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Zee5 (IN)

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In this day and age, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a TV and movie streaming site to stand out from the rest. It seems as if every single day I learn about a new streaming service, adding to an already very crowded and highly competitive TV and movie streaming industry. The fact that the market is so oversaturated is, at the end of the day, though, something of a blessing and a curse.

It is a blessing for the obvious reasons: the more streaming sites that exist, the greater the number of options that we have at our disposal. Therefore, we, as viewers, get to pick from an ever-growing list of options – each of which providing their own take on what it means to be the best TV streaming site on the web. And, of course, with a greater number of streaming sites, all in direct competition with one another, we are left with a greater number of high-quality streaming sites.

One thing that competition is good for, no doubt, is the fact that each of the competing services is forced to try and offer better content, better features, a better user experience, and more affordable prices than the next. Never before have we had so many excellent options for being able to watch precisely the kinds of content that we enjoy. In short, this is, indeed, the golden age of TV.

Why is it, then, that I call this oversaturation both a blessing and a curse? Well, the only real downside to there being so many TV streaming sites out there is the fact that it can be a somewhat daunting and time-consuming task to try and figure out which TV and movie streaming sites are going to wind up being the best option for each of us, individually.

Nobody has the time (or the money, for that matter) to go through and test out each of the options available when it comes time to figure out which premium TV streaming site is going to be the best fit for us – both in terms of the kind of content offered and the respective price points of each. Sure, many of these sites (especially the newer ones) do offer a free trial period for new users. Some even have something of a freemium model built into the infrastructure of their services, hoping to hook the viewer by allowing them to watch, say, the first episode of a series without any registration or payment required.

Still, though, I understand that our lives are busy. Too busy, even, at times to make sampling all of the options (even the freemium ones) a viable option. This is why I have dedicated my work life to providing in-depth and comprehensive reviews of all the best TV and movie streaming sites on the web. All it takes, thanks to StreamingSites.com is a few minutes of your time; just read a few of my reviews and, in no time at all, you can discern which TV streaming site is going to be the best addition to your monthly entertainment budget.

Which brings us, of course, to the TV streaming site that we will be taking a look at today: Zee5. Zee5 is not only one of the newest TV streaming sites in India, but it has quickly become one of the most popular in the country. The service claims 56 million active monthly users (as of December 2019), and appears to have only grown in popularity since then.

What makes Zee5 such a beloved TV streaming site? It is a synergy, it turns out, of several factors – including cross-platform availability, thousands of hours of top-tier content (both syndicated and original), some unique features, and an extremely intuitive and user-friendly site and app design. The combination of all of these factors results in the makings of one of the best TV streaming sites, in both India and the world abroad.

History

Zee5 hit the scene with a relatively humble beginning. When it first launched on 14 February 2018, it was only available in India. And it offered primarily original web series (the larger, more widely known content wouldn’t be added until later). Nevertheless, Zee5 made its scope and range of accessibility its number one priority in the first year or so of its release. Notable features in the start were the fact that the site (and its content) came in 12 languages. Plus, almost immediately upon launch Zee5 became available on Android, iOS devices, the web (naturally), and an array of Smart TVs and other devices.

Since then, in just 3 short years, Zee5 has been made available in just about every major country around the world save for the United States. To this day, Zee5 is still unavailable in the US due to a contractual clause that Zee has with Dish Networks regarding exclusivity to Zee content in the US. This unfortunate (but relatively minor in a global context) inconvenience aside, Zee5 is quickly becoming one of the most popular TV streaming sites in the world, and many experts believe that it has what it takes to pose a threat to even the best-established giants of the streaming world, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

Design

Zee5’s website is very impressive. It is dynamic, it is immersive, and it offers a user experience that is equal parts enjoyable and intuitive. Although the general layout of the site should strike users of Netflix and Hulu as somewhat familiar, it does offer a few unique quirks of its own. The layout is similar to that of the typical streamer, offering collections of content that is organized by category or genre (horizontal menus which can be browsed via a smooth side-scroll).

Where the design of this TV streaming site breaks with tradition, however, is in how live and dynamic its many thumbnails are. Instead of offering a static gallery of titles to browse, many of the thumbnails play looped video previews of the show or movie in question. They have staggered these live gif-inspired thumbnails in a way that does not overwhelm or create too much chaos. The end result, I think, is a perfectly immersive and responsive web design that lends itself well to browsing thousands of hours of TV series and movies.

When you click on a title, too, to watch it, the site design continues to impress. Beside the media player, you will find a sizeable collection of recommended or related titles which enables an easy and intuitive continuation of browsing that doesn’t depend too heavily on clicking the “back” button (a design feature that I always appreciate). In the end, Zee5 is smooth, easy to use, and experiential – all things that I look for in stellar streaming site design.

Content and Features

Zee5 is also extremely features rich. Easily add titles to your watch list, ensuring that you never lose track of what you intend to watch down the road. There are also a few handy social features to Zee5, including the ability to quickly share episodes of your favorite series with friends or family via social media or email, as well as the ability to embed links to content with the click of a button.

As far as content is concerned, Zee5 is massive and diverse. Enjoy thousands of hours of TV shows and movies across 12 different languages (Hindi, Tamil, English, and others). You will find popular TV series here, popular movies, original Zee5 series, news coverage, exclusive Zee5 Club shows, exclusive premium content, user-generated videos, even video games which can be played right in the browser or app. All of this makes for one of the most unique and effective TV and movie streaming sites that I have ever had the pleasure of reviewing.

Mobile and Desktop Experience

As I mentioned earlier, another standout attribute of Zee5 is how widely available the service is across mobile devices and several key platforms. Firstly, Zee5 has mobile apps for both Android and iOS that are every bit as intuitive and dynamic as the desktop site. Plus, there are apps for just about every major smart TV on the market today. Never miss a beat thanks to the cross-platform nature of Zee5.

Pricing and Plans

Zee5 is also, I think, very fairly priced. Premium subscriptions are available in the following packages and price points:

1 Month: INR99

3 Months: INR299

6 Months: INR599

12 Months: INR999

For Zee5 Club (offering access to exclusive content and TV episodes prior to airdate, you are looking at INR365 per year – that’s INR1 for each day of the year – not too shabby.

Likes & Hates:
Amazing selection of TV series, movies, videos, and more
Great site and app design
Cross-platform availability
Tons of exclusive, premium, club content
Zee5 Club is on the pricier side
Not enough free content