Home Technology Apps Apps: Stream it, baby! (one more time)

Apps: Stream it, baby! (one more time)

Even back in high school, my friends remember me as a cinephile who’s always on the lookout for video streaming websites. At that time, their availability was limited to specific regions, meaning the only means of catching up with foreign programs and movies was through cable TV and prohibitively expensive subscriptions. One of the big disruptors of our age, video streaming has redefined the way we watch and access content whether it’s on our television screens or smartphone displays.

The humble beginnings of streaming

Before getting to today’s endless hours of high-def streaming content, broadcasting networks had basically been live streaming special reports and sporting events since the 1990s. The term, which literally means broadcasting of real-time video to an audience over the Internet, expanded in meaning through time. It’s no longer just television networks who have the infrastructure to stream anymore. With the right equipment, anyone can be a streamer. Gamers can easily broadcast gameplay to their fans through streaming platforms such as Twitch. Celebrities and influencers also break geographical barriers through Facebook and Instagram Live to get their messages to their followers.

The rise of media streaming providers opens a massive door of opportunity for both traditional broadcasting companies and independent production houses to share their content with the rest of the world. It makes watching more mobile and present, responding more to the growing demands of the audience. These groundbreaking video streaming apps give tons of ways to enjoy content online.

The catalysts

HOOQ
For both new and classic Pinoy content

Those who enjoy local films shouldn’t miss downloading HOOQ on any smart mobile device. A joint venture of Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., and Singtel, it is the first paid video-on-demand service to launch across Southeast Asia. The inclusion of Filipino movies and TV shows in its library was made possible through its partnership with local production companies such as Viva Films, GMA, and ABS-CBN. Updating its catalog daily, it contains a massive library of both new and old Filipino movies and shows. The lineup includes award-winning indie films 100 Tula Para Kay Stella, Die Beautiful, The Day After Valentines, Ulan, Meet me in St. Gallen, I America, Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B, and 2 Cool 2 Be Forgotten.

Pros:

  • Updates its libraryregularly
  • Lower monthly subscription fee compared to competitors (PHP 149)

Cons:

  • Some titles require an additional rental fee on top of the subscription fee

VIU
For your quick fix of K-dramas and Korean movies

If there’s one thing that my aunts and I share, it would probably be our undying love for K-Dramas. I remember when we used to binge-watch Lovers in Paris on DVD sets that we bought overseas. Now more than ever, it’s easier to access thousands of K-Drama titles for free through Viu. The video streaming provider is under Hong Kong’s PCCW Media, top ICT company, delivering content in different genres from Asia’s top content providers with local language subtitles, as well as original productions. Its library also boasts Korean variety and reality programs from the country’s largest television networks that cater mostly to K-Pop fans and K-Drama junkies. Such shows are Produce 101, The Return of Superman, Encounter, and While You Were Sleeping.

Pros:

  • Uploads the latest episodes real-time
  • Zero subscription fee (for basic account)

Cons:

  • You need patience waiting for the ads to finish playing
  • Access to movies requires subscribers to upgrade their basic account to premium

NETFLIX
For original and international digital content at your fingertips

Any discussion on streaming services wouldn’t be complete without mention of Netflix. Founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in 1977, Netflix had its humble beginnings as a video rental company. To survive in the changing times, it started to venture into media streaming which put the company into low-earth orbit. Apart from partnering with local and international distributors and creators to gain exclusive streaming rights for a variety of TV shows, documentaries, and movies, Netflix also produces and distributes their own digital content covering various genres. Its notable series include the cult favorite BoJack Horseman, the zombie hit Kingdom, Stranger Things, the web series adaptation of Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why, and the animated series for Sanrio’s Aggretsuko. You can even find classics like Friends, How I Met Your Mother, and Big Bang Theory in their complete glory. It also provides membership plans tailored for everyone’s needs and supports thousands of internet-connected devices including Chromecast, Playstation 3 and 4, the X-Box One and 360, and smart TVs.

Pros:

  • Lets you enjoy up to 4K videos
  • Supports most smart devices and game consoles

Cons:

  • Content availability varies by region
  • New content is not available right away

iFLIX
All about Asian content

Emphasizing support for home-grown content, the Internet TV service from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, focuses more on first-run local movies and original programming across the Asian region. This includes dubbing and subtitling programs in selected languages for countries where iFlix is available. Just like Netflix, it also has a “kids section” appropriate for children 12 years and under, and offers flexible payment options including mobile and debit/credit card billing.

Pros:

  • New members get to enjoy a 30-day free VIP subscription
  • Basic subscription is free of charge

Cons:

  • Supports limited smart devices (only works with PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and certain smart TVs)
  • HD content is limited

There’s no better way to enjoy the rainy days than to snuggle into a comfy bed, sip on some hot chocolate, find a show, and start streaming. We hope this list helps you with your never-ending search content.

Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE August 2019 Issue
Words by Jewel Sta. Ana