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ALTBalaji (IN)

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altbalaji.com

It is beginning to feel as if every single day I hear about a new Over The Top (OTT) premium streaming service. Every company in the world wants in on this thriving industry. I can’t say I blame them either – if you can provide the right content to the right people at the right time, there are relatively easy billions of dollars to be made by launching a premium streaming site of your own.

The question, then, becomes ‘how does a new streaming site differentiate themselves in this already oversaturated market?’ In other words, what is it that a newer streaming service can do to make themselves stand out from the crowd? What can a streaming site provide to its users that can potentially inspire them to make room in their monthly entertainment budget for yet another premium streaming site?

In my opinion, new streaming services have to do quite a bit to get my attention. I am fairly happy with my array of subscriptions. Between Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and HBO Max, I think that I can confidently say that I am able to see just about everything that I want to see. And if I am ever at a loss, well, there are plenty of free movie and free TV streaming sites out there that I can try out as well.

For me, in order to really grab my attention with your new TV and movie streaming site, I think what it really boils down to is high-quality original content. To get me to consider rerouting my money and funding your streaming site with it, you need to truly wow me with plenty of original TV series and movies – content that I cannot find anywhere else.

Whether you release your shows weekly and you are able to keep me on the edge of my seat, waiting for the next episode to come out or you drop entire seasons at once that make me drop everything else that I have going on in order to binge the new season of one of my favorite shows … original content is everything. Netflix knows this, too, which is why they have been, over the last several years, moving gradually towards an all ‘original content’ streaming model.

Perhaps no country in the world has such a rapidly growing streaming industry at the moment as India. Whether we are talking about the immensely popular MX Player streaming service or the wholly original TV and movie streaming site that we are looking at today, Alt Balaji, one thing remains clear: India is quickly becoming a major player in the premium streaming space – one that the rest of the world will not be able to ignore any longer (at least not if they want to stay competitive).

Alt Balaji is a TV and movie streaming site that is right up my alley. Instead of buying the rights to old, dated, and overly priced content (which is a move that a lot of streamers make in their early years), Alt Balaji saw the value of going straight for the raw, creative power. Everything that is on Alt Balaji, and everything that has ever been on Alt Balaji (as far as I know) has been an Alt Balaji original production. Could this be seen as a risky move for a novice streaming service? Sure … But has it paid off?

Well, I would say so. As of today, Alt Balaji boasts 34 million paid subscribers. Granted, these aren’t the kind of numbers that an established and household name brand like MX Player is doing (their monthly user number is in the ballpark of around 300 million or so, I believe), but this is also certainly nothing to scoff at. For a premium TV and movie streaming service that specializes in only original content and is still in its infancy, I think 34 million subscribers is rather impressive. Of course, this number only stands to increase from here.

Numbers will not tell you whether Alt Balaji is the best free TV streaming site for you, though. The only way to figure that out for sure will be to take an in-depth look at this service and everything that it has to offer – from site design, to features, to content, and beyond – which is precisely what I will venture out to do today.

So, without further ado, I give to you my comprehensive review of one of India’s best TV and movie streaming sites, Alt Balaji.

History

As I mentioned once before, Alt Balaji is still a relatively new TV streaming service. Having launched on April 16th of 2017, the streamer is just shy of being 4 years old. Still, though, in just a few short years, Alt Balaji has managed to rise the ranks of Indian streaming services, pushing out tons of high-quality original content. This is probably due to the fact that, even though the streaming service is new, the company behind it is not. Alt Balaji is the 1st foray into streaming by the media giant, Balaji Telefilms Ltd. Now, the name should make a little more sense (as should the site’s seemingly overnight success).

Design

Alt Balaji does not do a whole lot to break the mold in terms of streaming site design. This TV and movie streaming site looks fairly similar to just about every other OTT streamer out there. Basically, if you are familiar with Netflix or Hulu, navigating Alt Balaji’s design is not going to throw you off.

You will find a large banner at the top of the page. This alternates some featured shows and movies, suggestions for you to check out. Below this, you can browse content by category – each of which comes with a side-scrolling menu of content. Browse by Trending, Drama, Romantic Stories, Youth, Crazy Comedies, etc. Of course, you can also browse by using the site menu bar, which allows you to find content by more general terms, such as Movies, TV Shows, Comedy, and Music Videos.

The rest of the site, too, offers a fairly smooth and intuitive user experience. Clicking into a show episode or a movie, for instance, offers a dynamic shift into the new page. Plus, as is always appreciated, remaining episodes and related content can be quickly and conveniently accessed just below the media player. I am a big fan of the way in which Alt Balaji is designed.

Content and Features

Alt Balaji offers nothing but original content. And they have a lot of it. As of the time of this review (I’ sure this number will increase in the weeks and months to come), Alt Balaji boasts an impressive 250 hours of original content that is available on their site. Add to this the fact that Alt Balaji adds a new show every month to their already robust library of content, and you have what is poised to be one of the best TV streaming sites in the world, not just India.

Everybody knows, though, that quality is just as important (if not more so) than quantity. Alt Balaji’s content features some of India’s top actors, directors, and filmmakers, and there are even regional urban shows available in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, and many other languages.

Mobile and Desktop Experience

Alt Balaji is also one of the most widely available TV streaming sites on the market today. In fact, the service claims to be compatible with over 32 different interfaces, including all mobile and tablet devices via native iOS and Android apps. The site, though, also offers a PC app, Android TV app, and full mobile browser capability (just to name a few ways this streaming site can be enjoyed).

The mobile experience, I am happy to report, is every bit as intuitive and dynamic as the web browser experience. No matter how you prefer to stream Indian TV, Alt Balaji will have you covered.

Pricings and Plans

The pricing structures of this TV streaming site are quite unique compared to others that I have seen. You can pay by year, or you can purchase 3-month or 6-month plans. The pricings break down as follows:

-1 year: $12.99 ($1/month)

-3 months: $4.99 ($1.66/month)

-6 months: $7.99 ($1.33/month)

As you can see, Alt Balaji is not only uncommon in its pricing timelines, but it is also one of the cheapest streaming services in the world. You can have unlimited, ad-free access to one of the best TV and movie streaming sites on the market for a whole year and it will cost you less than what you pay for Hulu Plus in a single month!

Likes & Hates:
Solid site and app design
Cross-platform availability
Extremely affordable ($1 a month!)
Hundreds of hours of great original TV series and movies
Mobile friendly
Quality of content varies quite a bit