It seems like there are way too many subscription services these days. Movies, TV, games, music; it can really add up. Of course, you can ditch all of those individual fees and simply get everything under one Playster account.
Playster is an online service that combines unlimited music, books, audiobooks, comic books, games, TV shows, and movies for $24.95 per month. That fee allows up to three users to stream simultaneously from three different devices, which includes anything with a web browser, as well as iOS and Android apps. There's also the Family Plan, which adds extra users for an additional fee. And if you're willing to lock into 12 months of service, the company will even throw in a free tablet and a pair of headphones.
Freebies aside, the service sounds like a one-stop shop for all of your entertainment. But is it better to offer variety or do one thing really well? Here's a breakdown of everything Playster has to offer.
What is there to watch?
Thousands of people have been ditching pay TV for the likes of Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu. They probably won't do that for Playster though, since the selection is extremely slim.
Well, it's not slim, as much as it's not very good.
I did find a few gems, including the entire run of The Office (BBC version) and Ghost In The Shell. Otherwise, the service is filled with famous faces—ones who are probably trying to forget some of these titles. For instance, there's a young Ryan Reynolds in School of Life, Aaron Taylor-Johnson's Ch@troom, Kristen Bell's pre-Frozen turn in The Lifeguard, and James Caan and Danny Trejo in something called Preggoland (which is surprisingly not a horror movie).
For kids, there's probably enough for a few fun road trips, but don't expect to find any Pixar here. There are several notable titles, such as Wow! Wow! Wubbzy, G.I Joe, and Chuck & His Friends. However, most of the kids' section is clogged with stuff like Karate Dog, Tommy and the Cool Mule, and Dude, Where My Dog?
Aside from the selection, one annoying quirk on the video side is that Playster doesn't remember where you left off. So if you're in the middle of a movie and need to shut down for the night, you'll have to remember where you left off and scroll through the selection manually to resume playback.
Music to your ears
When it comes to music, Playster is a better deal, with options for every taste. Of course, the selection isn't as plentiful as what you'd find on Spotify or Apple Music, which has pretty much every song ever made. That said, I was pleasantly surprised at what was included here.
The main menu features New Releases, Top Charts, a Discover area, and Genres & Moods. A note to Playster: I'm not sure I would classify the Jim Nabors Christmas album as a "new release."
There are also plenty of playlists that are classified as Re-Energize, Alternative Junkie, Mommy Needs a Break, and more.
However, using the search feature yielded so many other options. You aren't going to be able to get your Taylor Swift and Katy Perry fixes here, but I did find Prince, Meghan Trainor, Green Day, Lil Wayne, Little Big Town, Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Madonna, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Daft Punk, Run DMC, and so much more.
Another nice perk is that this section does feature the option to save songs, artists, and albums, as well as create playlists and radio stations based on your favorite content.
Get in the game
There's no Minecraft or Super Mario, but Playster does include enough games to give you a serious case of twitchy eye. The only downer is that none of it is currently available through Playster's iOS app.
Every game we clicked on listed possible "plaforms" (yes, I believe that's a typo) as PC, Mac, Android, and HTML 5. However, not all games are available in all formats. Still, there's a nice variety, including classics like Asteroids, Centipede, Super Breakout, and pinball, as well as puzzles, sports games, alien shooters, and military-style adventures.
Be aware that the games definitely aren't as high-tech as the PlayStation/Xbox generation is used to, but if your kids can be entertained by the NES Classic, there should be enough here to keep them interested.
Playster also includes books and audiobooks, with enough options to fill up your free time or globe-trotting adventures. You won't find everything on the best-seller list, but it does have the works of Dennis Lehane, Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snicket, George Orwell, and much more.
There are great selections for the kids as well, with popular picks from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Big Nate, C.S. Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Sara Shepard, and Beverly Cleary.
There were even more audiobook options, making Playster the perfect travel companion. Selections included John Grisham, Stieg Larsson, George R. R. Martin, E.L. James, Stephen King, Margot Lee Shetterly, and Amy Schumer.
When reading books, Playster operates similar to a Kindle. The text and imagery looks great, but you will need to create your own bookmarks. There are also options to save selections for future reading. The audiobook section allows you to save titles as well, but I has problems rejoining a selection in progress. Much like the video section, it didn't seem to have the ability to save my spot. That was frustrating, to say the least.
Ready to play?
Playster is an interesting service option. After all, it would be nice to pay one fee for everything that entertains us.
But the service has a few quirks. The video portion needs better titles, the playlists could include more popular selections, and the video and audiobook sections need to include the option to resume playback.
For some, the price of Playster may be the biggest obstacle. Paying $25 a month won't be an option for some people, especially given the limited video content. However, Playster does make up for that with what's available in other areas of the service. It's worth checking out, and Playster offers a 30-day free trial to do so. Just know that if you opt for that trial, you won't be eligible for the combo box with the tablet and headphones.