Currently Tinkering: HOOQ (Updated April 21, 2015)

hooq

Update: HOOQ has replied directly in regards to my review. I have listed the items they are currently working on below. I do look forward to the future of HOOQ. We can’t wait to watch more new and old shows and movies. We have not updated our review since the current state of HOOQ is still the same. But we will update the review once we get more updates. Thanks.

I subscribed to HOOQ recently, because I really want to see TV and movies on demand locally in the Philippines. I have a feeling that the Philippine market is desperate for this type of service, if not, I am.

My initial impressions were, that signing up was pretty easy enough. But you do have to have a Globe number, preferably postpaid, but I think prepaid should work just fine too. You’ll need to subscribe through your Globe mobile number. You should get an email confirmation and a text verification code. Once you get that, you should be able to get in quickly. I just had problems with the site a bit, since it was using Silverlight (some kind of Flash counterpart made by Microsoft). I had to use IE to get it working properly.

I was excited to see that once you are logged it, you are immediately greeted with a bunch of shows. What I noticed is that the selection was very limited. Rather than me getting excited to see the shows, I got disappointed. This is not On-Demand TV, but an archive of semi-old shows, and some of them are not even updated.

hooq2 First, I tried to look for shows that started at least a year ago, like Marvel Agents of SHIELD. That didn’t show up. I look up some more. Okay, why not a movie, why not Hunger Games, that was a little more older. That didn’t show up either. I check out Chuck, it did show up, but 2 seasons only? The show lasted for 5.

Okay, I realized the site is not for the currently updated. Okay, I consider watching some older stuff. Why not the classic Alf, nope. Fringe? 2 seasons only out of 5. Rescue 911? nope, not available too. They do have Harry Potter Deathly Hallows 2, but the other Harry Potter movies are not available.

While looking through the movie list, I was surprised to see local movies. Why should I be surprised? I have no idea, I just have very little interest with local movies I suppose. But what bothered me is that the movies and TV  shows are mostly made by GMA Network, a rival of ABS-CBN. Because of that, HOOQ is showing that it seems like a one sided beast, just as the TV network rivalry that we have have locally. (ABS-CBN vs GMA, or Kapamiliya vs Kapuso). I really hate that. I hate network rivalries and actors exclusive to a specific network. So, if you are interested in watching movies or TV shows from the other network, HOOQ is not for you.

Another thing I noticed was, there were a number of Bollywood movies, Korean and Japanese movies. I think there are some Chinese movies too. I find that interesting, but I want to filter them out. Apparently, there is a terrible filter system. There were very few options. To really discover what you want, you really have to use search bar and hope you get the movie you search for.

In regards to video playback, okay, I tried watching something. I loaded up Ghostbusters. The video is okay,  in general, Remember, this is streaming video. It starts up pretty quick, but the video quality is so much worse than watching a video in YouTube. it seems like the video is designed for old crt TV sets. So, on a computer monitor or an HD ready TV, it’s a pain to watch the video, but if you just want to watch something on your spare time, it’s fine. But if you are looking for a great movie or TV experience, this is not it. They do have options for Closed Caption (subtitles), but I have not seen any of their English videos use this feature.

So, international movies and TV shows, the list is fine, not outstanding. There are some old, some new. But that’s the problem, “some”. I was disappointed because regardless of how old or new I was looking for, most of what I wanted to watch is not there. I was actually fine with the idea of this being an archive of old shows, but even that was a disappointment.

There is supposed to be a mobile app to watch HOOQ other than using a web browser. But I did have problems downloading the iPad app since my account is US based, and the app only can be downloaded if you are using an Asian account. Why am I using a US account? Because I can’t find a way to buy apps using an Asian account, while it’s easier for me to get an US iTunes prepaid card.

The website feels like a trap, because you really have no way to see if HOOQ’s web service will offer you TV or movie shows that you want when you first sign up in which you have to pay. It’s only when you sign up you discover if this service is something that you want to pay for. Considering it’s about PhP200 a month, There is no free trial period too. I presume a service like will at least offer a 30 day free trial service before you even pay anything. I don’t think it’s worth it at this time. I do hope that they improve their service soon, but without current shows or even classic ones that I am interested in, this is not their time.

Update: Peter from HOOQ sent me a reply in regards to things that they are working on.

  • On silver light, yes, we are aware of this. It’s a real pain right now and we are working to make it better
  • ABS v GMA: Actually, we are proud partners of both ABS and GMA. We are always looking to improve our catalog from both, so we note your feedback
  • WRT hollywood movies and TV, we have put a lot of time and energy into building a catalog for people who love stories and great content. We already have the largest catalog of any premium service in Asia. Having said that, we are not finished yet (in fact we are just getting started!). So, stay tuned for some exciting additions in the coming weeks and months ahead. In fact, you will get new stuff every month and we look forward to telling you about it.

Thanks Peter, now I do look forward for the future of HOOQ.

You can check out their site here.

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