Top 10 Best Movie and TV Streaming Apps for iPad & iPhone

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Watching movies and TV on your mobile device is a great way to kill some time, entertain yourself on a long trip, or even learn something new. Whether your tastes run towards hot TV shows, cool actions flicks, thought-provoking documentaries, or kid’s programming, streaming apps and movie apps are generally packed with thousands of titles to explore. But determining which movie apps are the best apps to download can be tricky. With so much variety, which apps are worth paying for, and which can you ignore. Here’s a look at the top movie and TV streaming apps for iPad and iPhone. If you love TV and movies, these streaming apps for iOS are definitely going to improve your Friday nights. You can enjoy these apps on your iOS device, or on a streaming media box.

1. Hulu Plus

Check out the video above to see how Hulu Plus stacks up against Netflix and Amazon.

When television shows end in the spring, fans eagerly anticipate their return in the fall. Whether you’re looking to catch up on a new show or discover old episodes of a show you watched as a kid, Hulu has a great blend of old and new shows, along with movies and kid’s programming. Hulu Plus offers users the ability to instantly stream current hit shows like Modern Family, Community, The Vampire Diaries, and classic series and acclaimed movies. You can easily resume watching from where you left off, and watch over WiFi, 3G, and 4G networks. In addition, pretty much every smart TV set also supports this channel.

Users can try out Hulu Plus for one week, and then it will cost $7.99 a month. While the price goes up after the trial, it’s well worth it price, as Hulu Plus is the perfect streaming app for TV lovers. You can download Hulu Plus from the App Store here.


  • Huge library of movies and TV
  • Nice blend of new, classic, and foreign titles
  • Great mobile interface
  • Has exclusive titles you can’t get on other platforms
  • Recommendations engine produces good options for what to watch next

  • Cons:

  • Ads are extremely annoying
  • Must wait until next day to watch shows from last night
  • Some shows have a two week delay between original airing and Hulu Plus posting
  • Must subscribe to access best content
  • Some categories of entertainment could use additional titles
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    2. Movies By Flixster


    By downloading Movies by Flixster, users can create their own “must-see-list” of movies coming soon to theaters. Watch full length trailers, catch movie showtimes, and read reviews. With reviews gathered from aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, you can pick the best movie to watch with your family or friends. There are a lot of streaming apps out there, and this one goes under the radar all too often as a result. That’s a shame, because it’s a great option in a sea of ho-hum movie apps.

    As of May 21, 20414, Flixster has been updated to allow you to use AirPlay to stream content from your iOS device to an Apple TV. If you have a large collection of Ultraviolet movies, this app can help you sort through them and play them, stress-free. You can download Movies by Flixster from the App Store here.


  • Supports AirPlay
  • Can be used to easily manage your Netflix queue
  • Nice interface
  • Good source of HD trailers
  • Provides local showtimes

  • Cons:

  • Won’t appeal to those looking for a huge library of content
  • Critic reviews come from only one site
  • Won’t appeal as much to those with no Ultraviolet titles
  • Some users have complained about pop-up ads
  • Some users have complained about having to re-download titles after a certain amount of time has passed
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    3.Watch ABC


    ABC Network refurbished their app last year, adding a bunch of nice features. Since then, ABC has made even more improvements. As long as you’re a resident of New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Fresno, or one of the handful of other approved cities, you can also livestream local programming. 

    This app allows you to pause shows and resume from where you left off. Closed captioning is also available. You can download Watch ABC from the App Store here.


  • Nice interface
  • Also includes sports and weather
  • Great way to watch ABC shows on the go
  • Supports closed captioning
  • Lets you feel free from “appointment viewing” and get on with your life

  • Cons:

  • Limited to ABC programming (this is a no-brainer, but some people won’t download it for that very reason)
  • Still requires you to have cable in order to use the app
  • Requires internet connection
  • App has not been optimized for iOS 7.0+, which seems silly given the high adoption rate
  • Some user reviews suggest ABC updates the app frequently to mask bad reviews
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    4. Netflix

    TV lovers and film buffs can both agree that Netflix is the best streaming site that offers the best of both worlds. As long as you subscribe to Netflix, you the ability to watch movies and television from any location. Every major player in the set top box world supports Netflix, making it easy to start watching a show on your iOS device and finish later when you get home. There are a lot of iPad movie apps out there, but if you don’t have a Netflix subscription then you really are missing out on the best variety of TV, movies, and original shows.

    Content is constantly added and updated, so you will always find something new. Netflix originals like Orange is the New Black, Hemlock Grove, and House of Cards can’t be viewed on any other platform. You can download Netflix from the App Store here.


  • Huge library
  • Awesome interface
  • Robust recommendations engine
  • Great way to discover older programs that flew under the radar
  • Easy to “marathon” a series

  • Cons:

  • Titles often disappear with no advance warning, which can be frustrating for those in the middle of watching a long series
  • Can be laggy/low-quality during peak use hours
  • Opinions are divided about the quality of certain Netflix original shows
  • Some movie info is limited in the mobile interface
  • Some users find it hard to adjust the queue on the go

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    5.Funny Or Die


    Funny or Die is a nice alternative compared to the traditional streaming apps. Funny or Die is always updating their library with new videos from the hysterically twisted minds of Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and other famous comedians.

    Watch popular skits like Drunk History, Between Two Ferns, and prank videos like HUVr. You can download Funny Or Die from the app store here.


  • Huge library of gut-busting humor
  • Exclusive content
  • Tons of funny celebs
  • Great way to stay current with what’s trending online
  • Very creative and unusual videos

  • Cons:

  • If you hate comedy or comedians, this is not for you
  • Some skits may not appeal to all taste levels
  • Interface feels a little cramped on iPhone
  • Sometimes goes for long stretches without updates
  • Could use more robust rating/ranking system with additional detail
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    6. SlingPlayer ($14.99)


    As long as you’re a Dish Network subscriber, or have a Slingbox installed at home, the SlingPlayer app will allow to you watch recorded shows on any television in your home. Using your iPad as a controller, you can access TV shows you recorded over Wifi, 3G or 4G connection.

    With SlingPlayer mobile, you can record what you want, change channels, and watch Pay-Per-view. Have all the same functions like rewinding and pausing. You can purchase SlingPlayer from the App Store here.


  • Plays nice with Apple TV and other streaming setups
  • Allows some great manual controls/settings
  • Easy to set up
  • Feature-rich
  • Also lets you view photos

  • Cons:

  • Won’t appeal to those who lack a Slingbox
  • App is quite expensive
  • Some DISH devices and early Slingboxes are not compatible with the app
  • Slingbox not available in all countries
  • Ho-hum interface

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    7. Plex for iOS ($4.99)


    Plex multi-purpose streaming service lets users stream music, videos, and view photos from any Apple device. Users can compile a list of movies, TV shows, or create personal videos that they can watch with friends or family members. Plex is a great option to choose out of all the movie apps out there, because it provides an attractive interface for organizing all your digital media.

    Plex for iOS costs $4.99, but can also convert files into a format the device can play! You can download Plex from the App Store here.


  • Nice interface
  • Great for home streaming of your digital library
  • Reliable
  • Organizes all personal media, not just video content
  • Provides nice images and art for your content

  • Cons:

  • Can sometimes need a reboot after extended watching of TV or movies
  • Costs money to download
  • Plex channel not strictly supported for Apple TV (but you can work around it with AirPlay)
  • Some services require premium Plex Pass subscription
  • Does require a Plex media server set-up (free)
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    8. HBO Go

    HBO has brought us iconic TV shows like The Wire or The Sopranos.  As long as you have an HBO subscription, you can watch movies, documentaries, TV shows, and behind the scenes extras. Some people do try to circumvent paying for HBO by using a friend or family member’s HBO Go password, but this is not recommended. The main drawback to using HBO Go is the fact that it has suffered from serious outages in the past, most notably during important episodes of True Detective and Game of Thrones. If you watch either of those shows, expect similar crashes of the HBO system in the future, until the infrastructure has been improved.

    You can download HBO GO from the App Store here.


  • Great library of award-winning shows and specials
  • Nice interface
  • Create customized watchlists
  • Plays nice with AirPlay
  • Automatically adds certain shows to your Watchlist

  • Cons:

  • Prone to outages during high-use periods (such as show premieres or finales)
  • Requires HBO subscription, and therefore, cable subscription
  • Some older HBO shows now available on other streaming platforms
  • Not available everywhere
  • iOS version of the app hasn’t been updated since late 2013
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    9. Crackle


    Watch unlimited high-quality movies and TV shows for free with Crackle app for iPhone. New movies and TV episodes are added monthly, and Airplay lets you stream what you want to watch on an Apple TV. One perk of Crackle over other streaming apps is the ability to watch a rotating array of Seinfeld episodes.

    Optimized for iPhone and iPad, Crackle can entertain you when you’re on the go, including Canada, Australia and the UK. You can download Crackle from the App Store here.


  • Free
  • Has original, exclusive programming
  • Doesn’t require you to create an account prior to watching stuff
  • Tons of classic flicks and foreign titles
  • Huge appeal for anime fans and comedy lovers

  • Cons:

  • Long waiting period between new content drops
  • All content tends to be older movies and TV shows
  • Annoying ads
  • Streaming quality can be low at times
  • Library of content feels small compared to other services
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    10. SnagFilms


    SnagFilms has a large library of independent films made by indie filmmakers. While some of the movies have earned awards, they haven’t been released into theaters. Movie apps are a dime a dozen, but SnagFilms contains a series of unique and different voices that make it guaranteed to provide good entertainment. You can download SnagFilms from the App Store here.


  • Unique content with unique perspectives
  • Nice interface
  • Multiple login options (Twitter, Facebook, Google, Email)
  • Free app
  • Nice blend of genres

  • Cons:

  • Some content is available on other platforms
  • Weak network signals cause the app to give audio-only playback
  • Small-ish library of content
  • Some users have complained about ads and slow buffering
  • Some users have reported annoying sound/crash bugs (recent update hopefully has fixed this issue for good)

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