Update 4/21/14: HitBliss released an app for iPhone and iPad that supports earning credits and browsing the library, but not watching videos. Update 9/12/13: HitBliss now allows you to spend the currency you earn to pay for a Pandora One premium subscription. You can do this every month and effectively get Pandora premium for free by watching ads on HitBliss. Update (8/30/13): Hitbliss released an Android app that allows you to earn movie credits to be spent later on the PC application. However, you can’t stream movies on the app (yet.)
In our HitBliss review, we’ll describe this new streaming video service and go over some of the finer points of the service. HitBliss is available for Windows and Mac PC’s and allows you to watch video advertisements to earn credits, which can then be used to rent movies or purchase TV episodes. Watch the video of our HitBliss review or read on to see if this is something you should check out.
The application and ad model
To use HitBliss, you’ll have to download their application to a Windows or Macintosh PC. Once you log in, you’ll select what level of information you will allow HitBliss to access, which in turn determines how quickly you can earn credits. HitBliss has a ‘profile builder’ which accesses your search and web history to determine what types of ads to show you. This will need to be activated to earn credits as quickly as possible. Beware, this application will continue running in the taskbar even after you quit the main HitBliss application, so be careful.
Once you’ve made your selections you can begin viewing ads and earning credits. Credits maxed out at $5, and I was able to hit this cap in about 10 minutes on the fastest earning settings. The app makes sure that you stay in front of your computer when ads are displayed. At first I was prompted every minute or so to make sure I was still there, and if you don’t respond to the prompt within a few seconds your ‘trust level’ is reset at level 1. Once you build up your trust level, you’ll be prompted less often. The application also required that the volume on my MacBook be at a minimum level of about 30%, otherwise the ads would automatically pause.
The interface on the application is very nice. It’s clear they designed it for easy navigation when your PC is hooked up to a TV with an HDMI cable or other method. The only gripe I have is the lack of a search option. Also note that a credit card is required to begin viewing movies, even if you have a balance.
A mobile application would also be nice, even if it was just to watch ads and build up your balance while away from the computer.
Selection and price
HitBliss has 548 movies at the time of this writing, including several new releases. I was surprised that so many blockbuster new releases were available at the same time they’d be available on DVD. There are also plenty of b-list movies to fill out the catalog, but also some great movies from the 90′s and 2000′s. Prices for a 24-hour rental ranged from $1.99 for older movies to $3.99 for new releases.
The TV selection leaves a bit to be desired, though. Most of the shows were network shows from ABC, CBS, NBC, etc. There were a few shows from basic cable stations, and I also noticed some from Starz. You’re not going to be able to use HitBliss to catch up on old seasons of Breaking Bad or The Sopranos. The TV shows I sampled were priced at $1.99 for the purchase of a single episode.
Picture quality and playback
After I earned a few credits, I hooked up my MacBook Pro to my home theatre system with an HDMI cable. The stream began quickly and the picture quality looked good on my HDTV. I’d guess it was about DVD-quality, or 480p. Playback was smooth and uninterrupted by ads. Jumping around was also quick and the movie buffered very quickly. The R-rated movie I sampled was also uncensored.
HitBliss review wrap-up
While doing the HitBliss review I was pleasantly surprised with the selection of brand new movies and how easy it was to earn the necessary credits to watch them. The application has a nice and easy to use interface. Hopefully, mobile applications are in the works as the service grows and proves out its business model.
- Pros: good selection of new movies, nice user interface, easy to earn credits
- Cons: no streaming on mobile, TV selection is lacking, access to web history required to earn quickly
If you don’t mind giving your complete and undivided attention to viewing some ads, then go ahead and get HitBliss and watch some free movies. I know I will be. Also check out other ways to watch free movies and TV shows here at bitWHICH.