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:
Viki.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.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.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 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…
The 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?