Following the update of the Android application, we took a closer look at MyCanal, but also at all the Canal offers. We tested the applications, the Chromecast function, VR, but also the Android TV version. Finally, we tried to see more clearly in the Canal rates and subscriptions. This complex system of DLCs will have no more secrets for you (well, just a little).
MyCanal is a service that provides access to all Canal content, as well as live DTT channels. In the form of applications on various screens, MyCanal offers to discover these programs live, on demand (catch-up), but also “offline”. This last feature, for smartphones and tablets, allows content to be stored on the storage space for viewing without a connection.
The service has approximately 8 million subscribers, it can be subscribed to directly, it is also automatically available to all Canal subscribers and is offered by ISPs such as Orange, SFR and Free. MyCanal is accessible from a PC directly on the browser on Windows and MacOS, as well as on Android (smartphones, tablets and Android TV), iOS (iPad and iPhone), but also on Xbox 360 and Xbox One game consoles.
We were interested in the mobile versions, as well as the Android TV version of the service. A major upgrade was deployed at the end of January 2017, offering a smoother and more complete experience.
On Android and iOS, the features are very similar. You can access the programs live, but also on demand. There is also a startover function that allows you to go back up to 8 hours on most live channels.
The offline mode is available with several quality levels, in “High” quality, this is HD quality (720p). A “Downloads” tab allows access to all content stored offline, you can choose to have the download only active in WiFi. The same applies to subtitle management, where VOSTFR is offered on a program basis.
The Chromecast function is functional, you will also have access to a TV grid and a VR function.
This VR feature is still quite limited: it gives access to bonus content from certain channel programs that you can watch from any virtual reality headset, such as a Cardboard. In addition to being limited, the quality of the content of this function is really not the strong point of the application – but it has the merit of existing.
Finally, note that the application can be used as a Freebox remote control (V5 and V6) and Channel box. On Android 7.0 Nougat, the application is compatible with the multi-windows function – allowing you to display your program on half your screen.
The Android TV app is brand new. The features are a little different, of course.
It’s a near flawless: they based the Android TV Leanback interface and user experience on Android TV, which provides an experience very close to the classic Android applications.
You will find the programs in the form of a mosaic, but also by zapliste (below).
We can note a picture-in-picture function that allows you to display a thumbnail above the interface of the program you are following. Of course, it is still possible to play this video in full screen at any time.
Access to live TV allows you to access all the DTT channels, as well as several dozen channels, the Canal channels of course, but also OCS for example.
As mentioned above, the live TV function provides access to all live programmes.
Integration with Android is successful: MyCanal content can be found in the recommendations on the home screen, but also in the search results.
For the moment, the video streams used are the same between screens: on mycanal.fr, iOS and Android applications, but also Android TV: these are adaptive OTT SmoothStreaming streams with up to HD 720p at 3.4Mb/sec, all encoded in h.264.
The Canal offer is very complicated. It is available on the Operator Boxes, the Channel Box, but you can also choose to access it only from a tablet, smartphone, Android TV and Chromecast. This last solution remains the most economical, but it does not guarantee you access to all Canal programs.
For 19.90 euros/month, the most economical offer, you have access to Canal+, DTT channels with an on-demand function. For 10 euros more, you will also have access to some additional Canal channels, such as Comédie+ or Planete+.
From these two offers, you can add a few channels like OCS or Canal+ Cinéma channels. You also have the sports pack, with integrated beinsports. Note that these rates are in addition to the basic rates of the Essential packs. If you take the basic package at 19.90 euros/month, for example, and you want to access the “Sport” channels, you will have a package at 49.90 euros/month. Note that sports and movies are broadcast on the classic channel Canal+.
Commitment packs offer some savings, but require a 12 or 24 month commitment.
You can also opt for non-binding packages: this is similar to the “à la carte” formula mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph. Canal has built its offers around a DLC system, which can go very high: up to nearly 100 euros per month if you want all the programs and functions. We are not the only ones who have tried to understand all this, I encourage you to read Numerama’s file on the matter.
The Canal offers are therefore a rich offer, but very complex to understand: you have on one side the Canal offers, on the other side MyCanal which is actually an access to the content from the smartphone or a tablet. If you only want to access Canal+ and a few additional services, you will have to pay 19.90 euros/month without any commitment. Free of charge, the application gives you access to DTT channels, but also to Canal’s “free-to-air” programmes, such as Le Grand Journal for example.
The right plan is certainly for Free subscribers who can benefit from some of the Canal and MyCanal channels for just over €2/month, with no commitment.
The Canal offers at Orange Orange’s Famille by Canal operators, for its part, offers a “Famille by Canal” option for 100% Fibre subscribers. If you are an Orange customer, you will therefore be able to access several channels and content…
To access the Channel content, you have no other alternatives. Canal’s main argument is to offer a complete range of programmes and content, shows, reports, films, series, but also sports. Depending on your needs, you can use OCS (from €7.99 per month), Netflix (from €7.99 per month) or Canalplay (from €7.99 per month) to access series or films, or beIN Sports (€15 per month) for sports.