While our streaming video landscape has offered many benefits, we still struggle to decide not just what to watch, but where to watch it.
The proliferation of streaming apps, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+ among countless others, has left viewers and viewers with an abundance of options.
In many cases, these movie and TV options tend to move around. What was once on Netflix is now on Peacock, or that movie you loved on Hulu is now on Amazon Prime.
Let’s say you fancy watching a classic TV show or a recently released movie, and you have no idea which service offers it. Luckily for you, the smartphone is here to help.
There are a few apps that can help viewers navigate the myriad of streaming services and find the exact show or movie you want. Here’s a look at some of the best.
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Of all the apps on this list, Reelgood is my favorite. Once you’ve connected your subscribed services, the app displays all of the available programming in a variety of categories, including what’s popular, “Academy Award Best Movie winners,” and more. You can track the movies and TV shows you want to watch, which will appear in the “Watch Next” tab.
When you see a show or movie you like, tap on it to show you the different services where it’s available, either as part of a streaming subscription or for digital purchase.
So why is Reelgood really good? The seamless transition from searching for the show or movie to watching it on your TV or smartphone. When you choose “Watch on TV”, it will automatically find the streaming device connected to your Wi-Fi network and start the program. It worked effortlessly when testing on my Roku Ultra. It can also automatically direct you to the app on your smartphone and start playing.
If there’s a movie or show that isn’t streaming anywhere, you can have the app alert you when it becomes available.
The app is available on iPhone and Android, as well as Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and LG Smart TV. You can also use it on web browsers.
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Another great option if you want a smartphone app to track shows and get them on TV quickly. Similar to Reelgood, JustWatch lets you plug in the services you use and then view shows and movies in a variety of categories, including what’s popular and by genre.
A great advantage of the JustWatch app is the New section, which alerts you to all new content added to your subscribed services. You can check if you’ve seen it, like it, or dislike it to narrow down recommendations or add it to your watchlist.
When you’re ready to watch, you can either click the subscription service icon to view on your smartphone or choose “Play on TV”. If you have a Roku, the process is quite simple. It also works on smart TVs like Samsung and is available on Fire TV and Apple TV.
worthy of vigilance
Watchworthy’s approach is different, but still gets the job done by helping you find which TV shows or movies are streaming on which platform. You start by plugging in the services you use, then the TV shows you love.
The home page of the app showcases newsworthy shows or those that have recently premiered. Then there’s the Worthy section, which takes your recommendations and likes and forms a list of shows they deem worthy of your time based on what you like. For example, based on the shows I liked, the app said “Game of Thrones” would be 99% worthy of my time (lucky for me, I still haven’t watched it).
Two things hold it back compared to JustWatch and Reelgood: first, they’re only TV shows, so you can’t search for movies. Second, there’s no “play on TV” option, although you can jump straight to the first episode from the app.
TV Time is a simpler app that lets you set up watchlists and find new movies or TV shows. You start by choosing not only the shows and movies you want to watch, but also where you left off in a TV series. So if you only watched “Ted Lasso” Season 1 but not the second season, you can rate it in the app. When you choose the show, it will start you where you left off. Like other apps, it provides options on where to buy or stream via subscription. And while it automatically switches to the streaming app when you make a choice, there’s no option to play on the TV.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Video Streaming: How to Find Your Favorite TV Shows or Movies Online