Where I find my beloveds…

After yesterday’s weeping into my cocoa over my lack of language skills, I thought it might be fun (helpful? interesting?) to share where I get my fully-subbed K-Drama fix. I have a handful of providers, each with their own pros and cons. (FYI: I live in California in the United States; my understanding is that reliable K-Drama sources differ all over the world.)

To watch via computer:

viki2 photo images_zpsa0ebec85.jpegViki.com  They’re available internationally, though their licenses differ from country to country.

Pro: Their subbing is done by communities of drama fans and, for the most part, the subs are highly accurate. Also, once they have their license, the turn around time for subbing is pretty fast. Plus, you can watch a drama before it’s fully subbed if you’re impatient and/or have enough Korean to stumble through.

Con: My impression is they have fewer K-Dramas available than DramaFever (though I haven’t crunched the numbers). Also, their ads pop in randomly. So you’ll have this impassioned moment of, “But you must kno –” cut to a singing pop-tarts ad, “–w how deeply I admire and love you.”  Which can be a bit mood breaking.

dramafever photo 1392993_300_zpsf6b2cc07.jpgDramaFever.com  They’re available in North America (per their “about” page, which I assume includes Canada).

Pro: They have a deep library, including more classic dramas, and it’s growing. The ads pop in at more natural breaks, though there are more of them. (You can pay for an ad-free experience, but I haven’t taken advantage of that.) I have signed up for a free account that helps me track what all I’m watching. Which is especially handy with a longer marathon where I easily loose track of which episode I’m on.

Con: The subbing is less accurate, in general, than Viki (thought that’s not always the case). They’re slower on the turn around than Viki.

To watch via television:

hulu photo images-1_zps73f14faf.jpegHulu.com  Available only in the United States.

Pro: With the paid Hulu-plus option we can watch K-Dramas on our tv through our XBox. This is how I get my husband to watch shows with me. They’ve got a fairly good library of K-Dramas and it’s continuing to grow. (It’s also the site where I experienced K-Dramas for the very first time, which means it has a special place in my heart.)

Con: So! Many! Ads!! And that with the paid plus option. I try to tell myself it’s keeping the K-Dramas coming by creating profit, etc, etc, etc. But they really do show a lot of ads.

netflix photo netflix_zps64453757.jpgNetflix Per Wikipedia, they’re available throughout the Americas and parts of Europe. They get their K-Dramas through various sources, though DramaFever seems to be their most regular supplier.

Pro: No ads! And we can watch on our tv through our XBox.

Con: Their library isn’t huge. It’s growing (which is awesome!), but it’s still the smallest library of my go-to sources. Also, they’ll only show complete shows, so this isn’t the place for up-to-date viewing.

And then there is…

google photo google-zip_zps65e31007.jpgThe dark side: Those sites I suspect aren’t entirely legal because they make a really big deal out of the fact they don’t actually host the dramas they’re showing. Also, there’s a lot of pop-up ads and I associate pop-up ads with the seamier sided of the internet. You find them by Googling “Name of Drama eng sub.”

Pro: They’ll have K-dramas you just can’t find anywhere else. And their turn around time tends to be pretty speedy.

Cons: You could get a computer virus. I haven’t yet myself, but it’s a real possibility. Also, the subs aren’t always that good. And I worry it’s not supporting the market for subbed K-dramas since it’s a hidden demand. But most of all… you really could get a computer virus. 

So those are my sources. What are yours? Am I missing a primo source?


8 thoughts on “Where I find my beloveds…

  1. Sadly, if you happen to be a poor soul who lives somewhere else than in N. America or parts of Asia there often is no other option than to turn to the dark side. There’s a market out there, which TPTB are totally missing out on for lack of proper distribution. If they would just stop whining on and on about you-know-what and made their goods easily available (leagally) for all, they’d soon have a lot less to whine about.

    Well, now that Netflix and HBO have landed on this side of the water, things perhaps start changing somewhat. Though I’m not holding my breath. 🙂

    • It’s amazing to me how slowly TPTB have been at recognizing and exploiting the market out there. (And that’s true of all forms of media from various countries, I think. A distrust of new tech maybe?) I did some research for friends who were completely confused about what K-dramas were and how I’d found them and where I watched and the people at DramaFever had to really work to get S.Korea media companies to take them seriously. And they even had market data showing the interest.

      I really, really appreciate that reliable legal sources are starting to emerge, but if the dark side is all that’s there (and that is still the case sometimes), well that’s all that’s there.

  2. I always have really respected Drama Fever because I once found an obscure New York Times article about how it was founded because the guy was like, “wow there’s a lot of illegal fansubbing going on how can we make this legal?” So he started getting rights to the shows and contacted some of the fansubbers to work with them. What’s funny is I feel like Viki actually fits an origin story like that more because Viki relies on fansubbing (which is thankfully so fast for us non-korean speakers), and one time while waiting for a show to be subbed I read a cool article on their site about how they actually changed the order of subbing to make it so a segmenter has to go through and choose will subs will show then a subber goes through and actually fills it in (normally it’s the reverse). My biggest problem recently has been Drama Fever is slower on the turn around with currently airing shows (Flower Boy Next Door being the prime example of that) and they keep getting so much traffic the subbing is out of sync because their servers can’t handle it. But I agree, I’m so happy that there are two sites available that are legal and thus giving money back to the drama companies. So as far as the dark side goes, the place I normally go is Drama Crazy but I have been warned about potential viruses. The safest most likely non-legal source is youtube since you’re more safe from viruses. But yeah, I read your previous post and it gets frustrating when you want to watch a show and can’t because no subs are available.

    • I may have read that same article. 🙂 And I agree I’m so, so grateful there’s some legal sources out there. There’s room to improve, yes, but it’s so much better than nothing.

      Dramacrazy is my dark side source, too. So far no viruses. *knock on wood* The thing with YouTube is they’re quick to remove stuff. Which I can understand but it’s frustrating when there’s no other source. Daily Motion is another place to look.

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