Over the past few years, we’ve seen a countless number of media streaming services popping up. These services have come as a boon to those who don’t like fixed schedules or do not wish to spend ridiculous sums of money on cable TV packages. While the long-established ones (like Netflix or Hulu) enjoy a wide user-base, some of them aren’t so well-known, but, worth the attention. Viewster is one such service that is definitely ruling the hearts of entertainment seekers who are looking for something unique without costs.
Before we get on with the review, here’s a little rundown on Viewster.
The Viewster Story:
In case you’re not familiar, Viewster is an ad-supported VOD service that was launched back in 2007. It offers content streaming for free, including full-length movies, TV shows, Anime, and movie trailers. In 2014, Viewster was ranked amongst the “top 10 online video property in the U.S.”. The platform has spread its wings into over 120 nations across the globe and gets roughly 39 million visitors every month.
What’s on Viewster?
As mentioned above, Viewster enables users to watch a great deal of content from across the world, for free. As of today, it boasts of over 12,000 titles with roughly 20 genres on the platform but this may vary from country to country owing to the region-specific deals with content partners.
One can stream TV series including Korean Drama, Brit Shows, and European simulcasts such as Peep Show, Shameless, Superstar, The Inbetweeners, and more. But Viewster is better known as best anime site for its collection of anime series with titles like Murder Princess, Demon King Daimao, Wonder Momo, Bravoman, and Gunslinger Girl. There are also anime movies like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Highschool of the Dead, and Log Horizon S1.
Another sphere where Viewster shines is ‘classics’. You’ll find a legion of classic films like The Lost World, The North Star, Sherlock Holmes, Laurel and Hardy, The Thief of Baghdad, Robin Hood, and The Terror. Users can also choose from a wide range of documentaries such as Man at Arms, Ghostville, Path of Faith, and The Neighborly Thing.
Viewster also features foreign films across four languages – English, Spanish, German, and French. You could filter these movies as per genres like Crime & Gangsters, Kids, Music & Musicals, Comedy, Horror, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Action, Animation, War, Thriller, and Romance. You’ll also find trailers of upcoming movies and popular movie scenes.
Viewster also has an active blog/news section where one can get insights into upcoming content, latest additions, must-watch movies/series, and plot discussions. Aside from all of this, the platform also conducts an online film festival, encouraging budding filmmakers to submit movies which are accessible to users.
Thoughts on User Interface, Video Quality, and Load-Speeds:
The interface and layout of Viewster is quite clean, uncomplicated, and uniform across devices. You can browse through the content by their genre using the “Browse” button, located on top of the homepage. Alternatively, you may also scroll down and select a title from any of the categories displaying thumbnails in horizontal tiers. Once you click on a certain title/thumbnail, it’ll pull up information such as the plot summary, runtime, genre, and ratings. Ratings are in the form of a “Hotscore” which is evaluated based on factors like the number of views, shares on social media, date added, etc.
Since this is a free service, the video quality may not be the best. We found that majority of the titles either were of a DVD quality, or poorer. Having said that, this doesn’t seem like much of a problem when streaming on a smaller device such as a smartphone. In our experience, opting for a full screen was a bit of a hitch and other player features like subtitles, volume control, and video scrubbing were absent. However, Viewster offers one feature that many free streaming services don’t, and that is, parental controls.
Speaking of free streaming services, Viewster, like we mentioned, runs frequent ads to support itself monetarily. 1-minute commercials pop up occasionally but it’s not very bothersome. As far as load-speeds are concerned, this will mostly depend upon your internet connection. However, even with a relatively fast internet, it might take a few seconds for the video to start playing.
Although you can watch content using the Viewster website by means of a computer or a laptop, the company has invested heavily in developing an app for a vast range of devices including Roku, iOS and Android phones or tablets, gaming consoles such as Xbox 360, and select Smart TVs (Samsung, Panasonic, SHARP, Toshiba, LG, and Philips).
How to Get Started?
All you need to do is download the app on your device and make sure that you’re connected to the Internet (minimum 4mbps speed). Here are the download links for iOS and Android devices:
For Android – Google Playstore
For iOS – App Store
Website URL – viewster.com
For other devices, you simply have to install the app from the respective app stores. There’s absolutely no need to register an account in order to get access to the content on Viewster. However, it’s always advisable to create one in order to use the “parental controls” or other features such as add movies to “Watch Later”.
Fortunately, not many. While using the Viewster app, we were faced with just one trivial issue. Sometimes, the streaming player would freeze and we’d have to force quit the app and start over again. However, this bug has perhaps been fixed by now, or so we hope.
Considering that it is free, Viewster is a pretty cool initiative in it’s own right. If you’re a hardcore fan of anime or classics, you would definitely enjoy using this service. It has a great support and functionality overall with very few bugs. However, if you’re more into the latest TV series or big-banner movies, this isn’t the streaming app for you.