Robert Chesley

EpixHD – Review

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Since I love watching movies and writing about movies. If you don’t believe me go check out some of my articles around here. I’m also a huge fan of streaming content. I don’t have “traditional” TV I rely mostly on Hulu and Netflix for my media consumption. I’m happy about that for the most part. When approached about a different way of consuming media for a new “streaming” site I  jumped at the chance. Does EpixHD stand up to the rest of competition on the internet? Well, thats what I hope to find out.

I had never heard of this site until Ryan put out a cattle call for someone to write a review about the site for the blog. I jumped at the chance. A little research has garnered me with a few insights. Epix is a TV channel that seems to be exclusive to cable subscribers. It is a joint venture by three studios (Lionsgate, Paramount, and MGM) according to the website it is ” EPIX is a next-generation multiplatform premium entertainment channel, video-on-demand, and online service.” They use the term “multiplatform” pretty loosely it seems. The service seems to be more like Hulu than Netflix. I don’t personally subscribe to a cable provider that would enable me to get this available to me online and I don’t really see an “online only” subscription model. So, I assume this service comes free as kind of like a “video on demand” style way for Cable companies to “increase value” for subscribers.

Going to their website initially, I wasn’t really blown away by the selection. They were promoting pretty hard on “Shutter Island”.  I admire that they have some movies that are not immediately available on Netflix. I used my promo code to log in and then I started browsing the films more closely. I noticed that they really don’t have a lot of recent movies. Yeah, “Star Trek” and “Iron Man” are on there, but they are also on Netlfix, and any self-respecting geek like myself, has already seen these films a few times at the theater proper. I decided for the sake of this review to try to find something that I couldn’t get off of Netflix and I chose to watch a stand-up concert of “Louis CK”. When I started the film, the webpage is strikingly similar to that of Hulu. In fact, any user going from Hulu to this will feel absolutely at home with the controls and how it operates. I should preface the next few sentences with this. My internet connection is not the fastest. In fact, some days I have a hard time streaming much at all let alone movies. I usually get by and it doesn’t bother me as such. I would also like to mention that I had no problems streaming with the site. What I did have a problem with is the 3 or 4 “mini” ads that came up before my film actually started. Netflix doesn’t make me sit through “netflix ads” before it gives me my content. I also had to sit through a trailer for upcoming movies coming to the service. Which is understandable, anyone with a DVD or Blu-Ray has to sit through similar style ads before they get to their content.

Here’s my thoughts on the service:

Movies looked really good. The quality of the streams are never in doubt. The quality is easily comparable to what you watch already on Hulu without as many ads.

An alternative of sorts to Netlfix. If you are a cable subscriber and this is included with what you are already paying then you can get some of the benefits users of Netflix have by getting to stream movies to your laptop instantly.

Very intuitive controls. It feels and looks just like Hulu, which isn’t a bad thing.

Movie selection was sorely lacking. When you go about the top movies and after “Star Trek” and “Iron Man” you go to “G.I. Joe” and “Gamer” you know where most of the quality lies. In fact, outside of the top 30 movies, nothing else on the service really made me want to bother with.

Cable service requirement. Most people who would be interested in this service don’t have cable. I’m not sure if they are trying to compete with Netflix or Hulu but it really wasn’t clear on their website.

Hard to find movies. They don’t really organize the films that well. I had to go a view that had “all movies” of a certain genre and even then it put them alphabetical rather than most watched or most queued movies.

No streaming TV shows. This one is kind of a small gripe. But this service has absolutely no TV shows whatsoever.

Too much fat not enough muscle. The selection is really poor. Seems like most of these films should never be seen by anyone. I wouldn’t even wish these films upon the Bots up on the Satellite of Love.

No game console support. If this wanted to be taken seriously it would partner with one of the major consoles and get on Live, PSN, or Wii. I could forgive a few of the gripes if convince was there.

Confusing website. The website’s FAQs really don’t help you figure out what exactly the site is. If I stumbled upon this site on my own I wouldn’t really know how I can get it or how I could pay for it.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t really recommend this service to anyone. Even if you can get it, you are better off getting the cheapest Netflix that is capable of unlimited streaming than getting this service. I would like to see more competition in the space that Netflix has carved out. I want to see more steaming content on the web. But sadly this really isn’t a help to anyone and doesn’t really market to the correct people. However, if all you have is this service and you are already paying for cable, it does offer “netflix-lite” without the extra cost to that. Do you want to see for yourself?

Robert Chesley is a geek of all natures. He mostly spends his time on the forums under the moniker Urzishra.

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