Saturday, June 14, 2014

DramaFever vs. Viki vs KDrama.com (updated 5/29/15)

Looking for a legit place to watch some foreign drama. Lets look at 3 ok 4.

dramafever.com

They have dramas from Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. Their library is easy to navigate. They have a queue so you can make a line up of everything you want to watch. Good quality videos. You can either watch them free or pay a subscription of $9.99 a month. The app is also really nice and simple. The only thing is you might not want to subscribe using facebook. I was feeling lazy and did it that way now my user name is CrystalS with a really long number after the S. And there is no option to edit user information in the account section. Overall I really think the interface is great. I like the fact that they have some of the older drama I watched several years ago like Delightful Girl Choon Yuan, and the Taiwanese It started with a Kiss. Like crunchyroll you have watch history and it is available across devices.

Update 5/29/15:

So first off I'll say for the User name I later found in the account section an area to change that. So it's all good in that part.

Also there has been a price change. They now have different subscription packages and some content that is subscriber only or early access for subscribers. The lowest package gives you all access to site content for 99 cents with commercials. The largest package is $9.99 all access, no commercials, and it enters you into contests. There are four packages to choose from all together. This makes it more affordable for subscribers who don't care about the contest like me. I opted for the package right below the top option.

Also something I failed to mention before is that there are also feature films every Friday. Things like Gangnam Blues which is a pretty recent film. The library of movies as well as drama series is constantly expanding. It would be nice if they had more J-drama.

I also have tried the app on the Roku. I really like it and have been using it constantly. It's easy to find what I'm looking for. My whole recently watched list is at the top of the screen when I sign is and I can scroll through to what I want to see. Also the queue is right under it so I can easily access it.

Viki.com

Has a massive library of Japanese, Koran, Taiwanese, and several other countries as well. So it's not just limited to the three. Also has some anime. Unfortunately the entire library is not easy to access. When you click Browse all it doesn't show all. At first I thought what came up was everything, but then I discovered int he recommendations that shows not in that list came up. And if you type in a show other shows come up. One thing I do not like is the lack of a queue. There is just a favorites. Which I suspect is supposed to act as bookmarks in a browser which are sometimes also called favorites. So maybe that is their idea of the queue. You can watch free with commercials or pay $3.99 for a subscription. Video quality varies from really bad to HD depending on how old the series is. And for older stuff in fan channels the subscription doesn't count. You get bad quality with commercials. One thing I noticed is sometimes for a series that is licensed or the US, where I live, it will sometimes say not available in your area. Which is not true so I'll refresh it and then it works.Also, there is no watch history except for what you watched on the particular device or computer you watched it on and that's usually the last episode watched on the device. If you clear your cache and internet history you even loose that. It is not saved on the site in your account but locally so it's hard to find our way back to what you have already watched. The app is very cluttered and requires a lot of scrolling around. I'd say that whoever designed it never read the book Don't Make Me Think, which advocates a simple design which is easy for users to use. Flashy is doesn't mean good design.

Updated 5/29/15:

There have been some site changes. Still cluttered looking however, it's easier to find what has been updated, especially on the tablet and smartphone app. The smartphone app has a nice feature where you can see whats coming out what day of the week for a week or two out. It's nice because then you know what is ending that week and what is starting and be prepared. 

Krdrama.com

Crunchyroll's site that focus's exclusively on Kdrama. Like Viki there is no queue though you can favorite a show. Unlike Viki you can tell exactly what you have watched and what last episode you were on. Which is nice. Unless you didn't like a show and didn't want to continue. Or it's a show you completed. The still leave that up on the front page saying. Continue watching. But I admit it is a nice feature. The library is also very easy to navigate. The app is a simple uncluttered design that is easy to use. History is available across devices. I also like that they make sure to ask how they can improve via a pop up survey when you visit the site. It shows they are trying to make a great site. Also available free or for a fee. Crunchyroll members get a free subscription until 1/1/15.

Update 5/29/15:
This site is now called Soompi TV. The only problem I see recently is that they haven't had any new drama added since they started The Girl Who Sees Smells. I'm not sure if this sites days are numbered or what. The newest things they have are variety shows. Considering the number of new series out I find this to be dubious. There is practically at least one new kdrama  every week or two and it's been about two months since they added anything. I also noticed today they removed the simulcast list. They still have a great back catalog at the moment just nothing new dramawise. 

Crunchyroll.com

Ok so I didn't mention them above. But their website does have a selection of Kdrama and JDrama. They have a queue. The app and history work across devices showing a common history. You can watch some free but can see everything Crunchyroll has to offer for $11.99 a month. 

Update 5/29/15:

Crunchyroll no longer has kdrama on the site. They have added more jdrama though. One other thing to note is that there has also been a change to what each subscription package offers. Now you can access all site content with the subscription that costs $6.99. The only advantage of the $11.99 is special contests and convention perks.

Conclusion
So between the 4 sites all of them have something the other doesn't. There are shows unique to each. Viki I think has the worst site and app of the 4. However, it has a lot to offer. It does have the largest library of international drama and the cheapest subscription price. However, the site individual show pages look cluttered. It's not easy to find some information. And i noticed for instance Fall in Love with me the show page doesn't even show it has more than 7 episodes though you can watch past 7 on the site. Even with it's flaws I still think it has a lot to offer. But go check them out and decide for yourselves. 

Update 5/29/15

So Viki I still consider the worst of the sites even though they have a really good library. They have made a few changes to the site but it's still pretty cluttered. It is easier to find what has been updated so that's an improvement. Drama Fever is still a great place to go with an easy interface. Crunchyroll is focusing on Japan. Kdrama.com is now Soompi TV and it seems like it's future is uncertain. Also, I should also point out that Funimation currently has a Jdrama in the simulcast list. You can get a subtitle pass there for $4.95 a month or all access for $7.95.