy with the Videotron service, it was pointed out by several readers that this option is not feasible for a variety of reasons.


    Mike McLean echoed the sentiments of many and also offered a solution of sorts: "A (satellite) dish isn't a practical option for me.


    "But if Videotron doesn't pick up the slack by the time Bell Fibe TV (fibetv. fibetv.bell.ca/en/features/introduction/)comes online in my neighbourhood, I'll drop them in a heartbeat."


    McLean, like others, laments the fact, that in addition to not carrying AMC, Videotron doesn't offer Discovery HD.


    "For whatever reason, the extra-cost option is something called Discovery World, which is good but isn't the same thing." McLean notes.


    Satellite TV is not an option for, among many others, Agustin Litvak: "We live in a large condominium building in the heart of downtown Montreal and because of a contractual arrangement the building has with Videotron, I cannot switch cable provider."


    Litvak's complaint is not only with the absence of AMC but "most of all" for the unavailability of the Fox News cable channel. "You or many other people might not like Fox News, but nobody can challenge the fact that Fox News is by far the No. 1 cable news channel in the United States. I just cannot comprehend the short-sighted view of Videotron and, in spite of several emails I have sent them, I get the exact same answer you got for your inquiry about AMC."


    My feelings about the Fox News channel -which I do receive from my satellite TV server -notwithstanding, let's just say that Videotron will almost certainly find the space on its packed grid for Fox News North, being proposed by Videotron boss Pierre Karl Peladeau.


    Dave Fisher, my CJADradio weekend-morning pal, is not complaining about the absence of Fox News, but he is rather irate that Videotron can't hook him up with AMC or Discovery HD. And switching servers is not in the cards for the tight-fisted Fisher, who has invested "many, many dollars" in Videotron's Illico boxes and PVRs.


    Fisher, not exactly the retiring type, has voiced his displeasure to Videotron numerous times over the last couple of years. "One Videotron customer-service rep actually told me that the anglo market in Quebec was just too small to justify putting AMC or Discovery HD on their grid," Fisher says. "Better still, when I pointed out that Bell TV and Shaw Direct offered more English HD than they do, he told me that was a myth. Right!"


    James Hunt senses that Videotron may not be as receptive to the needs of some of its subscribers: "About two years ago I wrote to Videotron and asked them about getting my personal favourite added to the channel selection: TCM (Turner Classic Movies). It has a lot of very interesting old movies, including great film noir from the '40s you don't see anywhere else. I got a rather patronizing response with no real explanation of whether or not they intended to do anything, nor why. Well, they haven't done anything.


    "I've thought long and hard about this and concluded with some regret that it is a business decision based on language considerations," Hunt adds in his email. "As a purely regional network, the number of English subscribers cannot be more than a few hundred thousand (vs. several million French subscribers) and I just don't think Videotron is interested in adding any more English content to satisfy such a small subscriber base."


    Hunt, like other subscribers, says this lack of content could turn many a law-abiding citizen into outlaws: "If you are English and want choice, unfortunately you have to think in terms of joining a larger subscriber base nationally or internationally. The unpleasant conclusion is that English subscribers who want such channels as AMC, HBO (USA), etc. will have to look elsewhere and even to consider a U.S. grey-market Dish Network or DirecTV satellite. And I do not support stealing black-market satellite signals!!!"


    But Hunt is resigned to the fact that, as Canadians, we'll probably just bite the bullet like we always do: "Considering the abuse they suffer from all the players -the CRTC, cable and satellite providers, and networks -in terms of restriction of choice, Canadians are pretty mild-mannered about all this. ... In the long run, Canadians are going to wake up and insist on getting what they want to watch from whatever source is necessary. But in Canada, the long run can take ... ah .... a long time to arrive ..."


    Brahm Steinberg learned about the marvellous Mad Men from his kids in Toronto. After being dismayed in discovering the show wasn't available to him on Videotron, he purchased the DVDs for the first three seasons of the series. He could download the current Season 4 on iTunes, but had decided instead to call Videotron to complain.


    "No one I spoke to there had even heard of AMC or Mad Men. The anglo representative had not even heard about the Emmy Awards," Steinberg writes in reference to Mad Men taking the Emmy for best TV drama for the third year in a row, not to mention the other awards won by AMC. "Was my request passed on? I doubt it."


    On that note, Steinberg requested an address where customers could vent their frustrations with Videotron. Here it is: http://tiny. cc/j08us





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    LOL, un bon exemple de notre société distincte! Lorsque je suis avec des américains ou canadien anglais, ils parlent très souvent des séries télé entre eux, et ils sont en état de choc lorsqu'ils comprennent que je n'ai pas vu tel ou tel épisode célèbre dans ma jeunesse, c'est comme si je venais d'une autre planète, disctincte.


    Ceci dit, j'ai bien hâte de regarder cette série et de je juger par moi-même!

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    Bof..... En ce qui me concerne, je ne suis pas du tout perturbé de ne pas avoir les mêmes références que les Americains ou les Canadiens anglais (la même chose anyway:rolleyes:)..... De toute façon, toutes ces séries sont disponibles sur le web..... Et pour ce qui est de Fox News..... On perd pas grand-chose:rolleyes:

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