Recently, on episode 10 of “Just The Slips” podcast, we did a roundtable of the movie Raw Force. (Check out the episode to hear what we thought!) I didn’t originally plan on taking part, so I hadn’t bought the discussion movie. When I did decide to join in, I needed to watch it in short order. Luckily, Exploitation.tv has Raw Force in it’s library for streaming. So, I decided to give it a whirl and signed up for the 7-day free trial. I’m here to let you know how it went.
There are so many streaming sites out there now. New ones seem to pop up on the regular. I personally use a couple aggregator sites to help manage where content is available since there is so many. Now, the gold standard would be places like YouTube, Netflix and Amazon. They have a refined user interface, reliable streaming, and apps on so many devices. Not all new sites come out of the gate as polished.
We’ll start with the good first. Exploitation.tv has a pretty strong selection. The FAQ states that 80% of their content isn’t available anywhere else. Most of the more popular movies I know of from Vinegar Syndrome appear to be on the service. As the name would indicate, they focus on the exploitation, drive-in grindhouse, and genre types of movies. It isn’t really my cup of tea, so I saw a more than a handful of movies I’d never heard of before.
The interface is pretty easy to navigate. The tight focus of what they offer also makes the site easier to navigate. There are only a handful of genres to look through, so if you are trying to find something it is pretty easy. Once you find some titles you want to see, you can add them to your watch list to keep them organized. The streaming quality is pretty decent as well. Granted, these movies are not the big budget productions of their time, so they start off with rough elements. They can only clean so much of it up, but what they have looks pretty good.
The playback worked fairly smoothly while I was watching movies. I didn’t notice any issues with playback failing out except for when my Internet went out (thanks AT&T!). I did run into some minor playback issues I’ll detail later. While YouTube, Netflix, etc. have a bit better streaming interface, I thought this was pretty good for an early version of their product. The streaming has promise.
Now to be fair, let’s talk about the bad. This first one might be a deal-breaker for a lot of people at the moment. Exploitation.tv has very limited app support. No iOS or Android apps are available, but they are developing those. They have a Roku app and Chromecast functionality available. I did not try either, I only tried the website on my laptop and my tablet. As such, I can’t really talk about the Roku app or Chromecast support. Over time, should it be a successful service, expect mobile apps and maybe even console apps.
Now, for the lesser gripe. There were two general issues I found with playback. The first was seeking. When seeking, once you had selected the time you wanted, it would take a few seconds to load and start playing. Also, anytime I tried to use the seek functionality it was about a minute and a half off from the time indicated during seek. These two put together resulted in some frustration when trying to replay a scene or get to a specific part of the movie.
The second issue I has to do with pausing for a longer period of time. If I had to pause and walk away for more than a few minutes, I found that playback would not start. I would have to reload the page and the movie would start from the beginning, forcing m to use the questionable seek function to find where the playback was paused.
The price. A subscription to Exploitation.tv costs $10 a month if you sign up for month to month. If you sign up for a year at a time, you can get the price down to $7 a month. The price isn’t bad, but I doubt many people will want to sign up for such a long period for their first time. Thankfully they offer a free trial for a week.
Overall, I’d say the service was pretty good. I certainly think there is a lot of promise. The cons aren’t really terrible, just minor annoyances. I think with some time and work, the product could be quite good. The player platform will mature. They will develop apps for the most desirable devices so accessibility will improve.
I think they will need to keep expanding their library or the $10 per month will not make sense for most customers after a couple months. With what they have right now, it won’t take long for some people to burn through what they are interested in. Let’s also remember that this is not an old service and it is still growing.
With some minor improvements, I think Exploitation.tv will find its niche among fans of the genres offered. As it is right now, I would recommend that most prospective customers try the monthly package to see how long they get value out of it. I’d suspect a lot of people would be happy after a few months and want to take a break until the service adds more titles. If the titles appeal to you, please do check it out at Exploitation.tv.