VMedia Inc. is a Canadian telecommunications company and broadcast distribution provider. It offers VoIP telephone and home security services across Canada; DSL and cable Internet in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia; and IPTV television service in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.
|Founded||March 26, 2013|
|Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick|
|Products||IPTV, DSL, Cable Internet, VoIP, Home Security|
VMedia officially launched on March 26, 2013. Following the launch of its IPTV television service in Ontario, the company announced in 2016 that its intention is to expand service to Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia in the future. On May 31, 2016, VMedia formally launched IPTV service in parts of Quebec, and British Columbia and Alberta on June 22, 2016.
VMedia's IPTV service is a traditional subscription television service bundled with over-the-top content delivered through a proprietary Android-based set-top box branded as "VBox". Subscription to the television service requires a VMedia internet plan, due to contracts for some networks and other CRTC regulations requiring the content to only be distributed over a managed network.
On September 16, 2016, VMedia launched an over-the-top "skinny basic" television service available via an app for Roku digital media players. The service offers 20 channels, including major Canadian and U.S. broadcast networks and channels, and all in high definition. Unlike the main television service, this version does not require VMedia internet, and is thus available nationwide.
VMedia provides DSL and cable Internet services as a competitive local exchange carrier by purchasing wholesale bandwidth from major network providers including Bell, Rogers, Cogeco, Vidéotron, Shaw Communications, Bell Aliant, and Telus.
In September 2016, Bell Media issued a cease and desist order to VMedia over its Roku-based IPTV service, demanding the removal of all of its networks. Canadian copyright law allows "retransmitters", defined as "a person who performs a function comparable to that of a cable retransmission system", to redistribute local and distant broadcast stations as part of their services. However, this only applies to IPTV services operating over private networks, because the law's definition of a retransmitter does not apply to services operating on new media platforms that are not regulated by the CRTC. VMedia argued that its permission to redistribute these stations fell under its CRTC licensing as a television provider. Bell argued that the over-the-top service did not fall within this definition, or the formal licensing for the IPTV service offered in conjunction with its internet, and thus is a violation of their copyrights. VMedia representative George Burger disputed Bell's arguments, stating that Canadian copyright law was "technologically neutral", and that broadcasters were "happy to provide that content" to similar, U.S.-based services such as Sling TV. However, he also warned that VMedia may not be able to afford litigation on the matter, stating that "Bell has untold millions of dollars that it can afford to spend on litigation. We're a startup. We're trying to find our way to profitability." Pending the result of the lawsuit, VMedia removed CTV and CTV Two from the service.
On November 22, 2016, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that VMedia must obtain permission from Bell Media to re-transmit its over-the-air channels on an over-the-top service under current law, but added that "If technology has overcome the existing laws and policies, it is open to interested parties to put the issues before the CRTC to try to revise the policies and the definitions".
- "Vmedia promet Internet, télé et téléphone 25% moins chers". Le Soleil. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- "VMedia Internet in Saskatchewan, Manitoba & Northern Ontario". VMedia Blog. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
- "VMedia Launches TV In BC and Alberta!". VMedia Blog. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
- "VMedia TV Expands in Quebec!". VMedia Blog. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
- "IPTV's new wave looms over cable's old guard". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- "VMedia approved to offer internet TV across Canada". cbc.ca. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- "Télé et internet: un nouvel acteur à bas prix". La Presse. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- "VBox". VMedia. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- "VMedia, Bell to face off in court over live TV streaming service". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- "VMedia's IPTV service is coming to Roku devices in Canada". MobileSyrup. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
- "VMedia Internet". VMedia. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
- "VMedia FTTN Internet in Alberta & British Columbia – FREE Installation!". VMedia. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- "VMedia Now Available in Atlantic Canada". VMedia. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- "VMedia Home Phone". VMedia. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
- "VMedia Protect". VMedia. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- "Ontario court sides with Bell in dispute over VMedia streaming service". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
- "Bell moves to stop VMedia's skinny basic TV app that bypasses cable companies". CBC News. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- "Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42)". Justice Laws Website. Government of Canada. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
- "VMedia pulls Bell channels amid legal threat over Roku app". CBC News. Retrieved 16 October 2016.