A No-Go for M-Go Video Rental Service
Because M-Go is a video rental and purchasing service, there are no monthly subscription fees. Like Vudu, Cinema Now, Blockbuster, Amazon Instant Video, or iTunes, it is a pay-to-play service. The M-Go app is available on Vizio and Samsung Smart TVs. The Vizio Co-Star, stand-alone Google TV, has an M-Go button on its remote. I've been using the Co-Star to check out M-Go since its January launch and have yet to find a reason to use the service instead of my go-to favorite, Vudu.
M-Go was formed by Technicolor, a company used by most motion picture studios to process film from the time movies were shot in color. Because of its classic Hollywood roots, it was to have superior technology that, I was told, could offer superior search and recommendations of movie and TV titles. The company had hired "brilliant" developers who created complex algorithms that could break down a movie genre in depth—possibly at the level of the music genomes used to create stations in Pandora. Watching Shrek would bring up more than recommendations of kiddie films and animated movies. It might bring up films with a strong female lead, or comedies about knights and dragons. The plan for superior recommendations included a menu that prioritized movies using floating cover art that was larger for movies that might be more suited to the user.
None of those goals are apparent in the final version of M-Go. When you first create an account, you are offered film titles to rate with "loved it," "liked it," "didn't like it," or "haven't seen it." The idea is that M-Go will know your likes and dislikes better as your rate more movies, and will be able to make spot-on recommendations. Yet, each time I go through M-Go's movie recommendations, there are more titles that I wouldn't want to watch than those that I would. In contrast, the Primetime app on Google TV displays movies that I would love. I just can't see how M-Go has used their technology for better search and recommendation. What's more, the floating cover menu idea was replaced with a common carousel that displays only a few titles at a time.
As for better search functionality, the app will graciously list where to watch a movie if it is not available through M-Go. Global search features on the Roku 3, or on Google TV, allow you to click on a search result that takes you directly to the movie on that particular service—Vudu, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video. M-Go, however, simply lets you know where you can find it. You'll have to open that app and again search for the title in that app.
And, while I hate beating a dead horse, another problem I had when using M-Go has been with offers for discounted prices and specials. Although I have created a new account where the movies are stated to be 99 cent rentals for the first month, or I've entered a discount code at checkout, I later discover that I had been charged full price.
Who would want to use M-Go? The service is perfect for families who each have different movie preferences. What is unique to M-Go is the ability to add more than one user in the same app/account. My recommendations might be heavy on chick flicks and classic comedies, but recommendations for my son might be populated with super-hero movies and zombies. Also, you can play your Ultraviolet library of digital film copies using the M-Go app (and buy more titles in M-Go to save to Ultraviolet).
Perhaps, it's the old adage of "...no fury like a woman scorned." I was truly excited about M-Go's potential and disappointed that they didn't fulfill their promises. The technology is there, perhaps it will improve in future updates. For now, it's convenient to press the M-Go button and, if it has the movie I want, I can play it there. More likely I'll opt for the 7.1 channel Dolby Digital audio and 1080p video quality I can get from Vudu HDX movies.