Drama Fever Review

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It’s not exactly common to see media apps release on the PlayStation Vita anymore.  However, the good thing is that most of the apps that do release end up being compatible with the PlayStation TV, along with being void of any finicky touch controls.  To clarify, I’m talking about streaming services when I say “Media Apps”.  I’m talking about apps like Hulu Plus, Crunchyroll, and Netflix.  No, the Netflix app still doesn’t work on the PSTV, but the newest app does.

The newest media app is something I’d not heard of before and didn’t release but a week or two ago.  I’ve never heard of it before because it’s not a Western service.  It’s actually a Korean streaming service, which will undoubtedly make this review more interesting.  So, let’s go!  Here’s my review of the PS Vita app for the streaming service, Drama Fever!

Functionality

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Drama Fever is an application that connects to the DramaFever streaming service.  Basically, it is a streaming service that allows users to stream and watch Korean drama TV shows.  Everyone should already be familiar with the idea.  It’s basically a Korean version of Hulu Plus.

As far as streaming services go, Drama Fever is very similar to Hulu.  You open up the app and can scroll/search for the show of your choosing.  You can use the search feature to find something specific or you can scrolling through the main page, which separated them into categories and genres.  Obviously, everything is drama but some have different sub genres like fantasy among others.

One thing to note is that there is a membership feature present here but it is more of a “premium” type of feature. Being a paid user allows you to save shows to your favorites, much like Netflix can do.  It also gives you a wider library to choose from.  Being much smaller in higher library size compared to other streaming services, the cost of being a premium member isn’t very much.  For United States users, it’s about $12/year.

That’s not very much at all.  Hulu and Netflix are almost as much as that for just one month.  But there lies the size. Drama Fever has about 15,000 episodes at its disposal. That’s not all that much compared to other services but could be worth he money.  On the flip side, some of that content is available to guests that don’t have an account.  Aside from content, paid users have ad-free streaming.

That’s about all there is to it.  There is also the ability to do free trials of the premium accounts, but it’s nice to see a streaming service that also has some nice options for people who don’t want to pay.  If you like Korean dramas, though, it’s only twelve bucks for a year.  That’s cheap.

Interface

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As far as the interface is concerned, anyone who has used Hulu on the Vita should be very familiar with the format.  A lot of it is practically copy and pasted from that app and it’s not a bad thing.  The way these streaming services are designed on mobile and handhelds work well.

You have options at the top of the page with the login and search options.  In the body of the screen you have rows of shows you can choose from.  Selecting any of these will open a similarly-designed menu with episodes of that show.  You can then just navigate and select something to watch.  If it is exclusive to premium, it will you as you try to launch it.

Once an episode loads, you will have a little navigation bar at the bottom of they go stream that disappears once you start watching for a few seconds,  when you hit a button, it will come back up.

As you can speculate from the intro of this reive, there are no touch controls for the app.  Everything is handled by the D-Pad, face buttons, and triggers.  The directional buttons can navigate menus, the face buttons for selecting, canceling, or adding shows to your favorites, and the triggers for fast forward and rewind en you in the middle of streaming.

I honestly don’t have any problems with the interface. It’s a bit cliche, because it looks exactly like some of the others streaming apps on hitherto Vita, but it works quit well.  Even better than other apps, as the next section can explain.

Performance

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It’s no exaggeration to say that a lot of media apps don’t run that well on the PS Vita.  The MLB TV app runs streams fine, but the actual interface is a little glitchy, and Hulu Plus has a ton of lag in the menus.  Netflix has similar lag in the menus, and it can get pretty severe at times.  So, the first order of business is finding out if this app runs well or if it struggles.

The answer is a little different.  Does it run great?  No.  Does it run bad?  No.  Does it run good?  Yes.  Here’s the run-down of the situation with how the app runs.  The initial boot time is about 10 seconds, which is pretty good for this sort of thing.  So we’re looking pretty good there, at least in terms of it being a PS Vita app.  Sure, some more impatient gamers won’t want to wait 10 seconds, but there are far worse wait times for Vita software.  So 10 seconds to boot is a nice job done by the Drama Fever team.

Cycling the menu is where the main mishap is, and it’s not a big one.  The menu lag that was in Hulu Plus and Netflix are here as well.  However, it’s not nearly as severe in Drama Fever.  There is about a half-second lag between putting in a command to cycle the menu and the cursor moving to that next section.  Whether this is the app struggling or input lag, I don’t know.  It’s very slight, so it’s pretty hard to tell.

Actual streaming runs nicely.  You don’t have to wait more than maybe 5 seconds before the streams start, and they have a nice quality about them.  Really, the only complaint I have about the performance is that slight menu lag.

Summary

Drama Fever is a service many of you have probably never heard of, but one you should at least give a try.  There is a little menu lag, but overall, this is a good app for the Vita for any of you media streaming aficionados or fans of Korean Drama. 

9/10

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