Stream Theatre

When the popular website MegaUpload,used for storage and viewing was shut down,for copyright infringement,several other sites closed voluntarily or took measures to protect themselves.

Written by Pranay Parab | Published: March 4, 2012 1:27 am

With BIGFlix+ you can now download movies for a nominal amount

When the popular website MegaUpload,used for storage and viewing was shut down,for copyright infringement,several other sites closed voluntarily or took measures to protect themselves. Gagandeep Panwar,administrator of a popular technology forum,Thinkdigit,says that these sites “thrive due to the lack of an alternative service”. He is right in a way. After all,who wants to buy DVDs in the internet age?

But many people passionately argue they will pay for movies if they were made available in downloadable formats. Recently Reliance launched a movie streaming service BIGFlix+ in India,similar to Hulu and Netflix in the US. Here is a peek at what this service has in store for us.

BigFlix+

When we look at any service,quality and cost are the two most important factors. BIGFlix+ compromises a bit on video quality but comes at a very affordable Rs 249 a month for unlimited movies. The 500-odd movie catalogue comprises of mostly Hindi movies,with some Bengali and English titles. While popular old and new movies feature here,the majority are B-grade. Talking about future plans,Manish Agarwal,chief operating officer,digital business,Reliance Entertainment,says that the company hopes to add movies to the catalogue,as soon as they are released on DVD. He says superhit movies will arrive a bit late as their DVD release tends to get delayed.

Anyone familiar with YouTube’s interface will be comfortable with bigflixplus.com. However,the BigFlix watermark shows up at the lower-right corner in the full screen mode,which is rather annoying.

In India,the broadband speed cannot enable 720 and 1080-pixel videos to play without glitches. Limited data connections have users crying out for more. In this situation,users have to make do with BIGFlix+’s 240,360 and 480-pixel videos. Videos pixelate especially in dimly-lit scenes.

However,if you have a slow internet connection you can use the BigFlix Download Manager,which allows you to download movies. Users can store and watch movies at any time,as long they are connected to the internet. Else the software stops the movie. This is the only copy protection. Once downloaded,the movie volume is however lower than while streaming,which is disappointing.

Mobile and tablet users can either visit m.bigflix.com or download the apps from the Android market or the Apple app store. The Android phone app kept crashing and no update was released till the time of filing this review. The mobile site and the iPhone/iPad app work well,however. Agarwal says that the company is hoping for a partnership with media streaming devices like Xtreamer.

For a service still in the nascent stage,BIGFlix+ seems like a good deal. The stage is set for a much awaited transition from redundant discs to digital content. BIGFlix+ has taken the lead,but its real test will be when the competition enters. After all Rumour has it that Netflix might come to India.

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