SonyLIV is the digital platform to watch TV Shows, Live TV, Sports, Music, and Bollywood movies online by Sony Pictures Network (SPN) that broadcasts directly to the consumer at any time through a video-on-demand service.
What’s in store?
There is a hint of both Bollywood & Hollywood Movies, ranging from Bahubali 2, PK, Sachin, Queen etc. in Bollywood to Spiderman Homecoming, Lincoln, A Few Good Men, and other Hollywood Selects. Sadly, none of the movies is available for free. You have to either buy a premium subscription or watch the selected movies for rent.
However, the TV shows come in free! SonyLIV offers some of the most famous Indian TV Shows for free such as The Kapil Sharma Show, Super Dancer, CID, Crime Patrol, & Taarak Mehta!
There’s also a lot to explore if you like to watch sports online, such as Basketball (NBA), Tennis, Football, etc.
On the other hand, if you consider yourself a foodie, or like cooking, you’ll get hooked to the videos of Indian, American, Italian, & Chinese delicacies, with a pinch of Indian spice and one of the best chefs of India – Sanjeev Kapoor, Ajay Chopra, etc.
There is a wide range of Live TV Channels to choose from too! You may watch Sony SET, Food Food, Animax, Sony SAB, Sony Wah, Sony Max, and a few channels that are available after paying – Sony BBC Earth, Sony Mix, etc.
However, in this review of SonyLIV let’s check out the website and app experience, compatibility, video quality, and everything else it has to offer.
Website & App Interface
SonyLIV’s website look & feel is simple and gives you a handful of action items. You can click on the categories of Shows, Movies, Sports or LIV Food to explore the videos in each category.
You don’t need to sign in if you are only browsing the website, or watching the free content available.
The problem induces when you try to do something extra; meaning the features that are only available after buying a premium subscription, such as adding items to the list, watching movies, etc.
You get a notification to sign up or login before doing any such activity.
The same is the case with the mobile app.
It’s easy to browse, but the advertisements below the screen are a pain. Therefore, I’d give the app and website experience as 7/10.
Range of Movies, TV Shows, Live Channels
Well, SonyLIV boasts of 700+ Movies and over 40,000 hours of TV shows content in genres of Comedy, Crime, Drama, etc.
There are a handful of ten Live TV Channels available such as Sony SET, SAB, MAX, etc. but only two of them seem to be free!
Also, there is something for everybody to explore on SonyLIV.
There are shows available for kids; you can watch Live Sports, or enjoy some originals produced by Sony.
All the Kaun Banega Crorepati fans, you can revisit the whole KBC 2017 for free!
However, the collection of free content, especially movies is nothing as compared to other competitors in India such as Yupp TV.
However, SonyLIV beats others when it comes to variety. There are music channels such as Sony MIX and Rox that provide the consumer with trending as well as classic/old music.
Therefore, I’d give the range an 8/10.
Video – Quality, Buffering, Player Options
Well, the buffering is entirely internet-speed-dependent. I think a minimum speed of 1 Mbps connection would be sufficient to load videos seamlessly.
The Video Player and Quality customisation are quite bad. You can’t select the video quality; it will stream on its own based on the internet connection. There are no subtitles. You cannot control the player to play forward or backwards by any means except for using the mouse. The FAQ section seems to know about it, and they assure you that the functionality will be added.
The sound quality also differs based on the internet speed.
The whole video buffering to watching experience is filled with advertisements. The in-between ads do not even show in the buffering bar and appear out of nowhere. There is also a wait of 10 seconds for any video to start playing.
Also, the app is filled with advertisements too.
Therefore, it’s a 6/10 for overall video parameters.
SonyLIV is available on the following platforms:
They claim to be coming to Apple TV as well.
The rating seems irrelevant regarding compatibility as almost all media providers are now available on all platforms.
Pricing & Registration
The pricing structure to become a premium member depends upon the validity of subscription as:
It’s not much of a burden on the pocket as Rs. 49 per month is quite a good deal for the kind of content SonyLIV offers. Also, the yearly subscription costs only Rs. 420, which is much less, as compared to Rs. 999 per year for Amazon Prime, or Rs. 500 per month for Netflix. Well, of course, Netflix and Amazon Prime are giants in digital media. Sony’s portal, on the other hand, is only good for Live TV & Shows in Regional Languages.
You can buy the subscription pack by going to the website and selecting the “Premium” header. Or you can go to any video that requires a premium subscription, and it will redirect you to create your account.
Once you are a member, you can follow videos or add to your list, you can also access hundreds of movies and TV shows only available for a premium customer.