Streaming media is arguably one of the coolest technological innovations of recent years. Especially since this technology allows you to watch movies and television episodes from wherever you are even if you’re not connected to the internet.
However, sometimes it’s hard to determine whether your favorite movies or TV shows are available to stream. Fortunately, you have various tools at your disposal:
If You Want to Search Multiple Platforms at Once
Maybe efficiency is your goal, and you know you’ll find your movie of choice fastest by perusing numerous platforms. Start by using the Can I Stream It? website. After typing a title into the search box, you’ll generate quick results. Click on the green “Availability” button to see the different ways of watching the specified title.
If streaming is available, you can access the respective links on that page. There is also a feature in the works that notifies people when movies or TV shows become available for streaming. This is a basic but straightforward free site that allows you to search several platforms simultaneously, including watching the streamed content on Cable by XFinity.
JustWatch is another multi-platform streaming search site. It checks for desired TV shows and movies across well-known platforms like Amazon, Hulu, and HBO Now, plus some lesser-used ones like Tubi TV.
One great thing about this site is, in addition to the basic search functionality, it has many filters that let you sort through content by genres, prices, release years, and more.
For Early Adopters
If you consider yourself an early adopter, try Leanflix, a streaming search site that’s still in beta. You can browse through over 4,000 movies without signing up, but using the website fully requires going through a registration process. Leanflix focuses on the top streaming providers, like Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes.
Compared to the previous two options, this one has a sleeker interface complete with sliders you can move to customize search results.
Leanflix uses a machine-learning algorithm to show films in order from best to worst, which theoretically could cut down the time you spend finding truly worthy or relevant streaming content. Manipulate the filters to automatically remove certain genres or older movies, too. These features help you find what you want faster when using this free site.
If You Own a Roku Box
Sometimes streaming search power comes built into a device you already use regularly. That’s certainly the case if you own a Roku Box or Streaming Stick.
Boasting a quad-core processor, the latest version of the Roku Streaming Stick includes numerous notable features such as an enhanced search feature that looks through 30 streaming sites at once.
You can also conduct voice searches using the integrated microphone.
If You Only Ever Use Netflix
Maybe you’re a loyal Netflix user and never feel tempted to see what other sites offer. In that case, there are a couple of search simplifiers made with you in mind.
The first is All Flicks, which is a huge searchable list of everything available on Netflix. Like Leanflix, the website has a slider you can move to filter results by year. Alternatively, you can just search by genre or keyword. Pay attention to the date shown to the far right of every movie or TV show title. It indicates when the content arrived on Netflix, giving you the scoop on the freshest finds.
Despite the huge amount of information on All Flicks, the site is extremely simple to use. There are even dedicated menus at the top of the page that show Netflix’s original content, offerings available in other countries, and streaming material that will only be on Netflix for a short while longer.
Flix List is a second Netflix-specific search site that works similarly but has more filters than All Flix. For example, you can sort through movies with a specific MPAA rating or concentrate only on ones that have earned good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
Another handy feature is the Flix List Network. After clicking on a country’s flag icon, look for titles that are only offered on that location’s Netflix site. This works well if you’re an American Netflix user eager to recommend a movie you just watched to a friend in the U.K. but want to make sure it’s available there first.
If You Have No Idea What You Want to Watch
The sheer number of choices for streaming content means some people spend more time deciding what to watch than actually enjoying movies and TV shows. If you can relate, try some purposeful resources intended to steer you in the right direction or at least give you some ideas.
The aptly named Decider website is ideal if you often depend on blogs and magazine articles for guidance about what to stream and what to pass up. Featuring a huge amount of timely content, the site offers articles about what to watch during particular weekends and gives insight about what celebrities like to stream, too.
All the articles provide a relatable tone plus all applicable links, so it’s easy to stream interesting shows you read about.
On the other hand, Flix Roulette is a good resource if you prefer an element of surprise in your media consumption. Set some parameters, such as audience ratings, genre, and an actor’s name, then click the “Spin” button and generate a suitable title to watch on Netflix, complete with the necessary link to the film or TV show.
If You’re Searching on Your Smartphone
All the resources we have mentioned so far have web presences and some include accompanying apps. Maybe you’re such a frequent smartphone user that you’re most concerned with apps that help you search for streamed content using nothing but your handheld gadget.
In that case, try the Yahoo Video Guide [No Longer Available], an iOS and Android app supporting over 30 streaming sites, including some very specific ones such as the Food Network and Comedy Central. It provides plenty of details about the available content, so it’s simple to make well-informed choices. The app also has a Mood Picker that suggests what to watch based on how you feel.
There’s also Fan TV [No Longer Available]. Because this app, available on both Android and iOS, browses through over a million movies and TV shows and tells you how to find them, it’s probably the most extensive option on this list. You can also watch live content or create a personalized watch list and get alerts when previously unavailable content you have added to it becomes available.
If You Prefer to Watch YouTube
YouTube is the website responsible for introducing many of us to streaming content. It’s not always easy to find full movies on the YouTube, but there are some tried-and-tested tricks to rely on.
The easiest method is to head over to YouTube’s Movies channel. Although the movies have fees associated with them, the prices are very reasonable, and the classics are often free.
Many titles were recently screened in cinemas and display in fitting categories for quick browsing. Just use the arrow buttons to scroll through the collection.
When you’re on your smartphone, launch the Video Search for YouTube app. Search through particular channels or YouTube’s entire collection with this Android app. You can find content by country, which is a good option to beef up your foreign film consumption.
What Movie Are You Looking to Stream?
By using these websites and apps, finding out if a specific movie is available for streaming has never been easier. And wouldn’t you rather know exactly what you want to watch, and where it’s available to stream?
A few minutes of research at the start surely beats getting stuck reading Netflix descriptions for an hour and never actually finding the time to watch anything. Or at least anything actually worth watching.
What movie are you looking to stream next? And what streaming service will you be using? Have you ever used the apps or websites we have recommended above? Do you have any other services to recommend? Please let us know in the comments below!