Currently Tinkering: HOOQ (Updated April 21, 2015)

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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.

Currently Playing: X-Wing Miniature Game

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I’ve been curious to try this game for a while. I’ve always been a fan of Star Wars, and I even tried getting toys when I had the chance. Also, I’ve been playing some classic X-Wing games recently to get my fix. Now here is the X-Wing Miniature Game that I have been wanting to try for a long time. I’ve been seeing videos of this from Shup Up and Sit Down and at TableTop. Paul of HobbyPro Central was kind enough to set aside some time to teach me how to play. The game is a tactical dog fighting game with a Star Wars theme made by Fantasy Flight Games.

I am amazed with the detail of the ships. Other than it has good detailing on the small models themselves, it’s already painted, and it looks amazing. You do have an option to paint it, but it’s an option. This is not like the Warhammer tabletop games where you have to paint it.

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I suppose the only problem that you can encounter with the look of the ships is that if you have a friend with you that has the same set of miniatures, it can get confusing. But that it a minor gripe, and it’s just because I like how it already looks.

Setting up the game takes a while though since we had to look through all the ship cards that are placed on the stand. These ship cards are specific to the ship, which details who is piloting the ship, shields, skills and others. I only borrowed a set, so there were a lot to go through. We did eventually find the cards we needed to start the game. With ship cards in place, we also get pilot cards.

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I chose to use the Imperial ships. Regardless of how weird TIE-Fighters look like, I still find them cool. Of course, Paul used the Rebel Alliance. We had only setup on a small table, so the fight will be very quick. So I thought… We setup our placement of the ships, I start from one end, and Paul starts from the other. We can position our ships almost anywhere as long as its within small range from your end.

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So the game starts by planning your moves. Pilot cards have numbers which detail on who moves first. The lower the number, moves first. Higher number moves last. You plan moves by using a move dial. This will determine if it can move forward, left or right, in high speed or in turn really quick. It can also determine if your ship will cool down or heat up depending on the move you make. You plan on your moves on the move dial and put on the table face down. What’s interesting with this first phase is that you have to plan ahead on how you want to do the attack, but you also have to second guess on what your opponent will do.

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Once everyone has made their plans, it’s now time to move the ships. Players now show up all the move dials. Lowest pilot number moves first, and highest number moves last. You use a move template to guide you on how far your ship has moved. If a ship collides with a ship or asteroid, they loose a move turn on the next turn.

Ships have moved, now its time to attack. Pilot number who has the higher value attacks first. Now you attack based on an angle that is shown on the ship card. You also use a kind of ruler that measures your hit range. Once you can determine if you can make a proper hit without anything blocking your line of sight, you use a number of attack dice determined by the ship card and your ruler. The shorter the range, the more dice that you can use. Attack dice has options to do a critical attack, a regular attack, miss or focus. Right after a ship attacks, the defender must roll a defender dice, to determine of they were able to dodge or take the hit. Focus on the other hand gives them the ability to use a special set of skills, like twisting around, or using force powers, depending on your ship and pilot skills.

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And once all the ships have attacked, it starts again with the planning phase.

The game was a lot of fun and exciting. Especially when the dog fighting starts. Although I do have to admit that starting with the basic set is very minimal because you start with only 2 TIE-Fighters and 1 X-Wing.It’s so basic that the dog fight is not that interesting to play. But if you play with a lot of ships, I started out with 4 TIE-Fighters and a TIE Advance on my first game. The more ships you have with the game, the better it gets. And when I played, I can almost image how it was all looking if I was the pilot of the ship, sound effects included.

Paul suggested, at least get 2 core sets when starting out.

Oh, by the way, they also have an app that does the dice roll and with added sound effects too. If I get the game for myself, I might not be able to stop myself from getting the app too, just for the fun of the special effects.

Special thanks to Paul Domingo of HobbtPro Central for teaching me how to play the basics. Looking forward to play with deeper rules.

Just before you leave, you have to see this expansion set of the game, the Tentative IV CR90. Here’s a review from Tom Strong Reviews.

Some images in this article come directly from Fantasy Flight Games.

Currently Watching: Pompeii (2014)

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Stay away from this movie! I’m serious.

I was curious to see it, I was fascinated with its history. I’ve seen documentaries on how people got burned and transformed into human statues, and how the location got preserved. Of course, I got interested to see how they can make a movie out of it. Then suddenly, when the movie started, I worried because I saw the name Paul W.S. Anderson. Yup, it’ the person who directed the Resident Evil movie series. I admit that the Resident Evil movies has it’s moments, but not enough to warrant that much movies.

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The cast listing was actually impressive. Having talents like Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones), Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix Trilogy), Emily Browning (Sucker Punch), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Thor: The Dark World), Jared Harris (Fringe, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) and Keifer Sutherland (24 series, Dark City) . I mean, these are impressive actors. How can you go wrong with it?

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Watching the movie, it feels like the actors are just doing the scenes for the money. There is no heart to it. There was nothing impressive with the acting, the story feels shallow, and it feels like they just made the script like they just watched a documentary and that’s it. No deep research whatsoever to make the movie feel real. I was so bothered in just a few minutes in that they called the coachman as “driver” which bothered me so much because the word is not in the proper use. It just killed my interest in the movie for me. With all the budget that they had for the CGI, they just didn’t take the time to make the actors feel natural or research a simple word. It just feels like they just saw the script and said… yeah sure, lets do it, why not.

So, obviously, I don’t like the movie. It’s not even a movie I’d kill my time with.

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Currently Watching: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

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I’ve seen the movie several times a few years back when it first came out, like 11 years ago. But it is nice to get back to it. I do kind of miss Kevin Smith movies that has that Jersey feel. Before watching the movie, you do have to be a fan of his movies because a lot of them do talk about things that previously happened. If you have seen them, you can appreciate the movie so much more.

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Currently Playing: Minecraft (PC)

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This is a game that started a few years back, it was even sold during Alpha and Beta stages at a low rate of 14.95 (which is like Php870). Curious of it’s blocky  graphics but seemingly addictive gameplay. I was intrigued about the game several months back because of how much people are into it, so, I tired it.

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Currently Playing: Little Big Planet (PSP)

The first time I saw Little Big Planet for the PS3, I was amazed how realistic the game turned out. It was one of those games that I really wanted to see in person and when I did, I was amazed. Last November 2009 the PSP version was released, to my surprise they did everything they can to replicate the entire feeling of the PS3 version. How did it turn out? (more…)

Currently Playing: Call of Juarez: Bound for Blood (PS3)

Western movies or games even haven’t really got me interested, watching Unforgiven or even the western inspired Kill Bill Vol 2 didn’t help either. I tried playing the LucasArts western game called Outlaws before, that was my only glimmer of hope to get inspired to try Call of Juarez: Bound for Blood out. Hearing that the first Call of Juarez game wasn’t so good made it harder to pick this game up too. Well, eventually, I did get the game and tried it for myself and hoping that the game is as good as some people say. (more…)