Everyone has heard about Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. And we can all spend days debating which streaming service is best. However, you may be surprised to learn that these aren’t the only worthwhile streaming services available.
In addition to these niche alternatives for those who hate Netflix, there’s one in particular that has flown under the radar and never got the recognition it deserved: Yahoo View.
One of the big pitfalls of cutting the cord is that you tend to miss out on watching shows as they air (the only exception being original series put out by Netflix and the like). But before shelling out the cash for one of the big live streaming TV services, consider whether Yahoo View is good enough for your needs.
What Is Yahoo View?
Back in 2011, Yahoo had an on-demand video site called Yahoo Screen, which mainly served unremarkable original web series. It was shut down in January 2016 due to poor performance. Then, just seven months later, it was succeeded by the very-similar-but-not-quite-the-same Yahoo View.
Hulu decided to drop its free plan and so it partnered with Yahoo to offload all of its free content. In other words, Yahoo View is essentially equivalent to the former free Hulu plan and operates in much the same way.
The Yahoo View library mainly consists of the last four episodes of various TV shows from ABC, FOX, and NBC. For currently-airing shows, however, there is an eight-day delay between when the episode goes live and when it appears on Yahoo View.
Also of note is the section dedicated to movies, but don’t get your hopes up, because the selection is neither current nor extensive. At the time of writing, I can’t find a single film I recognize. Not to say the films are bad — they just aren’t mainstream.
Most notably, Yahoo View is home to a lot of interesting anime and international dramas, and these are exempt from the “last four episodes” rule, meaning you can watch full seasons. All of them are available in subbed versions by default, and some are even available in dubbed format.
Finally, like Hulu, Yahoo View has “recent clips” from recently aired episodes — for example, a funny bit from Jimmy Kimmel Live or a dramatic scene from Scandal. I personally don’t find these compelling enough to browse, but they’re there in case you’re interested.
All content on Yahoo View is ad-supported.
Interface, Quality, and Mobile Experience
I took some time to watch a few episodes and get a grip on Yahoo View’s user experience. It isn’t horrible — there’s enough to like that I wouldn’t mind using it going forward — but it still has a lot of room for improvement.
The video player is the same exact one used by Hulu. I personally like it because it’s clean, minimal, responsive, and intuitive. Even if you seek to an unbuffered part, playback continues almost immediately, and the subtitle customization options are fantastic.
While there’s nothing wrong with the video quality itself, there’s one huge drawback that I couldn’t find a way around: you can’t adjust it. Sometimes I prefer to watch in low quality to leave bandwidth for other uses, but Yahoo View provides no option for that.
Advertisements are perhaps the worst thing about Yahoo View. For a one-hour Korean drama, I had to sit through six 90-second ad breaks (totaling about nine minutes). For a half-hour anime, I encountered three 105-second ad breaks (totaling about five minutes). When binge-watching, that adds up fast.
I’m also unhappy with the inconsistent episode selection. For example, Timeless only has the first three episodes and the last four episodes, The Bridge (SE) has the entire first season but only the first episode of the second season (despite three complete seasons in total), and Fresh Off the Boat only has episodes 7, 9, 18, and 19 from season three. What a mess!
While Yahoo View is available in mobile form [No Longer Available], it’s significantly crippled. Instead of TV episodes, you can only browse recent clips. Instead of movies, you can only browse trailers. As far as full episodes, you can only watch anime. For most users, it’s totally not worth installing.
Notable Shows You Can Watch Right Now
At the end of the day, a streaming service is only as good as its content. The best user experience in the world matters none if you can’t find anything worth watching. This is Yahoo View’s biggest hurdle, but even so, it isn’t a complete wasteland. Here are some shows you might like:
- Empire — Drama. First three episodes, last five episodes.
- Fresh Off the Boat — Comedy. Last four episodes.
- How to Get Away With Murder — Drama. Last five episodes.
- MasterChef Junior — Reality. Last four episodes.
- Scandal — Drama. Last four episodes.
- Shark Tank — Reality. Last four episodes.
- Speechless — Comedy. Last five episodes.
- The F Word — Food documentary. Three entire seasons.
If you aren’t impressed by Yahoo View’s library, then you may be better off looking into Hulu Plus’s selection of unmissable TV shows. And if you use this nifty rewards-based trick, you can even get Hulu Plus for free every month.
What Do You Think of Yahoo View?
Before you commit too heavily to Yahoo View, you should know that Yahoo withdrew as a public company and will be acquired by Verizon before the end of 2017, complete with an executive shuffle. There’s no word yet on how this might affect Yahoo View going forward, but it’s something to bear in mind.
All in all, if you considered the free version of Hulu an integral part of cutting the cord, then Yahoo View will serve you just as well. If you like anime and international dramas, then you’ll probably enjoy it. Just give it a shot and don’t feel too bad if the content doesn’t excite you.
Have you tried Yahoo View yet? If so, what do you think of it? If not, what would it need to offer for you to see it as a competitor to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video? Please share your views with us in the comments below!