Choosing the right streaming service in Canada isn't easy, especially when it's your first time and some services are partially or entirely restricted in Canada. However, you can stream anything from anywhere without worrying about borders if you use the right VPN.
The top-rated VPN in Canada (and the one I personally use) is Surfshark, which has an easy-to-use interface, top-notch security and works with an unlimited number of devices. If you capitalize on Surfshark's limited-time offer, you can stream any show you want and get 82% off your Surfshark subscription today.
What Are Streaming Services, And Why Are They Better Than Cable TV?
It hasn't been that long since we first heard of streaming services, mostly thanks to Netflix. However, it hasn't been long since Netflix and other online on-demand services took the world by storm with offerings on new on-demand content, for a small monthly price.
Certainly, the feature that makes people want to cancel their cable TV subscriptions is the price of streaming platforms. While most cable TV services cost around $60 to $80 per month, streaming services cost around $70 to $90 annually. Yes, annually.
With tons of previously available content and exclusives being made in-house for these services, people no longer see the necessity of staying with cable TV subscriptions.
Why Can't I Access Some Streaming Services In Canada?
Streaming services aren't perfect, their biggest flaw being that some or the entirety of its content are region-locked outside of the US. This restriction hinders the worth of these services if you're not from there or if you're travelling.
With most of these services coming from the US, people who live in Canada don't get most of the benefits, so most people have started using VPNs to access the US or even other countries like Japan to access their catalogues.
However, knowing that you have to use a VPN to access the most popular on-demand platforms is not enough, which is why we'll delve into the top 5 VPNs in the market at the end of this post. Meanwhile, here are the 14 best streaming services Canada has to offer (paid and free).
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The 10 Best Streaming Services In Canada (Subscription-Based)
Netflix. Nobody can say that they haven't heard about Netflix before. It simply is THE online streaming platform everyone and their mother has heard about.
Netflix's offer is simple, though, some of the best shows in the current scene, some original series that can either be great or lacking. In overall terms, Netflix offers a compendium of content broad enough to entertain even the most avid viewers.
Netflix's Plans: (all prices are in USD)
- Basic, for $9.99/mo and 1 screen.
- Standard, for $15.49/mo, 2 screens and HD streaming.
- Premium, for $19.99/mo, 4 screens and HD and 4K streaming.
- Wide range of content.
- Original series.
- The app is available for multiple devices, including Roku, Android TV, Smart TVs, Apple TV, iOS and Fire TV.
- All content is available once the subscription is paid.
- 30-day free trial.
Netflix is the go-to streaming service for most households, and it doesn't lack content or quality. If you live in Canada and want to use Netflix, the broadest streaming service, you will need to use a VPN. We recommend the best VPNs at the end.
#2 Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is a video streaming service that might not be as popular in Canada, but it's a video service not to be looked over. It has a great collection of original series and quality content, even if they're somewhat obscure.
Amazon Prime Video is one of the best streaming services in Canada because you get high-quality content compared to other platforms' originals that may or may not be within your niche.
Amazon Prime's Plans:
- Basic, for $7.99/mo and 2 screens simultaneously.
- Basic, for $79.99/year, 2 screens and HD and 4K streaming.
- Quality original productions.
- Wide range of genres to choose from.
- Available in multiple countries outside the US.
- They offer a standalone membership aside from their Amazon Prime membership.
- Available on many devices, including Android, iOS, Smart TV, Apple TV, Roku & Fire TV.
If you live in Canada and want something high-quality, Amazon Prime Video might be the way to go. However, it has a smaller catalogue than Netflix, considering that a part of its library is region-locked.
#3 Apple TV+
Apple TV+ is part of Apple's network and aims to be one of the premium online streaming services where all streaming services converge; this comes from Apple TV+ users finding shows from other streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video or HBO Max if they already have a subscription or want to purchase it as a standalone product.
Apple TV's Plans:
- Basic, for $5.99/mo, 6 screens and HD and 4K streaming.
- Works on multiple devices, including Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku, Android TV, iOS, Smart TVs, and more.
- It's extremely affordable.
- Offers traditional TV channels from ABC, CBS, FOX & NBC.
- Live sports coverage.
- No credit card is required for registration.
Apple TV+ is a relatively new service for live streaming, but it's already consolidating itself as one of the most interesting options. Its subscription price is extremely cheap and full of features; however, if you want to use it as your only streaming platform while also tapping into other services' content from it, it can get to be quite expensive.
#4 Disney Plus
Disney Plus is the streaming service on which Disney's live-action and animated movies and series are exclusively released. The important part to note here is that Disney makes content for the whole family, but they also own the rights to the Star Wars and Marvel franchises. So, they will be here whenever the next big movies and series air.
Disney Plus Plans:
- Basic, for $11.99/mo and 4 screens.
- Basic, for $119.99/year, 4 screens and HD and 4K streaming.
- Has all cable shows related to ABC.
- Family-friendly content.
- Disney's grade of production is expected from its originals.
- Huge vault of content related to Disney's history.
- 30-day free trial.
Disney is a household name, so its live-streaming service will be popular with young children's families. Furthermore, since their content is Disney productions, they're expected to have high-quality HD streaming throughout their movies and series repertoire.
You've probably heard about Hulu by now. Hulu is similar to Netflix; its main distinction is that it was made specifically with airing shows in mind. While Netflix has more content in the general sense, Hulu has more exclusives airing and new content overall. Hulu is a great option for those looking to have constantly new exclusive and updated content.
The Hulu Plans:
- Basic, for $5.99/mo, 2 screens and HD streaming.
- Basic, for $59.99/year, 2 screens and HD streaming.
- Monthly Basic (no ads), for $11.99/mo. 2 screens and HD streaming.
- Hulu + Live TV Package, for $64.99/mo, 2 screens and HD streaming.
- Hulu (no ads) + Live TV Package, for $70.99/mo, 2 screens and HD streaming.
- The base subscription is low-cost.
- 30-day free trial with all content unlocked.
- Music Live Streaming events are available.
- Exclusive and airing content, including some, found on cable TV.
- HD and 4K streaming on the basic plan.
Hulu is perfect for those looking to keep up with airing shows and bombarded with up-to-date new and engaging content. With Hulu, users get a pretty engaging experience without paying too much, even though some content is region-locked outside Canada and merged with ads.
#6 HBO Max
HBO is a brand that's well known to be associated with quality. It's no surprise then that their content dominance of the western world has brought them all over the world, particularly into the interests of people living in Canada.
HBO Max is part of a conglomerate called “The Warner Media Group,” which owns several other brands such as HBO and CNN; this means that, among many other brands, HBO Max will have a lot of content from the Warner Media Library.
HBO Max Plans: (all prices are in USD)
- Basic, for $9.99/mo, 2 screens and HD streaming.
- Basic (no ads), for $14.99/mo, 2 screens and HD and 4K streaming.
- HBO plans include all HBO original shows, you can watch movies plus some other Warner Media libraries.
- Speedy HD streaming across a wide range of devices.
- HDR and 4K on select movies and series.
- Most shows related to TNT and TBS are accessible with this subscription.
- Most current TV series are airing on this network.
HBO Max is perfect for those looking to get on-demand access to some of the best content out there. As far as exclusivity goes, HBO Max is a good option. It might be a bit pricey, but it's worth checking its library to see if something catches your interest.
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#7 Discovery Plus
Discovery Plus is a streaming service available in Canada and over 20 other countries. Thanks to its preeminence as an entertainment brand, many people may enjoy Discovery's library, including the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, Food Network, Animal Planet, TLC, and more.
Discovery Plus Plans:
- Basic, for $4.99/mo, 2 screens and HD and 4K streaming.
- Basic (ad free), for $6.99/mo, 2 screens and HD and 4K streaming.
- All Discovery Originals are available.
- Best streaming services for original content, reality TV and documentaries.
- Works on multiple devices, including Android and iOS devices, Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku and more.
- Exclusive content.
- Among the most affordable.
Discovery Plus is perfect for those looking to watch their favourite Discovery channel content on their own time. The service has a growing library of the channel's best shows and documentaries and bonus content exclusive to this streaming platform.
#8 Paramount Plus
Paramount Plus streaming service is available in the US for people looking to access Paramount's classic movies on demand. It also includes some additional titles under the Viacom catalogue, including some global TV shows and live sports streams from CBS exclusive to their platform.
Paramount Plus Plans: (all prices are in USD)
- Essential, for $4.99/mo or $119.99/year,
- Premium (no ads), for $9.99/mo or $99.99/year, 3 screens and HD and 4K streaming.
- Essential + SHOWTIME, for $11.99/mo or $119.99/year, 3 screens and HD and 4K streaming.
- Premium + SHOWTIME, for $14.99/mo or $149.99/year, 3 screens and HD and 4K streaming.
- You can stream new movies on the release date.
- Some of the older movies available here are hard or impossible to find elsewhere.
- Can also stream Paramount TV shows, including current TV series like “The Bold Type” and shows from other Viacom media properties.
- The service has a growing library to offer, with much more content planned for future updates.
- All plans come with 3 screens and HD and 4K streaming.
If you're looking to watch the content you used to watch on cable TV, some new releases and classic movies, Paramount Plus is a subscription worth considering. It might be a pricey plan, but it's certainly cheaper than a cable tv subscription for those who enjoy the content rather than hiring a TV provider.
Pro tip: Read our post on passive income in Canada to learn how you can easily make more than enough to pay for this and other streaming services without lifting a finger.
#9 Peacock TV
Peacock TV is a subscription service that brings NBC's best content to subscribers. It includes all NBC-owned shows and movies, lifestyle content, and access to some live sports streams. Its biggest trait is the amount and broadness of its content while being available at a relatively low price.
The Peacock TV Plans: (all prices are in USD)
- Free Peacock Version, for $0 free services, limited access.
- Peacock Premium, for $4.99/mo full access to all shows.
- Peacock Premium Plus (no ads), for $9.99/mo with full access.
- All monthly subscriptions/plans include 3 simultaneous screens and HD streaming.
- Since it's the only major broadcasting channel with a streaming service, you can expect all its content to be there.
- You get access to live sports streams not available on a cable network or other streaming service, like the Premier League. Perfect for sports fans.
- Available in many devices, including smart TVs, Android TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Sticks, and more.
- NBC's entire library is at your fingertips with this platform.
- It has a completely free plan, but it's limited.
If you're an NBC enthusiast, this is the streaming service for you. It's one of the best ways to watch all of their content on-demand with a low-cost monthly subscription. You can start with Peacock TV for free, albeit with some limitations.
#10 Crave TV
An online on-demand video platform brought to you by Bell Media, CraveTV is a paid service that focuses on offering high-quality shows. It's much more expansive than what Netflix offers in Canada, though the price doesn't reflect that. The app is available for multiple devices, much like Netflix's one.
The Crave TV Plans:
- Crave Mobile, for $9.99/mo, 1 screen and HD streaming. Only for web, Mobile, and Apple devices.
- Crave Total, for $19.99/mo, 4 screens and HD and 4K streaming.
- It offers many first-run movies, including made-for-TV movies that you won't find in other streaming services
- Available in multiple devices, with Smart TVs, a mobile device, and Amazon Fire TV sticks being some.
- Stream content from all seasons from older series.
- High-quality live TV and original series.
- It's an original Canadian streaming service.
Crave TV offers a good variety of classic movies and shows not available anywhere else. If you're looking for new content and the chance to have the broadest streaming service in the palm of your hands, that's what Crave is for. Although, this also makes it one of the more expensive streaming subscriptions.
The 4 Best Free Online Streaming Services In Canada
#11 Pluto TV
Pluto TV is a completely free platform that may be too good to be true. At first glance, its interface will remind you of a Smart TV, but it is an intuitive interface that makes it extremely easy to use, especially for those using Samsung smart TVs, Android TVs or any mobile devices.
However, Pluto TV does run on ads, although very minimal ones, which means that it's a streaming platform that doesn't need a free trial or a monthly subscription since it's completely free. You open your browser or download the app, and you're ready to go.
#12 The Roku Channel
The Roku Channel is software that's included with all Roku devices. It consists of a free streaming platform with some relatively new but mostly old shows that people with Roku devices can see for free, regardless of their geographical location.
The Roku Channel is free but based on an ad-supported service, just like with Pluto TV. However, this channel is a nice alternative for people who just cut their cable subscription and bought a Roku device but haven't decided on which streaming service to subscribe to.
#13 Crackle TV
Crackle TV is another service that offers on-demand streaming, and it's probably one of the most, if not the most, well-known free streaming platforms. Again, just like Pluto TV and Roku, it features a free service based on ads.
Still, Crackle TV was discontinued in Canada in 2018, which means that if you want to take a stab at some of its content, you'll need a VPN. We recommend the best VPNs at the end.
#14 Tubi TV
As far as completely free streaming services go, Tubi is one of the most interesting ones. Most of their content is around five years old, but they claim to have around 20,000 titles in their library, which looks to be true.
While they don't have original content, they make up for it with a lot of content. They even have a category with titles that aren't on Netflix, just to let users know that using a free streaming service sometimes comes with advantages over choosing a paid platform. However, its quality doesn't come as with others, where you would expect 4k or even 1080p.
How To Access The Best Streaming Services In Canada
There's a ton of content out there for everyone to stream, all of which caters to different tastes and genres. However, if you're in Canada, you might be unable to access all of the streaming services you want.
The best way for Canadians to access the complete libraries of every streaming platform mentioned above is to use a VPN.
How Do VPNs Work?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network since they're your own private connection to the Internet. Here's how a VPN works in a nutshell:
- Your Internet traffic is routed from your device through a server managed by your VPN provider before going to the endpoint you want to reach (in this case, a streaming service).
- The streaming service can't see any of your data, including your device's IP address. Instead, it sees the IP address of the VPN, which you can change in its settings.
By using a VPN, then, you can browse the web anonymously and safely—plus you get the added benefit of accessing streaming services you normally can't while logging on from a Canadian IP address.
What Are The Best VPNs In Canada?
Picking the best VPN isn't easy, which is why I've listed my top 5 VPNs that I've specifically tested on the streaming platforms above. Here are the 5 best VPNs for Canadians:
1. SurfShark – Best Overall
I've been using Surfshark for over 2 years now, and it's served me extremely well. Not only is it the top-rated VPN in Canada, but it's the only VPN in Canada to allow users to connect an unlimited number of devices to their servers. This makes Surfshark ideal for sharing with your entire family or circle of friends, plus its split tunnelling and multi-hop technologies make it even more useful.
From a privacy perspective, Surfshark also gets credit for its clear privacy policies and tamper-proof RAM-only servers that boost performance. Click below to see get an exclusive, limited-time offer on Surfshark.
NordVPN's main selling point is that it combines all of the best characteristics of its competitors into one package. It maintains a large global network of servers while still providing an excellent user experience. NordVPN has also added cutting-edge technology like WireGuard into its core services, making it a full-fledged VPN option that's a great choice for anyone who doesn't need the unlimited number of devices offered by Surfshark.
ExpressVPN differs from other VPN services that offer large server distributions by relying on fewer virtual servers and emphasizing secure hardware. Like others on this list, it's also shown a strong dedication to the privacy and security of its users.
PrivateVPN is a good multi-purpose VPN that offers strong encryption for maximum privacy and security, torrenting support, and a no-logs policy. It's also one of the only VPNs out there that allows users to use Netflix and skirt online censorship in China, a big plus for Chinese Canadians who frequently go back to the mainland.
CyberGhost is more expensive than many others on this list, though it does provide a good service. It has a slick software client and is powered by cutting-edge VPN technology, though for most users, one of the VPNs above will be more than enough.
Choosing a streaming service is easy: especially when it's your first time and some services are partly or entirely restricted in your country. However, you can stream anything from anywhere without worrying about borders if you have the right VPN.
The top-rated VPN in Canada (and the one I personally use) is Surfshark, which has an easy-to-use interface, top-notch security and works with an unlimited number of devices. If you capitalize on Surfshark's limited-time offer, you can get 82% off your Surfshark subscription today.