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2 great apps for finding streaming movies and TV shows

2 great apps for finding streaming movies and TV shows

Whether you’re thinking of ditching cable or just wondering what streaming video service might have the movie or show you’re looking for, there’s an app for that. Actually, there are at least two good ones: Can I Stream It and Go Watch It.

Can I Stream It is the one I usually go to first. If you’re on a computer, you can go directly to the website, although there are also free apps for iOs and Android devices. Just type in the name of the movie or show you’re looking for and Can I Stream It will let you know which service carries it, if it’s available free anywhere, or how much you’ll have to pay to rent or buy it. The search includes most of the top subscription and á la carte services, including Amazon (Instant and Prime), Apple iTunes, Crackle, EpixHD, Hulu and Hulu Plus, Redbox Instant, Sony Entertainment, YouTube, and Vudu, among others.

One feature that’ll probably come in handy is “reminders,” which lets you create a list of movies or shows you’d like to see that aren’t currently available. When they do pop up on whatever services you choose, you’ll get an e-mail notification.

For those, like me, who still like to watch Blu-ray movies, you can also find out if the title is available for rental or purchase on disc—either Blu-ray or DVD —from Amazon, Netflix, or Redbox. And if you’re a Comcast subscriber, the site also tracks what’s available on the Xfinity Streampix service.

If you tend to watch more movies than TV shows, Go Watch It may be the ticket, as its focus seems to be more on films. Like Can I Stream It, Go Watch It covers the major streaming services, including Amazon, Apple iTunes, Netflix, Vudu, and YouTube, plus Google Play, Xbox, and Target Ticket. And like its competitor, it’ll show you whether a title is available on Blu-ray or DVD from Amazon, Netflix, and Redbox. If you’re looking for a current movie or just looking to separate from your sofa, Can I Watch It will even show you where it’s playing in movie theaters via a link to Fandango. 

With Go Watch it, your “queue” serves as a placeholder for available movies you want to see and a wish list for movies that are currently unavailable. As with Can I Stream It, you get alerts when movies in your queue become available. But Go Watch It adds a social element and a discovery aspect to the search process, as you can see how many others have queued the same movie, choose to share your queue and lists with friends, and find out what they’re watching.

Adding to the discovery element are curated “channels” that feature film content either aggregated by type (Most Queued Movies, Inspiring Movies, New York Times Critic’s Picks) or by film studios (Marvel Movies, Magnolia Pictures) and festivals (Sundance, Tribeca). This is a helpful tool when you’re not searching for a specific movie. You can also drag a Go Watch It button to your browser’s bookmarks bar, allowing you to add movies to your queue from any website.

The common cable-TV gripe used to be that you get 100 channels but there’s nothing on. With search services such as Can I Stream It and Go Watch It, we think that complaint will become far less common.

—James K. Willcox

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers or sponsors on this website. Copyright © 2006-2014 Consumers Union of U.S.

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