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iPad Apps Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Wuaki.tv review: Takes on Netflix, Lovefilm and Blinkbox with hybrid streaming service

£4.99 per month

Manufacturer: Play.com

Our Rating: We rate this 2 out of 5

Wuaki.tv is a new player in the streaming market from Rakuten, aka Play.com. Find out if it can take on the likes of Netflix, Lovefilm and Blinkbox in our review.

Wuaki.tv iPad

While Netflix and Lovefilm Instant offer a monthly subscription for unlimited streaming and Blinkbox provides individual rentals or purchases, Wuaki.tv goes one further and combines those two options into one. It's a sort of streaming hybrid service and if you have a Play.com account then you can log straight in with this.

See also: Netflix vs LoveFilm Instant comparison review: What's the best streaming service?

Wuaki.tv: The service

Like Blinkbox and other places, you can buy content outright. Wuaki.tv has rentals for typically £3.49, or much more for a new release, and TV series for £10-20 on average depending on how old it is. These prices are fairly normal and in this sense it's an app worth having and shopping around for the best price for the content you want to watch.

The advantage of using this method, potentially alongside the subscription, is that new releases won't make their way to subscription services for weeks or months. At the time of writing Wuaki.tv's new releases selection matches up well to Blinkbox and Google Play Movies & TV.

Like Blinkbox, you can't download purchased content which is not something we want to see when you've laid down good money – it's a big omission. Wuaki.tv says it's working on a feature which will allow customers to download content on computers.

This means, for the same price or possibly less, you can buy the boxset and rip it to your device. Rentals can be watched as many times as you like over a 48 hour period after purchase.

If you prefer the monthly subscription route then Wuaki Selection costs £4.99 per month, that's £1 cheaper than Netflix and Lovefilm Instant. Don't be fooled into thinking you can just watch anything which you've seen in the Wuaki library for rental or purchase though because it doesn't work like that.

As the name suggestions, only a selection of content is available to stream and it might be cheaper than its rivals but the choice is much more limited. It's likely that if you pay the monthly subscription, you'll regularly find yourself wanting to watch films and TV shows which are only available to rent or buy.

Wuaki.tv: The apps

There is an Android app available but there are two big questions. One is whether it is available for your device and the second is a case of whether it works properly. Wuaki.tv admits that for starters you'll need a device Android 3.2 or later and a screen which is at least 4in.

Out of a long list of devices, the Play Store only allowed us to install the app on a handful of devices. A list of devices tested and complained about can be found on the website.

"you can try installing it on other devices but we cannot guarantee proper operation" warns the firm so our advice is to test it out as much as possible before parting with any money. Using the app on the iPad doesn't involve any of these issues.

Wuaki.tv Android app

If you can get the Android app to work, then it's a perfectly good experience but the iPad app looks far nicer and runs smoother. It displays the content in pages which you flick through like a book while the Android app just has a one big list.

You can browse content via type (movies or TV) and with plenty of other filter such as new releases, recently added, genres, recommended and even by publisher in Wuaki Selection. However, the regular TV selection on the Android app has no options whatsoever.

Yet another flaw is that Wuaki.tv doesn't support any kind of video output, whether it's HDMI or AirPlay, so you can't watch content on a bigger screen.

Across both apps, we like the ability to pin content to a wish list. As you would expect, there's also a library section where you can browse any content which you've paid for. Both are synchronised across devices if you have more than one with Wuaki.tv installed.

Wuaki.tv: HD or no HD

Wuaki.tv has almost the opposite problem to Blinkbox, cover art will show an HD label on the app but it can only be viewed is SD. HD is currently reserved for Samsung Smart TVs and Xbox 360. Only around 25 percent of content available in HD, so in many cases it's SD or nothing which is a big shame.

This means you can purchase HD content on the Android app but not watch it, while the iPad app is even more flawed in that you can only view content which has already been purchased and is therefore in your library.

We've also noticed in the small print that purchased content will only be available for three years which is just plain ridiculous.

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

Wuaki.tv Expert Verdict »

iOS 5.0 or later: 17MB
Android 3.2 or later: 2.8MB
  • Overall: We give this item 4 of 10 overall

Wuaki.tv is cheaper than its rivals for subscription and also offers pay per view content. However, numerous limitations across the service and apps, plus a lower quality catalogue mean it's not worth the monthly cost and only worth having on your device to check rental prices.


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