Taking a look at Coupang Play (screenshot tour)

You probably already know the online shopping website Coupang, the "Amazon of Korea." It's one of Korea's largest thanks to its speedy Rocket Delivery logistics system that gets nearly anything you want to do your door by morning. 

But, like how Amazon offers a streaming video service to its premium Prime members, Coupang too offers a streaming video service to its premium members. This service is called Coupang Play (쿠팡플레이) and is automatically available to any Coupang "Wow" members (쿠팡와우). 

Coupang Play login page

Access to their surprisingly large library of streaming content, including a large amount of English foreign content, is free for these members. In talking with other expats here, I've discovered that a lot of them don't realize that their Korean husband or wife is already a Wow member (the main perk is free next-day or even same-day shipping on a wider variety of products). If they are a member, and many are at just a few 1000 won a month, you already can access this streaming library for free. 

Considering the large amount of USA and UK entertainment content on Coupang Play, if you or a family member already has a Coupang Wow membership, you'd be crazy not to take a look at this service. 

Their content library is large, very fast loading here in Korea in my tests, and works flawlessly in any web browser on any device (I tried both Mac and PC) and on Android/iOS. 

So to give you a glimpse of what kind of content they have, I took a few full page screenshots of some of the available titles in their library, with a focus on foreign language (English) content. I'm not going to sit here and type out all the titles (they use hangul titles anyway), but just click the pictures to zoom in and scroll around to get an idea of the breadth of content. 

Content available on Coupang Play

Coupang Play home

Once you've logged in with your standard Coupang login/password, it will ask to set up a profile. This just means tapping a giant (+) sign, choosing a name like Sam, and you're good to go. From then on, when logging it, you'll choose a profile. Apparently there are separate profiles for kids that automatically filter out adult (R rated) content and spotlight educational kids shows, but when I created mine it didn't even bother asking. The preferences and settings for each profile seem very barebones so I'm not sure they do much more than separate recommendations and watch history. 

Above you can see it featuring the Harry Potter series, but of course you can keep scrolling down to find something you like. Everything is thumbnail based. Those blue bubbles listed between the top promo and the content list are categories such as horror, mystery, documentary, foreign movies, foreign TV, etc.

English subtitled content

English subtitled content on Coupang Play

Of interest to most readers of this blog would be this category section for English subtitled content. You'll immediately notice that almost all of these shows are English language shows anyway. 

I checked as best I could, and it seems very rare to find actual Korean content that includes English subtitles. So that is a huge different from Netflix. If you're interested in Korean TV and don't speak Korea, Coupang Play is not a good choice for you, at least right now. 

A small exception seems to be foreign non-English content. For example the Hong Kong film CJ7 is listed in this category with Korean and English subtitles while the movie itself is in Chinese. There are likely other examples like this in the library. 

Foreign movie content

Foreign movie content on Coupang Play

Here's a large look at some of the foreign (non-Korean) movie titles available. Again, notice the very large amount of English content. Click the image to see more clearly. 

Foreign TV content

Foreign TV program content on Coupang Play

Here's a look at the foreign language (looks mostly English language shows) offerings. Interesting to note here is the surprising amount of British / UK television content. As expected, American shows are plentiful but I was really surprised by the very large library of British TV. If you or your spouse are struggling to get the BBC iPlayer working here, maybe give this a try. 

Overview of all content

Extended look at homepage content on Coupang Play

Just for your perusal, here is an extended screenshot view of the main Play homepage, featuring some of their more popular offerings organized by various categories. 

Content example: Masterchef USA

Just by way of example, here's a look at the view when you click on a TV show. I used Masterchef USA as an example. Looks like we've got all of season 10 here, with episode descriptions in Korean. Just click one and it loads up.

Here it is playing in my browser. The show retained the English audio of course, and Korean subtitles automatically turned on. It loaded speedily with no buffering at all and skimming through worked near instantly. 

And while I didn't try it myself, the Chromecast icon does appear when using the phone app version of Coupang Play, so I would guess it's now possible to cast the video to your TV or Chromecast dongle.

Sports content

You may have noticed in the large overview that there is a sports category in there too. Their Twitter feed advertises some of their football content (football in both the US and UK meanings). For example:

American NFL football games on Coupang Play. @CoupangPlay

European soccer games on Coupang Play. @CoupangPlay

It looks like they also have Major League Baseball games too.

More previews

If you're intersted in seeing more of what Coupang Play offers in their streaming library, they have a YouTube channel highlighting some of the best bits of their content. 

Coupang Play Youtube channel.

Right now it's featuring the revamped season of SNL Korea which is now exclusively on Coupang Play.

Final thoughts

I'm pretty impressed by the amount of content here. I knew I could get access to it for awhile now but never really bothered trying it out. I'm glad I did. I can see myself using this a lot more now. 

Currently you are limited to 4 devices, but I think for your standard family that's very reasonable. There's a lot of education content for kids both Korean and from abroad. 

One thing to note is that there is no English support currently. It's extremely easy to navigate, requiring minimal to no Korean. But it did seem as if this would be supported. One article [A New OTT by Coupang: Coupang Play is now live with 5 Million users] even included a screenshot of English language menus and descriptions, but I haven't come across anything like that in my experience, including not finding any way of changing interface languages. Hardly a deal breaker. 

Check it out for yourself: