Too many TV choices? Here’s how to better navigate streaming services
Cool factor 5/5
Streaming entertainment services have loads of advantages over regular TV. The obvious one, with paid-for or subscription services, is the lack of relentless advertising.
Then there’s the binge-watch factor, not having to watch according to a schedule, and the sheer volume of titles that these services offer.
But that volume can make these services hard to navigate. And if you’re signed up for multiple services, finding what you want to watch, when you want to watch it, means searching in each separate library. These can be clunky: the services seem to pay more attention to their recommendation engines than to making their libraries easily accessible.
As with most things, there’s an app for this. JustWatch is a nifty aggregation tool for streaming content. Download the app (available free for iOS and Android devices) and then select the services you use. The top choices the app offers you are informed by your location, so there is no hunting for location-specific services such as Showmax or BoxOffice.
The app then pulls the thousands and thousands of titles from across the services into one place and lets you filter the selection by, for example, high or low definition, release date, IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes rating, or price. Alternatively, you can search across these services in one spot.
The four main screens are "new", "popular", "price drops" and "watchlist". If you see something you want to watch, you add it to your watchlist with a tap.
Tapping into a title brings up a summary of what service(s) it’s available on, and at what price (or whether a subscription applies). This screen also offers further information on how that title has fared on the ranking sites, and lets you view trailers and see a summary of cast and crew information.
For example, at the time of writing, the newly released Ready Player One movie cost R34.99 to rent on Google Play, R40 on BoxOffice, and R44.99 on iTunes.
The price drops category is great for pay-per-view content.
JustWatch ticks the smart and simple boxes, with the added bonus of potential savings, so you can do exactly what the app name suggests.