Let’s just get it out of the way right from the start. I love Netflix. I’ve watched several seasons of Justified and Battlestar Galactica in 36 hour stints. I was doing really well with Sons of Anarchy until the awful accents and ridiculousness of their trip to Belfast did me in. Orange is the New Black is one of the best things I’ve seen on my tv screen and I’ve even managed to forgive my beloved Netflix for the unspeakably awful Hemlock Grove. I gave up Lovefilm for Netflix. I feel like I’m married to Netflix. So yeah, this Wuaki better have something special cos it’s going to feel like cheating.
So Wuaki’s like, “We have new releases” and I’m like “I still haven’t finished Battlestar Galactica/Dollhouse/Firefly” (none of which are available on Wuaki). I’m sorry but Fast and Furious 6 isn’t going to do it for me. And I’ve already seen Star Trek Into Darkness at the cinema. Also The Hobbit is already available to stream on Netflix but you want me to buy it for how much? £10.99? I don’t think so.
And seriously, £10.99 for “We Steal Secrets” (like The Hobbit, only available to buy, not rent)? It’s all very nice to be able to buy titles so you can watch them on any of your devices on the tube, plane, wherever, but the dvd is £12.49 on play.com and it’s mine forever. Streaming is very convenient. But not that convenient.
Wuaki claim to have a different approach to selecting their catalogue with human curation of high quality movies and tv shows and a weekly programming refresh for their £4.99 a month unlimited access ‘Wuaki selection’. So I’m thinking that’s where the older films and tv shows will be. But what’s that? I still have to pay an extra £2.49 to rent older films like Thor, Iron Man 2 and Captain America. For a two day fling? Are you nuts?! Great movies, but my £5.99 Netflix subscription lets me watch them as often as I like for as long as I like. Wuaki’s not much better for tv shows either. That £5.99 Netflix subscription gets me the first two seasons of Luther which I’d have to buy on Wuaki for a total of £16.98. Netflix also has the first four seasons of my latest addiction – Fringe which is £19.99 a season on Wuaki but, to be fair, does include season five. Your £4.99 Wuaki selection does offer unlimited streaming of some shows that aren’t on Netflix. But these do not include Dexter, Dr Who, Weeds, Little Britain, Spooks or Jericho which are all on Netflix UK as well. If you want to binge watch Grey’s Anatomy, Body of Proof, Private Practice, Revenge, Greek and Happy Endings for £4.99 a month, then Wuaki selection is for you.
But wait, you know the thing that really annoys me about Netflix? ALL their anime is dubbed! I really hate that. Wuaki is owned by Rakuten right? They’re Japanese aren’t they?
No Ghost in the Shell, no Afro Samurai, no movies from Studio Gibli – dubbed or otherwise. Films like Battle Royale and Korean revenge classic Oldboy (Hollywood remake coming soon) are completely missing from Wuaki’s paid for and selection catalogues, but included in your £5.99 a month on Netflix or Lovefilm subscription. It has a small selection of European films (Wuaki is a Spanish startup), including Open Your Eyes in the Wuaki selection catalogue, but you’ll need to pay £2.49 to watch Troll Hunter and Headhunters on demand.
It looks real pretty, but I’m not even up for a one night stand with Wuaki. Maybe in a few months, they’ll have boosted the titles available in their subscription catalogue and that Rakuten ownership might pay off with a bit of ShowTime content, but for now if you’re already with Lovefilm or Netflix I can see no compelling reason to turn to Wuaki for your new releases instead of blinkbox or even the cinema. My local multiplex has a £16 a month unlimited deal and even my local independent does half price Tuesday for those movies I really want to see when they come out. Renewing vows with Netflix.
What? You’re still reading? Ok, some positives. If you have a Samsung smart tv bought during or after 2012, the wakui app is going to look pretty amazing on it. It’s also going to do a pretty good job of tailoring your recommendations for those times when you don’t know what you want to watch. Alas my Samsung is from 2010. And it has blinkbox.