VONGO...is it worth the money?

Posted by Jason Triplett Friday, July 07, 2006

Today we look at VONGO, a new internet pay service offering films and "shows". What many people don't know right off the bat is that VONGO is owned and operated by Starz Inc. That means that you will only have access to whatever films Starz has under license when you pay for the service. Additionally, when Starz loses the rights to whatever film, you lose access to it.

They don't go out of their way to tell you this information either. When you sign up, you are notified outright of these things, but upon watching their TV ads or visiting their website, the Starz name is nowhere to be seen. Don't get me wrong, Starz Inc. is a great network of channels with great movies. They have come a long way since their meager beginnings. However, it seems a bit shady up front that the first time they really mention Starz to you is when you actually sign up.

The service is $9.99 a month, and includes unlimited downloads of whatever films Starz has under it's belt at the time. The films can be watched while they download, but people may see the standard pausing of the film for buffering when doing this. While subscribed to the service, VONGO says that you can transfer the flms to removable devices like video iPods, but only while the movie is under rights to Starz. So I ask, does this mean that you must constantly check the Starz catalogue to make sure your current copy of Deuce Bigalow is legal? I suspect that when they lose license to a film, they would notify you of this fact so that you don't inadvertently break the law.

The service also offers a pay-per-view service, though it's not the type of pay-per-view offered by your local cable or satelite provider. Basically VONGO offers users who do not pay the $9.99 monthly fee an opportunity to download select films from their library for $3.99 a pop. So in a nutshell, you can't order the latest Roy Jones fight through this service.

You can also watch Starz live through VONGO, which is also in a streaming format. However, the quality is not as awesome as they claim. It is actually below VHS quality in most cases due to the format that they use to stream the films. If you watch these films on a small screened portable device, you probably won't notice much. However when viewed in full screen on your PC you may feel like you are watching a mediorce quality pirated film.

Last but not least is their program itself. The VONGO program is indeed a small file size like they claim, and has numerous features to make you feel like you've got your money's worth. For example, the program uses targeted marketing, which will recommend specific films for you depending on what you view the most. You can also check out reviews and info for almost every film in their database.

All in all, this is an ok beginning for VONGO. It's more convenient than NetFlix because you can download as much as you want whenever you want, no need to send stuff off and wait for the next one to get there. On the flip side, the library is simply too small to compete with a mainstream video rental company, whether online or in a brick and mortar location.

I suggest anyone considering VONGO try out the 14 day free trial, or simply sign up for the free non pay account just so you can have a look at what they have to offer. You may not find what they have to offer worthy of the $9.99 a month.

Source: http://www.vongo.com

1 Comment
  1. Anonymous Said,

    I downloaded Vongo 3 days ago. After carefully looking at their FULL menu of movies (which is very hard to do), and seeing little to keep me as a customer, I decided to cancel the service and stop them from processing my cc after the 14 day free-look.The site itself does not allow cancellations! You have to scroll carefully through the TOS to find their CS 800#. I called them and they were resistant (as is the website when you hit the "cancel service" button. Up pops a "now why would you want to do that?) Then tells you instructions to do so are in the TOS. I called them and they tried to discourage me from cancelling. I was steadfast, so she said she cancleed me. I still don't think they did it right and another ten days will tell if I'm correct. BUT HERE'S THE REAL KICKER: to get rid of the download, you have to do the "delete programs-apps" thing on the Control Panel (PC). No problem! BUT, doing so screwed up my laptop and the program won't erase, and keeps a circular, "trying to gather information" schtick going that cannot be erased from sight!You can slide the dialogue box nearly off-screen, but it's always there! and not erasable! AND FOR THE KICKER: Vongo can't be reached for tech support, or even get the CS 800# again, except thru the website and only if you're a customer! So, I will keep trying to find the CS 800 # and google doesn't have it!and it's buried in the TOS that you have to provide a cc info to get to! USING A DIFFERENT PC, I TRIED TO GET THERE. BUT, WHEN I ENTERED MY EMAIL ADDRESS TO GET TO THE WEBSITE, VONGO'S PROGRAMS WOULD NOT ALLOW MY ENTRY! SOMETHING'S VERY MUCH AMISS HERE. AND I'M CONCERNED MY LAPTOP HAS BEEN DAMAGED!OR THAT I WILL HAVE TO TAKE IT TO AN EXPERT, PAY $100. AND HAVE THEM TAKE A WHACK AT IT!BTW, MY LAPTOP IS VERY HIGH SPEED AND MORE THAN ROBUST TO HANDLE THEIR PROGRAM.

    Posted on 4:24 PM


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