With the growing popularity of tablets and the ever-increasing size of mobile phone displays, it is no longer a dream to enjoy your favourite movies on the go. But while there are a number of movie-streaming apps out there, selecting the right one is crucial. For the same, in this week's App Tracker, we bring to you a head on comparison between popular movie-streaming apps on the iOS and Android platforms.
We have reviewed the apps on the basis of the movie watching experience, add-on features and the range of content offered. Note that while there is a never-ending list of apps offering the same, we cannot review all of them at once; hence we chose these. In addition, YouTube also offers a number of free movies but since it is not a targeted movie-focused service, we left it out.
The app greets the user with a carousel of film posters at the top, and categories just below it. One needs to sign up/sign in to access the content, which can be done via the user's email or Facebook account. The content is offered in a number of categories that include free, recommended, premium, specials, and genres (like action, comedy and thriller). A few TV shows like Malgudi days, Nukkad, Fauji, and Mahabharat, etc., and Tamil movies are also available.
We tried watching a movie with the app (on Wi-Fi) and the movie streaming was glitch-free. In addition, if for you stop watching the movie in between, it saves the video at that point, so that users can resume where they left. Such videos are saved under an 'unfinished' section. Spuul has given ratings to each movie, though they are not user-generated (which could have been a bonus). Users can also share the movie they are watching on social media sites like Facebook.
Takeaway: The app is decent and works well. The range of content needs more depth, both in terms of Regional as well as Hindi content.
User ratings: The average user rating on Google Play Store is 4.2/5.
TC rating: 3.2/5
In it, the movies are divided into a number of sequences and the viewers can choose to watch their favourite sequences. For Hindi movies, the songs are also listed as separate sequences so you can listen to them without having to watch the entire movie. This one is also a freemium app and the monthly subscription cost is Rs 199 in India and $4.99 globally.
User rating: The average user rating on Google Play store is 3.1
TC rating: 2.5/5
Eros Now (iOS)
The main menu offers a mix of music tracks, music videos and movies. The movies are offered in a number of categories that include Eros recommendations, award winning movies (the exact criterion of selecting these is not clear), new releases, blockbusters of 2012, Punjabi flicks and comedy central. The movies can also be filtered according to their year of release and genre (action, adventure, devotional, etc.). Users can also select between watch full-length movies, their trailers, dialogue promos, and song promos. Then there is a search bar that allows users to search for videos.
While music tracks and videos are available for free, movies require a subscription. Although the down side is that the app itself does not offer a subscription facility or an option of making payments through it. Hence only Eros Now subscribers will be able to make complete use of the app.
Takeaway: At times the app took a little time to respond to our commands and it works only in the landscape mode.
User rating: The average user rating on the Google Play store is 3.5
TC rating: 3.5/5
The movies can also be filtered according to language; in fact, the app claims to offer 12 languages to choose from—Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada, Bhojpuri, Sinhala, Gujarati, English and Italian. However, when we selected Italian, no movies were on display. Users can also select from BigFlix's collections that include best of drama, best of action, hair rising horror, hot and happening as well as a number of top 10 collections (top 10 Telugu, top 10 English, etc.). Once a movie is selected, users can either add it to their watching queue, or share it via Facebook, Twitter and email. They can also view 'related movies', but we didn't see much sense in this feature. After all how can you relate 'Jism 2' to a movie like Family!
This one does offer subscription services via the app (which is nice); however, we could find only one offer that is a monthly subscription pack for Rs 270. Keep in mind that the subscription is renewed automatically until cancelled. Existing subscribers can also log in to restore their purchases.
Takeaway: A no-nonsense app that is easy to use. Should appeal to only serious movie viewers; since it doesn't offer music videos or audio tracks.
While all the apps have their highs and lows, we feel that BigFlix scores a tad higher (and we mean barely!) than its competition, making it the winner among the movie streaming apps.
Also, for all those startups that want their apps featured on Techcircle.in in the future, you can send in your requests, along with a brief descriptor of your apps to firstname.lastname@example.org. For readers, if you find an interesting app out there and want it reviewed by us, you can also send us a 'tip' at the above mentioned email id. That's all for this week's App Tracker. Till next time, keep tracking.