Thursday, October 3, 2013

Service Review: Full Moon Streaming/Grindhouse Flix

Less than a year ago, the madmen over at Full Moon launched, a subscription-based streaming site where you could view vintage, some may say "classic", exploitation films. Some time later, they launched business model, different menu. But they have now done the only thing that makes sense: combine the two platforms into a single service.

Full Moon was kind enough to invite me to peruse the new Full Moon Streaming service for a week on their dime in exchange for a review. I've been streaming movies and toying with the website for a few days now, so I'd like to share my thoughts.

Visually speaking, it's a simple website that is functional but doesn't dazzle the eyes. It's a plain white background with black text and various horizontal scrollbars--one each for: films currently available, films coming soon, merchandise available to purchase, home video available to purchase, bonus media, and vidcasts. To access the Grindhouse Flix titles, you have to click on a link that takes you to a separate page, but the layout remains basically the same.

I wish that you could hover over the title or image to read a synopsis of the film, but the only way to learn more about any given movie is to visit that movie's page. That page features the streaming screen, original movie poster, synopsis, link to the trailer, links to purchase related collectables or home video, and links to bonus material where applicable (including the famous VideoZone vids from classic Full Moon VHS tapes).

Streaming the movie can be done in standard halfscreen mode or in fullscreen, and you can easily switch between low, medium, high and HD qualities. The default is set to medium which is passable but looks a bit murky; but once I kicked it up to high or HD, I had a few buffering issues. I also found that if I paused the film for too long, I could not get playback to resume and would have to start back at the beginning, dragging the cursor along the time bar until I could find my spot again.

Low Quality
Medium Quality
High Quality
HD Quality
The good news is that the service is very cheap--only $6.99 a month for unlimited viewing! The bad news is that there still aren't all that many titles available. If you are a voracious viewer, you could run through all the titles you truly want to see in a relatively short amount of time. New Full Moon and Grindhouse titles are added weekly (for a total of 8 per month), so in theory there should always be something new that you want to watch just around the corner.

My only major qualm with the service is that it is only viewable on your home computer and select mobile devices (it worked on my iPhone but not on my Kindle Fire). I hope that once they build their library up, they add a ROKU channel so that subscribers can stream movies directly to their TV--I think that would really increase their customer base.

If the service is worth it to you will really depend on how you feel about Full Moon's features, and the titles that they acquire for the Grindhouse banner. Click HERE to see what titles are currently available and learn more about the service.

It's still a young project, and I have faith that any and all bugs will be worked out in time, that the library will become much more expansive, and that a ROKU channel is on the horizon. When that time comes, I'll have my credit card number ready.


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