Lightning Review: HP Moviestore

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HP has had plans to launch their own MovieStore for the TouchPad, and that day has finally come. How does this compare with the Google Movies launch, or Netflix, or any other movie store out there? Hit the jump to find out.

What is it?

The HP MovieStore is what it sounds like, a movie store for WebOS devices. Currently the TouchPad is the only supported device, but that will change when the new Pre comes out in the next several months and the Veer gains compatibility. The MovieStore houses a collection of movies and TV shows for viewing on your TouchPad. Prices for movies range from $2.99-3.99 per rental and $9.95-15.95 for purchase, while TV shows are $1.99 per episode.

The Good

The MovieStore seems to have a decent collection of titles across most popular genres. The UI has a dark visual theme to it with movie/TV show covers taking most of the screen real estate for a visually appealing look. Sorting through genres is done easily with drop-down menu located in the top left of the screen. Movies and TV shows have their own section as well as “my library” and “wish list.” The latter two options take you directly to your purchased content and your list of potential selections for the future.

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The not so good

The obvious downside to the MovieStore is directly related to the poor TouchPad hardware. Simply put, the TouchPad doesn’t do video out. The MovieStore is powered by RoxioNow, so you can have access to that software on your laptop or other devices to watch video on the big screen, if you want to have yet another device to lug around with you. Of course that would be annoying and incredibly moronic and makes no sense. Why would anyone want to pay these prices to watch it on a 9.7″ screen with no possibility of running that content to their bigger screened TV? HP apparently really wanted to highlight a serious disadvantage with the TouchPad, especially considering the PlayBook outputs 1080p, the iPad has HDMI out, and the Honeycomb tablets all have their own method as well.

Taking the hardware out of the scenario, the MovieStore generally feels sluggish when navigating. There have been several times when touches haven’t registered, and others when it takes a tremendous amount of time to open a movie or open the drop-down menu. This might not be the store though, and could just be the fault of the general sluggish feeling of WebOS 3.0. It’s also not immediately clear on how to navigate through the movies. There are no “next page” buttons to show you where to go. A little trial and error teaches you to swype left and right to move from page to page. Perhaps a little bit of Windows Phone’s Metro UI would come in handy here.

The bottom line

The HP MovieStore has a solid selection for most people. It won’t fill the glass for the indie junkies, but generally should make most audiences happy. The limited hardware and the sluggish feel bring down the experience though. Having a tablet that costs $500+ without the ability to do video out with your freshly purchased/rented movies and TV shows really brings down the experience for TouchPad owners and further shows how much they’re missing out when compared to other tablets.

Where to get it

The new MovieStore is available in the HP App Catalog  as a download. It’s free, but those rentals and purchases can surely catch up to you as time goes on.

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Allen Schmidt

Allen is a former contributing editor at Nothing But Tablets, which was merged with Pocketables in 2012.

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