If you’ve been on social media lately (or read other local tech news), you’d likely heard about iflix already. iflix is a new service in the country – an Internet TV service, aka video streaming service – launched 2 days ago on 27 May 2015.
iflix is a partnership between highly successful, disruptive local entrepreneurs and Hollywood heavyweights. Catcha Group and Evolution Media Capital have joined together to create an Internet TV service for Southeast Asia that provides access to thousands of hours of top TV shows and movies from all over the world.
iflix will be launched in key Southeast Asian markets – starting with Malaysia and Philippines now, followed shortly by Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam throughout this year.
Launched in Malaysia at a super affordable RM 8 per month (RM 96 per year), subscribers will get:-
- Unlimited access – over 10,000 hours of Western, Asian and local content
- Up to 5 devices – access on Phone, Tablet, Laptop, Desktop, Connected TV / devices
- Share iflix subscription – simultaneously watch 2 different content on 2 separate devices at the same time
- Cancel anytime – subscriptions come with no strings attached, no hidden catches and no contracts
When I spotted their website stating “Subscription from RM 8 per month…”, I tweeted on the suspicious “from” to iflix worried there might be hidden charges or critical paid upgrades in future. iflix replied…
@winniekepala hey hey, fret not! We promise no hidden charge! Annual subscription is RM96, divide by 12 is RM8 per month
— iflix (@iflixletsplay) May 27, 2015
I’m glad to report back – There’s no hidden charges (for now). Perhaps there will be Value Added purchase for exclusive contents in future?
Go to the iflix website at https://iflix.com to signup for the service now & get a FREE 14 DAYS TRIAL, where credit card details are not required yet.
iflix – Malaysian SVOD champion
Netflix (from US) has taken over the world slowly as the most successful SVOD (Streaming Video On Demand) service, with the recent launch in Australia, encroaching into Asian market. I always wonder when if Netflix, or Hulu or any of the global boys will ever come to the Malaysian market.
While Astro has done a great job recently, beefing up their Hollywood content, with their “Express from US” feature airing TV shows on the same day as US. There is also the question of censorship, of course. Game of Thrones on Astro, amirite? The impatient few would have found alternatives to get their fix – either using VPN service to stream their Netflix subscription here, resort to purchasing pirated DVD box sets, or downloading from torrent sites. There is indeed a market demand for a good SVOD service here in Malaysia.
Of course, iflix is not the first player in the local SVOD space. You have Astro On-The-Go service (which is basically mobile viewing of your Astro subscription), Celcom Escape (from a local telco, which focus more on local content but has good Hollywood content, too), and most prominently Viki (regional player with focus on Taiwan and Korean dramas with crowd-sourced subtitles).
There are also other smaller competitors in the market, catering to a more niche market segments, of course. Now we have iflix – being the first local player, larger scale launch and content, better funded company and stronger founding team in place. This is a Catcha Group venture (think iProperty, CarList, LivingSocial) and appointed Azran Osman Rani (ex-Air Asia X CEO) as their Malaysian CEO in place. Definitely a strong player we should keep a watch on.
What You Get In iflix Subscription
I signed up for an early preview prior to the official launch and received the Private Preview invitation that entitles me to a FREE 30 days Private Preview. So, here’s a quick screenshot preview of what you’ll get in the subscription.
Once at iflix website (or mobile app), you’ll be asked to login or signup. I was given an Activation Code email for my Private Preview; but now that’s it’s wiidely launched for all – you’ll need to provide your mobile number at signup. You’ll receive your Activation Code on your mobile, where you’ll need to enter, to activate your subscription.
Once logged in for the first time, you’ll get a friendly pop-up to offer you a Quick Tour walkthrough of the iflix interface. You can skip this if you want, as the user interface and navigation around the site is rather self-explanatory and easy to use.
Browsing around the list of shows, as a consumer of a lot of Hollywood content, I am rather impressed. iflix managed to secure some decent Hollywood content (TV & movies) from Fox, BBC and Warner Bros.
On the TV show front, there’s popular shows like Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, Sons of Anarchy to classics like Friends, How I Met Your Mother as well as good BBC UK content like Doctor Who, The Office, Sherlock, and my recent obsession, Orphan Black. There’s even a good selection of Korean dramas.
From the Movies front, you get to continue the recent superheroes movie fandom with Superman Returns, Batman Begins, Green Lantern, along with a bunch of different genres like Action, Comedy, Drama, Thriller and more.
For those with kids, there’s also a dedicated Kids section, where your little one can browse for their favourite shows (like Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, Ben10, PowerPuff Girls), or even browse by characters like Sonic the Hedgehog, Mr Bean, Johnny Bravo and more.
Each video (TV or movies) has a good description of the show. You get quick icons to “Add to Playlist” or “Share” the content on Facebook, Twitter or Email, nothing more. For TV shows with multiple seasons, you get a drop down menu to select the season of your choice. Clicking “Play” opens up to a fullscreen, landscape view on your browser (or mobile device).
Video quality is good enough. Think watching YouTube video on your mobile data connection. It’s good enough for mobile viewing, not 1080p, HD quality video, but no pixelation or lagging ot buffering. Video runs smoothly without interruption. I don’t see any spinning wheels where the video buffers and loads mid way.
Smooth, viewing experience, in my tests. Clear video and audio quality.
One handy feature, if that if you paused while watching a show on one device, you can resume watching on another device.
I have the app downloaded on my tablet as well as smartphone. At the Menu, go to Watch History and it reveals recently watched videos.
The app would prompt you to use WiFi for streaming instead of mobile data so you don’t use up your mobile data plan allowance or rack up a crazy mobile data bill. After which, there’ll be a pop-up asking if you’d like to resume watching your show, or restart the video. I continued watching The Big Bang Theory pilot right where I left off. Nice!
You can also choose to create your own playlist of shows to watch at a later time.
Unfortunately though, there’s no Offline Viewing mode right now, where it allows you to download and cache a copy of the show to watch when you have little to no internet connectiion. But, according to iflix FAQ here, they indicated that this will be a feature that they’ll add on in future. Can’t wait!
Also, if you have Google Chromecast, which allows you to cast your mobile screen on TV using the HDMI dongle, you’re also out of luck. A friend, Peter, informed me that only audio is there, but video doesn’t show. This is disappointing to hear, cos it would be great to be able to watch it on big screen.
See Also : Google Chromecast User Review
My guess is iflix aims for this to be a purely mobile entertainment experience (which also explains why their videos are not HD quality).
This was just launched 2 days ago with over 10,000 hours of good content. I think iflix did a great job here for a start – and I’m sure there’s more content and features coming soon.
Patience, my friends. They’re new. They did an amazing job with the initial product at launch. No downtime, no buffering, no major hiccups. There are features that we’d all like to see in future version updates, but I’m sure… it’s coming…
Personally, I suggest, with the FREE 14 days trial, you should go check it out yourself. Let me know what you think?
For more info, check out iflix website at https://iflix.com or download the mobile app on Android (here) or iOS (here) and LIKE the iflix Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/iflix.letsplay