Is M-Go an iTunes and Amazon Instant Video Killer?

Add to online video services like Netflix, Amazon and iTunes yet another name: M-Go. You may not have heard of M-Go since it is a fairly new service, having launched in January 2013. Unlike stream-all-you-want Netflix, M-Go is a video-on-demand service akin to iTunes and much of the content on Amazon Instant Video. It's free to subscribe to, but with fees to rent or own movies or TV shows.

At launch, videos were streamable through Web browsers and an Android app. Since then it has come to devices from Vizio, Samsung, Google, Roku and, starting this week, on LG televisions.

Is M-Go worth it?

What does signing up for M-Go get you? The company has made deals with many Hollywood studios to offer recent films and TV shows streaming on-demand around the same time as the DVD release — which you generally can't get from Netflix Instant. TV shows can be purchased by season or episode, including recently aired episodes of shows live on networks now.

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Films cost anywhere from around $10 to $25 to own in HD, based on the studio and the age of the film. Renting a film for 24 hours costs between $4 and $6. Getting the films in Standard Definition will save you a few dollars. Television shows are available for purchase only, entire seasons costing anywhere from around $10 to $40, based on the studio, the age of the show and how many episodes were in the season. Once again, SD is a few bucks cheaper. Buying per TV episode costs $3 for HD and $2 for SD.

How does M-Go compare?

And how does M-Go’s pricing compare to Amazon Instant and iTunes videos? Sometimes M-Go is a bit cheaper ("How I Met Your Mother," Season 8 for $33, versus $40 on the others, for example). More often Amazon or iTunes is cheaper ("Pacific Rim" is $13 on Amazon, $20 on the other two, for instance). But usually prices are about the same (such as $15 for "The Internship" on all three). They all charge $3 for TV episodes in HD and $2 in SD, though children's cartoons are often less on Amazon or iTunes.

So the differentiating factor may be the selection of videos available. Using the lists from Nielsen's TopTen app as a guideline, we looked up the top 10 most popular DVDs right now to see what movies are also available for streaming. All 10 were available on the three services.

But when it came to Nielsen's lists of the top 10 current network TV shows and top 10 cable TV shows, M-Go fell behind. Apple and Amazon had the same seven of the top 10 network shows, but M-Go only had five, missing "Castle" and "The Blacklist." With Cable shows, M-Go was missing "Duck Dynasty," which the others had. Only iTunes had the "CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story" documentary that was popular last week.

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Trying a selection of older films and TV shows, all three services did well, though M-Go missed a few: It did not have any seasons of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," while the others did, nor did M-Go have "It’s A Wonderful Life." All three had various other films we tried: "The Dark Knight," "Groundhog Day" and "The Godfather," among others. It was a similar situation with TV series, though M-Go did not have the selection of popular children's animated shows that the other two have. M-Go's content looks to be improving though. The company told Tom's Guide that it's on track for its goal of having 25,000 titles in its library by the end of the year.

What devices support M-Go?

Not all services are available on all devices, so availability may also be the determinant. M-Go began with Web-browser and Android-app streaming. (iOS users can stream through the Safari browser, but there is no app.) Since then, M-Go has become available as an app on Vizio TVs, Blu-ray players and tablets, Samsung TVs, Blu-ray players and tablets, Google TV devices, Roku media players and, starting this week, on LG televisions. Besides browsers, Amazon Instant Video apps are available for even more devices, including video game consoles and iOS devices. (M-Go told is it is "in talks" with game console makers to add its apps.)iTunes is limited to the Apple TV set-top box, Macs and Windows PCs and iOS mobile devices.

M-Go and Netflix

With all the comparisons to iTunes and Amazon Instant, one has to wonder about Netflix streaming. Netflix usually gets films a month or so after on-demand services, if at all. And with TV shows, Netflix does not offer currently airing episodes. On the M-Go homepage alongside sections like "New Movie Releases" and "Top 50 TV," M-Go features "Favorites Not on Netflix Streaming." Videos available on this rarified channel include "World War Z," "The Great Gatsby" and "Now You See Me." Interestingly, M-Go does have Netflix's original show "House of Cards" available for purchase.

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So M-Go stacks up to be a solid service, especially for one that is only in its first year. While M-Go may have a smaller selection than behemoths Amazon and Apple, it is not falling behind by a great margin. It does match the others on price, so like the rest of these video on-demand services, M-Go may be a good supplement to Netflix streaming so you can watch the latest films without having to wait.

But many might wonder that if wider selections are available on both Amazon and Apple, why subscribe to M-Go? Well, if whatever reason you want to avoid being part of Amazon or Apple's ecosystem, then M-Go may be a good alternative for you. Otherwise, M-Go just may be unnecessary for now, at least until the company grows it's video selection or adds new features.

Follow Kevin Ohannessian at @khohannessian and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Kelly Ohannessian is a freelance writer and editor. With more than 15 years of experience, she works with a focus on covering the creative aspects of the gaming industry. Her articles have appeared on Medium, Fast Company, Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Gamespot, and many more. Currently, she works as a manager at Brooklyn Game Lab.