Streaming Movie Services Review 2013-2014

Streaming Movie Services Review 2013-2014

Pull up some popcorn and fire up the Roku! Here’s a quick review on a few streaming media services! I picked a group of 10 for this review that is a good sampling.

Mainstream Services:

1)Netflix: 10/10
Pros: Solid service with the largest library of titles avalible. Fast streaming with little buffering on my Roku 3. New UI adds more detail to shows and auto episode progression for those that like to marathon series. Fast UI on the Roku 3 and works smooth. Previous version was smooth as well. Flat monthly fee that has made it less attractive to torrent content. Responsive website. Great mobile app that runs fast.

Cons:Old version that’s confined to the Roku LT,1,and 2 does not have episode progression, has a dated feel, and lacks as much detail as the new version. Sometimes has episode progression issues. 

2)MGO: 9/10
Pros: Very fast streaming. Integrated into the Roku UI. Easy to use. Higher quality then Netflix. Ultraviolet support for cloud stored titles that you purchase. 24 hour rental period with unlimited viewings is a decent deal. Earliest access to titles then any other service!  Some are even the same day as theaters! Easy to use website with lots of personalization controls and a good recommendation system. Web app plays content fast. They have a mobile app, however I do not have a compatible device to test.

Cons: Price can be very steep for some titles, specially Disney ones. They have the highest price and are excluded from all sales/promos Disney is also excluded from UV locker so your content is locked to MGo only and can’t be accessed through Flixter,VUDU, etc. Ownership prices aren’t too bad for most titles. Should have rental duration tiers  for better deals or a discount for re-rental as well. 

3)Crackle: 7/10
Pros: Free! Contains a good bit of content for a free service. Easy to use player and site. Mobile app is great as well. 

Cons: Has ads that can get annoying and inapropriate for some movies. They need to have a system where they are content aware or something. I was watching something really emotional and serious and up comes a frustrating ad for Verizon that made no sense and ruined the mood of the film I was watching. 

4)Amazon Instant: 7/10 (See note on bottom of post for update)
Pros: Fast streaming. Relatively easy to purchase content. Prime streaming was nice. Very up to date content library, however not as bleeding edged as MGO. 

Cons: Still has old style UI on the Roku and it’s not as intuitive as Netflix or MGO’s. Prices are steep for non-prime titles and does not compete with MGO. 

5)EPIX: 5/10
Pros: Very up to date library, decent UI

Cons: Steep pricing Not much to differentiate from MGO or other services

6)HULU Plus: 4/10
Pros: Decent content selection specially in the TV shows category. Timely content library for TV shows. Decent looking app for both mobile and Roku.

Cons: Very sluggish Roku app. Clunky web player. Even though you pay monthly for it you still have ads unlike Netflix. 

Niche/Specialty Services:

1)Funimation channel: 5/10
Pros: Awesome anime selection. Great dubs. 

Cons: Ads. Too much content lumped into “MA” that shouldn’t be just to force you to register and get premium account and sign in. Terrible buffering issues.

2)Crunchyroll: 8/10
Pros: Nice selection of anime and also has very recent content. Free. Decent speeds. 

Cons: Ads. Occasional instability in mobile and Roku apps. 

3)Asian Crush: 10/10
Pros: Awesome place to find obscure Asian films. Best place to find corny Japanese films! Free! 

Cons: None reported. 

4)VEVO: 3/10
Pros: Great place to watch music vids with the largest selection. All content is official. 

Cons: EXTREMELY high bandwidth usage on the Roku app! I found it using 20GB in one night using my Meraki MR12’s built in bandwidth monitoring on it’s firmware to discover this! Please stay away from this if you got bandwidth caps! Inferior quality compared to their own YouTube channel.  

Conclusion: My favorites of all these are Netflix, MGO, and Crunchyroll and Asian Crush. Those services performed well and are in sync with their target market. 

ADDED AMAZON NOTE:  For on-demand titles as well as averages and for the movie service part only and not the shipping part. Sorry if it was misleading . Some titles are not prime ready so you have to pay for them. The app is referred to as Amazon Instant Video on the Roku and covers all Amazon prime and non-prime content. I consider it a hybrid service rather then a flat monthly.