News

Bell Kills Video Store Creating New Round of DRM Victims

Bell has quietly announced that it is closing its Bell Video Store (coverage here and here) with plans to instead focus on its Bell TV Online service that provides online access to movies and television shows for its subscribers.  The closure serves a reminder of the consumer risk associated with DRM, since purchasers of videos will lose access to them once the service shuts off and they switch computers or devices.  Moreover, the shift to the online service again raises the concerns associated with Bell's throttling practices, since subscribers get unfettered access to the Bell-backed TVOnline offering but throttled access to competing content made available over the Internet via BitTorrent.

10 Comments

  1. A perfect example of…
    why it should never be referred to as “purchasing” DRM’ed content… one simply pays a one time rental fee whereby the vendor can revoke your license if they feel the need to do so; perhaps to require you to pay them again (increasing their revenues).

    The fact that Bell is offering non-throttled access to their own service should cause Konrad Von Finklestein, and the Competition Bureau, to call Bell to task (in the case of the Competition Bureau, because this is clearly anti-competitive behavior).

  2. Did that have the T-Shirt
    We went to the competition bureau. The wanted nothing to do with it and told us to complain to the CRTC.

    Maybe it helps when the head of the competition bureau was an ex-Bell VP.

  3. IT Manager
    It is not just BitTorrent et-al that Bell throttles – they also throttle standard FTP

  4. Worst company ever.
    The CRTC and the Competition Bureau are Canadian embarassments and should be reviewed and restaffed.

  5. DRM grief
    I wouldn’t even call it renting or licensing, when I was trying to convince my less tech savy gf to use legitimatly purchased software for her portable player, it felt more like they were just taking our money for nothing.. The files were so much harder to use than regular mp3’s it wasn’t funny, and they only work with specific software which we didn’t have handy (stupid windows) and of course, you can’t move them to any system other than the one you bought them on.. and you can’t buy them from your portable player… So basically we gave up, “licensed” the music and then went and grabbed the pirated mp3 version so we could actually use it.
    Whoever thought up that drm crap should be shot.

  6. overloaded says:

    Got my T-Shirt 2
    Reviewed? They should all be tossed out by the ears.

    After we all complained to the competition bureau and the competition bureau told us to go to the CRTC and blew us off, we emailed then industry minister Jim Prentice. Prentice only said the CRTC has a mandate to let “market forces” decide, and blew us all off.

    Right after he blew us all off, Bell changed the price of mobile (wireless) SMS from free to 15-cents. Jim prentice then called the wireless carriers into a meeting saying this was unacceptable (remember that? I do). Well nothing came of that meeting. Conclusion, “let market forces decide”.

    What “market forces”?

    Bell is locking everything down as fast as they can.

    1. B/W
    -Very low caps
    -Hi B/W fee’s
    -A b/w counter that doesn’t work (they just revamped yesterday)
    -Forced Cap on the wholesale competition
    -Forced high B/W fee’s on the wholesale competition

    2. Throttle
    -Forced throttle on the competition
    -Tracking customers B/W that are not even Bell customers, but wholsale customers.
    -Stuff mentioned in this topic

    The CRTC opened up the facilities in order to give some competition. Yet the CRTC is allowing it to be all locked up by Bell.

    3. Wireless-Wireless is the future
    -16 year olds today will have ipod size computers as the norm in a couple of years as the norm. Its happening now.
    -Bell charges an insane fee for wireless B/W
    -Bell has a walled garden with specific vedors
    -Bell is raping people now with SMS fee’s. Look at the fight at the CRTC:
    The Quebec consumers union is on them for targeting kids and charging people for SMS’s that were never made. http://www.crtc.gc.ca /PartVII/eng/2009/8620/u11_200901951.htm

    -The FCC in the states is already all over iot. But not here:
    http://www.dslreports.com /shownews/Senate-Explores-High-SMS-Prices-102950

    4. Bell’s online infomercials
    -Bell set up a fake wiki (bliki) with some broadcasters, and the CRTC’s blessing, and are encouraging people to create business models based on targeting kids:
    http://www.ipf.ca /bellfundbliki/

    in particular:
    http://www.ipf.ca /bellfundbliki/contents/generating-revenue-how-casual-and-interactive-games-for-kids-can-make-money
    I found this via P2Pnet.net here:
    http://www.p2pnet.net /story/22694

    5. The broadcasting Act
    -the CRTC said it didn’t apply to the net. So now the ACT that has very specific rules about targeting kids is now gone. Doors are now open to target kids, per bell’s fake wiki.

    I don’t know about Ad Standards Canada. You would think these standards would still apply. Also its against the law in the Prov of QC to target kids.

    I’m surprised PIAC and the Quebec Consumers union isn’t all over this one.

    Anyhow, what I’m getting at is these things have been stated a long time ago. We went everywhere we could. Bottom line from the competition bureau and industry canada: Go to the CRTC don’t bug us, its not in our scope.

    Now that the CRTC said Bell should give equal speeds to wholesalers, Bell runs away to industry Canada and industry Canada hugged them and they (cabinet) will by-pass the decision the CRTC made. (the filing is on industry Canada’s website)

    Its a huge double standard going on, and Bell is locking up everything possible to monetize on it. Be it video, B/W, texting, SMS, and going after the kids to bug you to buy them stuff.

    Yet at the same time, there is no B/W. Must throttle it all. And on their fake wiki they state (paraphrase) kids using lots of B/W is good for business.

    Then when we all get fed up with the whole lot in our government, the gov says wow these people complaining are nutty leftist geeks.

    You can’t win.

    So for the people who say we should go to the competition bureau and do this and do that…. Well we did it. We were all told to take a hike.

    The competition bureau (our watchdog) should be looking into the SMS price fixing, the wireless and regular B/W pricing fixing, the targeting of the kids, 3 year mobile contracts where Bell won’t do updates on their smart phone leaving your 3-year contract and hundreds of dollars in the hole for the smart phone that is useless in a year (as opposed to the States). There is so much that should be looked at and done. There is a lot of “fixing” going on.

    But, nope.

    We need a watchdog for our watchdogs because our watchdogs are ex-bell lawyers or ex-bell vp’s.

    Its maddening.

    ty for the place to rant ūüôā

    This DRM infected Video Store thing is just a very small piece of it all.

  7. Hey! No Fair!
    You can bet that this new service is not throttled for BellEr subscribers while the rest of us are limited to max 5mb downloads and further throttling during so called “peak hours”. This wreaks of racketeering.

    The DRM losses? Well, that’s just normal BellEr stupidity. Fortunately for me the BellEr Video Store was such a PoS I never bothered with it.

  8. anon-also says:

    Any ideas on Bell’s retail plans?
    With all this complaining about Bell, I am wondering in the back of my mind, what there plans are now they they tookover the leftover stores from the usa crash of “Circuit City”, remember the old Radio Shack turned into “The Source”, up here in Canada Bell took them over, and I am just wondering what crazy plans they have for our retail dollars.

    Oh’well I am an sad “Rogers” customer, having left Bell years ago, to be stuck with the other bad apple of Canada, Rogers.

  9. All good points
    With respect to the comments on marketing to kids, I’d suggest that a lot of the cartoons which have associated merchandising is in fact advertising directed at kids. I understand that the manufacturers use advertising/marketing monies to fund the production of the show. Turns it into a 22 minute commercial, and not covered by the regs.

    The problem with “market forces” in Canada is that the market is small… both in the sense of the customer base and in the sense of the providers. Where you have a company such as Bell who owns the long-haul infrastructure, wirelines to the customer to deliver the content, the ISP and is also a content producer through affiliated companies, there is little or no competition. Of course they are going to sell wholesale to competitors at as high a rate as they can get away with… it increases the profit of the backbone division, and makes it more expensive for the competitors to Sympatico in the case of Bell.

    When you get to the cell market, you currently have 3 companies providing the network. They are trying to get their current customers on board for long term contracts so that, when the new carriers come on line, there is a financial incentive for the existing customers to stay (in the form of cancellation fees)… for instance, if you change the services on your Rogers account, they have this tendency to automatically renew you on the three year contract… sometimes CSRs will even warn you that they are doing it.

    Let’s face it, DRM is not about protecting the rights of the artists; that is just the sound bite line used to justify it. DRM is about protecting the revenue streams of the publishers. To this end they don’t want you to be able to use the content on more than one device; they want you to rent a license to use on each device. If you have a problem with the file or device, they want you to replace, not recycle. Revenue (and profit) per reporting period is what it is all about, not long term customer loyalty.

  10. Fool me once shame on Bhell, Fool me twice shame on me
    Anyone who still trusts Bhell and who bought Videos from their store got what they deserved. Previous DRM failures including SureToPlay from MicroSoft should of been a sign not to buy anything with DRM. And buying anything from Bhell that you can buy elsewhere is just plain stupid.