Now that things have settled into place after the addition of Kocowa, we decided to do an updated review of the site, as well as it’s competitors, so that our readers (as well as ourselves) can find the drama watching plan that works best. So come join us as we chat all the pros and cons between drama streaming sites Kocowa, Viki, Netflix, & Dramafever.
Kmuse: I love how fast the subs are released on Kocowa. It is actually the #1 selling point for me. Especially since Viki’s subbing speed has decreased significantly. With my busier schedule I don’t have the time to wait two or three days for subs. Especially if I am reviewing it for the blog.
Dramarookie: I get to watch Running Man a day earlier now! And I appreciate that they have the Taste24 option where you can watch for free, if you can remember to catch it in the first 24 hours after they release it.
Karie the Maknae: It’s the faster subbing that sold me too. When we were recapping While You Were Sleeping, one of the episode’s subs got delayed on Viki and it was driving me nuts. I took the plunge and haven’t regretted it.
Kdrama Jen: I find myself spending the majority of my time on Kocowa. They sub quickly and the quality of the subs is very good.
Kmuse: I am a huge fan of Chinese dramas as well as Korean. Which means I would still need to use the other sites to get my Cdrama fix. Which of course means more money. The struggle between my drama addiction and funds for that addiction are real.
Dramarookie: Money, money, money, money. (Imagine me singing this to the tune by the O’Jays.) I only have so much of the green stuff. Dramafever and Viki already get their slice and I just don’t want to shell out more for a site that I can’t watch on my Roku. I know they are finally available on Chromecast, but again, buying a new machine would cost money, money, money, money.
Telzeytalks: I agree about the money problem; paying for too many sites is prohibitive. Kocowa is actually rather limited because although it has the three big Korean networks, it doesn’t have the cable shows or any from other countries. So you can’t get everything in one place. I actually watch with other people using Apple TV and a projector, but Kocowa doesn’t support that, so I’m out.
Karie the Maknae: Yes, it’s more money, but I still find $7/month to be reasonable. What bugs me is that my viewing history isn’t readily available, especially on the mobile platform. It’s not that hard to search the show I’m watching and see what I’ve already watched, but I appreciate that Viki and DramaFever already have that front and center for me.
Kdrama Jen: I wish there was an app on my Roku and I think the way the site is organized is not user-friendly. I find myself wasting prime drama-watching-time searching for the next episode. Paying for another streaming site does not make me happy, but even with a subscription to three sites, I still spend less per month on my hobby compared to my friends who golf, pay for a gym membership (I watch while on the treadmill), or collect Precious Moment figurines.
Kmuse: They have a lot of content. Especially when it comes to the newest Chinese dramas. They also have the Kocowa shows available (although you have to pay extra to access this feature.)
Dramarookie: They are the only ones that have almost all the K-dramas now. They’ve really edged Dramafever out by making a deal with Kocowa.
Telzeytalks: I pay for the regular Viki package and there is usually something for me to watch. They have Grand Prince, and they had Just Between Lovers and Hwayugi while they were airing. There are also a lot of Chinese dramas like The Flame’s Daughter.
Karie the Maknae: I like that Viki is keeping up with the current content. They do a great job with the subs and I feel like they’re more accurate — putting in titles like “hyung” and “oppa” instead of calling someone by their name, when that is CLEARLY not what is being said.
Dramarookie (again): Great point, Maknae! It annoys me to no end that Dramafever doesn’t trust the viewers to know what “oppa” means. Even when you first start watching dramas, you pick up things like that pretty quick.
Kdrama Jen: I am also an avid Chinese drama fan, so I like that Viki tends to have more Chinese dramas to explore. I do tend to think Viki subs are more accurate as well.
Kmuse: Slow subs! UGH, I can’t explain how much the slow subs annoy me. And before people start yelling that it is all volunteers I would like to point out that my subscription plan doubled in price which means I should be getting something for my money. Especially since it is double what I spend anywhere else (except for Netflix). To add insult to injury I now can’t seem to get the streaming site to stream in HD. According to the site it says that it streams at the best quality for your internet service. But since I don’t have the same issues with any other streaming sites I call foul. And the fact that they took off the viewers ability to choose their streaming quality makes me suspicious.
Dramarookie: This may be a temporary issue, but I’ve had trouble loading the site this week. Which stinks, since I’m on Spring Break and doing a LOT of binge watching.
Telzeytalks: It is pretty frustrating that there are so many locked shows. You need the upgraded Kokowa version to see most of the new ones like Radio Romance, Should We Kiss First or Mystery Queen 2. You would think that since they are owned by Rakuten, a Japanese company, that Viki would have a lot of Japanese dramas but they don’t. There are not many newer ones – the last one was I Am Reiko Shiratori – and a lot of the old ones are horror shows, which I am not interested in.
Karie the Maknae: It really bothers me that the subbers aren’t getting paid. If the price has increased, then the subbers, who do a phenomenal amount of work, should see some return. It seems to me that since they’re working on a volunteer basis, that’s what slows the subbing down.
Kdrama Jen: I feel like Viki used to sub very quickly. Recently, I have found they have slowed way down. I end up watching some shows when they are not fully subbed. I formally studied Chinese, so I can usually get away with 50% subbed when watching the Chinese shows, but not when they are at 2% for days. I need Korean shows to be at least 80%. I am finding my impulsive nature is causing me to miss some major plot points!
Kmuse: They have increased the amount of Chinese dramas they carry which I like. They also occasionally buy the rights to TvN dramas. They also have a downloading function available if you buy their year subscription. I did this recently and love this added bonus. It makes watching dramas during long boring trips super easy.
Telzeytalks: They have a great backlog of famous older shows and some of the newer ones although not as many. I watched I’m Not a Robot here while it was airing and they have Evergreen, Misty, and Go Go Waikiki. They also have quite a few Chinese dramas like Nirvana in Fire II and Tribes and Empires.
Karie the Maknae: DramaFever will always be my one true love, because that’s where Goblin is. I like their user interface better, and I’m pretty happy with what they have available.
Dramarookie: I like that they have all the old, early episodes of Running Man, aaaaaaand . . . hmmmmmmm. What else?
Kdrama Jen: I think this site is very user-friendly. They tend
to get more TVN dramas, so I keep coming back for those. They also have movies and the ability to download, which makes a few days away from WiFi much more appealing! I also appreciate a convenient Roku app.
Kmuse: Their Korean simulcasting content has suffered greatly since Netflix and Kocowa have entered the picture. They only have one or two kdramas airing at a time. So if this is all you watch than you might be left wanting.
Dramarookie: It’s sad that I couldn’t add more to the Pros section for Dramafever. In the past, it was like the Cadillac of drama providers, even holding their own awards ceremony with Kim Jong Kook. But now their K-programming is almost non-existent. I don’t like C-dramas. The dubbing. The penchant for tragic endings. They just don’t appeal to me. It really feels like DF missed the boat on this one.
Telzeytalks: They aren’t getting as many new Korean shows and they don’t have new Japanese shows, although they do have a couple of famous historicals like Ryomaden.
Karie the Maknae: I’ve noticed that I definitely use DramaFever more for the older shows. If it’s new, I have to go somewhere else.
Kdrama Jen: Subs are slow, the content is not as appealing as it once was, and I am finding the app crashing frequently.
Kmuse: Sometimes it is nice just being able to sit back and binge watch a whole show. Netflix makes this easier than anywhere else and the quality is always top notch. I also appreciate that they are bringing tons of Chinese and Korean movies (and even a few Japanese films) available to the masses. Getting Asian movies legally can sometimes be hard.
Telzeytalks: Netflix tends to provide completed television series. Newer Korean dramas they have are Black and Prison Playbook. My favorite one here would be Stranger.
Karie the Maknae: I like Netflix because I know how to work it! And there are some dramas on there that I haven’t seen offered on other streaming sites. I haven’t watched them yet, so I don’t know if that’s a pro or not.
Kdrama Jen: I like that Netflix is introducing a whole new group of people to Kdramas. My friends are calling me up and telling me about a show they stumbled upon while watching Netflix. That’s pretty cool!
Kmuse: If you are a simulcast viewer like I am, it can be very difficult to wait the three to five months for a drama to show up on Netflix. At least in the US, they like to make us wait for the whole show so it can be binged. Since they have grabbed up the rights to a lot of cable content (TvN, OCN, Jtbc) it can be frustrating.
Dramarookie: Do I have to sing again? Money, money . . . you get the picture. I already pay for two other services and Netflix is one of the priciest. It would be a lot of cash for the few specific dramas that they carry.
Telzeytalks: The Japanese dramas they have tend to be Netflix specials like Dad of Light rather than popular shows from this season. They have some Chinese dramas but the newest ones I saw were The Disguiser and Ice Fantasy.
Karie the Maknae: Netflix was already in my budget, since my whole family uses it. The con would be that I don’t want to pay extra to make it available on two screens. (#firstworldproblems) I hate having to wait for a series to show up too.
Kdrama Jen: I like to watch dramas as they air, so I can talk about them with my friends in Korea. I also have a binge-watching problem, so if the whole series is available, then I will not sleep or be productive.
What we are using personally:
Kmuse: What can I say… I am a total addict and I need it all. Right now I am using all the various services and am happy. My only complaint would be for Viki charging so much for slow subs. It pisses me off whenever I think about it.
Dramarookie: I use Viki and DF, but am still open to change. I hate the thought of dropping DF, but if their Korean content doesn’t pick up, it is still an option. And once Kocowa gets a Roku app their appeal will definitely grow.
Telzeytalks: I subscribe to Viki, Dramafever, and Netflix. I just decided that was enough platforms and I could watch what was available. There are enough older show I haven’t seen that I can enjoy, and wait for new ones to come out when they are finished airing.
Karie the Maknae: I’m just as addicted as Kmuse — I use them all!
Kdrama Jen: I am also a multi-platform user. I subscribe to all of these sites, but Vlive for Kpop content. What can I say? It’s my hobby!
Til next time,
Dramas With A Side of Kimchi