With Filipinos getting more in-depth with the mobile lifestyle in the past few years, we have seen the transformation of mobile significantly towards visual content. Last year we have several offerings from Globe and Smart with services like free Facebook, Viber, NBA, Spotify, Spinnr, Deezer, Grab Taxi, Easy Taxi and even other social networking apps.
This year two video streaming services namely HOOQ and iFlix have entered the Philippine digital arena. With both brands pretty much wants to deliver video streaming content to Filipinos, who do you think delivers the best service? For this we made four categories to check in who delivers the best bang for the buck, these categories are content, interface & streaming quality, special services and price. So check out our comparison below:
Both brands have partnered with Warner Brothers, Dreamworks and Disney so you will to see similar titles like Iron Man, Green Lantern, Batman, Thor and more.
iFlix targets more on Hollywood content with blockbuster hits like Transformers, Star Trek, etc. While TV series thanks to their Fox and BBC partnership leads them with exclusive contents. There are kids-friendly content like Adventure time, Arthur, Dora the Explorer and more. Plus Korean movies and series are also present for Asian drama lovers.
HOOQ targets a wider audience area with exclusive content from Sony like Spiderman, Men in Black, The Social Network and even 50 First Dates. TV Series like Mad Men, Chuck, Bewitched and etc. Korean series are present too, especially ones that are hit in other countries and kids are also entertained with shows like Little Lulu, Jackie Chan, Spiderman, Madeline and more.
But interestingly, while iFlix is still relatively new, it gave HOOQ an advantage to partner with local networks and studios such as ABS-CBN, GMA 7, Star Cinema, Regal entertainment and Viva Films. Delivering a powerhouse of Filipino content which is an advantage for even OFWs or the elder audience. With their expansion in Asia like Thailand and India, they are now able to bring Bollywood, Thai and even Korean content making their package more fit for localization.
Interface & Streaming Quality
The user interface is important to every app, it’s basically the heart and soul of the service. So with both brands trying to get our attention, it’s definitely great to see who can provide a more innovative and friendly user interface.
iFlix’s interface is edgy and for young at heart. They have good categories to choose from which you can navigate easily. But they have to improve their search engine as searching for specific titles leads to confusion. Take this example of searching for “Thor” which gives the actual movie we want almost at the end of the search items.
Streaming quality is good given you have at least 4G LTE connection in our experience even with a connection of H+ of 3.75G, you will experience lower quality of videos unless you are connected via 4G LTE. When using LTE, the video quality will switch back to HD version for a much clearer watching experience. The giant iFlix logo appearing while navigating might be bothersome but good thing it only takes 3 seconds to hide again.
Just be aware of your data since one episode of adventure time in our experience took more than 1GB in HD quality, but it shows that the quality of video streaming is really HD. Although we experienced a few connection issues which prompts a web-based alert like this, we were able to watch again by restarting the app.
HOOQ, on the other hand, shows a cleaner and less branded menu style with navigations with yellow sliders and simple violet bars along with the play and pause buttons. It’s also nifty where you can see the title of what you are playing and the bandwidth quality of the streaming you are experiencing with a simple color light indicator.
On a good data signal, you will have the best quality video possible, thanks to the signal indicator you will be aware if you need to improve your location or connection. Perhaps if HOOQ is open for interface changes, we would prefer a sliding screen gestures for the volume and skip to 5-10 seconds of play time to enjoy even more. Watching the whole Yesterday Today Tomorrow episode took us around 800mb of data, which proves that we are really watching HD videos.
Both services lets you connect up to 5 different kinds of devices for wide access within your gadgets and they let you enjoy watching with no advertisements at all. But HOOQ has the upper advantage with offering up to 5 movies to be saved into the phone for offline use, perfect if you are preparing for a long trip and wants bring along some movies to watch while having no constant internet connection.
Price is quite sensitive for Filipinos, we want to get the best value for our money. Comparing iFlix with HOOQ is quite hard if you just base it on price, but don’t forget that you also need to know what comes with the offer before purchasing.
iFlix is regularly priced for Php129 a month which is quite reasonable. Unfortunately, they don’t have free access for current Smart subscribers who uses their “Big Bytes” data service, while PLDT Fibr subscribers have free access. Perhaps iFlix should consider this as soon as possible with Smart to increase subscribers. Fortunately with their partnership with Smart & PLDT, they were able to offer only a Php99 monthly fee by entering your Smart mobile number or DSL subscription.
On the other hand, HOOQ is available for Php199 a month and offers up to Php299 a month with pre-allocated data via Globe. What’s good here is since HOOQ is established first, they are able to integrate free HOOQ access via Globe’s GoSurf 299 plans above and Tattoo Broadband plan 1299. Which means, HOOQ is basically free if you are currently availed on any Globe or Tattoo’s data services.
Our mobile experience has simply evolved now to more than just social media and games. With video streaming services ready for the Philippines, we are becoming another pioneer in mobile entertainment in Asia. If we are going to base on our experience, HOOQ definitely got the upper hand in being able to release first in the Philippines. This gave HOOQ a big advantage to partner with local entertainment houses, offer network-based bundles and even establish a reasonable price for Php199/mo, even if they are more expensive than iFlix.
For now, we give the hats off for HOOQ as the best streaming service provider. But they shouldn’t be too complacent as iFlix can simply follow as they aren’t far behind. If you want to experience both services first, they offer a free trial period where iFlix offers 14 days while HOOQ offers longer by 30 days. This should be good enough to get a feel for your preference on which streaming service is better in your opinion.