Welcome to part 4 of Pop Philtre’s Ultimate Streaming Showdown. In part 1, I explained the parameters and the point system that I will use in evaluating each SVOD. Part 2 and 3 focused on individual evaluations of Netflix Philippines and iFlix Philippines respectively. Part 4 will focus on Hooq. Just to be clear: the score and evaluation that I will be detailing are based on my experience of HOOQ PHILIPPINES. Catalog and Pricing may be different in other territories.
HOOQ CUPVAL TOTALS
Hooq definitely has an impressive and extensive Filipino catalog. Filipino movies from the 70s to present are available for viewing thanks to its partnerships with Viva and Regal films. Moreover, they also offer Hooq Exclusive films such as Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, Zombadings and Sonata. Its Filipino TV show catalog isn’t as expansive but Hooq does offer same-day releases for certain pinoy shows like Encantadia and Alyas Robinhood. And with the announcement that Hooq will start producing original content, its Filipino catalog is enough for any Filipino buff to get a subscription.
However, its strong Filipino catalog is a small positive to an otherwise lackluster catalog. Hooq’s movie catalog is a selection of cult-classics more than critically-acclaimed titles. Its TV selection is mostly shows from ABC Studios. Although it does have standouts like Mad Men, Friends and Scandal. Exclusive content are mostly superhero or fantasy shows like Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Lucifer. These aren’t big draws if you’re not into these genres.
Other Notable shows include: Justified, Once Upon A Time, Criminal Minds
Notable films include: Real Steel, Angels & Demons, Royal Tenenbaums, Ella Enchanted
They have a limited scope with their “Best in Asia” content as they’re mostly Korean and Chinese films.
Hooq also has a commendable catalog of Kids content. It conveniently categorizes their Kids content by age helping users search shows appropriate to their kid's age. Though a possible cause of concern is Hooq’s lack of Kids filter and interface. Hooq doesn’t have a separate interface for kids to hide all the mature content in its catalog.
Save for the daily uploads of Filipino TV shows, most of its content updates happen in a monthly basis. Content alerts are available via email. Also note that it also sends 3 – 5 email alerts every month.
Hooq supports basic watching methods. Right now, it is designed for small screen viewing via phone, tablet or browser. Big screen viewing is available via Chromecast or connecting your laptop/PC via HDMi.
Its mobile app has recently been redesigned to look more similar to the browser version. Online playback gives options on video quality. This option definitely helps in budgeting your data consumption. Currently, Hooq has removed its offline playback feature. I asked the Hooq PH Twitter about it and shared that they have removed the feature to fix its bugs. It’s definitely a positive that Hooq are actively improving on their services but it is a deterrent.
But more than offline playback, I wish they can improve on their navigation and search features. They sort their collections based on genre and country of origin. Special event collections are also available. Currently they have a Chinese New Year and Valentine’s day collections. But instead of organizing these under categories, Hooq lumps all them together into one big list. These are not mutually exclusive categories hence it can definitely confuse a user.
Its search function is a definite priority to fix. The only available search method right now is by content title. Hooq’s engine is unable to search by genre, actor, director or even collection.
In case you still can’t find what you are looking for, you can check their “Editor’s Choice” and “Hot & Trending” collections for recommendations.
Hooq needs to focus on these user experience aspects if it wants to stay competitive in the category.
Hooq offers multiple subscription schemes based on subscription length. You can subscribe as short as a week to as long as a full year. The longer the subscription you get, the slightly bigger discount you receive. Hooq also supports different modes of payment but are dependent on the subscription scheme you pick. The monthly subscription offers the most flexibility in payment as it can be coursed through credit card, Globe prepaid or Globe postpaid billing. The 1-week subscription is perfect for people who want to try out the service without any hassle or commitment.
However, Hooq’s subscription scheme also has some limitations. One, an account is restricted to one profile. This becomes a bigger issue for those with kids since there is no way to filter out the non-kid programming for your kids. Two, simultaneous viewing is limited to only two screens. Three, Hooq has a limit of 5 devices per account. You need to unregister an existing device if you want to access Hooq on a new phone or tablet. Overall, sharing your Hooq account seems to need careful planning.
Note: Globe also offers additional data allowances for Hooq in certain prepaid and postpaid offers
Hooq has an undeniable catalog of Filipino content. The promise of original content in the horizon makes it much more compelling. But if you’re not into Filipino content, you might want to look elsewhere. As it stands, its niche content and basic usability might just frustrate you.