Monday, January 5, 2009

Watching stuff online - Joost.com

I've mostly been watching TV (especially anime) online through Hulu.com - most recently, I've been watching Mushi-Shi. However, Mushi-Shi is so pretty, I can't help but want it. I've already watched two episodes, and I know it's one I want to buy. I'm really short on money, however, and Mushi-Shi's a 26-episode series and probably won't be cheap. For the time being, I've stopped watching it, so that I can make myself forget that I want it for a while. I know, that must sound odd, but it often works.

I have to distract myself with something else however, so I moved on to evaluating Joost.com. No, I haven't watched the final three episodes of Black Blood Brothers yet (I'm putting that off for the same reasons I'm putting off Mushi-Shi - it's painful, but I've been doing stuff like this for six years, so I'm kind of used to it), but I did re-watch the first episode, which is one of my favorites. I also watched the first episode of Angelic Layer on Joost.

Since I'd seen this episode of Black Blood Brothers on Hulu, I was able to notice that the same episode on Joost had lower quality video. Unlike Hulu, which allows viewers to switch to higher resolution (thereby making full screen viewing much less nauseating), what you see is what you get with Joost - the slight blurriness was especially horrible to deal with during the action scenes. Joost seems to have the same number of commercial breaks during the episode. Unfortunately, unlike Hulu, there's no option to vote whether you hate or like a commercial (I couldn't believe how satisfying it was to be able to say I hated something), and, more importantly, there's nothing that tells you how long the commercial will be. Hulu, at least, lets you know how many more seconds have to go by before you can watch the show again.

My viewpoint with Angelic Layer was a little different than with Black Blood Brothers, because I haven't watched it on Hulu. In fact, I couldn't watch it on Hulu - it's not among Hulu's selection of shows. While Hulu and Joost do have some overlap, each site has shows that the other one doesn't. Regardless of any deficiencies Joost may have (and I still think it's the lesser of the two sites), it's worth visiting just to see the shows it has that Hulu doesn't. That said, Angelic Layer was, like Black Blood Brothers, a bit blurry when viewed full screen. However, it seems to only have commercials at the beginnings of episodes. I'd have to watch a greater variety of shows to tell for sure, but it looks like the number of commercial breaks an episode has depends on what show it is - this is different from my experience on Hulu, which seems to have the same number of commercial breaks no matter what you're watching (once again, I'd have to watch a greater variety of shows to be sure about this).

Overall, I still prefer Hulu. I like its video quality better, I prefer the way it handles commercials (even if it does seem to have more of them), and I like a greater number of its anime titles. However, I still plan to use Joost. As I've mentioned, it has all the episodes of Black Blood Brothers, while Hulu does not (and I'm going to continue to resist them, darn it). Also, I really like what I've seen of Angelic Layer so far - I had always thought it looked kind of generic and boring, but it's turned out to be really cute and funny (and potentially very exciting). My favorite lines so far:

"There he is! He's the one! He's the one who took the little girl away with him by force!" (This is funnier if you know the context.)

and

"So here's your penalty: ten minutes with a live octopus in your pants!"

Angelic Layer, like Black Blood Brothers, is only available on Joost in English dub. The voices aren't too awful, even if the script is kind of awkward.

Anyway, there you have it, my dinky comparison of Joost and Hulu.

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