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The TubiTV tvOS app transcends the traditional Apple TV user interface. Instead of having a top menu, the menu is on the side. This offers greater usability, as novice Apple TV users can view the menu without swiping up on the Touch surface. Apart from the top menu option, Search & Sign In, the rest of the menu items are movie and TV show categories. Some of my favorite categories are Not on Netflix, Highly Rated on Rotten Tomatoes and Staff Picks. Selecting a category on the left displays video options on the right. There’s no learning curve. Users need to create and sign in with a free account in order to add videos to their queue, view history and track TV episodes in a series.
Founded in 2007, Zürich based Viewster offers a respectable collection of free movies and TV shows. Ever-expanding, Viewster is currently available in 120 nations and caters to 39 million unique visitors every month.
Viewster doesn’t offer a huge collection of movies and TV shows, but the selection is unusual. Although there are some of the same low-end movies and TV shows available on most free services, there’s also some unique selections. I’ve never heard of Space Janitors. It’s actually very funny and something I started watching. Viewster seems to be oriented toward the science fiction and comic book crowd. While there are other titles, they are definitely suited for the geek on a budget. Overall, Viewster is a perfect complement to the other free services available on Apple TV.
The Viewster app is the epitome of Apple’s basic tvOS app. It resembles the iTunes Movies and iTunes TV Shows apps. It’s adorned with the standard multi-colored-yet-gray background and menu bar. Although they didn’t put much effort into this app, it is adequate and easy to use. Categories are displayed on the top menu bar. Each screen offers a grid of video options. Clicking on a video displays the detail page with a summary and list of episodes (if it’s a TV show).
As an American, I don’t watch Asian programming, mainly because I don’t speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean or other Asiatic languages. Viki offers a wealth of Asian programs with subtitles in English and many other languages. Founded in San Francisco in 2007, the company allows community volunteers to submit subtitles for programming. This allows virtually anyone in the world to enjoy Asian movies and TV shows, without having to learn a new language. Viki also offers some content from Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, Spain, France, the U.S. and other nations.
Most of the shows on Viki are probably unknown to most Westerners, but are popular throughout the world. Some of these shows include The Legend of the Blue Sea, Hwarang and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. Viki also has an enormous selection of movies. If you’re willing to broaden your horizons, Viki offers content you probably haven’t seen before, that you can finally understand. Prior to Viki, only the most popular and marketable International films and TV shows offered English subtitles. Viki also offers subtitles in a variety of languages. Crowdsourcing the subtitle work made all of this possible. Viki’s selection of movies and TV shows is enormous, and it’s all free! They even have a vast collection of (mostly classic) American movies and TV shows, for those who don’t want to read subtitles. (continue…)