|Launched||October 30, 2008|
|Owned by||Bell Media
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
(available as part of The Movie Network and Movie Central packages in separate regions)
|Replaced||MMore (Eastern Canada)
Movie Central 4 (Western Canada)
|Timeshift service||HBO Canada East
HBO Canada West
(branded as HBO Canada 2 as the west coast feed for subscribers of The Movie Network)
|Bell TV||306 (East; SD)
307 (West; SD)
836 & 1258 (East; HD)
837 & 1259 (West; HD)
|Shaw Direct||296 (East)
|Available on most Canadian cable systems||Consult your local cable provider for channel availability|
HBO Canada is a Canadian premium cable and satellite television channel that is primarily devoted to original programming and special events sourced from the HBO and Cinemax subscription services in the United States, as well as domestic motion pictures.
HBO Canada is not available as a standalone channel, but as one multiplex channel within two regional premium television services: The Movie Network (TMN), which is available in Eastern Canada, and Movie Central, which is offered in Western and Northern Canada. Territorial broadcast rights to HBO Canada by either service within the provinces are separated at the Ontario-Manitoba border (Movie Central holds rights to the west of that border and TMN holds rights to the east of the border).
As different multiplex channels of a single pay service cannot have separate sets of owners, each service's parent company (Bell Media for TMN, Corus Entertainment for Movie Central) officially retains full ownership of the HBO Canada channel in their respective territories. However, in practice the channel is jointly managed by both companies, and thus the HBO Canada schedule is common to both services, except that TMN's feed of the channel operates on an Eastern Time Zone schedule while Movie Central feeds the same programming two hours later on Mountain Time. Time Warner, the parent company of HBO and Cinemax, is not a shareholder in HBO Canada, and only licenses the name, logo and programming to Bell and Corus.
On September 22, 2008, The Movie Network and Movie Central announced that the two networks would jointly begin offering a dedicated HBO multiplex channel (in both standard definition and high definition formats), which would debut on October 30. For TMN subscribers, HBO Canada replaced MMore and MMore HD, while for Movie Central subscribers, HBO Canada replaced Movie Central 4 and Movie Central 1 HD. The channel was originally a joint venture between then-owner of The Movie Network, Astral Media and Movie Central owner Corus Entertainment, which held the rights to telecast HBO Canada in the designated service areas of their respectively owned pay services.
Although some HBO programming had already aired in Canada on pay services such as TMN and Movie Central and/or basic cable specialty channels such as Showcase, many other programs from the network were not previously widely available in Canada; the new channel was created with the intention to fill the gap. Original programming from HBO's sister service Cinemax have also been broadcast at times, particularly action series that Cinemax has aired since broadening its series programming content to include mainstream original series in August 2011 (prior to this, Cinemax's series programming consisted only of softcore pornographic programs). Some HBO series already carried by TMN or Movie Central were initially simulcast on their respective main channels, but shortly thereafter HBO programming became exclusive to HBO Canada, as opposed to any of the other multiplex channels of TMN or Movie Central.
A selection of Canadian films and series also airs to satisfy Canadian content requirements, and programs from other U.S. sources to which TMN and Movie Central both own rights (such as HBO and Cinemax competitor Showtime) may air as well at times. However, few feature films that had their original theatrical release in countries outside of Canada air on the channel, even when those movies air on HBO's main channel in the United States.
Unlike the other multiplex channels offered by TMN and Movie Central, the two timeshifted HBO Canada feeds (East/West), in both standard-definition and high-definition, are available nationally to those television providers who wish to carry them. The Movie Network and some service providers primarily serving Eastern Canada refer to the West feed as HBO Canada 2 on their websites; other service providers simply distinguish them as East or West feeds (Movie Central's website does not discuss the Eastern feed).
On March 4, 2013, the Competition Bureau approved the takeover of Astral Media by Bell Media. Bell filed a new application for the proposed takeover with the CRTC on March 6, 2013; the CRTC approved the merger on June 27, 2013, effectively turning over control of HBO Canada in Eastern Canada to Bell.
HBO Canada HD
HBO Canada HD is a high definition simulcast feed of HBO Canada that broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format. The channel launched its HD simulcast feed with the launch of the standard-definition feed on October 30, 2008. Among others, HBO Canada HD is currently carried regionally by satellite provider Bell TV, and cable providers Rogers Cable, Bell Fibe TV, Access Communications, Cogeco, Novus, Shaw Cable, Westman Communications, Source Cable, EastLink and Vidéotron.
HBO Canada On Demand
HBO Canada operates a subscription video on demand service called HBO Canada On Demand, which is available at no additional charge to new and existing HBO Canada subscribers of The Movie Network and Movie Central. The HBO Canada On Demand service, which launched with the channel on October 30, 2008, offers program content available in standard or high definition including feature films, episodes of original series from TMN and Movie Central as well as imported series from American premium services HBO and Cinemax, and special behind-the-scenes features including interviews. HBO Canada On Demand's rotating program selection incorporates select new titles that are added each Friday, alongside existing program titles held over from the previous one to two weeks.
HBO GO Canada
On February 27, 2013, The Movie Network launched HBO GO Canada as part of The Movie Network GO, a website and mobile app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch; the service features program content available for streaming in standard or high definition. Content featured on the service includes original programming produced domestically by HBO Canada and acquired from HBO U.S. and its sister service Cinemax, along with movies, comedy specials, documentaries and sports programming. HBO GO and TMN GO were made available at launch to TMN subscribers Bell TV, Bell Fibe TV, and Cogeco Cable, and has since also been made available to Rogers Cable, Eastlink, and Source Cable customers. As with HBO Canada, Time Warner – whose co-owned premium services HBO and Cinemax brand their streaming services as HBO GO and Max GO – licenses the "GO" name and logo for the streaming services of HBO Canada and The Movie Network to Bell Media.
Movie Central offers similar web and mobile access to its programming (including HBO Canada series), but does so through websites and apps maintained by individual service providers, not by offering such an app directly. The only Movie Central-branded mobile apps currently available are in fact published by Shaw Communications (a sister company of Movie Central owner Corus Entertainment) and limited to its cable/satellite customers, though several other service providers offer this access through apps which provide content from multiple channels (such as Telus' Optik on the Go).
HBO Canada carries the vast majority of original programming produced or distributed by HBO (U.S.), and certain original programs produced for Cinemax (such as Strike Back). In some cases, this has included older HBO movies and series no longer available through the American service, including Mr. Show with Bob and David.
While HBO boxing coverage is carried on HBO Canada, several other HBO Sports programs are not seen on the channel, including Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and Hard Knocks. Some of these exclusions may be due to issues involving leagues or others rightsholders which sometimes retain international distribution rights. For example, the Canadian rights to 24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic were sold separately by the NHL to Rogers-owned Sportsnet. Hard Knocks, co-produced with the NFL, is believed to be in a similar situation.
Since the launch of HBO Canada, most of the Canadian series co-produced by The Movie Network and Movie Central have also begun airing primarily on the channel. Nonetheless, these shows are still indicated in introductory bumpers as being TMN / Movie Central original programs (as opposed to HBO Canada original programming).
- Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures
- Call Me Fitz
- Funny as Hell
- Good Dog
- Good God
- Less Than Kind
- Living in Your Car
- The Yard
HBO Canada airs a large selection of original films and documentaries produced by or for HBO, as well as Canadian films from various distributors to which both The Movie Network and Movie Central hold broadcast rights to help satisfy the channel's Canadian content obligations.
The channel does not generally air any non-Canadian theatrically-released films. Most of the theatrical films aired by HBO and Cinemax in the U.S. are carried in Canada by the other TMN and Movie Central channels, though some (specifically films released by 20th Century Fox and its subsidiaries) are instead aired by competitor Super Channel.
- Astral/Corus press release, September 22, 2008.
- BCE takeover of Astral OK’d by Competition Bureau, The Montreal Gazette (via The Canadian Press), March 4, 2013.
- Astral and Bell Comment on New Acquisition Application to CRTC, Broadcaster Magazine, March 6, 2013.
- CRTC approves Bell-Astral merger, CBC News, June 27, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- "The Movie Network Launches Three Video Streaming Services". Broadcaster Magazine. February 28, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- Shaw Communications. "Shaw Go Movie Central app". Retrieved 2013-03-24.
- "Sportsnet secures rights to ’24/7′ documentary" (Press release). Sportsnet. 2013-04-07. Retrieved 2013-09-10.