Essential Tools for Binge Watchers
Great Apps, all Free, to Make the Most of Your Streaming Video
Having too many TV shows and movies to watch is the definition of a first-world problem, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. I personally spent years stuck in the same terrible cycle. Maybe you can relate.
Some weekends I’d get the itch to watch something and spend 15+ minutes searching through streaming services to figure out if they had it. If the hunt came up empty, things might escalate. Could I pay to rent it? How much would it cost me buy it? Other investigations would ensue, sometimes ending in a free exchange of ideas with some anonymous friends over in Sweden.
These apps have solved my three biggest issues: mainly, knowing what’s available across various services, when great deals on buying or renting come up, and what’s new on TV that I could DVR on my own. Together they’ve saved me time and money by reducing spending on duplicative content. Chances are they’ll do the same for you.
Yahoo Video Guide
Browse & Search Faster: It’s not the first app to let users browse and search across every popular streaming service, but it’s easily the most elegant of the bunch. After downloading, simply check off the various streaming services you have access to. The app’s homepage aggregates new and popular content across all services for easy browsing; the same goes for freshly released movies that are available to purchase or rent through iTunes or the Google Play store. Tapping on an individual movie or show brings up useful information: where you can stream or buy it, the plot summary, cast info, a list of similar titles and the Rotten Tomatoes score. If you have streaming apps already on your device, you can also tap the “play now” button to have the Yahoo Video Guide immediately switch you over to that service for instant viewing. Already know what you want to watch? Then just use the search tab to see where you can find it. Let’s just hope this service continues on if Yahoo sells.
Keep a Universal Watch List: This might be the ultimate app for those willing to put up with its slightly clunky design. It basically does everything Yahoo’s Video Guide can while adding a few helpful benefits, the biggest of which is the ability to save movies or shows across all services to a single “watch later” list (as long as you’re willing to sign up for a free Fan TV account). It also integrates the ability to view your live TV listings and watch trailers for upcoming movies.
Never Miss a Deal: Cheap Charts is a great way to quickly browse the latest iTunes deals on movies, books, music and apps. It’s packed with useful features, like the ability to sort and browse deals by type, date or price change. Similarly, you can create a wish list that’ll trigger alerts when your desired items go on sale. Truly frugal media addicts will also appreciate the ability to select any particular piece of media and see a quick breakdown of how its price has changed over time. The UI is admittedly somewhat confusing. Its default push notifications settings are also pretty aggressive. Still, unless you’re dedicated enough to check it every day on your own, they’re the best option for capitalizing on deals before they’re gone.
Never Miss a New Show: On-demand streaming is now king of TV and movie consumption, but following new shows is far from dead. The DVR crutch is key, and Next Episode makes it easy to know when shows are airing so you can be ready. Just add the series you want to follow to your list, and the app will automatically add everything to a convenient calendar. If you upgrade to the pro version, you can opt to have the app send alerts and reminders before shows start. Both the free and pro versions will also tell you which of the shows you’re following is airing next and makes it easy to look back over a show’s complete history.