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First looks: Cast, Singtel’s new on-demand video streaming app

By Liu Hongzuo - 31 Jul 2016

First looks: Cast, Singtel’s new on-demand video streaming app

Note: This article was first published on 14th July 2016.

In case you missed it, Singtel launched an on-demand streaming app last week. The Cast app was designed for users who enjoy watching streamed content on the go and on demand by offering entertainment options from Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China.

Today, we had the opportunity to briefly explore the Cast app as subscribed user on a Singtel postpaid line. We looked at how the app held up, in terms of user interface and content delivered to us. If you want more information about its content packs and other technicalities such as offline-watching, you can find them over here.

For starters, you will need to have the Cast app and an active Singtel postpaid line. Ideally, this would mean having the My Singtel app, which serves as one of the four methods for subscribing to Cast’s services. The Viu app is also crucial if you intend to get a Viu Premium content pack (which we will touch on shortly).

The user interface of Cast should feel familiar to Netflix app users – it adopts a pictorial design, making it ideal for viewers who like to channel-surf for shows. As expected, the app’s home screen has a Search function at the top right corner, so users can go directly to the shows they want. The Guest Zone is a free-viewing area for people who are not subscribed to any of Cast’s content packs, acting as a platform that allows sampling of Cast’s quality, such as video resolution and stream quality, through content made available at Singtel’s discretion.

Users have an easy way to check their subscriptions from the Cast app. It’s tucked away to the menu on the left. The Cast app recognizes a user’s subscription based on the phone number used to acquire the respective content packs. The menu offers basic controls, such as the toggling of mobile data usage and accessing of downloaded shows (yes, you can watch your stuff offline).

Noticed the "E-mail Admin" option in the previous photo? That’s because Singtel offers its users the option to tie your Cast subscription to an e-mail account. If you have multiple mobile devices, this e-mail account is the solution for accessing your Cast content across your devices.

Do note: only one active stream is allowed from one subscribed mobile number - this means if your phone is streaming content from Cast, the other devices with your Cast account won’t stream your content.

While the quality of content is subjective, we can speak for the video’s resolution. If you are using the Viu Premium content pack, the Cast app will simply fire up the Viu app for you. Since you’re a paying user, you can Viu content (pun intended) up to Full HD resolution (1080p). If you’re watching shows from other content packs, it will be playing via the Cast app’s built-in media player. The kids’ show we tried had the option to switch between SD (standard definition) and HD (720p). Singtel said that their SD is pegged at 576p – that’s higher than the conventional YouTube SD resolution (which is usually up to 480p), and 576p is actually closer to the PAL standard for DVD resolution (720 x 576 pixels resolution). Like your typical on-demand services, user can start and stop shows as they so desire.

The My Singtel app is nifty for managing your content pack subscriptions. Since each pack is tied to an individual postpaid number, you can purchase the pack’s subscription via the “Browse Add-Ons” menu inside your My Singtel app. You can decide to pick up each content pack on its own, or to pick them up with extra mobile data bundled in (at a price of S$3 extra for each GB). You can add 1GB per content pack acquired. Since Cast offers four content packs at the moment, so you can theoretically boost your mobile data bundle by 4GB, but only if you pay 4 x S$7.90 per month for everything (S$31.60/month).

If you are still curious about Cast, or if you are deciding whether the new app suits your needs, we highly recommend that you download the app (iOS users here, Android OS here) and give the Guest Zone content a go.

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