You can opt to watch your favorite shows live, live sports coverage, movies, the LIVFIT channel or other options like ‘LIV Music’.
SonyLIV is the first premium video-on-demand service by Sony Networks India Pvt Ltd (SPN). The app was launched in 2013 and has over 20 years of content from the network channels of SPN. Users also have unlimited access to thousands of hours of entertainment through Hollywood and Bollywood movies, Live Sports, Kids Content, Short Films and Web-Series, with quality streaming and viewing experience.
The app is supported on multiple platforms and can be downloaded for free. While a good amount of content is free to watch, some live TV channels and movies are available at a premium monthly subscription starting from Rs.99.
The app has a user-friendly interface, and an attractive black and pink theme as it launches on your device. Two animated cartoon characters welcome users onboard, and give them a demo of the app. The top-left menu button has options like Sign-in and My Downloads. Here, you can opt to watch your favorite shows live, live sports coverage, movies, the LIVFIT channel or other options like ‘LIV Music’. In case you have a particular title in mind, there is a search toolbar at the right top corner.
Content is divided into categories like Top Movies, Free Movies, Movies-New On LIV, Popular Shows, Live TV and Sports Showcase. There are three interesting features on the app – Mood Wheel, MyQ and LIV Guru. The Mood Wheel lets you choose videos based on a particular mood or genre, like Romantic, Horror and WOW! The MyQ feature is available for registered users only; and allows them to make their own personal playlists of their favorite content. The LIV Guru option enables you to collect points, which can be redeemed later to gain access to exclusive videos and gift hampers as well as to the sets of your favorite TV shows.
The video watching experience is decent, provided you have good internet connectivity. The same goes for sound quality. A minimum of 1Mbps speed is sufficient to load the videos without interruption. For all the videos, a small down button at the bottom reveals the synopsis of the show with the cast and character names. Each video also comes with its number of followers to give you an idea of its popularity. There is a share button for sharing videos on social platforms. The download button at the side allows you to save videos for offline viewing. Opting for a premium version will give you an ad-free experience. With every video that you watch, you will also be able to see a list of recommended titles in the same genre.
SonyLIV can be accessed on many devices. Apart from the Android and iOS platforms, the app is also supported on the Blackberry OS and Windows 8 devices. Premium members can see videos on Chromecast, Android TV and Sony BraviaTVs as well.
SonyLIV boasts of 700+ movies and over 40,000 hours of TV shows in different genres. The platform is a good choice for sports lovers. Viewers can watch LIVE uninterrupted matches and highlights on their devices. Cricket matches like the ongoing Australia tour of South Africa 2018 or the upcoming FIFA world cup 2018 that starts on June 14 will be available here as well.
If you have yesteryear favorites like Malgudi Days or Kutumb, you can watch the entire series once again. Popular shows like Bade Acche Lagte Hai and KBC are also available. The app has all the shows currently being aired on Sony and its network channels. Hollywood award winners like Rush and Blade Runner 2049 can be watched in HD format. Kids can see videos in the Sony BBC Earth section. There is a wide collection of regional content, including Tamil, Marathi and Gujarati movies.
The customization of the video player is not at par with other apps in the market. There is no option to change the quality of the videos, which streams according to the available internet speed. There is also no option to play forward or backward by any other means, apart from the mouse. The videos do not have options to include any subtitles.
With readily available hi-speed internet in the metros, apps like SonyLIV provide alternative ways of entertainment. However, for slower internet speeds in the tier 2 and tier 3 cities, one can opt for an app that allows you to change the video quality for an uninterrupted experience. The content is appealing for those into sports and TV shows, although regional content is limited. It’s a thrill for those wanting to relive childhood memories by watching old TV shows. But, more options have to be included for Hollywood and Bollywood titles, for the app to give stiff competition to others. Overall the platform seems to be a work-in-progress, with new functionalities expected to be added soon.