Stevie the TV may be feeling a lil’ lonesome these days. Why, you ask? Video streaming, we say! An extensive collection of movies & series, paired with effortless accessibility is a recipe that can have any viewer hooked. Over the last two years, three international heavyweights have forayed into the Indian market, bringing the video-on-demand (VoD) services to your laptop, smartphone, television, tablet…yep, you name it and you’ve got it! If that wasn’t enough to put the jingle in your binge watching shenanigans, these over-the-top (OTT) platforms present us Indian users with more choice for content than consumers in any other country. Put the two aces together and you have a portable TV on your hands, any time, anywhere – with the freedom to choose the content you want to watch & not just what’s being aired!
While several video streaming services have come up, we take a look at the big three making a splash – Netflix, Hotstar, and Amazon Prime Video. You know you’ll be greeting weird looks if you admit to not having a subscription to even one of these. With consumers being increasingly in control of what they watch, when, where and on what device, the conventional television is shifting from push to pull TV. As the new platforms challenge TV norms, we take a look at the most popular ones that have the viewers glued.
One of the world’s premier streaming services, Netflix made its way to India in January 2016. Along with the films and series they brought the much-awaited Netflix Originals shows to us. House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Narcos, The Crown, Daredevil, and Stranger Things are just few of their series that have us pulling all-nighters. Recently Netflix also added to its vernacular content category, featuring few critically acclaimed Bengali, Marathi, and Tamil movies. Although this move has been welcomed at large, Netflix remains synonymous with racing ahead in the western shows category, and is yet to accomplish the same in terms of local Indian content. Offering consumers three different plans to suit their requirement, Ultra HD (4K) videos, and the coveted offline mode, this game-changer is now looking at Direct to Home (DTH) platforms and creating original content for the local audience soon. While irreplaceable when it comes to English TV series, if existing Netflix Originals series are anything to go by, you’d want to watch this space for what’s coming!
The first catalyst in the streaming scene, Hotstar is a hotpot of local content, curated form its homegrown Star India TV. Championing the catalogue in TV shows, it boasts of series in Hindi, English, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, and Marathi. If you’re a premium member you can also pair your midnight munchies with series from HBO, Fox, and Disney, including the likes of Game of Thrones, Modern Family, Silicon Valley, and Koffee with Karan. Not just series, Hotstar also offers top-notch sports content, with direct access to premier league games. Though it hosts Indian and international blockbusters too, its strong point remains the vast selection of shows. They recently ventured into expanding focus on original content with CinePlay, a service showcasing classic & contemporary theatre works in a cinematic setup. With an optional membership, Hotstar earns brownie points here as it allows viewers to stream without any fee, with only select shows & films restricted to the premium membership. If you love your shows and that’s all your heart knows, Hotstar is your calling.
Amazon Prime Video
The newest kid on the block, Amazon Prime Video made a debut in India in December 2016. Taking cue from its two comrades, Amazon has attempted a balanced mix between TV shows and movies on their platform. Bringing to the viewers films like Kabali, Sultan, and Fan, accompanied by Amazon original series such as Mozart in the Jungle, The Man in the High Castle, The Grand Tour, and Bosch. Apart from Hindi content, they also have an impressive collection of regional productions, like Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, and Telugu. Like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video too allows offline viewing and 4K resolution, and is a subscription based service, offering all features in one plan alone. Top of the pops streaming platform when it comes to Indian movies, Amazon Prime Video is fairly new on the scene and has the viewer’s hopes pinned high on what it brings to the screens next.
So bring out the popcorn, pop the soda, and sink into that couch, the time of binge-watch competitions has arrived.
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