Corus launches Amazon Channel 'Stack TV'. What is it, how does it work and should you subscribe to it?
On June 3rd, 2019 Corus announced they would be launching a new streaming service on Amazon Prime Canada called ‘Stack TV’.
Corus already had a Global TV app, but there wasn’t much content on it beyond a few episodes for most shows that are on Global TV and it’s pretty useless without a log in and password from a supported cable company. For cord cutters the requirement for a cable log in and password means that service can’t really be used.
So along comes Stack TV a service that doesn’t require a cable subscription and costs $12.99 per month. The catch is that it’s not a stand alone service. Stack TV isn’t a separate app you download. Instead you subscribe to Stack TV through Amazon Canada.
Several media outlets covered this story. Including CBC.
To start off you first have to be a Canadian Amazon Prime subscriber. Amazon Prime costs $7.99 Canadian a month or $79.00 Canadian per year.
Many people are already Amazon Prime Canadian subscribers for the free two day shipping but this also gives users access to a variety of other services including Amazon Prime Canada video.
Amazon Channels are new to Amazon Prime Canada but they have been around for awhile to Amazon Prime in the US.
So once you have subscribed to Amazon Prime Canada you can log into your account via a browser and add the Stack TV Channel. Currently they offer a free 30 day trial of the service.
You can get to the Stack TV page via your browser here and see what content is available. Below is what that page looks like. You’ll see content from the various Corus networks like Global, Showcase, W Network, Food Network, HGTV, Slice and others.
Overall there is a decent amount of content available on demand from all of their channels, however when you look deeper at what is available on demand there are a lot of short comings. First off is the fact that the on demand content is not commercial free.
Secondly users are probably expecting to have access to every show and every season available on demand. As an example here is the page for The Good Fight a show that is broadcast on the W Network. All 3 seasons of the show are available, but it’s worth noting that season 3 wrapped up with the last episode airing on May 16, 2019.
Unfortunately the vast majority of other shows do not have full seasons available. As an example as a fan of HGTV Canada’s Bryan Balmer I was excited to watch a few of his shows. His latest show Island of Bryan is available to watch but all of his other shows Bryan Inc, House of Bryan and Leave it to Bryan are no where to be found.
This was a common theme as you went through each channels library. There are a lot of shows missing that most might be expecting. Global which is lead channel that Corus runs is missing shows like AP Bio, Big Brother, BH90210, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago P.D., Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver, The Blacklist, SuperStore, The Good Place, Saturday Night Live and others.
The problem persists with the History Channel as well. No where to be found are shows like American Pickers, Canadian Pickers, Forged in Fire, American Restoration, Ice Road Truckers and others.
Even shows like Alone only have episodes from the current season.
Your best bet is to check the catalogue before you subscribe to make sure the shows you like are actually there. It’s unfortunate that this has been a common problem with streaming services from Canadian media companies especially when you compare it to US services.
The one feature some people may enjoy is that you can watch any of the channels live. You’ll find that option at the bottom of the page. Overall it’s a horrible layout and design.
What you won’t find is a good indication of what each channel is and there is no guide showing you what is on each channel. There is also no ability to record anything. While the option to watch the channels live is nice, we’d prefer to see all the seasons and shows available on demand. In this day and age the only content most people want to watch live are sports and news.
Some cord cutters may find value in subscribing for a few specific shows they may want to watch or the ability to get one or two of the channels live. In our opinion this service lacks what most other Canadian services do, a full rich library of content.
Netflix has conditioned us to expect that we can watch every episode of every season of a show whenever we want with our paid subscriptions. Stack TV costs more than Netflix when you include the cost of an Amazon Prime subscription and yet comes with less content. Corus seems to think that people still care about getting live channels when in fact the reason most people want to pay for a streaming subscription is to never see commercials. So with StackTV you get to pay a fee to have access to less content with commercials, especially via the on demand library.
This seems to be a common problem with any of the Canadian streaming services, they are late to the game and lack deep libraries of content but still have no problem charging a premium fee.
We’re also confused why Corus choose to launch this as an Amazon channel and not on its own. They already had a Global TV app and could have used that platform to launch this service through.
In the US most Amazon channels like HBO, Showtime, Starz, CBS All Access, BritBox, Shudder, Acorn TV and others operate their own independent streaming services as well as offering them as add on’s via Amazon Prime.
For anyone who is already using Hulu, Sling TV or other US services Stack TV won’t offer you anything you don’t already have. If your a Amazon Prime Canada subscriber already you can give it a try for 30 days free but it’s probably not worth going out of your way to subscribe to Amazon just for this service at this point. Maybe Corus will surprise us and fill out the library over time.
We’ll check back in 6 months and update this article.
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