iflix

For many, the convenience of a quick download or direct streaming is how we consume TV, movies and music these days. Globally, Spotify has over 40 million users, and Jay Z is trying his hand at it with his investments in Tidal, an artist-centric HiFi streaming platform.

However, the video market is dominated by giants like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime most of which are restricted regionally. So unless you have some sneaky VPN/DNS workaround, most of those services won’t be available locally.

Malaysia’s answer is iFlix: a video streaming service which has just been launched by Catcha Group and US investment bank, Evolution Media Capital. A monthly subscription costs RM8.

Who’s behind iFlix?

The company has been funded by local entrepreneurs like Azran-Osman Rani, former CEO of Air Asia X and has raised over USD30 million to commit itself to providing international TV and films to the region in a service to rival the likes of NetFlix and Hulu.

iFlix, which just launched last month, currently boasts over 10,000 hours of international content. CEO of Catcha Group, Patrick Grove has mentioned that by bringing premium content that many Southeast Asian viewers desire at a reasonable price, they hope to alleviate the high rate of piracy which has long been the preferred option for many in the ASEAN region. While piracy once meant buying a “fake” DVD, now file-sharing via torrents makes almost any TV series or film free to those with a fast internet connection.

How much choice is there on iFlix?

One of the few distinctions between iFlix and NetFlix, for example, is that it also offers local content and comes at a fraction of most TV subscription services. For example, the current library includes Yasmin Ahmad film Talentime and the nineties comedy show Kopitiam (Season 1).

Scanning the content library, iFlix offers a solid selection of classic and current titles. Acclaimed pirate series Black Sails is exclusively streaming on iFlix locally. Other titles include well-known movies like the Harry Potter series, the hit BBC show Sherlock and even every episode of Friends. K-Drama lovers will also find solace in the wide array of titles available.

What’s the interface like?

The iFlix user interface is well thought-out and easy to navigate with a large highlights section at the top with quick access to what you watched last and quite conveniently, trending and new titles right under. Unfortunately though, it lacks Chromecast support for those that want to stream straight to a big-screen TV or don’t want to mirror their laptops via HDMI cable, though this issue will admittedly only concern some.

On the menu you can view your Watch History or create playlists so you can binge-watch with ease. Content is neatly categorized by genre and kids also get a dedicated section to choose from.

Verdict:

For those that want to be on the cutting edge of television and movie streaming, iFlix may still have awhile to go before it becomes the top choice for streamers. But given that it’s at very early stages, the RM8 value is well worth the decent spread in initial content provided, especially since it’s one of the only streaming platforms that offers local content. Besides, there’s a two week free trial – which might just be enough to get you hooked.

Syahir Ashri