Watching This Week #112
Listings for May 29 to June 4, 2023; Corus channels appear set to leave Eastlink.
Here's where Canadians can stream the highly anticipated "Game of Thrones" prequel.
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House of the Dragon is a prequel to the 2011–19 HBO fantasy drama series Game of Thrones, based on parts of George R.R. Martin's 2018 companion novel Fire & Blood chronicling the events around the House Targaryen war of succession hundreds of years before the events shown in GOT. Featuring a large cast including Paddy Considine, Emma D'Arcy, and Matt Smith, HOTD is scheduled to premiere on Sunday, August 21, 2022 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time, with subsequent episodes of the ten-episode first season scheduled on Sundays through October 23.
In Canada, House of the Dragon will be available on Crave, the Bell Media streaming service which has an exclusive output agreement with Warner Bros. Discovery for HBO original programming, and most HBO Max original series. Neither the U.S. HBO pay TV channel nor its HBO Max streaming service are currently available in Canada.
Crave is currently available through two direct-to-consumer options. Crave Mobile, which costs $9.99 per month or $99.90 per year when billed in an upfront annual payment, allows for streaming on a single mobile device or web browser at a time, at up to 720p resolution, while Crave Total, which costs $19.99 per month or $199.90 per year, also allows for streaming on connected TVs and streaming devices, at resolutions up to 4K, subject to program availability (see next section).
Note that from August 17 to September 6, 2022, Crave is offering a $50 discount on new, returning, and upgrading annual subscriptions to Crave Total, resulting in a price of $149.90 for the first year.
Additionally, the service is available as an add-on package through most traditional TV service providers, including Bell, Cogeco, Rogers, Shaw, Telus, and Vidéotron, generally for about the same monthly price as the Crave Total streaming option. If you subscribe this way, you can also watch each episode premiere "live" on the HBO Canada linear channel on your cable set-top box (the channel number will vary by provider).
All prices in this article are in Canadian dollars, are current as of August 16, 2022, and do not include applicable sales taxes, which vary by province.
It now appears so.
Although the Crave streaming platform has supported 4K content since mid-2021, and although HBO Max confirmed in late July that a 4K version of House of the Dragon had been produced and would be available on that platform, Crave did not confirm early on that it would be able to stream this 4K version of HOTD.
MobileSyrup reported in late July that Crave had told that media outlet they were "working on it".
However, on or about August 19, House of the Dragon appeared towards the bottom of Crave's 4K programming list:
This is not necessarily definitive, but in the absence of any further word from Crave (for the moment), it seems like a promising sign.
Many recent Warner Bros. films like Dune and The Batman were already available in 4K on Crave, as are a handful of series under the HBO Max Originals imprint such as DMZ. Of course, Warner Bros. Pictures and HBO Max are under the same parent company as HBO, but there still might have been different contractual terms for HBO mainline programs that had to be worked out separately between Bell / Crave and Warner Bros. Discovery.
It's unlikely to show up on another TV channel or streaming service soon, though each season should likely be available for digital and physical purchase at some point after that season ends.
Longtime TV viewers may recall that the first few seasons of Game of Thrones later re-aired on Showcase, a basic cable channel, under the agreements for HBO programming in place at the time. However, those arrangements have long since ended. The last few seasons of GOT, and other recent HBO programs, have been available in Canada exclusively on Crave, and (eventually) for digital purchase through retailers like the Apple TV / iTunes Store.
If you're willing to wait a bit longer and miss some of the (metaphorical) water cooler discussion, there's nothing wrong with waiting for the season to be fully available in late October, then signing up for a month to catch up then. Alternatively, you can wait for digital sales on platforms like the Apple TV / iTunes Store, or for the all-but-certain DVD or Blu-ray release to become available to borrow from your local public library.
We are aware that other streaming and networking services market themselves in Canada as ways to access in-demand programming like House of the Dragon, either through their own sites or by providing network proxies to other countries. However, as discussed above, only Bell Media is currently authorized to broadcast and stream the series in Canada. Beyond that fact, other streaming sites may provide lower quality streams and/or inconsistent service. Therefore, we cannot recommend these sorts of services, and any usage is purely at your own risk.
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