This post is a guest post from Christopher Hutton is a freelance journalist who writes on the intersection of religion, technology and culture. He blogs over at digital-faith.com. You can find Chris on Twitter at @chris_journo.
Pureflix is the recently acquired streaming service from Christian film company Pureflix. Pureflix is currently one of the larger Christian media companies in America, and made box office hits like GODS NOT DEAD and DO YOU BELIEVE? The service was previously known as Iamflix, and provides family friendly/Christian content that the whole (conservative Christian) family can enjoy.
While not everyone may agree with the content of choice, how does the Pureflix service hold up?
Pureflix feels like a Netflix clone. And I dont mean that its another streaming service. It visually looks like a clone. Take a look at the front page.
Design-wise, the website and video service is clearly copying a number of key elements from Netflixs site, including the format of the front page to the visual banner on top.
However, the site lacks a number of key features that Netflix provides, including an easily accessible queue, a recommendation algorithm or even a way to read the content without watching the video.
The website has two main tabs for looking at content, Discover and Browse. Discover lets users look at the film library according to how popular they are, when they were added, or whether they are featured.There is also the Browse tab, which lets users look at the following genres: Educational, Faith, General, Independent Films, Kids, Movies and Short Films, and Series. While these categories are pretty extensive, they dont offer much context to the programming.
However, the categories are the least of Pureflixs worries right now. Pureflix has significantly less programming than Netflix or Hulu. The channel has less than 2000 programs in its library. Thankfully, there is some variety. Users can watch documentaries about addictions and Fanny Crosby, comedies about family life, or dramas about the Church. Most of Pureflixs content on isnt available anywhere else for streaming. However, most of the content is produced by fairly small companies and will likely not interest most viewers.
If users do want to save a program for later, they can Add to favorites, which can only be accessed through the Profile button in the top right part of the screen.
As for the streaming quality, the video service has an auto-detect streaming feature that will read the users internet stream and adjust accordingly. However, users could change the stream data level if things bugged out too much. The settings go from 8130k to 234k video. I was able to run the 5129k stream level with very few problems. However, I lost the stream five times during a two hour film. The video player interface was lacking, but it was sufficient
Pureflix does have an Android app and a Roku Box channel available for streaming its content. If Apple users want to stream Pureflix to their TV, theyll have to do so via a direct port from their computer.
Overall, Pureflix is a mediocre attempt at providing a streaming service for the conservative Christian audience. Its features are lacking, and the content variety is pretty limited as well. The service doesnt make it easy for users to discover new programs or to find out what Pureflix has on it.
I can understand the appeal of a Netflix that doesnt feature adult content like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. But Im not sure that Pureflix has created enough of a catalog to fully appeal to that audience, especially since the service doesnt have popular programs like Veggietales, Gods Not Dead or Kirk Camerons latest film. If religious conservatives are interested in this service, Id tell them that theyd be better off getting a Netflix subscription and watching through its Faith and Spirituality section.
Christopher Hutton is a freelance journalist who writes on the intersection of religion, technology and culture. He blogs over at digital-faith.com. You can find Chris on Twitter at @chris_journo.
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