India’s TV landscape has long been afflicted by substandard content. Although the baby boomers may not agree, the young millennials have surely had enough of the extravagant settings and the extreme melodrama, and cannot wait for things to change. Furthermore, the fact that there are plenty of expensive satellite TV providers but hardly any reliable streaming services available, only adds to the misery. In 2015, Hotstar came as a breath of fresh air with great content, from the house of Star India, Star World, and HBO. However, it fell inadequate on numerous grounds, including the originality and vastness of content. The audience craved for a larger catalogue with more coming-of-age shows.
In 2016, Network 18 Media, a subsidiary of Viacom 18 (a major TV network) launched “Voot”, a neophyte in the competitive microcosm of free, over-the-top services. Voot is an ad-supported platform that enables users to stream Bollywood movies, kids’ programs, syndicated shows, and original series. Now, irrespective of whether you own a DVR-enabled device or not, you will never miss an episode of your favorite TV show again! Moreover, Voot is perhaps the only service in India to create original content entailing realistic and coming-of-age plotlines. It’s no wonder that this service has gained massive momentum in so little time.
What Can You Watch on Voot?
As far as content is concerned, Voot turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Currently, it boasts of a colossal library with over 28,000 hours’ worth of content, grouped into four main genres – Comedy, Reality, Kids, and Drama. The titles belong to TV networks such as MTV, Colors TV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, VH1, and of course, Voot Originals.
An important thing to note is that although the platform does feature a decent selection of movies, Voot’s primary focus is on TV series, including originals. Aside from movies and TV shows, you can also watch upcoming movie trailers, promos of TV shows, music videos, and spoiler alerts. However, the best part about Voot’s content is that it ranges across seven different languages, namely, Hindi, English, Kannada, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, and Tamil; catering to a much wider audience, unlike Netflix.
How Is Interface & Video Quality?
We tried using Voot on both, the web as well as the mobile app. And yes, it does have the look and feel of a premium subscription-based service. However, the web platform lags slightly behind the mobile app in terms of speed (page navigation), design, and usability.
The homepage features sliders of trending shows. On top of the page, you’ll find tabs such as Shows, Kids, Channels, and Movies; these can be used to filter your search more easily. As you scroll down, you’ll notice that the content is cleverly curated under sub-categories like Top Shows, New Voot Original, Voot Exclusive, and channel-wise Latest Episodes. To load a certain title, you simply have to click on it and hit play.
Voot allows subscribers to do tons of things such as block certain content for kids and resume watching content from where they left off. It also offers recommendations based on viewing history. What’s more? In case you wish to watch something at a later time, Voot enables users to download select titles for offline viewing.
One issue that we faced was slow load speed. Whenever we tried streaming an episode, it took a few seconds before finally kicking off. However, this only happened at the beginning and not in the middle of watching something. Aside from that, there weren’t many hitches. In fact, the video quality was amazing. Most of the titles are available in HD. The streaming player is quite simply with functions such as volume control, video scrubbing, and full-screen mode. You cannot, however, adjust the subtitles or video quality. In case of a weak internet connection, Voot will automatically adjust the video to a much lower quality. Based on our overall experience, we can say that Voot has a decent interface with the exception of a few lags.
Availability and Compatible Devices
You can stream on Voot using iOS and Android phones/tablets. Alternatively, you can also use your laptop or computer for streaming on their web platform. As of now, Voot is only accessible in India. If you’re a fan of Indian TV programs or movies but live outside of India, you may try using a paid VPN service to enjoy the service. However, the app will still not be accessible.
A Quick Glimpse at the Pros and Cons
- Free of cost content.
- Access to Indian reality TV Shows.
- Quality originals and movies.
- Decent interface and design.
- Way behind its competitor.
- Errors during sign-in.
- Frequent advertisements.
It really comes down to the type of content you prefer. Voot is an ideal streaming platform for those who like watching original Indian content or want to catch up on the latest episodes of shows from Colors or MTV channel. However, it may not be the best fit for someone who is looking for an extensive library or a movie-centric service.