Do you remember, once upon a time, when a Movie Night would involve a sofa, popcorn and your family huddled around a television? Nowadays, the majority of viewing takes place on the move… whether that’s sat on the commuter train, a long haul flight, lounging by the pool, or even queuing in the post office.
This article reviews some of the best apps to watch movies and TV shows on the move. However, one of the largest challenges you’ll face is the limited storage on your device – bearing in mind you’ll be sharing it with all your photos.
It’s therefore worth considering some of the awesome uses for your old mobile phone; as that previous model that’s sat in the draw is a great way to store downloaded movies and utilize as a dedicated entertainment device.
You’ll have most likely heard of Netflix presuming you haven’t been living in a cave for the past five years. It offers a smorgasbord of entertainment delights with an element of personalized recommendations that can be helpful in discovering new content.
The most attractive feature to have been added in recent times is the ability to download content onto your phone – perfect for long flights. Gone are the days of sitting on a plane watching a communal movie that is dictated by the airline; now you have complete freedom to watch whatever you want, where you want, on your own device.
The only challenge, of course, is battery power, particularly if you’re on a long journey or in the wilderness. This is where external gadgets such as solar powered battery chargers come in. Bazaar Gadgets is a great place to check out for gadget inspiration.
30 DAY FREE TRIAL
Netflix offers a 30 Day Free Trial that is helpful to gauge content. Realistically, most people end up subscribing on the basis of “how can they possibly live their life without it” – but there are alternatives, that will be reviewed in this article.
Netflix offers a pretty cheap monthly subscription. Most importantly it doesn’t have extra costs; you pay one low monthly price and that’s it. The certainty and freedom of having access to all the available content without being charged (particularly with the ease of tap and pay) provides peace of mind and stress-free watching.
MULTI DEVICE SUPPORT + OFFLINE MODE
Netflix is available on almost all devices and offers users the chance to download content offline; something to bear in mind, however, is that only some content is available for offline viewing.
Netflix has a vast content library but there are limitations to this particularly when roaming outside of the US.
REQUIRES FAST BROADBAND
Streaming requires a decent broadband speed. Whilst this isn’t usually an issue when at home it can be an issue when travelling, partly due to slower internet speeds in certain parts of the world – but most importantly mobile data consumption. If you were to watch a Netflix movie on your phone, and you have a limited data allowance, it will eat through it at great speed.
LACK OF CURRENT TV SHOWS
Unlike Hulu that features currently airing TV Shows, Netflix offers popular time-tested series such as Breaking Bad and The Good Wife.
Crackle is a popular app that allows you to stream free movies and TV shows online. It provides moderate streaming quality and a decent content library.
There’s a slightly annoying requirement to watch adverts, but this means you can keep your credit card in your pocket as Crackle is completely free.
Crackle has over 100 movies and 50 TV series; from ones released back in the 1960’s to more recent classics.
Your viewing pleasure will be interrupted by adverts; particularly annoying if at a particularly meaningful part of the movie.
Video quality is capped to 480p – meaning it’s alright but provides a very different to the HD (and even 4K) experience offered by Netflix.
The viewing experience on smartphones and tablets is crisp and smooth with good sound.
Similar to Netflix, Hulu offers users the option to download content.
Hulu has hundreds of seasons and thousands of episodes from some of the biggest networks including Showtime (e.g. Dexter). What makes Hulu stand out above Netflix is the fact it has current content, in the sense you can watch content that’s currently being aired on TV.
Despite paying for a Hulu subscription, certain content is bookended by an advert due to licensing restrictions; whilst bearable to endure, many people feel after paying a subscription fee that content should be advert free.
Hulu is better for TV Shows than movies. Hulu still has a large catalogue of movies but if movies are your thing, you might be better off heading to Netflix.
Unlike Netflix that is available internationally, Hulu is limited to the US and Japan. Whilst you could technically use a VPN this does mean that internal travelers wanting to watch movies on the go could face some challenges.
Whilst not technically an movie and film streaming platform YouTube does offer some options to watch popular films and TV shows (albeit with some copyright issues).
DIVERSE RANGE OF CONTENT
The main sites like Hulu and Netflix have a collection of mainstream TV Shows and Movies to choose from, but if you’re looking for something more diverse and niche – YouTube might be a good place to check out. It’s amazing to see how many childhood favorites (first recorded on VHS) can be found on YouTube.
The quality of watching your favourite TV show on YouTube is often poor, mainly because the content owner won’t usually give permission for the show to be aired so the uploader has to distort the content somehow to not be flagged by YouTube’s content identification tool.