Singaporean Drama / TV / Movie Lovers: CatchPlay, Netflix or VIU?

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Whoa, the OTT (Over-The-Top content) space in Singapore is getting crowded. VIU, Netflix, and now, with the newly launched CatchPlay. With the rise of on-demand streaming apps and services, and also a drama/tv series lover myself, I did up this quick breakdown (based on my knowledge) on the 3 services. I'm personally a subscriber to Netflix and just joined CatchPlay with their opening promotion special! I also joined VIU but I'm not a paid subscriber yet. 

Hope this helps my fellow TV and movie lovers with their subscription decision. :)

Screengrab from CatchPlay Singapore Website

CATCHPLAY

Good for: For movie lovers who haven't caught up on newer films yet and doesn't mind on a less developed movie list. 

Strengths: Newer and also offers more movies than NetFlix

Weakness: Purely movie entertainment and doesn't seem to have a robust movie list offering yet. Random searches for some older flicks, like The Terminal, Warcraft, GodFather,  Breakfast at Tiffany's, Finding Nemo, Maze Runner, Divergent, Ice Age was not successful. Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings series, are available there though.

Pricing: $12.90 monthly / Pay-as-you-watch

Local TieupsStarhub (Channel 610)

Other Considerations: Only streaming available, not very good for those who wants to watch on-the-go with weak mobile data plans. Suggested download rate is 4G/LTE, as stated in their FAQs, if not, risk lagging while streaming.

Personal thoughts: I think it's good that they offered a 2 month free subscription service. I will definitely consider to keep my subscription if the movie listings include more up-to-date offerings as well as more of the old films as well. It's still early to say now, but according to them, they're adding 100 movies every month and this 2 months subscription offers a good tryout for me to see if they can keep my business or not. Well, let's see how that pans out.

Screengrab from VIU website

VIU

Good for: Busy Korean / Jap drama fanatics who wants to catch up on latest mainstream dramas on-the-go

Strengths: Daily up-to-date Korean and Jap dramas, offers subtitled episodes within 8 hours of Korea / Japan's broadcast. Monthly subscription prices are also quite affordable.

Weakness: TV dramas and variety programmes offered are mainstream and nothing really special. Popular Korean variety shows such as Unpretty Rapstar, SNL Korea, The Human Condition are not found in their list of offerings. 

Pricing: Free to watch option available, episodes made available 3 days after premium service and comes with ads / Premium service at $5.98 monthly without ads and available for immediate watching after broadcast in Kimchi and Sushi land.

Local TieupsSingtel Cast

Other Considerations: Can be streamed on-the-go and importantly, offers download via wifi which can be watched later on-the-go (unlimited downloads for premium service members only). 

Personal thoughts: Would love to see them include movies in future as I feel we're missing out on alot of awesome Korean and Japanese movies. I hope that can be a consideration for them to bring it to Singapore. If that happens, I don't mind paying a monthly premium for it. I also loved that they made it possible to download first and then watch later. That's important, because really, who only watches 1 episode each time for Korean dramas, right? It's healthier for your mobile data too. 

Screengrab from NetFlix Singapore Website

NetFlix

Good for: Those who wants to rewatch older tv series or loves NetFlix's original series

Strengths: Strong lineup of their in-house produced original series available only on their platform

Weakness: Limited selection of older films and TV series available. Movie offerings also not up-to-date. Popular TV series like The Flash, The Arrow, older hits like Friends, Heroes, How I met your Mother, Big Bang Theory, etc are not available to SG yet. 

Pricing: Monthly subscriptions available only ($10.98, $13.98 or $16.98)

Local TieupsSingtel (while also available for streaming through PlayStation 4, Xbox and Apple TV)

Other Considerations: Only streaming, not very good for those who wants to watch on-the-go with weak mobile data plans. There is also an option available for you to control your cellular data usage - a.k.a mobile data saver mode, that allows you to watch videos but in lower quality while on-the-go. Doesn't mean it will not take up data also, just less is consumed.

Personal thoughts: Previously, I could still access the US site via VPN services, to watch my favourite series, but they have since clamped down on watching through VPN and we just can't access them anymore (sadness). If you ask me, without their original series, Netflix would not have made the cut, what with their weak TV series offerings and not-up-to-date movies list. Thank goodness for House of Cards, Grace & Frankie, Orange is the New Black that is holding me back from pulling out my subscription.

Screengrab from TVB's 城寨英雄 webpage

Lastly, my only gripe overall is: WHY NO HKG DRAMA OFFERINGS YET. 

Mainly sad because I can't watch my Hongkong dramas on-the-go, through an app or something, though I'm now getting my regular fix from other sources, including through the Starhub Cable TVB First channel (860)