A new show, but with familiar faces: please welcome Showtime Anytime on the Oculus Quest!
I’m a cord-cutter and quite enjoy streaming my media, so when the news of an app for streaming Showtime came along it seemed like a perfect fit. The only problem was that I didn’t have cable anymore. As a subscriber to Showtime’s streaming service, I was able to log in and get access to all of the content that is offered there: movies, television shows, documentaries and more.
Something very important to note: along with your monthly subscription fee you also get access to live streams of Showtime channels if you have an internet connection good enough for this. But again, if you don’t have cable already and still want access to this content you’ll need a separate subscription through a TV provider – or perhaps your parents do 😉
The first thing I did was dig into the movies on offer. The selection is actually pretty decent! While many of them were titles that I had seen before (and hence why I am not subscribing) there were quite a few that I would be interested in watching more of. There are even some titles that aren’t currently available for purchase digitally! And Showtime gets bonus points here because one of those movies happens to be the cult classic Repo Man, which as an added bonus also has an awesome punk rock soundtrack courtesy of The Plugz.
Continuing on to the television shows: while Showtime Anytime has some real gems on its roster, the selection of titles here is essentially identical to that found on their streaming service. While this may be disappointing for new users – since they’ll already have access to these titles elsewhere – it does help ease the transition from another platform by allowing you to transfer all of your subscriptions and saved content over with a few button presses in a guided experience.
But even if you do have a Showtime subscription through Amazon Prime, Hulu or wherever else there’s no need to worry. You can sign in to those services using your account credentials in order to launch right into the series you were watching! I was able to continue watching The Affair from where I left off on Amazon with just a click of a button.
This brings me to the star of this piece: the app itself. As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge fan of cord-cutting, but one thing that does make it more bearable are well-designed apps that are accessible without requiring any excess effort on my part to figure out how they work. And boy did Showtime Anytime deliver! It’s clear from just looking at the home screen that the user interface was created with touch in mind. Thumbnails for each show are easy to identify and select, while your subscriptions and recently viewed shows also give you quick access to whatever you’re looking for.
But what really makes this shine is its use of head tracking. On other platforms (such as OculusGo ) the only thing you have to navigate this kind of app are buttons or touch controls. And while that is fine for most apps, being able to move my head around instead made it so much more intuitive. For example, I could easily browse through titles by looking at them rather than having to swipe on a touchpad or press buttons – which is especially useful when searching for something new to watch late at night with others asleep in the room.
The one area where there was space for improvement, however, was in its use of sound. The first episode of any show begins playing without issue (and even turning up the volume worked perfectly). But after that first episode, things became problematic: no matter what I tried I couldn’t get anything else to play after that first one. Whether I tried to select the next episode in a series or select something completely different – there was never any sound, no matter what I did. This may have simply been an issue on my end so you’ll want to keep this in mind if it does happen to you as well.
A final note about the app itself: while it ships with its own universal search feature, being able to search through all of your subscriptions at once makes this feel more like an afterthought than anything else. It’s not bad, but having access to all of your content on-demand is just so much easier that using this option feels unnecessary. And if you have cable already then being able to transfer all of your subscriptions into one place is a nice bonus.
Obviously, this is just scratching the surface of what this app has to offer, but if you’re already using another streaming service – or are someone who doesn’t enjoy watching content on their phone or computer – then this will be an excellent addition to your Quest’s library! And Showtime themselves have done a great job at making it intuitive enough that even first time users shouldn’t have too much trouble figuring it out.
Final Score 4/5 Pros Lots of content Works well with head tracking Easy-to-browse interface Great use of search options Cons No sound after first episode Universal search not as powerful as individual subscriptions Search results don’t update properly when changing date range HBO Go better for cord-cutters without cable TV