I bet you thought my next post would be a show review—don’t worry we’ll get to that. Where are the best places to watch Kdrama? There are some good (and very bad places) to go. In a series of posts, I will start at the top and work my way through them. But I figured let’s start with the best!
DramaFever is currently my go-to site for Kdrama viewing. Originally I watched through either Netflix or Hulu—but then one day I realized Hulu’s supply of Kdrama was mostly brought to them from Drama Fever. From their website:
We created DramaFever to give you a better way to find and enjoy the best TV and movies from around the world, and create a community we hope you enjoy being a part of.
We’re particularly big fans of television dramas and telenovelas, especially those from Asia and Latin America. With engaging story lines and top notch talent, these dramas are incredible entertainment. Unfortunately in the past, it’s been difficult for American viewers to watch their favorite dramas and discover new ones. Before DramaFever, the best options were websites with pirated videos and bootleg DVDs.
Since our launch in August 2009, we quickly became a leading cross-border distributor of international video entertainment, particularly in North America. We license videos from major media companies around the world and distribute them in high quality with English subtitles via DramaFever.com as well as syndication partners such as Hulu. Our content partners include KBS, MBC, SBS, CCTV, Shanghai Media Group, MediaCorp, FUNimation, Asahi TV, ABS-CBN, Group Eight, ISplus, JS Pictures, and many others.
Dramafever has I don’t know how many shows—and I don’t really want to know, because if I’m counting—I’m running out of shows to watch. They continually have new shows and even offer an increasing amount of simulcasts (releasing a new episode just a few days after it’s shown in Korea).
While they do have a free version, which I used for a while—it was totally worth my while to upgrade to a premium member. At $39.99 a year it was a total steal! I get access to their whole library, get new shows as they are released, can watch on my Roku box, and have no commercials. The free version while totally acceptable has commercials (not as many as Hulu), you get most of the shows, and with new shows episodes are released with just a few weeks lag time behind premium content. (Since I don’t watch shows until they are done and I’m sure there won’t be a sequel I was fine with that.)
I also enjoy their online community. The blog on their website has some great articles. They are very active on Facebook offering contests (I’m still bitter I didn’t win that calendar:), new music and daily updates on entertainment news. When people post questions their response time is very fast. They will even take requests for shows. (Come on, Scent of a Woman or the Taiwanese version of Playful Kiss) This care they put into their customers makes me feel like they really enjoy what they do.
As for drawbacks, there are a few. Like Netflix, their website player requires a little more umph out of your computer than say, Hulu. Every now and then (or more often if I’m doing other work things at the same time) it will freeze and I will have to refresh. Sometimes if I’m at work I’ll just swap over to Hulu.
The biggest thing for me—and I can’t say it’s totally their fault—is the subtitles are yellow. Looks great on my computer screen, but when I translate it over my Roku box, sometimes it’s hard to read the screen. If someone is wearing white or they are talking at a table with a table cloth—forget it. Here’s where I don’t think it’s entirely their fault. I have a pretty crappy tv. It’s small and old. I’ve brought my Roku box to friends’ houses to watch on their newer, better TV’s and it’s not nearly as pronounced. Once my year of getting out of debt passes—I’m totally getting a new tv. Problem solved.
The last things are very nit-picky (but that’s how I roll). The episode always starts where you left off which is usually very helpful. However, if you are someone like me who watches episodes multiple times (because it’s either so good or I just got sleepy and dozed off) it’s kind of inconvenience not to have an option to start new or start at the place you left off. Lastly I’d love it if they’d do an episode synopsis. See? Super nit-picky. (addendum: I totally figured out how to start from the beginning, you just press the asterisk button before you enter the episode)
As I said Drama Fever is my go-to site for my Kdrama addiction. The continuous stream of new shows and daily bits of entertainment news, has me going back to check them out multiple times a day. Job well done I’d say