Watching movies and TV on your mobile device is the best way to pass time. Here’s a look at the top movie and TV streaming apps for iPad and iPhone.
1. Hulu Plus
Check out the video above to see how Hulu Plus stacks up against Netflix and Amazon.
While most television shows have ended, fans eagerly anticipate their return in the fall. 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. 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 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
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
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.
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.
Can be used to easily manage your Netflix queue
Good source of HD trailers
Provides local showtimes
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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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.
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
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
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.
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.
Robust recommendations engine
Great way to discover older programs that flew under the radar
Easy to “marathon” a series
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
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
Tons of funny celebs
Great way to stay current with what’s trending online
Very creative and unusual videos
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
Love to play tower defense iPhone games? We've rounded up our Top 5 favorites in the genre. Click here to read more
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
Also lets you view photos
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
Unless you've been living under a rock, you should know about these amazing apps.Click here to read more
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 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.
Great for home streaming of your digital library
Organizes all personal media, not just video content
Provides nice images and art for your content
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)
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. You can download HBO GO from the App Store here.
Great library of award-winning shows and specials
Create customized watchlists
Plays nice with AirPlay
Automatically adds certain shows to your Watchlist
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
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.
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.
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
Long waiting period between new content drops
All content tends to be older movies and TV shows
Streaming quality can be low at times
Library of content feels small compared to other services
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. SnagFilms contains a series of unique and different voices and is guaranteed to provide some good entertainment. You can download SnagFilms from the App Store here.
Unique content with unique perspectives
Multiple login options (Twitter, Facebook, Google, Email)
Nice blend of genres
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)
Finally ready to cut the cord and ditch cable TV? Any set top box or streaming media player from this list will be a great cable TV alternative.Click here to read more