Starz streaming service – free on DIRECTV and other stuff they won’t tell you

Yesterday’s announcement of a standalone Starz service didn’t merit a mention in this blog. I’ll admit, I’ve never really been an “a la carte” guy — The idea of paying $10 a month for ten channels has never appealed to me. So I sort of glossed over Starz’ big announcement yesterday that they were making their service available a la carte to streaming and mobile users for $9 a month. But then, here at the DIRECTV Revolution show, I talked to the reps from Starz and they brought up a few things that blew my mind.

If you have DIRECTV, this is free.
That’s right, just like HBO Go or any of the other provider apps, if you’ve subscribed to Starz on DIRECTV you can also authenticate on the app meaning that you don’t have to pay extra for streaming. I have confirmed this is true and it is awesome.

You can download content.
The app now lets you download content for offline viewing. This is massive because it lets you take movies with you for viewing in a plane or more importantly, in a car (considering the Disney-heavy selection, this should please parents.) I don’t know if it’s necessary to log into the service first, meaning that you’d need to launch the app before the plane takes off, but either way this is a huge change to the way the app works. You still can’t save content to your PC or keep it permanently but this is a lot better than something like Netflix which doesn’t work at all unless you can stream.

And that’s not all…
In addition to Starz’ new branding, which brings the company into the 2010s with a stark black look, you also get one app that consolidates all the “Play” apps from the company into one, so there’s no reason to keep Encore Play on your phone as well There’s also a new app for AppleTV which is a big plus for streamers. I haven’t yet confirmed that it authenticates to DIRECTV’s servers but why wouldn’t it, that’s my thought.

A lot of people have seen Starz in the past as sort of a runner-up to HBO and Showtime but in the app department they’ve actually jumped ahead with this one step. As with any streaming service it really comes down to the question of if they have the content you want to watch, whether it’s original series or movies or something else. For a family with kids in the prime Disney age bracket, they’ve now become a must-have, replacing the need to buy a copy of many Disney classics with the ability to simply fill a tablet with programming that’s still available when driving. There are also a number of excellently-reviewed programs and hit movies for all ages. Personally, being here at the DIRECTV Revolution show with only passable internet speed, and knowing that I’ll be on a long plane ride back to corporate HQ, this news couldn’t have come at a better time.