JioCinema has existed for quite some time now, in-fact it actually launched in 2016, but the premium subscription version launched less than a year ago. I’ve been using the platform to watch movies & tv shows. Here are some of my thoughts after using it for a few weeks.
Disclaimer: I subscribed to the annual plan of JioCinema which is currently priced at ₹999/year. The views presented in this article are my own. This is not a sponsored or paid for article.
Streaming content on JioCinema is generally smooth if you avoid skipping forward or backward. Despite some initial buffering issues I experienced, subsequent viewing experiences were fine, provided there was no skipping during playback. The issue of buffering during skipping forward or backward while watching a movie/show is frustrating. At times, only audio resumes playing, requiring a pause and resume to correct it. This was tested on a 50 Mbps internet connection, which handles streaming on Netflix and PrimeVideo without any issues.
The movies and shows selection, particularly from HBO & Peacock, is good with classics and new hits alike. However, the regional content is lacking, especially in Telugu & Tamil, with only outdated content available. Navigating to HBO and Peacock shows isn’t as straightforward as it could be. The buttons for HBO & Peacock are located somewhat obscurely below the home screen. A more intuitive interface for browsing these shows selectively would be good.
The platform could benefit from better curation of shows though. At the moment, the content feels cluttered, with regional shows mixed in with Hollywood shows. Unlike HotStar, which does a better job at content curation, JioCinema could improve in this area. The platform also lacks an option to browse movies and shows based on language, a feature available on HotStar and a few other Indian OTT platforms.
The quality selection options vary between browsers. On Opera browser, you can choose between medium, standard, high, HD, Full HD, and Auto. However, Safari only offers an Auto option. The options could be made clearer, and consistency across different browsers is needed. An error message ‘Oops! Browser not supported. Please use another’, was encountered on Brave browser after a few days of use, which was unexpected given it worked fine initially.
The player’s interface is decent, with minimal distractions. However, the persistent JioCinema branding on the top right corner could be seen as a minor annoyance, although you might get used to it over time. Users can set language and content preference in the ‘Edit Profile’ page, with minimal options under ‘Settings’, aside from ‘Parental Controls’.
A few other issues I experienced.
The login issue, where users are required to log in every time the site is closed, is a recent change that was not present a few days ago. This can be inconvenient for frequent platform visitors.
Jio ads appear throughout the platform, except when viewing content. These ads promote Jio sports or news.
Subtitles on JioCinema have a few issues as well. On certain browsers like Opera, they are displayed too low on the screen, while on Safari, there’s excessive padding which could affect readability.
On mobile, particularly tested on Pixel 3a, the app feels choppy, although the player’s quality is satisfactory. An attempt to test it on iPhone was thwarted by a recurring login error. The mobile interface resembles YouTube’s, with a download button for offline viewing and a watchlist button to save shows for later.
In conclusion, while the watching experience on JioCinema is decent, it requires fine-tuning for a cohesive and uniform user experience across all browsers and devices. The content curation needs improvement, and a feature to search for regional language content should be introduced. The platform has potential, and with some tweaks, Jio can make it a better choice for viewers.