Best Android apps for TV and movie fans

One of the most popular uses for tablets and phones is watching videos or catchup TV. From BBC iPlayer in bed, to movies on your travels, having a good-quality screen to hand makes your Android device a perfect choice for those who love television and movies.

If you do nothing else with your tablet, be sure to check out the best television apps and best movie apps for Android. Supporting Flash video, the browser itself is pretty good at delivering content from desktop versions of websites, but a dedicated app is always preferable. From cinema listings to streaming blockbusters, these apps will put you in the picture.

Popcorn Horror

Popcorn Horror is, to all intents and purposes, a short film platform for the horror genre that you can view over Android or iPhone mobile phone apps. Filmmakers everywhere can send in their work and the men behind the monster, Felix and Dave, will decide whether or not it meets the standard which, it seems, is pretty high.

The app itself is well put together and is the basis of something designed to have a real community feel about it. You can rate the shorts, add your favourite horror movie quotes, download movie wallpapers for your phone and have a general chat about all things macabre. The key to the whole venture will be to make sure that there’s enough content coming onboard on a regular basis but, if you don’t want to have to check in all the time to find out, you can set the app to alert you when there’s fresh meat uploaded.

Google Play: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4.5/5

Sky Go

The Sky Go app will allow some Android smartphone owners to turn their phone in to TV. The app is free, although you need to be a subscriber and all you've got to do is add your Sky Go details and you're ready to watch. The first page you are presented with is the channel categories (All, Entertainment, Sports, Movies, News, and Lifestyle) and these break down the relevant Sky channels into different pots, including Sky 1, Sky Living, and Sky Arts 1, in addition to the Sky Sports channels, Sky movie channels, Sky News, and ESPN. You also have access to Sky Atlantic.

In use the app is really simple, and enjoyable to use as well if you are planning on watching that Sky movie away from your TV. We are surprised that there is no pause functionality and by the lack of Anytime+ support. With Sky Go you get an app that will be great for those moments where you really just fancy curling up in bed to finish watching the movie you've got stuck into. 

Google Play: Link

Price: Free, but you need a subscription

Rating: 4/5

Crackle

Crackle has been around for a few years now. These days, under the stewardship of Sony Pictures Entertainment, it brings free-to-stream films from its parent company's catalogue as well as a clutch of orginal content in the shape of some specially made TV series. We’re not going to lie to you - the TV series are not particularly attractive and the movie catalogue could be described as a touch dated at best. 

The quality of the streams over mobile is not great. They’re pixelated just over the threshold at which you notice it; and searching for films beyond the featured carousel on the front and the Most Popular section isn’t as easy as it should be. But it’s all a fairly small price to pay given that you’re getting decent, feature-length movies for nothing. Probably the nicest touch is that the Crackle app will remember where you last left a film if you don’t manage to finish it in one sitting.

Google Play: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer has been a resounding success and one of the drivers of TV viewing online in the UK. Taking BBC iPlayer off your computer and into your pocket is handled by the dedicated app. You can browse BBC programmes, with access to a wide range of content, so you can catch up on an episode or a series you missed.

 

You can nominate favourites and share content too - so if you've watched something you really enjoy, you can email a link to a friend, or post it to a social network. Deep in the settings you can limit the quality of the video and you'll be able to stream TV and radio over Wi-Fi or 3G. There is also the option to watch live TV. If you live in the UK, this is an essential app. 

Google Play: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 5/5

Netflix

Netflix is one of the biggest names in streaming TV and movies. Formerly a US-only service, the company has now branched out into the UK, bringing its easy-access, cross-platform content to a wider audience. With apps on just about every mobile platform, games consoles and other smart TV devices, it seems to be less about how you get Netflix than how you can resist. 

Clever functions include syncing across your account, so you can watch on your Xbox and then resume on your Android phone on the bus and so on. Clever scalable streaming means the service is often buffer free, but obviously you're restricted to what's in the catalogue.

Google Play: Link

Price: Free app, but subscription required

Rating: 5/5

Movies by Flixster

Flixster is a social movie site where users can share movie ratings and check out what their online friends are watching. You can also link up with with your Facebook account, to make things more social.

 

You can browse DVD releases, watch trailers, find out what's on at your local cinema and also read reviews from Flixster or Rotton Tomatoes. If you're going to download just the one movie app, this is probably the best place to start.

Google Play: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5

IMDb

Anyone that loves film will know that IMDb (Internet Movie Database) is an absolute must-have. As well as listing pretty much every film (and TV programme) ever made, and those that are currently in production, it also includes over 3.2 million cast and crew profiles. For each film it will give you a cast list, plot summary and trivia.


It also includes links to Amazon for those films and programmes that are available to buy and gives you location-based show times for your nearest cinemas, lets you compile your watchlist and helps you remember exactly where you saw that actor before. In short, it's the most comprehensive source of film info around, making it absolutely essential.

Google Play: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 5/5

Movie Vault

If you're a fan of old and/or obscure films, then Movie Vault may be the app for you. It enables you to stream full-length films, choosing from a wide selection of more than 1,000 classic flicks. The films can be searched by several variants including genre, title, actor, director and keyword. Each movie is displayed with its cover art on a virtual wooden shelving unit for a touch of extra retro coolness.


You'll find a brief summary of each film (ported over from IMDb) and the app will automatically update when new films are added. You can save movies in a queue to watch later and you can also pause and pickup where you left off later on. This is a great source for watching films that are hard to come by, and after the one-off payment for the app, streaming is free.

Google Play: Link

Price: £1.21

Rating: 3/5

Orange Wednesdays

In the UK, mobile phone operator Orange runs a film-based promo known as Orange Wednesdays where you can get 2 for 1 cinema tickets - you guessed it - every Wednesday. This app will grant you your free ticket and also offers other handy features for you to plan your trip. You can find out which films are on at nearby cinemas, as well as reading reviews, watching trailers and looking up maps and directions for how to get there.



And as for your lucky pal who you're taking to the cinema for free? You can send them the details straight from your app so there's no need to compose a lengthy text message with all the info. It's only fair that they buy the popcorn.

Google Play: Link

Price: Free, if you're an Orange customer

Rating: 4/5

RockPlayer Lite

RockPlayer Lite is one of the most popular Android video players around. Essentially, it's a multi-format video and audio player that plays pretty much every format under the sun. While the on-board Android video file support isn't bad and varies from device to device, it often can't cope with everything, and that's where RockPlayer comes in.


It's great for people who download a lot of movies from the web as it supports formats such as avi, Xvid and DivX. Top-notch video format support for free? You can't say fairer than that.

Google Play: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5

Play Video

Films that arrive on your Android device through the Google Play are handled by the Play Videos app. Movies are priced at £3.49 for a newer release, or £2.49 for older titles. These prices match those on iTunes, unsurprisingly, but the selection of films isn't as comprehensive. Fortunately it doesn’t cost you anything to browse, because there is no subscription involved, unlike streaming from a service such as Netflix. You get access to your rented film for 30 days, but once you start playing, you have 48 hours to watch it.

Normal playback is streaming, but you do get the option to download it, with a warning asking you whether this should be over Wi-Fi only… we'd suggest you say yes to that. If you choose to download your film, you won't then be able to watch it on other Android devices on your account, which streaming will allow. Playback quality is perfect for a mobile device and if you have HDMI on your phone you'll be able to hook it up to a TV to watch it on the big screen. Read More

Google Play: Link

Price: Free (but you have to pay for films)

Rating: 3/5

Virgin Media TV Guide

Virgin Media's app can control your TiVo box from your smartphone, allowing you to select a show and set it to record, or even create a series link to tape every episode. The app sports a similar interface to that of your TiVo box at home and channels can be grouped into favourites, allowing you to keep up to date on exactly what you like watching and filter out the channels you prefer to avoid. The most useful bit of the app however, is of course being able to set your TiVO box to record away from home. 

You do (obviously) have to sign into your Virgin Media account before the app will start sending messages to the box, but other than that there is little else in the way of simply choosing and recording. The connected TV service essentially learns your viewing habits, automatically recording programmes it thinks you might like. Believe us, after a week or two of watching it will appear eerily intelligent. Read More

Google Play: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 5/5

Skifta

Skifta is a networks streaming app that will enable your Android phone or tablet to find and play content on a sharing DLNA or UPnP device. It is simple, free, and generally very reliable in use too. Naturally, it only supports the codecs that your device supported, so while it will find files, it can only play those your device normally would.

Navigation is logical, asking you to nominate the source, choose the player and then pick the file. Yes, choosing the player means it will also do "play to" functions, so if you want your phone to broadcast to another device, Skifta will handle that.

Google Play: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5

Have we missed any apps for TV and movie fans? Let us know in the comments below...



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