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  1. #1
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    Will Allarco bring anything new to the Canadian Pay-TV scene?

    With Allarco Entertainment planning to launch in 2007 the question must be asked, will they bring anything new to the table?

    The people behind Allarco are some of the same people behind the original SuperChannel service (now Movie Central owned by Corus). As subscribers in Western Canada are aware the old SuperChannel service was in many ways inferior to what subscribers in Eastern Canada had access to via TMN.

    SuperChannel launched a lawsuit against HBO in 1996 (under the WIC ownership) over the grey market subscribers, mostly via c-band (BUD) and because of this the station had no access to any HBO materials. This resulted in Western Canada being a season or two behind with The Sopranos early on because no station was airing it in Western Canada while viewers in the east received the show via TMN.

    I'm not sure if any of the players in Allarco were involved in SuperChannel by the time the suit was filed but if so it might not work out so well for them when it comes time to start shopping for programming for their new Allarco Entertainment channels.

    Currently TMN and Movie Central seem to be ensuring they carry most of the US premium series and made-for-pay movies. They have finally started to carry most of this content on the same day and time as the US originating station.

    Still, viewers in the west are not really on par with their eastern counterparts. TMN now offers 2 full time HD feeds, they offer more channels and overall seem to have invested more in programming and overall branding of their services. Movie Central seems to focus more on automating the entire operation as much as possible with generic branding across all their channels.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2006
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    Allarco vs TMN & MC (or the crappy twins)

    TMN now offers 2 full time HD feeds, they offer more channels and overall seem to have invested more in programming and overall branding of their services. Movie Central seems to focus more on automating the entire operation as much as possible with generic branding across all their channels.[/quote]

    Well I can say that TMN may say that they have two HD channels, however 282 is the only one that we get here in Eastern Canada. They make many claims that are proving to be less than true the more I dig.



    To be specific 282 is the TMN HD echo of 601 of the regular TMN 601 - 605 channels on Star Choice. They claim that each (601-605) is a distinct channel that has a specific genre or area that they cover in terms of content. I have witnessed a movie about dying aids patients being played on the MFun channel!

    Lately the TMN service has been sliding farther and farther into the toilette, and I have been searching for alternatives. It seems that there is little in Canada so I guess I will have to go to the internet in the future.

    The TMN website proudly claims "We also air 90% of all Hollywood movies" which may have been accurate years ago, but is sadly far from reality. We are getting "Graveyard Alive: Zombie Nurse in Love" in heavy rotation, and no it is not a spoof movie. It plays on all the TMN channels, from new releases (made in 2003!) to action. The only one it has not played on yet is MFun, but I am sure that it is probably on it this week. This is an absolute indy film from Quebec that makes Romero's 1960's "Night of the Living Dead" (made for only $14K with a single B&W camera) look like a masterpiece. This is ridiculous as content, but it is Canadian, so heavy rotation it is.
    Then there is Stargate Atlantis season 2 which they have had on autorepeat since it originally aired last August (2005). Or Carnivale season 2 which they just brought back a month or two ago, for no apparent reason. No they did not bring back season 1 first, they just jumped into it...


    They routinely show movies that were made 3 or 4 years ago, and have a large number of episodic shows that act as filler, yet they still claim "We also air 90% of all Hollywood movies We also air 90% of all Hollywood movies, including nearly all independent mini-studio product. (just so you know I am not misquoting them)


    To hammer in the last nail, Star Choice has been misleadingly selling HD receivers that they claim will work with their systems, namely the 505s. From November of 2005 until July 2006 there were countless problems, sofware upgrades, frozen receivers, blocky pictures, and dropped audio streams (2.1 instead of the supposedly braodcast 5.1). Other forums are jammed with these issues, and nearly pulverising my hand knocking-on-wood, they finally seem to have ironed all the crap out. However before you switch you should spend at least 2 hours online looking for problems with the Provider, Hardware, and Programming.



    So in my case Star Choice, 505, HD - which I did and found some problems but the Futureshop goof lied his ass off when I asked about it, so I had him fired and got the receiver for free.


    TMN is not the panacea that you are looking for, and they have almost convinced me to take my $25/month and shop outside the country, but if there is another service then just maybe there is hope. At least there may be a little competition. I would not be surprised to find that Corus owns both, and possible even Allarco. They own just about everthing else (at least in Ontario).



    Good Luck and remember that in a few years it will all be available over the internet anyway (in HD!).





  3. #3
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    The sad thing is that TMN is the better of the bunch from our viewpoint out west. For example, here are the current movies NOT airing on MC that are airing on TMN ...

    War of the Worlds
    Flightplan
    Red Eye
    Waiting
    Herbie: Fully Loaded (Disney doesn't like MC?)
    Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, The
    Manchurian Candidate, The

    Other differences ...
    Fantastic Four airs in HD on TMN, SD only MC

    MC misses some Cancon .. C.R.A.Z.Y. for example, airing on TMN but MIA on MC.

    And in the NOT Coming Soon to MC list ...
    Chronicles of Narnia (another Disney flick)
    Batman Begins
    Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit

    Curb Your Enthusiasm seems to be MIA on MC as well.
    Penn & Teller's Bullshit airs on TMN, not on MC.

    On MC we get even more cheap, if not cheaper filler material than you see on TMN. You at least have the option to get MPIX-HD (it is on Bell, probably on Rogers too), we can't even get most of the first run movies in HD on the main MC-HD feed let alone hope they'll bring the classics in HD on EA-HD anytime soon.

    This is why I question the CRTCs decision to give the license to the former heads of SuperChannel which was no better if not worse than what Movie Central is today. As it sits right now I'd much rather subscribe to TMN if given that choice.

  4. #4

    Death of MovieCentral?

    Does Allarcoentertainment.com 6 HD channels with access to All Major Studios signal the demise of MC? MC refusal of Disney-Touchstone-Dreamworks future movies as The Guardian,Deju Vu,Apocalypo,and the #1 Box Office movie Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Mans Chest,does not look good. Will MC change or simply fade away?

  5. #5
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    What is going on with Allarco, the first info was that they were planning on starting to broadcast early '07...it doesn't even look like they are close to do so...

    Probably fall '08 is what I think. They should have given the license to someone else. Small company is great for independance, but they are not strong enough financially to do it. If they launch, they can't survive and they will be bought by a big one anyway.

  6. #6
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    Some of us are thinking this was little more than a stall tactic since the people behind Allarco are likely on pretty good terms with the incumbents since they were the previous group behind SuperChannel (basically now Movie Central).

    Considering these guys may have been behind the lawsuit against HBO, etc. they likely would have a tough time even acquiring programming for their suite.

    The license should have gone to some fresh blood IMO, at least they would likely have made a good effort to launch ASAP and would have a better chance of purchasing programming if they weren't known as lawsuit happy types.


    I still think that as soon as the competitor launches that TMN and MC will merge in some form, after all why else would Corus move the MC head office and master controls to Toronto? Which is pretty pathetic considering MC was supposed to employ people in Western Canada.

  7. #7
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    It's sad, I feel like the CRTC wasted a license to those guys...all the competing applications seemed better to me.

    The all HD thing is also a problem, there isn't enough HD programming of the type to fill 6 channels...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtlguy View Post
    The all HD thing is also a problem, there isn't enough HD programming of the type to fill 6 channels...
    Well actually there would be, although maybe not for their "all Canadian programming" channel which would likely have a lot of upconverts.

    Keep in mind that HBO, SHO and Starz manage to get ALL their studio movies in HD these days, all three services offer full time HD channels, even Cinemax and TMC are now in HD as well so a lot of the older catalogues are starting to be available in HD.

    TMN/MC on the other hand seem to only manage a small but growing percentage of the studio movies in HD, they're slowly gaining access to more but if I was a purchaser there I'd be all over the studios for having no trouble supplying HBO, SHO and Starz with the HD masters but somehow having issues providing them to TMN/MC. Basically every movie TMN/MC airs should now be available to them in HD.

  9. #9
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    They have picked up the Canadian brodcast rights to Passions. they will launch in October.

  10. #10
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    Wow, and here we thought they weren't bothering. So, they've picked up a soap opera ... umm .. LOL .. I realize Passions is moving from NBC to DirecTV 101 but how long do they think that will last??

    You say one channel in HD? Thought the entire suite was promised in HD, basically the SD version would be a downconvert.

  11. #11
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    atleast 1 of the 6 channels will be 24/7 HD, so they could have 5 channels in HD.

    The channel that will air Passions though, wont be in HD.

    But ya they will launch in October, they are in talks with all the providers as we speak. more info including the names of the channels along with the schedules will be announced in August.

  12. #12
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    Glad to hear it, I was beginning to see them as nothing but a delay tactic but I do believe they said fall 2007 as their launch window, they need to get more PR going now.

    It should be interesting to see how the pay-tv suites morph now, EVU has room for a few more HD channels and they've been rearranging stuff the past few months.

    Here is how I see it potentially working out ...

    TMN/MC will merge into one service .. they would have 4 existing HD channels to use. They will likely wait it out before merging mind you, if the newcomer doesn't have much of an effect on them they won't bother.

    Allarco would need to launch at least 2 in HD to compete with that, although I'm sure their license application said they wanted to do them all in HD from the start. This of course is dependent on carriage arrangements since there is only so much room on the birds. Of course Cancom/Starchoice has announced new HD in the fall and would have room for a few HD channels.

    Allerco launching this fall may also explain why EVU hasn't added Showcase HD and NatGeo HD, although I think the latter is more likely because it is a direct competitor to Discovery HD. EVU has the bandwidth to add those two channels but things get tight when you add in a potential new premium service on top of that. Then again they could easily cut back on VuHD channels and regain 3 HD spots.

    It should be an interesting year after all :D

  13. #13
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    They are working non stop to get everything ready for October. Everyone at Allarco is stressed but they are excited. They have still not confirmed any deals with anyone yet, but they have been talking with Bell, StarChoice, and Rogers. the number of HD channels will be decided after the deals are confirmed (along with schedules & channel names)

    So we could have up to 3 or 4 HD channels. But atleast one of the 6 will be HD, oh and atleast 1 will be non-HD, and that's the channel where they will air Passions.

    Believe it or not, they are very excited about Passions as they think it will give them alot of buzz. I know Global has got almost 400 e-mails from Passions fans. that's quite alot considering how it's Canada and it's a daytime soap.

    Oh and they have a promo set up to air later on Global durning Passions informing viewers about the switch

    It has Tabitha (the 300 year old witch on Passions) saying "We're Back" with a voice over saying "Passions lives on.... This October catch All New Exclusive episodes on a brand new channel more info at AllarcoEntertainment.com" the promos are set to air in September for the last few Passions episodes airing on Global.

  14. #14
    CanView Guest
    i can't wait for the name and logo!

  15. #15

    Re

    Thanks for the info on Passions, I`m so excited!!!

  16. #16

    Passions

    I just got off the phone with Allarco Entertainment, Passions will in deed be shown on one of their non-HD channels. Also, you will need to subsribe to all channels to view these ones. All channels can be viewed without a HD TV they just won`t be as clear. That`s what a representative just told me.

  17. #17

    Passions

    We were really very lucky!!!!

  18. #18

    info

    Rogers tells me it will be like the Movie Network, you subsribe to that one package and if you have a high def tv you can view those as well. If you don't have a HD Tv from what I gather and from what others have said(including Allarco) you can view them in standard definition.
    Last edited by jfoley85; 07-16-2007 at 04:00 PM.

  19. #19
    CanView Guest
    they are not going to force a subscriber to get a HD receiver to view the channels in non-HD.

    Either they will provide 2 sets of feeds - 1 set HD, 1 set digital.

    Or Rogers will convert the HD feed to digital and provide it.

    Will this get off the road by CHRIST-(our lord and savior)-mas?

 

 

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