This is a review of the US HIDIVE.com service, other countries may not be able to access the site or have a version they can use. This is only for US users with the US service.
So there is a new anime streaming service on the block called HIDIVE.com. And boy do we have some thoughts about this new service. At $3.99 it is cheaper than both Crunchyroll and Funimation (we talked about them before) which is great, and it has some great shows to check out. Is it really worth the $3.99 or should you go and buy that latte instead?
Content is the single most important aspect of any streaming service. Good content can make bad apps and interfaces worth the hassle if you are able to see that perfect show you are dying to see. As for HIDIVE, the content is a bit on the hit or miss side.
What they get right is a really stellar back catalog of shows. Some of them can be found on other services, but they also have some really good exclusive back catalog shows as well. Even better, a bunch of them are dubs (more on this in a bit) so that people can watch it in the sub or dub version, whichever they prefer.
And do they have some great dubs that aren’t available elsewhere. While some of their shows show up in Amazon Strike, they usually don’t show up in the dub version so that means dub lovers will be happy with the selection of dubs included with the service. It probably rivals Funimation in terms of how many dubbed shows they have available. A really great addition to the anime landscape in our opinion.
However, while their selection of older shows and dubs is really excellent, their selection of simulcasts is pretty dreadful. There really isn’t anything worth watching in their simulcast lineup usually, with some pretty lackluster picks that only niche fans would watch (Battle Girl High School, Classicaloid, and Frame Arms Girls are some examples). Not exactly shows that people are dying to see. If simulcasts are all you care about, this service is a major pass at the moment. Stick to Crunchyroll/Funimation and Anime Strike then.
To continue on with the disappointments, HIDIVE.com has no streaming apps to speak off. Nothing for your smartphone or tablet, nothing for your TV, nothing for your video game console. If you like watching anime only one your laptop or computer, this service is for you. For those of us who enjoy watching on our TVs and mobile devices, we are currently out of luck. They claim those apps are coming at a future date, but nothing has been set as the time of this writing. And it has been months since they announced apps to be coming, so who knows exactly when they will get around to releasing them (or if they will even been decent experiences).
Even worse, we found the service to be pretty glitchy in our testing using their browser player as well. Pausing a show and coming back at a later date would cause it to not remember our location forcing us to seek to the right location, or it wouldn’t move correctly from one episode to the next one (we think it has to do with a weird interstitial ad they play, even on the paid service level). The entire service still needs a bunch of bug fixes and polish to bring it up to speed.
This service is, to put it bluntly, bad. It has no apps and the one way to play videos is glitchy and troublesome. Admittedly it is in beta but they are taking money for the service so it is fair to judge it based on what the user is getting today for their money. And $3.99 isn’t a break the bank amount of money, especially for the high quality content they are offering, but services are more than just their content. With out any real good way to actually watch the content I’d rather just watch shows on other services like Funimation or Crunchyroll due to their convenience. It doesn’t really compete in terms of service.
With that all said, getting access to good dubs of anime isn’t always easy and we will admit that for dub lovers like ourselves the service does provide access to some great shows. The back catalog also has some great shows that are worth catching up on or re-watching as well. So if there is a show you have been dying to watch then pick it up, it is worth the 3.99 to binge a couple of great shows.
Its a shame that they launched this in such a sorry state, with such a bad selection of simulcasts and no apps. Because we feel like if they did a full launch when it was ready with some really great simulcasts, this service could have competed with Crunchyroll and Funimation. But as it is it is a useless service for pretty much everyone except a select few who really want to binge watch a few older shows they might have missed before cancelling the service and moving on the more useful subscriptions. So here is to us hoping that it will one day become a better and full featured service with better shows being added every month and great apps.
Skip, at least until they come out with better streaming apps and some better simulcasts; but once they do it is probably worth it for a few months to binge watch some of your favorite shows and catch up on the ones you missed.