M-Go is a streaming video service aimed at TVs and tablets, as a competitor to iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and VUDU.
My question, as it has been with other services, is what kind of selection this service has. Is it a worthwhile alternative? Does it have the depth of content Amazon and iTunes have? Will non-Apple and Amazon tablets finally have a worthwhile place to buy/rent movies and TV shows?
There’s only one way to find out: with a fancy chart.
You’ve seen this graph before, in iTunes vs Amazon Instant Video vs Google Play vs Sony Unlimited vs Samsung Media Hub and the follow up Google Play: Less Lessness?
My intention was to just update with M-Go content, but as we’ll get to, I ended up updating more than just that.
First, though, M-Go. Available on Vizio’s Co-star, certain Samsung Galaxy Tablets, and your computer, it’s not widely available yet. It will spread to Vizio, Samsung, and LG TVs this year. Though technically in beta, there’s no official launch. Since it’s out there now, it’s fair for us to have a look. Like the other services we’ve checked out (the original article has the methodology), if additional content licenses are announced, we’ll update our chart.
One interesting “feature” is that M-Go will list a show/movie, but then reveal it’s not actually available. It’s like they’re cribbing from the IMDB or something: “I know that show! I can’t let you buy it, but I know it exists!”
With TV shows there’s a button called “Find other sources for this season” but at the moment this just brings you to a screen that says “sorry, we cannot find a provider for this title yet.” Such a tease. With a few movies, it does say, “M-GO wants to help you find this title. Look for it on:” and then shows the icons (but on a computer, not the links to) to Amazon, iTunes, or both. Gee, thanks for the help. Never would have guessed to go there (on a different device). Maybe this implies some future feature, at the moment... I don’t know what it does.
It’s worth noting not every title is rentable, some are just purchasable (or vice versa). I didn’t have a distinction for this in the chart, but it’s common among other providers too.
When I first went through the titles, there was striking similarity with Google Play. Enough so that I wondered if there was something going on between these two seemingly different services. So I started checking the few cases where there were differences... and found Google Play has added a lot of movies (blue blocks in the chart). Their TV show selection is still terrible, but for movies they’re not bad. Fairly close to iTunes/Amazon, actually.
And, while I was at it, I checked to see if Sony and Samsung had added any content, which they both have. Sony still doesn’t have quite as much as Amazon/iTunes, but it’s inching closer. Samsung has moved up from “terrible” to “not worst,” a laudable improvement.
And... why not check Amazon and iTunes too? Turns out they added a bit, though they had less they needed to add so they simply secured their leads.
So while this article was supposed to be a trial of M-Go, it ended up as mild praise for Google Play and a surprise about Samsung Media Hub. That is, if you don’t care to watch TV shows.
There’s no other way to look at it, right now M-Go is abysmal. Yes, it’s still in “beta,” but unless they announce a lot of new licenses, it’s not going to improve any out of beta. And, since the newly-slightly-better Google Play is already on Android devices, and Amazon Instant Video is available on Vizio’s Co-Star... I don’t quite see the point of M-Go. Maybe if a TV has no other streaming options... but at that point, get an Apple TV, Roku, or Co-Star.
When it comes down to it for tablets, my advice hasn’t changed: if you’re interested in using your tablet for watching TV shows and movies, the only options are the iPad and Kindle Fire.
Brent Butterworth and Geoff Morrison combine their years of gear testing and knowledge in one überblog of irreverence and techiness.