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Multi-disc DVDs (TV shows, etc.) are cheaper in Canada. Why?


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24 replies to this topic

#1 of 25 OFFLINE   KevA

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Posted February 11 2003 - 08:23 AM

For anybody who is unaware of this, for some reason multi-disc sets (TV shows are a good example) are often a fair bit cheaper at amazon.ca than they are at amazon.com (if one does a price-conversion).

I first noticed this odd discrepancy when Friends Season 1 came out and I found that it was much cheaper to buy in Canada (where I live) than it was to buy in the U.S., according to the cheapest in-store or online prices I saw at the time. The same rule applies to Season 2 and to the upcoming Season 3.

Take a look at this comparison between amazon.com and amazon.ca:

Friends Season 1 and 2 at Amazon.com
52.49 in U.S. funds

Friends Season 1 and 2 at Amazon.ca
56.24 in Canadian funds OR
36.76 (currency conversion) in U.S. funds (that's 16 bucks cheaper)


Friends Season 3 at Amazon.com
32.99 in U.S. funds

Friends Season 3 at Amazon.ca:
38.48 in Canadian funds OR
25.15 (currency conversion) in U.S. funds (that's 7 bucks cheaper)


Another example:

Larry Sanders, Season 1 at Amazon.com:
35.99 in U.S. funds

Larry Sanders, Season 1 at Amazon.ca:
39.96 in Canadian funds OR
26.12 (currency conversion) in U.S. funds (that's 10 bucks cheaper)

Other comparisons (Fawlty Towers, Band of Brothers, Six Feet Under) will show similar results. This rule does NOT apply (the majority of times) to one-disc movie releases, however, which match almost exactly in price (after conversion) between Canada and the U.S.

I'm not taking shipping between borders into account here, etc. I wanted to bring up a comparison between Canadians buying releases in Canada and Americans buying the same releases in the U.S.

My question is this: Does this data indicate a certain price-gouging going on by U.S. retailers? If not, why does this price discrepancy exist as a matter of course?

Kev A.

#2 of 25 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted February 11 2003 - 08:40 AM

It's just that the margin between wholesale and retail is that much greater on boxes, and because of the weak Canadian dollar in order for them to sell in Canada they need to lower the price a bit.

#3 of 25 OFFLINE   ChrisJefferys

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Posted February 11 2003 - 09:17 AM

Living at the border, I do alot of comparison shopping of DVDs at B&M stores in both countries. Except for week of release blowout prices at places like Best Buy, I find when you factor in the exchange rate, alot of DVDs end up being cheaper in Canada (its more noticable on box sets because they have a higher retail price). At least, this is true for DVDs released by the major studios that have a Canadian division. DVDs from smaller companies like Criterion, Image, Rhino, Elite, etc. tend to be more expensive because Canadian distributors have to import them into Canada (paying US prices).
Anyway, lets just say, I buy the majority of DVDs on my side of the border and save quite a bit of money.

Of course, if the exchange rate changes signifigantly in Canada's favour, and the retail prices of DVDs stayed the same (which they probably would), the prices between the 2 countries would be more equal.

#4 of 25 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted February 11 2003 - 09:55 AM

It's because CANADA ROCKS!!

Sorry,I couldn't resist. I actually noticed in the announcments that a lot of DVD suggested retails are higher in US dollars. (example, the bits will list a sugg of 19.99Us, and our shop in Edmonton will have it for 21.99canadian.) This is true on most releases, especially the first week of release blow outs.

Are there any Canadians who do order alot out of the states? I would think that the exchange and shipping would make it too expensive, especially with boutique stores that can special order for you. (send me a message if you want a good place in Edmonton Alberta to call).

#5 of 25 OFFLINE   CraigF

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Posted February 11 2003 - 01:40 PM

Except for Criterions, and a few special Elites, I've never found any DVD's cheaper in the U.S., and have only heard of them being cheaper at the first day sales that almost never happen in Canada. However, prices in Canada do seem to be going up a bit this year. Amazon (Canada or U.S.) has noticeably higher prices than some other places in Canada. Another trick to save a bit of $ is to buy from out of province, thus saving PST (if you have it). Pool your purchases, and then once you get known, they often don't charge the shipping (actually, never for me these days at A&B). Hell, even Columbia DVD Club can be lots cheaper if you buy carefully and take advantage of sales (like buy 1, all others are $10 off).

Todays Best Buy "scores", as an example: Greek Wedding, Thelma & Louise SE, X-Men 1.5 all US$14 or less, the three current Disney tins @ US$16. So you can do not badly even at the B&M's.

#6 of 25 OFFLINE   Paul D G

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Posted February 11 2003 - 06:44 PM

...which leads me to ask, is there any difference between the US and CAN versions of 24 and Band of Brothers? I've been hrmmm-ing about them both for months and it looks like I can save close to $30USD ordering them from Amazon.ca over Amazon.com. And with shipping being less than $5 it's a great deal.

-paul

#7 of 25 OFFLINE   Dan Rudolph

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Posted February 12 2003 - 01:45 AM

24 would be the same, as would all other Fox releases. MGM and Columbia release will also be identical. Not sure about HBO shows, but I woudl expect them to be the same as well as there is no rating to worry about and the US ones have French on them.
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#8 of 25 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted February 12 2003 - 02:21 AM

Quote:
...which leads me to ask, is there any difference between the US and CAN versions of 24 and Band of Brothers?

I'm not sure about "24", but the version of "Band Of Brothers" sold via Canadian retailers is identical to the version sold in the U.S. I purchased BoB online from a Canadian etailer for a little over $60US.

My only issue with ordering from Canada is the use of bilingual covers by some studios. The only title that I've bought so far with this type of cover is the "Back To The Future Trology". Luckily, DVDCoverart had a very nice replacement cover available.

#9 of 25 OFFLINE   EricW

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Posted February 12 2003 - 03:04 AM

Paramount, New Line, Dreamworks, Artisan, off the top of my head, all do crappy bilingual covers. i'll take a WB english-only snapper over a paramount bilingual amaray any day.
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#10 of 25 OFFLINE   JasonRH

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Posted February 12 2003 - 03:53 AM

I've noticed that Amazon.ca has some releases that are bilingual but also have a comparable release from the U.S. for the same title that is not bilingual. They list them as imports and are a few dollars more expensive but well worth it to avoid those ugly covers.

#11 of 25 OFFLINE   BradG

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Posted February 12 2003 - 04:07 AM

Russell G is right about our prices here in Edmonton. Future Shop has had excellent prices for quite a while now, outdoing Walmart and A&B Sound after initially those places had better pricing. Just yesterday, I purchased My Big Fat Greek Wedding for $21.99 Cdn (US equivalent about $14.30).

The 24 Season Set is no different from the US version. Also, there is no bilingual cover. I have not seen any of the TV series sets to be bilingual.

I find that unless its a hard to find DVD, I never order from the US anymore. A couple of years ago, you could get cheaper DVD's in the US through Reel.com by using coupons and such, but times have really changed.

#12 of 25 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted February 12 2003 - 04:34 AM

Recently, I've bought a couple of season sets from Amazon.ca. I usually buy sets during release week at Best Buy here in Portland ME to get the sale price, which is usually comparable to amazon.ca + shipping. Sometimes it's more, but the fact I can get it TODAY counts for a lot, sometimes...

If I miss the first week sale price, however, I'll go to amazon.ca. Shipping takes a couple of weeks, but they usually get things out the door quicker than amazon.com. My last order for SG-1 season 1, I got the shipping confirmation less than 4 hours after I placed the order.

Prices are often lower than the lowest prices listed at dvdpricesearch.com... and I don't have the hassle of dealing with an unfamiliar merchant. In fact, if you have a U.S. account, you don't need to set up a new account at amazon.ca.

-Scott

#13 of 25 OFFLINE   Paul D G

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Posted February 12 2003 - 08:05 AM

Ok on 24... does Band of Brothers have bilingual packaging? Since it's a special tin I would assume not but then again...

-paul

#14 of 25 OFFLINE   CraigF

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Posted February 12 2003 - 08:29 AM

Yes, you have to shop around in Canada. There is no one place that has consistently good prices any more. My regular "stops" are A&B, Best Buy, Future Shop, Wal-Mart, Columbia Club, Music World. They all have the best price on certain categories of DVD's at some time. The only places that are *really* bad IMO are HMV and all Canadian online places except A&B and FS.

Also, being from Alberta (Edmonton) myself, be wary of the extreme redneck attitudes typical of there, people who have too much time to bitch and navel-gaze about how oppressed and misunderstood they are, and spend time watching the covers instead of the content. That tells you plenty right there...

#15 of 25 OFFLINE   Craig S

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Posted February 12 2003 - 09:49 AM

Quote:
does Band of Brothers have bilingual packaging? Since it's a special tin I would assume not but then again...
The BoB tin you get from Canada is identical to the U.S. release.

I've been buying my box sets (mainly TV) from Amazon.ca for three months now. Over that time I've saved probably between $200 & $300. As far as I am concerned this is the best deal going right now. Shipping is not too bad - I usually order a bunch of stuff at once and use the Expedited Internation Shipping. It takes less than a week to get to me.

I probably won't buy any more individual discs, because of the bilingual cover issue and also the savings aren't as spectacular. But ALL my box sets these days come from Canada. $75 for the TNG, DS9, & X-Files boxes makes it a LOT easier to collect these.

If you've got an Amazon.com account, you can use it on Amazon.ca. Just log in & start shopping.

I imagine at some point Amazon will realize what's going on and figure out a way to block US shoppers from buying this way. Under that day, however, I'm making out like a bandit! Posted Image

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* It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it.

* No good movie is too long, and no bad movie is short enough.

* No good movie is depressing, all bad movies are depressing.


#16 of 25 OFFLINE   Chris Church

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Posted February 12 2003 - 10:52 AM

I travel to Edmonton from Florida regularly, and I've seen some of the pricing advantage on Retail titles referred to here. What I find to be a real deal, though, is buying previously viewed titles, at Blockbuster for example. When they put on a promo (buy one, get one free, or 30% off as examples), the software is way cheaper in Edmonton.


Chris

#17 of 25 OFFLINE   Shawn RM

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Posted February 12 2003 - 11:16 AM

I have ordered several "expensive" sets from amazon.ca due to the considerably cheaper prices there, including Baseball and Jazz by Ken Burns. Some others I have found quite cheap are Walking With Dinosaurs: The Complete Collection and Cosmos. Anyway, it is a great place to do shopping and even shipping is cheap on 2-3 day most of the time if placing a large order.
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#18 of 25 OFFLINE   RossHy

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Posted February 13 2003 - 03:41 PM

Amazon.ca's website says that packages "may be subject to the customs fees and import duties of the country to which you have your order shipped". Has anyone in the US had problems with this?

#19 of 25 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted February 13 2003 - 03:45 PM

There is no import duty to the US unless it's over $2000

#20 of 25 OFFLINE   Gates

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Posted February 13 2003 - 04:12 PM

Quote:
Also, being from Alberta (Edmonton) myself, be wary of the extreme redneck attitudes typical of there, people who have too much time to bitch and navel-gaze about how oppressed and misunderstood they are, and spend time watching the covers instead of the content. That tells you plenty right there...


Stay in Ontario then, with all the other "eastern creeps and bums" (Ralph Klein when he was mayor of Calgary). Posted Image Seriously though, what the hell does that remark have to do with lower DVD prices in Canada. Maybe you should keep that kind of crap to yourself. SOME people might take offence.





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