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Review: PrimeTime2Go from QuickPlay Media

By David Boyd on 13 May 2009 07:56 am EDT
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PrimeTime2Go Logo

"Watch your favorite shows anytime, anywhere on your mobile device." These very words are taken directly from the PrimeTime2Go website. We first heard about PrimeTime2Go last month when Kevin went to CTIA. He did a quick video review, and the very idea of having my favorite TV shows on my device intrigued me, however the service hadn't launched yet.

While attending WES last week, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that PrimeTime2Go has been launched on BlackBerry App World, and was now available for download on BlackBerry Bold and Curve 8900 devices. Luckily for me, I have one of each of those devices, and I was ready and willing to test out the app. 

Getting Started and First Impressions

I launched App World on my 8900 and quickly found PrimeTime2Go and started my free download. Now this is where some people get confused. The PrimeTime2Go app is free, but in order to be able to download and view content, you must subscribe to the service, which is $7.99/month. Payment is accepted only from PayPal as an automatic monthly deduction. Your account is tied to your device PIN, which you submit when you subscribe. After you have completed your payment agreement, you can launch the app again and now begin browsing and setting content for download.

PrimeTime2Go
Getting Started

Initial content is limited, but new shows are being constantly added. Here is the current lineup available at the time of this review:

NBC: 30 Rock, Heroes, The Office
ABC: Grey's Anatomy, LOST, Desperate Housewives
CBS: CSI, CSI NY, Harper's Island, NCIS, The Young and the Restless
Comedy Central: The Daily Show, The Colbert Report
Nickelodeon: SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer
The CW: 90210, America's Next Top Model
MTV: The Hills, Nitro Circus
ESPN: Coming Soon
Discovery Channel: Treasure Quest, Big Explosions, Survivorman, MythBusters, Out of the Wild
TLC: Jon & Kate Plus 8, Table for 12, Little People Big World, Toddlers & Tiaras
USA: Monk
Bravo: Top Chef
Animal Planet: Extreme & Deadly, Groomer Has It

Now that's not a huge selection, but in just the few days I have been using the app, the amount of content has probably doubled. I spoke with Mark Hyland, VP of Marketing for QuickPlay Media, and he told me that new content is being added as quickly as possible. I asked about the obvious lack of the Fox Network, and was told that they have not yet reached an agreement with Fox, but Hyland informed me that they are still working hard on getting an agreement in place, but had no timeframe for when it might happen. 

PrimeTime2Go
Checking out the availabled shows

Even with the lack of Fox right now, there are still plenty of shows that I like on the list. I began setting up my content for download. I went to LOST and scheduled it to record all new shows from the series. For most shows, there will be 2 weeks worth of content listed as available for download. Once a show is downloaded, it will generally stay available for about 2 weeks on your device, at which time it will self delete. 

Like I had previously mentioned, the only two devices compatible with PrimeTime2Go at this time are the Bold and Curve 8900. I asked Hyland the reason behind this and was told that the programming is very data intensive and needs to be download via WiFi, and that the app currenlty needs to work with the newer devices with faster processor speeds to be able to handle the DRM decoding on the fly. I also asked Hyland how much space the content takes up, and he informed me that 6 hours of video will consume about 1GB of space on the MicroSD card. 

PrimeTime2Go
More Details....

Now I'm sure some of you are screaming this isn't fair for those of you that don't own a Bold or Curve 8900. From the way it sounds, older devices, even those with WiFi, don't have the processor power to run the app smoothly. Newer devices like the Storm, have the power, but lack the WiFi. Hyland informed me that they are looking into a tethering option, but did not have anymore information on when/if that will become available. 

The app is also limited to those users in the United States only right now. Plans are in the works for Canada and the UK, but content agreements have not yet been reached with the network providers in those countries. 

Now on to the good stuff....

I went through and browsed all available programming and selected the shows I wanted to download. Just as advertised, the downloading will begin as long as you have a WiFi connection on your device. All your favorite shows are downloaded and cached on your media card to be viewed at your pleasure. The best part of all.... You don't need a data connection on your device to view the shows. Therefore, this is a great feature for the frequent fliers out there. 

PrimeTime2Go
PrimeTime2Go Launcher

All shows must be viewed through the PrimeTime2Go app because of the DRM coding. I used the app for several days and had no problems at all. I would wake up in the morning, and discover that I had new content waiting for me that had downloaded during the night. The only flaw I found with this is that the app itself has a notification mark to let you know about new content, as well as your LED indicator would flash red. No matter how many times I went into the app to view the new content, the LED would never turn off. I eventually went into my Profile settings and disabled the LED for PrimeTime2Go. I'm sure this is a bug that will be resolved in future versions of the app. 

PrimeTime2Go
Check mark... ready to watch

Speaking of support and feedback for PrimeTime2Go, it is available to the user in several different formats which I find very useful. First and foremost, you can go to their website and contact Customer Care via email or by phone. However, embracing today's social media world, you can also gain support via Twitter or Facebook.

I did need Customer Care at one point, I wanted to switch from my Curve 8900 to my Bold, and see how easy of a process it was to accomplish. Currently there is not a way to login to their website and switch it yourself, but I did mention this to Hyland, and he said he would pass it on to the development team. Now back to Customer Care, I called in and informed them that I need to switch the PIN listed on my account for my BlackBerry. The rep had no idea what I was talking about. D'oh! I informed him of how their very own FAQ section on their website directs users to call in and have their PIN be changed. He took down my information including my old PIN, the new PIN, email, phone number, and said he would have to pass this on to a service technician to look at. I could expect a call back within 24 hours.  Hmm... not real impressed with Customer Care at this point. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that the service has been live for a week, and maybe they haven't had many calls to change PINs yet. 

Overall, PrimeTime2Go is a very impressive app with an increasingly impressive library of content being added as often possible. If you are a frequent traveler, and maybe someone who doesn't want to subscribe to cable, this may be the app for you. Quality content available at a reasonable price. 

I did my best to cover the major points of the app, but I'm sure some of you still have questions. Feel free to post them in the comments, or contact me on Twitter at @kasperapd.

* Update - I received a call back from QuickPlay this morning, and my PIN has been switched and my Bold is now active. They informed me that there is a process in place now to make device changes more streamlined. Hopefully they will get a web interface designed in the future so I could login to my own account and do this myself. I'd like to give kudos to QuickPlay though for listening to my problem, and working to rectify it to avoid future issues. Thanks! *

47 comments

jimmers

Can't wait to give this a try...

Rivers23

This app is not listed in the App Store on my Rogers BB8900, is this not available in Canada??

Does anyone know if this app works with OS 5.0.0.90?

everythingsablur

From the PrimeTime2Go website and the numerous press releases that have come out since the service was announced:

PrimeTime2Go availability is limited to the United States at this time.

As Canadians we're used to that kind of snub, but this is made all the more annoying when you realize that the company who provides the PT2G service - QuickPlay - is in Toronto. D'oh!

David Boyd

As stated in the review above, it's not available outside of the US right now. They are working on reaching agreements with service providers in Canada and the UK.

As far as OS, they officially support the carrier supported OS's for each device. So no idea if it will work with OS 5.0

emgator

How big are the files? (I'm assuming about 45.5MB per half hour) How long do they take to download? What's the quality like (resolution, sound, etc.)? Do the videos play in the PrimeTime2Go app, or through the BB Media Player?

And, mostly, is the quality of the service worth the monthly fee?

David Boyd

Sound and video quality are excellent. Each hour long show looked to be around 100MB, but some were smaller. Videos only play in the PrimeTime2Go app due to the DRM.

As far the monthly fee, only you can determine if this service would be of value to you for the price.

Blunt88

Its hard for me to justify spending the money each month when I'm supposed to be able to do the same thing with Cellular Video on AT&T. But with the enterprise server unlimited data plan I can't use the CV.... Its frustrating.

David Boyd

CV doesn't have nearly the content of programming, and you cannot cache those shows on your MicroSD card for viewing at a later time.

1magine

No offense, but I continue to fail to see the usefulness of some of these pay to play aps. All this content and so much more is available for free. Given that you would need flash to stream the content, but there are hundreds of free programs that capture streaming content which is then easily transferred to any mobile device.

And then for the cost of so many of these devices, there is ORB - which is free!!! Buy a decent PC TV Tuner for about $100.00 (about the cost of just 1 of these apps for 1 year)and you can record all these shows for viewing later, as well as live tv, tens of thousands of radio stations, your entire music library, your entire video/burned dvd library etc....

PRC

No House MD on the list, Epic Fail!!!!!!!!!!!!

mythai

Will this be available for Verizon ever?

Anonymous2

Maybe when Verizon gets their act together and realizes what a stupid move banning wifi devices is. In other words, no, I don't think it will be.

pilotnh

Yeah about a decade after they put out an official OS for the Storm.

David Boyd

Until Verizon gets a new Blackberry with wifi it is unknown, but like I said in the review... They are considering a tethering option to possibly allow newer non-wifi devices to utilize the app.

david-mullins

This sounds like it could be a great app, but anything that requires a monthly payment commitment should also have a trial version in case it is not to your liking.

David Boyd

From my understanding, there is no trial because they have to pay the content providers for the rights to use the content. You can however cancel after onemonth and only be out the $7.99

tnewton3

I don't watch a lot of television or programming via my Bold but I may have to give this a shot. Works been slow lately and I have wifi right next door to download all day. Sweet.

Fox will be a deal winner for most on the fence about this service.

iPhone4s79

...now why in the world would I want wi-fi on my 3G Verizon storm... I just can't see past the end of my INCREDIBLY SHORT SIGHTED nose to figure out why...

Ebo728

EVERYDAY I'M KICKING MYSELF FOR GETTING THIS BLACKBERRY STORM!!

chrisnz

i use www.orb.com

stream my own tv eps from my desktop to my storm via 3g

bdj6020

What does this app give me in the way of new content that AT&T's cellular video doesn't?

David Boyd

It gives more programming, and the ability to have that content cached on your MicroSD card. It also plays back at a better quality that streaming on CV.

webpmp

http://m.nbc.com/fullepisodes.shtml watch full episodes of popular NBC TV shows like 30 Rock, The Office, Heroes, Medium, and many more. (From rimarkable.com)

I tested with my Bold but had no luck.

David Boyd

Hardly any streaming video sources will work on a BlackBerry right now. The downside to streaming is that you always have to have a data connection, and risk choppy video. PrimeTime2Go downloads the content for you, and you can play it back whenever.

jgbrock

No fast forward, which I thought would be fairly obvious.

Also, it says something about "expires in x days". I haven't figured out if that means a certain program will no longer be available for download in that time or if they are saying I only have so long to watch a program I have downloaded. That last would be a deal breaker.

I guess I am going to have to plug into my computer to see where they are putting the files and see how large they are. The daily show downloaded in 5 minutes or so and plays just fine. It's not hi-def or anything, but it is acceptable. Choice of shows is a bit limited. Who the
fu*k watches that show about that whiny couple with 8 kids anyway? They would have to pay me.

David Boyd

I was told more controls would be added to the interface in the future. Shows do expire on your device. They seems to have about a 2-week lifetime before they expire and delete.

Spanky7#CB

With all the stuff the Storm can do why is this stuff not avalible on the Storm?

Queen4111

Where's the BET channel????????????????

tnewton3

All I can say is WOW, if you get this application for two shows alone it's well worth it. This application is everything I've wanted and more. WOOOOOOOOOHHHOOOOOOO!!

xxxxpradaxxxx

If they get E! Shows I will jump on this so fast my head would Spin.

Cartoon Network... Better Yet... ADULT SWIM SHOWS would make it even more appealing!!!

But until then... Ma' and Pa' channels won't cut it for me.

:'-(

David Boyd

More content is constantly being added as they get agreements in place with the networks. Just be patient.

papped

Would love to see the amazingly high # of people that pay for the first month to see what it's like and then never continue the subscription...

jgbrock

Well I signed up for a month, so I will be exactly that patient.

The only show I signed up for is The daily show and it does not say expires in two to three weeks. It says expires in one day.

Also, the date of the only episode avaiable? two weeks ago. It is a freaking daily comedy/news program. I don't want to see two week old episodes any more than I am likely to Tivo CNN and watch it two weeks later.

Both of those things would have to change before I would allow my subscription to enter month two.

PrimeTime2Go

Hi – expiry dates for episodes are set by individual networks, but usually it’s two weeks. If you have any questions about the service or our content, please visit http://www.primetime2go.com/customer_care.html

KoukiFC3S

Love this app. It works great.

djderricke

As i'm typing this, the latest (and last episode of the season) episode of Lost is downloading.

sfoss

Picked up the most recent two episodes of the Office - they download pretty fast and play nicely. Tho, the 2nd most recent says it expires in 1 day from now...seems unfair that you don't get two weeks from date of download to watch any show.

I imagine it's a similar issue to what jgbrock encountered above with the daily show expiring within a day. I will say that when I accessed that show's section, only a few hrs after that posting, there were quite a few episodes of both the daily show and colbert report up there. They seem to be throwing the content up there as fast as they can.

Like others, I appreciate streaming options for video, but I like the setup of this app - I'd prefer to not be depend on the network during the watching process itself. Airplane, subway, train, long bus ride, etc etc.

nyc_rock

Next time some dumbass wants to tell you why you dont need wifi, point him to this, sling player and every other data sensitive app that the carriers are going to start banning from thier networks.

Sick.

katsaysmoo

i think this is a wonderful little app, and i can't wait for it to be released in canada, for my storm. i would rather spend $10 a month and get only tv shows i enjoy on my phone then pay the retarded prices cable/satellite company's expect us to pay which 90% of the time is infomercials and commercials!

jonsoncal

this is nice device i like it

Anton Wahlman

After I download the program and install it, I get the following error message as soon as I try to open it: "The application PrimeTime2Go has attempted to open a connection to a location inside the firewall and outside the firewall which is not allowed by your IT policy."

I know what you're going to say: "You're on a BES." No! I am not, and I have never been, on a BES. I'm a regular private citizen who is, and has always been, connected ONLY to BIS -- in this case T-Mobile, ever since my 8900 arrived in late January.

What's wrong here? Is there a tech support number? I called T-Mobile but they said that they can't help troubleshoot third-party applications.

PrimeTime2Go

Hi Anton, our application doesn’t generate the message you described. It may have to do with your Wi-Fi settings. First, check to make sure your Wi-Fi is working properly in the browser and then try running PrimeTime2Go. Also, you should have firmware version 4.6.1.114 installed. If there’s still an issue after you check your Wi-Fi and firmware, please go to http://www.primetime2go.com/customer_care.html to give us more information so we can help you.

waltjk42

I could be wrong but is May the best time to roll this out? With the lack of programming on during the summer, I can't see starting a subscription before the new tv season starts.

When o when are all of us nascar fans going to get something to view on the races/

man that would be great to see a race live streaming or even at another time vie my verizon storm.

jgbrock

There are a few things I don't like...

what's up with this expiration time? sort of ruins the whole save up a weeks worth of John Stewart and watch it on the plane plan.

Why can't I fast forward?

Lastly, I was watching an episode at lunch today and I needed to make a call. So I stopped the video, minimized the app and made my call. When I hung up, the video started playing again by itself and it would not let me stop it again. Could get no response from any keys. Finally had to pull the battery. Once the BB was restarted, the video would not play at all. Had to delete it. I tried this again, out of curiousity, and got the same behavior. I am no expert, but I am calling that a bug.