A lot of us are mostly interested in all the scuttlebutt related to biggies such as Netflix. Only a few know of other video streaming services like Hotstar. If you are interested to know more about the latter, keep reading!
Trends are ever changing but the latest in-thing that is online media streaming is here to stay. You’re also probably on this page since you understand the benefits of being able to watch movies and TV no matter what the time is and where you’re located. Ever since Netflix came into the market, others followed suit and introduced more such services to entertainment buffs. That’s when all the confusion began. But don’t worry, if you’re wondering whether Hotstar is worth your investment, you’d be able to take a call by the end of this article.
In a span of just about 2 years, Hotstar has managed to rack up enormous amounts of commendation and success. A Star India enterprise, Hotstar was initially conceived with the idea of making live Cricket streaming possible right from your 5-inch screens with very little focus on entertainment.
Nevertheless, the company expanded at the speed of light and boasts of more than 35,000 hours of content including TV series and big banner movies while still keeping its ‘sports’ category as the cynosure of the service. All this content extends over eight regional languages originating in India including Hindi, Malyalam, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada and Telegu. Aside from these languages, the streaming company also has English content.
The Hotstar fever caught on and very soon, its daily viewership grew to approximately 3 to 4 million views with over 50 million downloads and over 100 advertisers contributing to the revenue.
In Which Countries is Hotstar Currently Available?
As of today, Hotstar (website as well as app) is available in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan. However, you’d be thrilled to know that the Hotstar Android app will soon be available all around the world. News has it that they will launch the app internationally sometime in June this year. If you’re living outside India, you may be unable to access the website due to the geo-blocking system but don’t feel downhearted, there are plenty of ways to enjoy its services overseas. We’ll come to that in a jiffy.
Is Hotstar for You?
Hotstar is an Indian enterprise featuring tons of Indian shows and movies. Although it is primarily targeted at the South Asian audience, many people overseas have shown their liking for the service. Whether you’re an Indian living outside of India, a non-Indian who loves Indian shows, or someone who is looking to get access to what Hotstar has to offer, the streaming company caters to almost everyone who loves watching games and a fair share of entertainment.
However, Hotstar’s entertainment catalogue does not just comprise of Indian shows or movies. Popular English shows produced by HBO and Star World such as ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Masterchef Australia’ also adorn the content library. Some of these are extremely hard to find elsewhere and thus, Hotstar outplays its adversaries.
Hotstar Price Tiers:
Hotstar offers a decent collection of free content for its users. However, to access its premium content, one needs to subscribe to the Premium membership. While most other streaming sites charge anywhere between $7 to $40 per month for their services, Hotstar’s membership pricing is absolutely unbeatable.
At roughly $3 a month, you get to view live sports, ad-free American as well as Indian TV shows, popular English movies, and Bollywood blockbusters. Currently, they have an offer going on according to which you can get a 100% cashback if you pay using a Citibank credit card.
As with other similar websites, Hotstar allows users to cancel the subscription anytime they wish. In case you’re in two minds about whether you want to subscribe, you can always take the free trial which ends after one month of use.
You can either use a browser to watch content on Hotstar’s website or simply download the app on your device. Hotstar works across a massive range of devices including iOS and Android phones/tablets, Macbooks and Windows PCs, certain Smart television sets, and media players like Chromecast.
Hotstar’s Wealth of Content:
If you’re a Star or HBO rooter, Hotstar will certainly satiate your daily entertainment needs. Some of the popular Indian TV shows include ‘Khichdi’, ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’, ‘Yeh Hai Mohabbatein’, ‘Koffee with Karan’, and ‘Nach Baliye’. Hotstar’s movie catalogue features big banner Bollywood films like ‘Jolly LLB’, ‘Baahubali’, ‘M S Dhoni: The Untold Story’, ‘Two States’, and ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’.
Hotstar’s collection of English TV series doesn’t trudge behind either. You can watch shows like ‘Game of Thrones, ‘ Westworld’, ‘Modern Family’, ‘Prison Break’, ‘How I Met Your Mother’, ‘Sex and the City’, and ‘ True Detective’. You can also choose to watch Hollywood movies like ‘Deadpool’, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’, ‘ Zootopia’, ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’, ‘The Martian’, and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’.
Hotstar’s chief staff of life, live games and match highlights feature sports like Football, Cricket, Hockey, Tennis, Badminton, and Formula 1. Similar to streaming enterprises like Netflix, Hotstar also ventured into the realm of TV production beginning with On Air with AIB. Just a few months ago, Hotstar was in the limelight for bringing every 90’s kid’s favorite TV show back, Sarabhai VS Sarabhai. However, this version is more of a web series and less of a regular TV show.
Hotstar’s Interface and Performance:
If you’ve tried using Hotstar before, you’ll know that its interface is actually quite straightforward. Its extremely easy to find what you’re looking for. You’ll find a ‘hamburger’ icon to the left. Upon clicking it, it’ll show a drop-down menu with all the categories that you can also see right at the top of the window. These categories include TV, movies, Sports, News, and Channels. Alternatively, you may also key in the title you’re searching for in the search bar.
If you scroll down, you’ll see clear thumbnails of titles neatly organized under categories like ‘popular shows’, ‘popular movies’, etc. The thumbnail displays information such as the year of release, genre, and whether the content is premium or not. All you have to do is click on the thumbnail and start watching. You’d be happy to know that some of the content can be downloaded for viewing offline and a few are even enhanced with subtitles.
Hotstar’s app is a rather good looking one. We tested the performance and were pleasantly surprised by how smoothly it functioned. However, one major bug that we noticed is that you cannot control the quality of the video. Simply put, your internet speed will determine the video quality and adjusts automatically every time there’s a fluctuation. Another flaw is that the app takes you all the way back to the home screen in case of an interruption such as a phone call. Users will not be able to resume playing from where they left off. This may seem trivial but does affect the user experience in a big way.
Remember the annoying spinning rainbow wheel on Mac machines? Well, Hotstar’s content is also interrupted by a ‘green wheel’ upon pressing the play icon. In case this happens, users will be forced to close the app and re-open to continue watching.
There’s no long list of prerequisites to enjoy Hotstar services. The sole requirement is a fast and steady internet connection. Although you can watch shows or movies on your smartphone, the lag is unbearable. Hotstar works really well on 4g but will eat up all your data. If you’re on 2g, you’ll still be able to watch videos albeit, with slow loading speeds. As we mentioned earlier, if you have a slow internet speed, the video quality will suffer greatly.
How to Get Started?
Here’s what you need to do –
- Download the app on your smartphone or tablet. In case you’re using a desktop or a laptop, simply log onto the website.
- Create an account by entering your details, including payment information.
- You can either register yourself for free or upgrade to the premium membership.
- Now all you have to do is select what you want to watch and start streaming.
A child’s play right?
Coming back to how you can get access to Hotstar if you’re not in India, here are a few ways of doing that:
- Sign up for a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service – If you’re not familiar with VPN, it is a service that allows you to change your location, thus changing the IP address to access a website that’s otherwise not available in your region. A few good ones are ExpressVPN, IPVanish, and Overplay. You’ll also find free VPN services but those will not help much.
- Use Smart DNS – Don’t be put off by how technical this sounds. Its actually not that complicated. Just look for a Smart DNS provider in your area and ask for an Indian DNS.
If you’re a sports aficionado and enjoy Star TV shows, HBO originals, Indian movies, and some good English flicks, $3 is a steal. You can go ahead and subscribe for the free trial without thinking twice. We love it, and we’re sure you’ll love it too.