Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network (AEBN) first launched in 1999, so to say that this porn service has been around the block is a bit of an understatement.
AEBN provides premium access to a huge library of third-party adult content via various means, such as pay-per-view, rentals and lifetime access.
We recently covered Adult Empire, which is very much in the same wheelhouse as AEBN. There are plenty of similarities between the two. Throughout our analysis of AEBN, we’ll make references and comparisons to Adult Empire to see how these porn libraries stack up against one another.
Let’s take a closer look with our full hands-on AEBN review:
- AEBN Review: Old-School Porn in a Changing Market
- First Impressions
- Is AEBN X-Pass Worth The Upgrade?
- Content Analysis
- Virtual Reality
- Design & Navigation
- Billing Information
- Our Verdict: Extensive Content, But Waning Value
AEBN Review: Old-School Porn in a Changing Market
AEBN was one of the first companies to operate a Pay-Per-View (PPV) service when internet streaming technology was still in its infancy.
For many years, this was enough to stand the company on solid ground.
Problem is: times are changing.
These days, the competition is expanding rapidly, and many major paysites are adopting a distribution model packed with value. Instead of offering pay-per-clip (or per minute), they are using Netflix-style subscription packages instead. One monthly payment gets you a lot of high-quality porn.
Back in 2006, XBIZ bestowed the title of VOD Company of the Year on AEBN (they’ve won it a huge number of times since as well) – they also ran their own award ceremony called the VOD Awards for many years, but it seems as if they no longer do this – the website was taken offline.
AEBN also picked up a shared win at the AVN awards for Best New Line in 2013: it’s safe to say that they have a reasonable level of recognition in the industry for their hard work.
The question is: can their core offering still compete against the top porn streaming services?
It’s important to understand the structure and setup of AEBN: things here feel a little dated, and the same criticisms we had for Adult Empire will apply here.
There are several ways of accessing content: you can buy minutes that you then spend when watching, purchase DVDs outright for streaming, purchase for download AND streaming, rental for just 48 hours or individual scene access.
To further complicate matters, some videos you’ll watch with minutes cost more minutes per minute than 1.
Take the above screenshot, for example: the “x2.0” means that you’ll need 60 minutes of time to watch 30 minutes of the production. Suffice to say: we hate this model of access, but there is a silver lining – X-Pass.
Is AEBN X-Pass Worth The Upgrade?
Part of our job at AdultVisor is to look out for the best value deals for our readers, and we’re pretty confident that no one who has a healthy relationship with their wallet would buy minutes here: nor would they rent a scene for 48 hours. It’s just too damn expensive.
Additionally, the cost of the DVDs for outright download is too high for most folks. AEBN does have one service that we recommend you look at – it’s called X-Pass.
This entitles you to unlimited streaming access to a portion of AEBN’s content, similar to the Unlimited package over on Adult Empire.
Their ad for the service indicates 5,000 DVDs, 20,000+ scenes and around a dozen daily updates. You’ll also get 30 free VOD minutes to spend on any content on the website – essentially, stuff that doesn’t come with your X-Pass subscription.
We’ll cover the cost of minutes and other features outside of X-Pass to some degree. Still, our main angle of analysis here will assume that you’ll make the better economic decision and sign up for a monthly X-Pass subscription.
To us, this represents the best bang for your buck experience on AEBN – and by quite a large margin.
AEBN licenses the lion’s share of its archive: this means that third-party studios produce the content and then make it available here for you to watch. This platform’s current setup and structure means that everything comes in via a DVD – it’s less than ideal, especially when those DVDs are just restructured scenes from paysites.
The above screenshot is a good example of this: Kink.com creates content for one of its paysite channels, Fucking Machines, but then packages it up as a DVD for sale. This DVD is then imported to AEBN and displayed as a DVD instead of an individual scene from the paysite.
We think that porn DVDs are very much on the way out – structuring the platform around actual channels is the better way to do things.
You can click on the Kink and Fucking Machines links under “Studios” to find more from the same outlet, but these links don’t filter out content that isn’t available with X-Pass. They do have tags when they’re available, but yeah – the structure of channels here needs major work.
Studios that have X-Pass media include Kink, Porn Plays, Private Media and Lethal Hardcore. Sadly, a lot of the best producers that have content on AEBN don’t have their scenes included with X-Pass: names missing include Brazzers, Nubiles, Pure Taboo and Evil Angel.
X-Pass did promise over 5,000 movies; we were pleased to see 5,084 in total at the time of our review. These break down into 24,445 scenes – so each DVD averages around five scenes. The site as a whole offers 125,000+ DVDs with 578,635 scenes: this means that X-Pass only gives you around 4.3% of their total catalog of media.
A quick comparison to Adult Empire shows that AEBN is really lagging behind the competition: their similarly structured product comes in with 780,000 scenes out of a total of 1.25 million that they have. To say that Adult Empire dwarfs AEBN is an understatement.
We won’t pretend that 25,000 porn scenes isn’t a lot of content, though.
You’ve still got way more porn here than you can possibly handle. We did a quick analysis of the average scene length from the last 20 uploads and found that your average X-Pass video is 22 minutes and 41 seconds in length.
Running the numbers, you’ve got just over a year’s worth of content to watch, assuming you run it 24/7 without stopping to sleep, piss, eat or drink.
1,454 movies are offered in HD, 50 are offered in 4K. This means that less than 30% come in high definition, and just 1% are 4K.
Again, a comparison to Adult Empire is relevant here: they have a much higher number of HD titles and 4K footage. Around 75% of their latest releases are also offered in 4K.
We think that the numbers put out by X-Pass are less than impressive. To make matters worse, they lump together 720p and 1080p in their HD category: this means that less than 30% of the uploads are offered in full HD.
To the credit of AEBN, they do have a nice display of video data. We found it exceptionally hard to get accurate format information from this platform, but their in-built display should be trustworthy. We should mention that quality does depend on the source studio, so these are rough numbers but they should be typical for most experiences – especially if you’re watching the latest uploads.
Anyway – 720p comes in at 3.5 Mb/s, 1080p at 5.6 Mb/s and 4K at 12 Mb/s. Sadly, we had issues trying to stream in 4K:
A few videos worked, and a few didn’t. Since relatively few uploads are offered in 4K anyway – it’s hardly the end of the world. Still, it should be fixed.
We put a few files to the test to see how well the servers handled a fast connection. We can grab these files with a Gigabit connection – it took around 22 seconds for a 1 GB file to complete.
We peaked at close to 80 MB/s – which isn’t complete line saturation on a Gigabit connection, but it’s close enough that we’re not going to complain. Suffice to say that in most instances, your network and setup will be the bottleneck – not AEBN.
Note that videos here are limited with regard to the number of times that you can download them – slightly disappointing. It seems you have 9 total downloads, which will be fine for most people in 99% of situations – but does there need to be this hard limit?
Streaming was fine on AEBN: you can seamlessly scrub through the footage, and it takes less than a second to jump around, even in 4K. We appreciate the quick response time – some platforms can take 3-5 seconds and while it’s not the end of the world, quick and straightforward flicking through a scene is awesome.
The AEBN platform has a wide variety of releases across several different niches – fairly balanced, all things considered.
We’d say that the same also applies to your X-Pass membership, but we do detect a slight preference for BDSM releases – in particular, Kink.com productions. We dug into the numbers to put our spidey senses to the test: turns out that of the 5,000 or so DVDs here, 910 come from Kink. That’s close to 20% of the productions.
They’re pretty varied with the source studio too: Hogtied, Fucking Machines, Bound Gangbangs and Divine Bitches all have uploads here.
Outside of the Kink productions, we’re disappointed with the available media. It’s not that they’re bad – it’s just that a lot of the material is dated and comes from budget productions.
AEBN has access to scenes from world-class studios such as Brazzers, Team Skeet, Vixen and Mofos – it just doesn’t have them on X-Pass. It’s clear that rival service Adult Empire wins out again here: their Unlimited service includes scenes from Porn Force, Elegant Angel, Lethal Hardcore and Team Skeet. Over half of the DVDs here are from 2009 or before:
If X-Pass wants to be competitive, it desperately needs newer productions.
From what we can tell, AEBN has never produced original content.
There is a dedicated VR section on the website: none of the scenes you’ll find here are available as a part of an X-Pass. Still, we’ll cover what you get, as you might be willing to pay to download a VR flick starring your favorite performer.
There are 320 DVDs in total, which equates to 439 scenes – only a few DVDs have more than one VR release. The variety is minimal – to the point that we’re actually amazed. Check out the latest uploads to AEBN in their VR section:
We’re not saying that urine-themed content is bad or wrong, but all of the latest uploads come from Wet VR and Virtual Pee. A look through the studio data shows 134 DVDs from these two producers: that’s over a third of the available content in the pee niche.
That’s great if you like content in this genre, but if it’s not your cup of tea – yeah, quite disappointing.
We looked at dozens of available VR scenes here: all cost exactly $20.
It would appear that you can save a few cents downloading the scene individually – but we really do mean a few cents here. It seems as if scenes are purchased at a fractional rate depending on the length of the full DVD compared to the clip you want, and scenes are about 10 seconds shorter than the full DVD.
Weird quirk, but hey – every cent matters, right?
VR quality is always 4K: there are a few 360-degree scenes, but most are 180-degree FOV.
Design & Navigation
We made some pretty stern criticisms of Adult Empire for its lack of convenient navigation and filtering – things are a lot worse when you look at AEBN.
We have particular issues with their X-Pass display: if you want to look at all of the available studios, they mix in results with no clips in the X-Pass section. It just shows off how sparse the area is:
There’s no way to remove studios with 0 listings either – you’re forced to look through them to find one that has uploads. It also doesn’t help that there are no ways to sort the studios based on the number of scenes they have. This might be a reasonable middle ground – but alas, no dice.
For a site that has been around for over two decades, you would think they’d put a little bit more effort into accessibility.
AEBN has absolutely no metadata attached to preview panes – except for the length of the video. We’d like to see a title and the associated DVD – perhaps even the main pornstar’s name, or whether it’s available in 4K. We’re also disappointed with the lack of data regarding upload timing – the site claims to add new scenes regularly to its X-Pass section, but there’s no way to see whether that’s true.
Watching content is fine: the embedded player does a decent job – especially when you want to skip ahead. We’d like to see the option to change quality be just a single click, though. There’s no reason that it shouldn’t function the same as YouTube does. Extra clicks do annoy us – especially when we’re mid meat-beating.
Sometimes, thumbnails would randomly decide not to load – there was no way to interact with the container area to navigate to the DVD. See below:
The Mobile Experience
We spent about 10 minutes fiddling with the mobile version of the website: it aligns pretty well with the desktop experience.
It’s not thrilling to engage with, and it does feel a little dated – but it’s functional, and for most people, that’s what matters. There needs to be an improved filtering system though: the way it’s done on the desktop is barely useable, but when you transition that to a mobile environment, it’s really quite jarring.
We’d recommend turning your phone horizontally and using the search bar if you want anything specific. Category accessibility here is poor.
Since we’ve spoken so much about X-Pass, let’s start there: signing up was denominated in AUD for our reviewer, since he accessed the platform from Australia.
A VPN test revealed that monthly access was $14.99 for X-Pass: at current exchange rates, that’s $22.69 AUD – we’re pretty happy with the quoted rate of $23.05 in Australian Dollars. Some platforms try to make extra money on exchange rates: that’s not the case here.
We were pleased to see a variety of billing options supported. Default credit/debit card is the primary method (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Delta, etc.), but you can also settle with PayPal and cryptocurrencies. Sadly, PayPal wasn’t available for us in Australia, though it did work in the United States.
We’d actively advise against buying minutes here, but if you want to go down that road, package deals range from $3.95 for 15 minutes to $84.95 for 1,000 minutes. The biggest package works out at around $5 per hour of viewing, but do remember that for some videos, you’re charged at a higher rate.
We think it’s pretty ridiculous that you buy minutes but can spend 2 minutes per 1 minute. That’s like going to the store to buy some shoes, but the displayed price is just for one shoe, not two.
How Will AEBN Purchases Appear on My Statement?
When we made a purchase, this is what our bank reported to us:
It would appear that the company billed here isn’t immediately traceable back to AEBN: it looks like WMM processes payments for multiple VOD companies – both mainstream and adult. We think it’s fair to say that AEBN’s billing is fully discreet.
Our Verdict: Extensive Content, But Waning Value
We’re honestly not sure how long companies like AEBN have left with a model that leans heavily in to paying by the minute – their content distribution and access model is surely on the way out.
Are people actually buying DVDs these days? Maybe, but for how much longer?
The costs are extensive outside of their X-Pass package. While there is a decent chunk of videos here – unless you’re looking to get your hands on their Kink.com material with a few bonus releases thrown in for good measure, we cannot help but say that it’s worse in pretty much every respect when compared to Adult Empire and to a lesser extent, Adult Time.
We appreciate AEBN’s efforts, and there’s still a ton of content here – but the existence of much better offers is why we suggest you consider other VOD platforms first. The simple fact is that AEBN has lower numbers, lower quality, worse accessibility and less variety.
Until improvements are made across the board, we’d suggest you join Adult Empire instead.
Head over to AEBN.com to see for yourself, and let us if you think we’re being too harsh.