For the past few years, Apple’s iTunes, iTunes Music Store, and iPod have ruled the roost of music, music downloads, and portable music players. But, in the movie world and TV shows, I believe the same thing would be happening with Vongo for a number of reasons. Why do I like Vongo? And why you would like it too? First, let me tell you what is Vongo?
It is a software that enables you to download/watch movies and TV shows on your computer or portable player. It is owned by Liberty Media’s Starz Entertainment, parent company of the Starz network. You can get this service for a fixed price per month or per view. Vongo is a great and new revolution for amateur users in the United States. Let me share with you how I knew about Vongo. When I first came to the United States, I had no TV in my household, and as a movie lover, I was desperately searching online for movies websites. Luckily, I ran into Vongo and I didn’t hesitate to download the software. Then, I watched my first movie which was (don’t laugh) Chicken Little. I was totally impressed with the high quality picture and relatively the fast download.
However, Vongo offers high quality video playback of over 1,000 movies and 2,500 total video selections. Users also have access to a streaming version of the Starz movie channel. The service takes an average download time of 30 to 40 minutes on a 90-minute movie. Members pay a flat fee of US$ 9.99 per month, and have access to unlimited downloads during the 30 day period. The movies are viewable within the confines of a certain time period; most newer movies are available for 4-6 months, while other programming can be as long as 12-24 months. Separately, certain release are available for pay-per-view; they incur a separate fee, ranging from 99 cents to $3.99, and are only viewable for 24 hours from the time you press Play. Once a movie expires, it is automatically deleted from the user’s hard drive. Potential users of Vongo should be clear that it is designed more like a medium term movie rental rather than a purchase. Also, Vongo has a lot of features, such as, you can get an access to your download history, change your membership status, and change your billing information. You can contact the company very easily whether by e-mails or through the phone. With Vongo you can search for a movie by the title, actor, or director; and also, you can narrow your search by the viewers’ rating, release year, or expiration date and other more. What I really like about Vongo is that every movie is rated, whether it’s rated G, PG, TV14, or R etc. for protection purposes.
Vongo uses Adobe/Macromedia Flash Software developed by Schematic. (Source: Flashback Flash Future section of Adobe webpage, 10.25.06). Additionally, the service uses Microsoft’s Digital Rights Management. The software is compatible with PCs running Windows XP or Vista. Movies can be transferred and played on up to 3 devices but cannot be transferred to external drives or other storage media. Currently, movies downloaded through Vongo are only viewable with the service’s software. Vongo is not accessible to Linux and Macintosh users. But, Macintosh Company is hoping that the service will be available to the users in the future, but it is unknown when this will take place. The issue is that Vongo does not have access to Apple’s version of the Digital Rights Management. Support for the iPod video is rumored to be in the works but can’t be available until support for the Macintosh is added.
Once Vongo is available to all users and also accessible to users overseas, (so, when I go back home, I can still watch movies), then, I don’t think this platform needs a lot to improve. But, the availability of more and new movies is always a good idea.