Here Are The Top 4 Best Streaming Platforms In Malaysia
If there’s one favourite leisurely past-time Malaysians love doing, other than eating and shopping is that we enjoy the latest TV shows and movies. According to the Internet Users Survey 2016 by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), 70.9% of internet users in Malaysia stream videos and watch online TV as their preferred leisure activity online.
This has led to the rise in streaming sites in Malaysia, where we are now spoilt for choices on where to watch our favourite shows and movies. However, not all streaming platforms are created equal, which means you have to choose which one best caters to you and your entertainment needs.
|Netflix from the US offers family-friendly TV shows and movies, which include original Netflix shows such as Stranger Things and Okja.||iflix is a home-grown streaming site that offers international and Asian TV shows and movies, such as local movie like KL Zombi and the Cicakman Trilogy, or Korean movies like Train to Busan and A Werewolf Boy.||Viu first began in Hong Kong and has been available in Malaysia since 2016. Viu offers mainly Asian shows, especially Japanese, Korean and Chinese entertainment.||Hailed as Malaysia's first and largest home-grown video streaming service, tonton offers local shows and popular local viral videos as well.|
However, with so many choices, which platform caters best to your entertainment needs? Here are a few factors that will help you decide:
This is the make it or break it moment for many streaming services in Malaysia. So here’s how much you need to pay to get full or better access!
How much is the monthly subscription?
|Basic||Standard||Premium||Monthly Access||Gold/Premium Membership||Monthly VIP Access|
|RM33||RM42||RM51||RM10/RM96 per year||RM10||RM10/RM96 per year|
Netflix is currently the most expensive streaming service in Malaysia. If you go with their premium plan, that’s RM612 a year, whereas iflix and tonton give you the option to subscribe for a year and pay RM96 only, saving RM24 in the process. That’s a win for both iflix and tonton.
Not keen to open an account or pay and still want to check out their content? It’s possible only with viu, where most of the contents are available for free, but you will have to deal with ads for most of the shows. Some of these free shows include Goblin, Descendants of the Sun, Fight for my Way. Currently, only viu provides free access to content, but with ads.
Watching for free
Want to try out these streaming services but don’t want to fork out the monthly subscription? You may be entitled to a free subscription!
Many internet service providers and telcos are offering free subscriptions for your preferred streaming service.
|N/A||Unifi and Streamyx users can get one year free||Unifi and Streamyx users can get three months free||U Mobile users can get free viewing|
|Digi users can get up to 5GB free data and free premium membership for RM5 per month||Digi users can get up to 5GB free data and freepremium membership for RM5 per month|
|MaxisONE 158 and 128 subscribers can get iflix for just RM1 for a year’s subscription||MaxisONE 158 subscribers can get viu for just RM1 for a year’s subscription|
|MaxisONE Home users with a 30MB subscription and above get iflix free for life|
UniFi and Streamyx users have been able to access iflix and viu for free. For viu, they will have unlimited access for as long as they are UniFi or Streamyx subscribers, while for iflix users, they will get up to one year free access, with some users being extended until the end of the year too. MaxisONE Home has also recently added on iflix in their list, with all users having free access to iflix for life!
Although Netflix currently doesn’t have any free subscription partnership with any providers, TM has recently announced a partnership with Netflix, where TM subscribers will also be Netflix subscribers and enjoy its library of content. However, no further details have been released since the announcement in August this year. Until then, if you want to enjoy Netflix, you will probably have to pay for its subscription.
Telcos have been offering free subscriptions for a limited time with regional players such as iflix, viu and tonton. Digi users have up to 5GB of data to watch iflix and viu, and it seems that tonton will soon be on the list too. U Mobile users will be able to stream from tonton with unlimited streaming data at extra charges! Whereas for Maxis, those subscribed to the MaxisONE 158 plan can get both iflix and viu for free for just RM1 per year, along with Spotify. Those in the MaxisONE 128 subscription can get only iflix and Spotify for RM1 per year.
While tonton wins based on the fact that no charges are incurred if you’re a U Mobile users, iflix and viu stands out as there are more options with Unifi packages, Digi and Maxis. But for the one that saves you the most, it’s iflix’s partnership with Unifi/Streamyx.
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Creating an account on the streaming site of your choice should be a breeze. Thankfully some of these sites make it possible by allowing you to sign up using your Facebook or Google account. But this may not be the case for all platforms.
Netflix is the only platform that requires you to select your preferred package by keying in your email, password and credit card details. Although you are required to provide your card details, the first month of subscription will be free, and a reminder email will be sent to you when the free trial is about to end to inform you when they will begin charging your credit card.
While tonton also gives you the option to use your Facebook or Google account to log in instantly, it is not recommended as you will encounter a number of errors, as experienced by this writer. A quick chat with their help centre explained that using the email route is recommended for first-time users, and only after that, they can log in via their preferred choice of Facebook or Google.
The winners for this category goes to both iflix and viu, as they offer the most fuss-free registration process.
As there’s always something to differentiate their products compared to the competitors in the industry. Just like most things, there is no one best streaming platform that is perfect for everyone.
The trick is to find out what your preference is, and compare the content from different platforms. Content makes one of the most important factors in this decision-making process. Here we compare the content offered by these four platforms:
What content do they offer?
|• Original Netflix |
• Popular Hollywood
TV series and
• Limited Asian shows
• Original and
popular English kids
|• Asian content from |
the region, such as
Korean, Thai and
• Selected Hollywood
TV shows and
• English kids shows
|• Asian entertainment |
such as Japanese,
Chinese and local
TV shows and
|• Local TV shows
• Selected viral
• Local and English
If you’re into hit Hollywood movies and TV shows, then you can narrow down your option to Netflix and iflix. However, if Korean drama flows in your veins, then your best bet would be viu and iflix.
However, if you want a little bit of everything, iflix wins hands down. If you live for Netflix original shows and movies such as Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, then Netflix is the only place to go.
Streaming TV shows and movies can often be limited to your computer, especially since not all of them offer apps to watch them on your smartphone or tablet. Even if they do, they may not have a friendly interface across all types of device.
This is why people still opt for legal streaming services, so they can have a fuss-free streaming experience. It’s important to recognise which device is the most convenient for you and evaluate your options based on that.
Compatible streaming devices
|Smart TV||Yes||Yes (Certain Samsung only)||No||No|
|Game console i.e. PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One||Yes||No||No||No|
As long as you have a computer, smartphone or tablet, watching your favourite show on any of these streaming sites is possible. All of them are available on their website and via apps for both Android and iOS. With Google Chromecast, you will be able to mirror the shows on your TV.
Netflix is the only one that is available for streaming on game consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation, while iflix is available on the Samsung Smart TV and also the HyppTV modem.
Although Netflix and iflix are the most flexible on how you stream your content, it’s best you choose one that offers the option that is most convenient for you. If you mostly stream your shows on your phone during your commute to work, then you don’t really need to select a platform that streams on game consoles.
Platforms like viu and tonton are perfectly capable of that.
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What’s the point of getting a streaming site if it doesn’t make you want to binge watch all day? Okay, even if you’re not into binge-watching, you would still want these streaming sites to be easy to use and keeping you constantly entertained with great recommendations on shows that you like.
|User interface||Black background, easier on the eyes||Black background, easier on the eyes||Black to gray background, easier on the eyes||White background, harder to see|
|Information on content||Trailer and summary available||Trailer and summary available||No trailer and summary available||No trailer and summary available|
|Recommendation||Based on shows you saved first||Based on watching preference first||Arranges shows on popularity first||Arranges shows on popularity first|
|HD||Yes (for standard and premier subscription)||Yes (selected titles)||Yes (selected titles)||Yes|
|Offline viewing||Yes (limited to certain series)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Streaming on multiple devices||1 to 4 devices depending on package||2||2||4|
|Size of app on Android device||52MB||673MB||20MB||15MB|
|Minimum broadband speed for standard definition||3mbps||3mbps||N/A||2mbps|
A black background is a lot easier on the eyes as it showcases content better. This was evident for all Netflix, iflix and viu. Netflix recommends shows based on what you have watched, or saved to watch, while iflix and viu go by your favourite categories, feeding you with shows that may pique your interest.
Another factor to consider is whether or not the show they’re recommending is worth your time, and this is where trailers and summaries come in. Most of them have it, except for viu, which lacks any form of trailer or summary.
Thankfully, all streaming sites offer the ability to watch it in HD; except Netflix if you’re on their basic subscription (which is the cheapest subscription). For viu and tonton, you can choose your preferred frame per second (FPS) according to your streaming ability, whereas iflix has HD for selected titles, and doesn’t have the option to change the FPS.
Other options to look out for include offline viewing, which is important for those who would want to save data when they are on-the-go. All of them have the option to download offline, but Netflix has limited titles which allow you to do so.
Netflix and tonton allow you to stream up to four screens at the same time on their premium subscription for the former and a VIP member for the latter!
If you are an app user, it’s worthy to note that iflix has the biggest file size of Android app.
And if Internet speed is an issue for you, tonton may be your choice of streaming service as it is the only one that takes as low as 2mbps for standard viewing. While others require a little higher than that for seamless viewing.
And the winner is…
As each streaming platform offers different unique selling points, it will be quite difficult to choose the best for every one. For example, if you are looking for Hollywood entertainment, iflix would win, as it offers a variety of content that caters to international and local interest, it’s affordable and convenient. It is also cheaper and a lot easier to get a free subscription for trial.
However, for those who have the K-drama fever, viu has to be your number one streaming site. It offers all you need to satisfy your oppa fever, and you can even watch for free (if you don’t mind the ads). tonton, on the other hand, is more one dimensional, where most of the content is local content. If you are a fan of that, then it’s definitely light on your wallet.
Despite being the most expensive, Netflix is still widely popular among Malaysians because of its original and much newer content! However, if you are thinking of subscribing, it’s best for you to check what shows are available for the Malaysian market to ensure your favourite shows are included.
A streaming site is only as good as your internet connection. Whatever your choice is, it’s important to have a stable and speedy internet connection to satisfy your streaming needs. If you are thinking of upgrading your home broadband, check out iMoney’s broadband plans comparison to help you narrow down your options.