Drama Watching Apps Review
Looking for a great (legal) app to watch your favorite dramas? Here is a breakdown of a few apps. I am a proud owner of a Roku player, so I do the majority of my drama watching via that versus streaming dramas online. I also hate watching anything on a dinky cell screen and my tablet is a step up, but it has battery issues. So, yeah. I do recommend getting a Roku. You can get some for a lot cheaper than when they first came out. I’ve owned four different ones. I upgraded and gave my old one to my sister. I then accidentally fried the new one after a few years of use when I accidentally plugged in the wrong AC adapter. So then I bought two more. LOL. One for the main TV in the house and one to replace the fried one in my bedroom.
Crunchyroll streams different Asian dramas (they simulcast Japanese dramas!) and anime. You can watch their streaming library via Wii U, Chromecast, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Apple iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Apple TV, and Roku. I have the Roku app and the android app. I’m not sure I’ve actually ever really used the android version, though. I have used their online services and their Roku app regularly and they are relatively straightforward to use and navigate.
The video quality is great and the subtitles run straight through with no errors and are readable. I don’t really think I’ve encountered any playback errors or episodes cutting out unless I had wifi problems. I also believe the app lets you restart where you left off if you did not finish a certain episode. Overall, I definitely recommend this streaming platform. They have a nice selection of Korean and Japanese dramas with English subtitles along with all of that anime. You will get commercials if you aren’t a premium member, plus you will not be able to stream everything in the library on all devices. If you are a premium member (the price actually isn’t that bad, it starts off at $6.95/month) then you watch commercial free and have access to the simulcasts, full library, HD video, and you can stream on all devices.
DramaFever streams British, Spanish, and Asian dramas. They now have the ability to support Chromecast, and they have apps for Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, Roku, and a Samsung SmartTV. I’ve used both the android app and the Roku app. I must say that when it comes to apps, DramaFever’s is disappointing. I can’t remember entirely, but I’ve had problems with their android app and their Roku app is actually riddled with bugs believe it or not.
The video quality is good (you can choose quality online) and the sub readability isn’t bad (they give you several options online), but when using their apps issues always seem to crop up. Videos cut out without playing all the way through and subtitles disappear. Oh…they exist but for some reason they do not always show on the apps. I’ve had to pause and rewind several times just to force the subs to show up. It’s frustrating. Very frustrating. The change of their app has made it a bit more user friendly. It used to be if you had over x amount of videos in your queue that you were unable to see your entire list, but I think you are able to now, which is a plus. But again, I am very disappointed with trying to watch videos and having them cut out. This forces me to go online or try again another day. So, the apps are good, but could use improvement. A plus is that you can resume videos where you left off and they will show the next episode in line after the one you just watched so if you forgot where you left off, at least you know that way.
It used to be non-premium members got like four ads when watching dramas, but I hear the number of ads has gone up. DramaFever has also made some content available only to premium members and sometimes premium members get access to new episodes quicker. I was trying to look up info on their website, but since I’m currently a premium user and gifts are unavailable, I can’t tell what their subscription rates are. They do have some cheap plans in place, but you still get ads. To watch completely ad free was like $99/year the last I actually knew, but it might have gone up again.
Hulu pretty much only carries DramaFever titles now as I think their contract with MBC or whatever their major Korean content provider ended. They do carry a lot of Funimation anime. The only way to use their app is to have a premium account (formerly called Hulu Plus, but they’ve dropped the Plus part now). One of my biggest pet peeves with Hulu is the fact that you pay them money and they still show ads. Their app is relatively straightforward to search and use. My biggest problem is that some shows don’t automatically stream with the subtitles and I can have a heck of a time trying to get the subtitles to appear. I’ve had some video quality issues, but I do like that you can resume where you left off and I do like how they will automatically play the next video in line and they also let you know which episode you left off on.
So Hulu isn’t bad. You can watch things for free online, but not via an app. You must have a subscription to stream their app. They are available on Roku, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Nexus Player, iOS, Android, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Amazon Kindle Fire, Nintendo 3DS, PS Vita, Nook, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung, VIZIO, LG, and Sony TVs and Blu-ray players.
Netflix does carry a very small amount of Asian dramas and anime. You cannot watch for free and must have a subscription. It’s $7.99/month to watch on 1-2 screens. If you want to stream Netflix to 4 or more, that’s $11.99/month. The video quality online and of their apps is good. It’s relatively easy to turn subtitles on and off. I do have to go and turn subtitles off when I watch shows in English, so that’s a downside, lol. I’ve had the Roku app crash or refuse to load a time or two. Netflix is probably the easiest service (besides Amazon Prime) for fastforwarding or rewinding. They will let you resume where you left off and it shows you the next episode in line so you know where to start watching again. On a non-app note, you can actually rent a lot of Asian dramas on DVD. The great thing is Netflix is completely ad free. Yay for that. That being said, I’ll watch more movies and anime than dramas because their collection is small and they usually only get things after they’ve aired.
Netflix is available on SmartTVs from Hisense, LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sanyo, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and Vizio. There are apps for Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire, Nexus Player, nVIDIA SHIELD, and Roku. You can watch on your Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Sheesh…the list for Netflix goes on and on and on. It’s available on lots of different devices from andriod to iOS to blu-ray players and set-top boxes as well.
Soompi TV. I was really wondering if I should talk about them or not. They only stream Korean dramas, variety, and movies and have not added anything new in the simulcast department, movie department, or drama department for a while now so I don’t know how much longer this service will be available. Originally, Soompi TV was Kdrama.com which was the drama offshoot of Crunchyroll. They also started streaming simulcasts that DramaFever didn’t have, so that was a plus, but now, it’s petered off. However, you can still find titles that you might not be able to find elsewhere with English subs.
When this was originally Kdrama, the app was so full of problems it wasn’t even funny, but it improved greatly after being taken over by Soompi. The video quality is good and I think when you watched online you could choose the quality. There was never really any hiccups with video streaming or subtitles that I remember (haven’t watched online in awhile, lol, but there are a few dramas I do want to finish). The app is relatively simple to use. I would have really loved a Roku app, but they only were ever available via iOS and android devices and I doubt they’ll do any development for anything new at this rate. They do have a premium option for $6.95/month which is a great price…if they keep the library going with new titles… The premium option would get rid of any ads and you’d have HD playback.
A pet peeve with Soompi TV was there was no way to resume videos. I start one episode and maybe there was a crash or I paused it too long and I can’t restart where I left off. This is something that’s very nice to have. On the upside, they do let you know what the last episode was that you watched so you know where to start again.
And let’s end things with Viki who just released a Roku app this July. I’ve used their android app with mixed results so I wasn’t sure what to expect with their newest app launch. So…their android app is rather bad. There’s tons of bugs. One time it works fine the next it constantly crashes. So a minus for inconsistency. Viki does allow you to resume episodes and does let you know where you left off. I’m not actually too sure how this all works out on the Roku app as of yet.
One thing I dislike is that you can’t get fan channels on any of the apps. While I do understand why that is, I would really love to be able to watch the fan channels via the app instead of having to watch those solely online. Ah…and the android app lists episodes in correct order. The Roku app shows the episodes in reverse order. I wasn’t paying attention and ended up clicking on a drama’s final episode. Definitely not what I wanted to do. The video quality is usually good, but every now and then (could be due to wifi streaming issues) the video quality drops while streaming. That being said, I’m enjoying the new app. I don’t like that subtitles aren’t immediately turned on in the Roku version of the app, so I have to turn those on. I am not enamored that they are using a captioning feature for subtitles, but they are readable and that is really all that matters, right?
YouTube has apps as well. I do use that when I want to watch KBS World TV. Some YouTube apps are a lot easier than others to navigate, but I guess something to always keep in mind.