Astral Media launches The Movie Network GO for iOS, available to Bell and Cogeco customers, Rogers in 30 days [Hands-On]

DSC_0079Astral Media has, after a long internal trial period, released The Movie Network GO for subscribers of its TMN and HBO Canada programming. Initially available to Bell and Cogeco subscribers, the company is making 1,500 hours of its movie and television show library available for free with a valid subscription. Rogers customers will be able to access the service within 30 days; the two companies are still setting up the login infrastructure to connect subscribers.

We took a look at the new app, which is currently available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, and it is fast, sleek and full of great content. From classics to new movies, from Girls to Spartacus, it’s got a practically endless supply of content to choose from. The entire Sopranos series is available digitally for the first time, too, and users can access previous episodes of Girls, True Blood, Game of Thrones (!!), Band of Brothers and more.

There are four quality streams to choose from, ranging from Good, which uses up 300MB of data per hour, to Ultimate which consumes 2.5GB. The app also defaults to WiFi only, but users can toggle cellular connectivity as long as they acknowledge Astral is not liable for overages. You can also queue up shows by adding them to an always-accessible Watchlist, and you can sort movies based on genre or by release date. Quality, especially at the Ultimate setting, is astonishing, and should be great for a family with too few TVs and a couple extra tablets.

“This is another way of trying to convince people not to pirate,” said Domenic Vivolo, Astral’s SVP of sales and marketing. “If it’s easy, if it’s convenient, why would you pirate? You’ve got the best quality, instead of searching frantically and downloading viruses. We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for the consumer.”

You can play up to five feeds at the same time, and the service remembers where you were in each show or movie; resuming one on different device is practically instant. Astral is committing to bring TMNGo to more platforms, including Android phones and tablets, but it has yet to specify when. Astral hopes the servie will help it better compete with Netflix, and help convince the CRTC that its acquisition by Bell is in the best interests of Canadians.

Download TMNGo for iOS.