iFlix Service Quality Is Not Quite There Yet
- by Joe Jr Yamut
iFlix was recommended to me just over a month ago, when I was in the market looking for alternative video streaming services. I have never even heard of it before. But the name sounds catchy. It even rhymes with something else, doesn’t it? Like Netflix. They also have a 1 month free offer with no strings attached. Curious, I went ahead to try it out.
Now, it has been a month later that I have been using iFlix in lieu of that other more popular video streaming service which I will call Netflix. So far it has kept me occupied and satisfied, somewhat, on those nights when I am craving to watch something and YouTube is not an option. But while it is okay, the overall experience leaves something to be desired. Actually a few glaring ones. I could not help it but notice and compare since I was a long-time subscriber of Netflix.
So, without further ado, here are a few of the things that I dislike and like about iFlix.
Video Streaming Quality Is Bad (-)
Yes. For a video on demand or video streaming service, this is at the top of the list. A fancy-looking website is no good if you cannot watch videos properly.
Many of the content are watchable. Or at least I try to bear with it. Of course, there are a few with good enough quality. But a lot are blurry and pixelated. Imagine watching those videos uploaded on YouTube at 240p. That is how bad it is. I am not exaggerating.
To give some context as to what is good and what is not, a number of Hollywood-produced content or “Western”, for the lack of a better term, are okay-ish or has better quality overall. I say that because while the video quality is clear and crisp, there is still something that seems to be off with it and I can’t put my finger on it. Then on the other hand, most of the content produced in the Philippines that I have watched so far, what I would call Tagalog shows, are really of god-awful video quality.
Okay, so perhaps it is not all iFlix’s fault. Maybe the copy they have is really bad to begin with. Perhaps the movies are just too old and there was no better copy to be had. But if that were the case, why make it available in the first place?
What did you say? “Maybe your Internet connection sucks?!” Maybe it does. The Philippines is notoriously known for really bad and the slowest Internet speeds among its SEA neighbors, and for all one knows, even in the entire world. There have been improvements so far. However, I can say from experience that with Netflix the quality is still superb. Not to mention that YouTube defaults to 720p for my case, and I can choose to go 1080p without the streaming experience so much as hiccup and stutter. While it is not the fastest, it certainly is more than enough.
Lastly, do note that I only watch iFlix videos on desktop browsers like Firefox and Chrome. My observations are based on these alone.
Need More Content, More Selections (-)
How long has iFlix been around. 4 to 5 years? Long enough I would say. Somehow there is not much to watch. How to explain this? There are a lot of movies, TV shows, plus other content available. But your options are limited. More like preferences. There is not much to go on with.
Maybe its my settings. Like how they might tailor their content to you based on your preferences and watch history through an algorithm. I could Google how to get more out of their listings. Or they could make it more discoverable. I don’t know. I am sure there are hundreds or thousands more than what shows up in my Home page. When I scroll down on those categories though, the list does not go too far down.
Content Does Not Play (-)
I have encountered this only once so far. If I remember correctly, it was for the movie The Sum Of All Fears. I kept refreshing the damn browser but nothing happened. That was several nights ago. I did not go back to check if it has been fixed now. Who knows what other content out there has the same issue.
Buffers A Lot While Streaming (-)
Not all the time. However one too many times for me to notice it. Again if you ask me if its about my Internet connection speed, I would say it is not. Netflix has always been excellent when it comes to this based on my experience. While there were times that I did encounter this issue on Netflix, it was a rarity. As per my observations, iFlix has it more often.
Additionally, there seems to be a bug when content is played from the very beginning. It takes a while to load or for the stream to start. A very noticeable gap. When it does start to run, it plays for a few seconds, stops, then reloads back to the very start. This happens almost every time.
“Continue Watching” Does Not Sync Up Properly (-)
This bugs me a lot. Most of the time I just let the content play out even when its already on the end credits part, let it stop on its own instead of changing to another one immediately. I just pretend its a Marvel movie, and I am actually waiting for mid or closing credits scenes. When I go back to my home page, I am greeted with a lot of titles that are for Continue Watching. What is up with that? I have already played these up to the very end. Why is iFlix telling me I still have halfway or 3/4s left to watch?
Not only that. Their Resume feature gets it wrong almost half the time.
Subtitles Are Too Small (-)
Is it just me or aren’t the subtitles too small? Often I noticed it is. Yes I am one of those who love to watch with the subtitles on. I am left to squinting a lot of times. Unless I was dreaming, there are those with bigger subtitle fonts. Safe to say that that makes it inconsistent. Is there an option to adjust it somewhere?
Localized Content (+)
This is something I enjoy a lot. iFlix definitely got this one right! I hope they continue to pursue this down the road. There are many locally-produced content based on your country or region. It is always good to patronize your own, is it not? Enough said.
Payment Options (+)
Another thing they got correctly. iFlix has something akin to prepaid and postpaid payment schemes that is very common here in the Philippines. Okay it is actually Recurring and Non-recurring as what it says in their Payments page. Cool! A lot of people do not have credit cards here. So more options with payment methods through Smart, Sun, Globe (these are local telcos) are always welcome.
Ha! Definitely cheaper. For as low as PHP99 per month you can binge to your heart’s (or eyes’) content. It could not get any cheaper than that. If you have financial constraints, just a cheapo, or want more than one video streaming services without hurting your wallet, iFlix is a good choice.
My free month with iFlix is already up. I think. Can I get an extension please, iFlix? Oh, wait they did. For another 2 months. Yey! Thank you very much. Who doesn’t love freebies? That means I don’t have to pay yet. That means more time for me to decide, since I am still not fully convinced whether I should go for it or not. Who knows in the span of 2 months they will improve quite drastically?
One thing is for certain right now, for me it still is not quite there yet. Not as a replacement for Netflix. Conceivably as a secondary streaming service where I can watch lots of local content? Probably will end up reactivating my Netflix account. I still have a lot of shows there that I have not finished watching.
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iFlix was recommended to me just over a month ago, when I was in the market looking for alternative video streaming services. I have never even heard of it before. But the name sounds catchy. It even rhymes with something else, doesn’t it? Like Netflix. They also have a 1 month free offer with no…