As more and more people are cutting the cable cord (it’s about time!), you might be a little lost when it comes to that ultimate question, what should we watch tonight?
Personally, we have at our fingertips:
- Amazon Prime Video
- HBO GO
- Fandango NOW
And that doesn’t even count the available services that we don’t usually access like ABC, AMC, A&E, and all of our local channels with an HD antenna.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I love that I have so many different choices. But then you fall into the problem of what you feel like watching because they all typically offer TV shows, movies, documentaries, and original programming.
Back in the day, we had ABC, NBC, and CBS along with a few straggler stations that usually didn’t come in clear even with our TV antenna mounted on the roof because we lived in a rural area. At any given time, you’d turn on the TV an decide between one of three primetime programs. It wasn’t so much an option of what to watch as it was which one.
Times have changes and although most streaming networks don’t release the number of titles they have at any given time (probably because it’s constantly changing), we can estimate that we have tens of thousands of choices every time we sit down. It’s overwhelming.
For this reason, I’m usually not a browser. I like to have some idea of what I want to watch when I sit down. When it gets really hard is when we’re sitting down as a family. There are so many great movies and shows and original programming but most of it is geared toward a more mature audience. We can squeak by with a TV-14 rating or a PG-13 rating for my 11 year old but that’s where we draw the line.
He’s usually the one to come up with an idea for a movie and instead of using that annoying little remote for the digital keyboard that Roku uses for each streaming service, we have a way to search all the streaming services quickly.
Enter JustWatch – a streaming search engine available on the web and on your mobile device.
I actually use mine on my iPhone all the time. So, on the off chance you’re still doing things the old fashioned way, I thought I’d share some of the great features I love about JustWatch.
This is an ad-supported app but if you choose to log in with your Facebook or Google account (which I did), all ads will be removed and you’ll be able to sync your information (like watchlists) across mobile and websites.
The first thing you’ll see is what’s new. Ranked alphabetically, you’ll be able to see what’s been released just today and where it can be found. Remember that this only indicates availability – not access. You will still have to pay in one way or another but that comes in just a bit.
You can also flip to the different icons on the bottom to see what’s popular, what’s at the movies, and what’s cheaper to watch right now. Let me explain about the pricing.
This screen is usually what I’m hoping for. I type in the name of a movie I’m interested in (in this case, the movie The Circle that Shannon and I talked about on our podcast). Much to my delight, I can see that it is available for streaming on Amazon Video provided I have a subscription (which I do because I’m an Amazon Prime member).
That’s not always the case. You’ll also see options to buy and rent the movie. Sometimes it’s worth it and sometimes you need to just get up and go to Redbox. I recently looked up a movie that I heard a few people talking about at my hair salon called, Red. It’s a few years old (2010) and I thought that I could find it somewhere on one of my streaming services.
It turns out that this movie is only available for renting or buying. $2.99 isn’t a bad option but the movie is eight years old. I put it on my “Watchlist” and I can easily check and see if, at a future date, the price has dropped or if it’s available on a subscription streaming service. Or, sometimes I wait for Fandango Now to send me a code for a free movie!
We’ve got a couple of things on our Watchlist. Some are there so we remember to try them out. Others are there because I’m just waiting for streaming availability. I want to be able to show my son Gilligan’s Island without have to buy the whole series!
If you’re looking for the “TV Guide” of streaming services, I think JustWatch is one of the best streaming search engines out there.