Movie fans enjoy their films in a variety of different ways. The most traditional method is, naturally, watching on the silver screen, but large home TVs offer a serious challenge to that due to the difference in cost and convenience. Mobile options are also becoming popular; tablets and phones—from the right distance—can occupy just as much visual space as a large TV.
For the avid film watcher, there are certain apps that are indispensable. We hope to include a little something for everyone, so check out our list below.
Our first pick is an obvious but important one. If you love movies and for some reason don’t have Netflix, you’re making a mistake. Not only is it a great service to have for watching movies on your TV and computer, but it works on all your mobile devices too. Tablets and smartphones can load up movies for you to watch just about anywhere.
As subscription services go, Netflix has the most well-balanced movie library. It includes television shows, films old and new, as well as Netflix exclusives. On top of all that, Netflix allows you to stream on multiple devices at once, so you can share with your family.
Unlike most services, Netflix doesn’t discourage account sharing. There’s a limit to how many people can watch simultaneously, but as long as that limit isn’t exceeded, it’s okay. They figure that it makes good advertising (and I tend to agree).
The only downside of Netflix is that its library has geographic restrictions. Some films can only be viewed from the U.S., while other films require you to be in specific countries for viewing.
Buffered VPN—a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service—is the perfect companion to Netflix or any other streaming services that has geo-blocking in place. Because your library is decided by your IP address, having a VPN can allow you to navigate around such blocks by switching to a different IP address.
It works by offering you a list of servers at different locations in the world. Wherever you connect, that’s where websites and services will think you are. There’s also the added benefit of making public WiFi safe to use, particularly if you’re someone who likes to stay in hotels that offer free WiFi.
A net security app isn’t usually on the movie shortlist, but it’s actually more useful than you’d imagine. After all, you can’t watch anything if your device gets hacked and infected with malware. For more information about Buffered VPN, visit Secure Thoughts.
For those of you less interested in streaming and more interested in going out to see a film, Fandango Movies offers you the opportunity to purchase tickets from just about any local theater from the convenience of your device.
Much like the web version of Fandango, you can view movie times, compare prices and get your tickets digitally. Once you’ve saved a theater, you can automatically bring it up when you’re thinking of seeing a movie without having to reenter your information each time.
Fandango also displays movie reviews from the popular review site Rotten Tomatoes. If you’re a big fan of Disney films, there’s also a way to link your Fandango account with Disney Movie Rewards. It’s an excellent tool for anyone who prefers the in-person experience and can save you time and money.
Much like Fandango, Flixster allows you to view showtimes and purchase tickets. It’s integrated with Rotten Tomatoes and even allows you to create a wish list of movies you’d like to go see. The fact that it also works together with Netflix is another bonus.
You can view and manage your Netflix queue from within the app, which can be handy if you’ve been reading Rotten Tomatoes reviews and decide there’s a film you really want to see. It works especially well if you need a hands-free app, as it’s been integrated with Google Voice Search.
As to which is better between Flixster and Fandango, it’s sort of a toss-up. Both offer relatively similar features, and it may just come down to your preference over layout and design. It is worth noting that Flixster’s main website also allows you to buy and rent movies, but that feature does not appear to be integrated into the app.
As arguably Netflix’s number one competitor, Hulu earns its spot on the list for its extensive list of films and TV shows. While I might argue Hulu probably has a better TV lineup than Netflix, its horror movie selection is particularly good. Unlike Netflix, it has some content available to view for free.
The rest of Hulu’s library requires a subscription, with two different plans available. The first is a little cheaper but still plays a limited number of ads. The more expensive plan contains no ads and has an option for you to subscribe to Showtime for an extra fee.
I personally prefer Netflix, but for someone who already has a Hulu subscription, this app’s a no-brainer. Just remember Hulu is available on multiple devices, from your mobiles to your game systems.
Make no mistake: Amazon Video is becoming a better and better service. It now offers considerably more films than it has in the past, most of them available for free if you’re subscribed to Amazon Video or Amazon Prime. Most users of Amazon Video probably have it because they’ve already got Prime, and it just happens to be included.
For that reason alone Amazon Video is probably one of the most accessible of the paid services. Netflix and Hulu really only deliver a single service: video streaming. Amazon Prime, on the other hand, allows you to purchase physical movies if you so choose or you can rent films that aren’t part of Amazon Video’s library.
Though I’ve been using Prime and Video simultaneously, you can still subscribe to Amazon Video without Prime. I just don’t think there’s any reason to bother; Prime offers considerably more benefits and doesn’t increase the cost significantly. The app for watching the videos is Amazon Video though!
Runners-Up: TV Provider Apps
Because there are so many different providers, it doesn’t pay to be too specific here. However, if you’ve got something like Comcast, Brighthouse, AT&T, etc., you can download an app that allows you to watch quite a few of their programs on demand. That includes movie channels that are part of your package.
As there are probably some other great apps for movie lovers, we’d appreciate it if you shared some of your own favorites in the comments.
About the Author: Caroline is an online safety specialist and internet security blogger. When she’s not blogging, she loves nothing more than being able to sit back and enjoy a good film.