Tech round-up for December 16: Amazon Prime Video comes to Canada, video game systems for your kids (and you)

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, the various video game systems your kids are asking you for, but first, Amazon Prime Video comes to Canada.

Amazon launches Prime Video in Canada

Crave and Netflix have a new competitor. On Wednesday, Amazon announced that Prime Video had been made available in Canada.

Prime Video, which is free to anyone with an Amazon Prime membership ($79 annually), is a video service that has movies and television shows in its library.

Like Netflix, you can also download content from Amazon Prime to watch later.

In its library are shows including Justified, The Night Manager, and Fear the Walking Dead, and movies like The Fast and the Furious and Across the Universe.

The company also has a production department. Amazon Original Series is responsible for the award-winning Transparent, starring Jeffrey Tambor, the miniseries The Man in the High Castle, based on the Philip Dick novel, and Hand of God, in which Ron Perlman plays a judge who believes he is getting visions from God.

It’s also home to The Grand Tour, the new series from the former hosts of automobile enthusiast show Top Gear.

Prime Video is adding to the benefits enjoyed by members of Amazon Prime, who also get free two-day shipping on many items sold at the online store, free unlimited photo storage, and special discounts.

Video-game systems to put smiles on those faces

In the past, there’s only been a couple of choices when it comes to choosing a video game system to be a gift. Not this year. Technology advances such as virtual reality and high dynamic range (HDR) have helped drive the demand for high-powered hardware.

PlayStation VR

The easiest way to get into virtual reality is with PlayStation, especially if you’ve already got a PlayStation 4 console. The price on this is a bit misleading, because for PSVR to work, you also need a PlayStation Camera ($75) and, depending on the game you’re playing, you may also need PlayStation Move Controllers (two pack for $130). But if you can afford the experience, there are some amazing things to discover in those virtual worlds. ($550)

Alienware 13

If you want to get into the other virtual reality systems from HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, there’s a good chance you’re going to need a new computer to support the headsets. The new Alienware 13 is powerful enough to drive those VR experiences, but portable enough to cart about. One configuration ships with a stunning OLED touch display, and the Alienware 13 also works with the manufacturer’s graphics amplifier, so you can get even better performance out of the system when you’re at your desk. (starting at $1,500, $2,450 with OLED display)

Nintendo NES Classic Edition

This little console is quite the deal if you can find one in stock anywhere. A miniaturized replica of the original Nintendo NES, the Classic Edition comes equipped with 30 classic video games built right in, including favourites like Donkey Kong, the Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Super Mario Bros. ($80)

Retro-Bit Generations

Similar to the NES Classic is this box that comes with more than 90 titles from publishers including Capcom and Jaleco, including games like 1942, Bionic Commando, Ghouls ’n Ghosts, Mercs, and Super R-Type. (US$60)

Xbox One S

The newest console from Microsoft brings the ability to watch 4K video from either streaming or Blu-ray sources and supports stunning high dynamic range (HDR) images. Plus, it’s the only console on which you can play games like Vancouver-developed Gears of War 4. ($400)

PlayStation 4 Pro

Sony’s released two consoles in as many months and if you don’t already have one, and you want one, and you’re considering PSVR, this is the console for you. While any PS4 supports PSVR, this high-powered machine can do so with ease. It’s also designed to deliver astounding visuals. ($500)


We’re all playing more games on our mobile devices than ever before. With the GameVice controller, you can make playing games on your iOS devices more like a console experience. You clip your iPhone or iPad into the GameVice and you get console control with analog sticks, a directional pad, buttons, and even bumpers. ($140)


From computer manufacturer MSI is this slick device, which is a full on gaming laptop built into a backpack. The idea is to make the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift VR headsets, which have cables that need to be connected to computers to work, somewhat portable. It’s built with some extreme cooling measures and swappable battery packs, so you can just stay in that virtual environment forever. (starting at $2,700)


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