Rakuten TV review – prices, features and content

Rakuten TV (formerly Wuaki) has recently removed the streaming option from its service, focusing instead on the buying and renting of digital movies and television shows. So how does it now hold up in the face of growing competition?

Updated

Rakuten TV

Founded in Spain in 2010 as Wuaki.tv, Rakuten TV is a streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) service owned by ecommerce giant Rakuten (parent company to Play.com and Kobo Inc.). It now has over 600,000 users in Spain and more than 400,000 in the UK. Let’s take a look at how Rakuten TV shapes up since the removal of its streaming service.

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Rakuten TV pricing

Prices for buying and renting shows vary across individual titles. Like most digital media stores, Rakuten TV prices television shows to reflect DVD or Blu-ray prices, as well as taking into account the age of the content (newer titles are more expensive).

Rakuten TV’s pricing closely matches other digital media outlets, like Google Play and iTunes. Oddly, many users report that their purchases have been deleted after three years. With a similar pricing structure and no guarantee your purchases won’t be lost to the void, Rakuten TV offers little reason for Google Play or iTunes users to jump ship.

New Releases SD HD
Rent £3.49 £4.49
Buy £9.99 £13.99
Back Catalogue SD HD
Rent £2.49 £3.49
Buy £7.99 £8.99

Platforms and devices that Rakuten TV is compatible with

Top picks on Rakuten TV

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How do I sign up to Rakuten TV?

Since Rakuten TV has dropped its “Selection” subscription service, signing up is a simple process. Simply visit the website and click the Screenshot 2015-07-28 10.23.56 button in the top-right corner of the screen. Next, you will be asked to set up some basic login information. Enter your email address (which will later be used as a login I.D) and an eight character password. You will be asked to repeat your password for security purposes. Once that’s done, click Screenshot 2015-07-28 10.28.00. Done! You now have a Rakuten TV account. Once you choose a title to download, you will be asked to enter your payment details.

Rakuten TV pros and cons

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Some early digital releases (like Insurgent)

Cons

  • Weird three-year expiry on purchases
  • Inconsistent stream quality

Verdict

Rakuten TV once offered an interesting hybrid of traditional digital purchases and streaming video-on-demand (much as Amazon Prime Instant video offers now), but since dropping the “Selection” element, Rakuten TV offers an inferior service to what’s already available from the big players, like Google Play and iTunes. Add this to its unreliable stream quality and what you get is a service that simply doesn’t compete.

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