The site's target audience is teens and college students, may of whom have replaced television with Web vision and have helped spark the fury of user-uploaded video content. While the site does not quite have YouTube or Google's depth, it provides enough content and features to attract and entertain new users. The Web-based Guba.com is laid out simply and well organized, with DVD art and video stills dominating the clean interface. The search bar is located top and center, and it allows you to search by video format. Featured A-list movies line the top third, while notable TV and free videos fill out the page. The primary sections are tabbed: All Videos, Premium Videos, and Free Videos. The left-hand navigation bar lists typical genres such as Action, Cartoons, Classics, Documentary, Drama, and so on. You also have access to general Usenet video groups such as alt.binaries.mpeg.video.music. This overall mix of premium content and free videos makes it a decent one-stop shop, particularly for those who watch videos on an iPod or a PSP. Like Google Video, Guba lets you download free videos in iPod or PSP format, and you can transfer much of the footage to WMV devices such as the Creative Zen Vision:M and the Archos AV500, which can play protected content at 1.2Mbps.
Registering (free) allows you to track your favorite videos, categories, and searches, as well as upload videos. Uploaded videos can be of any length, but files must not exceed 200MB, and of course, Guba.com reserves the right to take down copyrighted and obscene material. Once you get bored of viewing, rating, and sharing home movies, music videos, and a universe of free clips, you can browse the premium section for a decent list of movies, encoded as DRM WMV files. While there are recent hits such as Syriana ($19.99 to purchase) and Good Night and Good Luck ($2.99 rental), the site lists less than 100 films, many of which can be purchased but not rented and vice versa. The $9.99 price point is reasonable enough and covers the majority of movies, such as Death to Smoochy, Best in Show, and The Matrix. However, we feel many consumers will scoff at the $19.99 premium price point, which matches that of Movielink and CinemaNow and applies to films such as Analyze That and Firewall, since actual DVDs can be found for less. While most of the titles are worth watching, you won't have the selection offered by Movielink, CinemaNow, or even Starz Vongo. At this point, online movies are more about convenience than value.
But the Guba infrastructure is ripe enough for further content development. Video streams were instantaneous on our corporate network, and the quality of premium content was excellent. Minor features, such as frame-by-frame previews of free videos as you mouse over a thumbnail or icon-based functions for each video clip, give Guba something different in the growing world of online video sites.