Who doesn’t love escaping with a movie or favourite TV series? And when the cinema or sofa and TV are not an option there are now plenty of ways to watch movies on the go - thanks to our phones...
Whether you’re commuting, waiting for a friend, or just with time on your hands there are many brilliant apps to aid your mobile movie experience. The Snakehive team has taken the time to check out options, find out what's involved and list our favourite apps to get the most out of watching movies and TV shows when you're out and about.
Where do I start?
You have options:
- Download movies and TV shows to your phone with a pay-per-view service
- Transfer movies to your phone
- Use a streaming service which may also provide an option to download movies and shows on your phone.
Pay-per-view TV and movies
You can buy films and shows individually and download to your phone via iTunes or Google Play apps (from £1.89) depending on whether you have an Apple or Android device. Alternatively you can also rent for a short time at a cheaper fee. Other similar services are available from the likes of Sky Store or TalkTalk.
Transfer movies to your phone
Some DVD or Blu-ray Discs come with a free download code, so you can add a digital copy to your phone. Look out for an 'UltraViolet' code for downloading a virtual copy to devices without a drive. For more information about how to stream or download UltraViolet films, read here. Look out for the UltraViolet logo on your discs.
Streaming and downloads
A streaming service means that you can watch films and shows on your phone connected to the internet. Some are a monthly subscription and others are free but include adverts. The supporting apps allow you to watch shows right from your phone.
Before you start streaming any movies on your phone you should check out your data plan. Streaming movies over your phone’s data network can eat through a data plan pretty quickly. Unless you have an unlimited data plan you might be better off streaming moves over your phone via a free Wi-Fi connection.
The free stuff
Popcornflix provides free movies in many genres and also has documentaries, foreign films, unique original web series and boosts that it's a place that 'showcases the brightest film makers of tomorrow' via its film school originals collection. The app allows you to place your favourite films in a queue that you'd like to watch later. However, there's no option to download content.
The paid version
Netflix's mobile app lets you watch anything on the service from your phone (from £6 a month; first month free). You can also download some programmes and films to your phone, meaning you can watch them offline. Amazon Prime Instant Video (£6 a month or part of Amazon’s £79 a year Prime subscription) offers a similar service, and if you already subscribe to Sky, check out the Sky Go app at no extra cost which gives you access to live TV from Sky. There's also a new service from The British Film Institute called BFI Player Plus (£4.99 a month; first month free) .The app means you can play films on your phone; both classic and contemporary films are hand-picked from BFI's festivals, cultural programme and the BFI National Archive.
More TV catch up
TV programmes from the last week or so can be streamed or downloaded via the supporting apps for BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5 for starters. There's also the option to buy and keep BBC programmes via the BBC store.
Become a movie buff
Not only does your phone give you the opportunity to watch anytime, anyplace but you can also use apps to find out film-related background about movie times, details about actors or directors etc. Other apps can help keep you up-to-date with news about future film release dates, cinema locations and show times for when you get a chance to see movies on a screen larger than a phone.
With the IMDb app you’ll be able to find show times, watch trailers, track your Watchlist and rate your favourite movies and TV shows on your phone. You can also find plot summaries, reviews, cast lists and nearby cinemas.
Flixster offers a little bit of everything of the above. You can buy, rent and watch movies and TV, and there's also a community where users share film reviews and ratings. Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes are also included. You can locate nearby cinemas, buy tickets and check out listings and show times too. The Flixster Video app is optimised for managing, downloading and streaming your movies and TV shows. It gives you access to your UltraViolet collection as well.
The encore extras
At Snakehive we love our Slimline Collection for its film-friendly viewing; the cases cleverly fold to create a stand for your phone. So useful!
Phone screen size
Anything between 4.5 and 5.1 inches is generally considered the perfect combo of portability and a display that's good for watching movies.
Expand your phone memory
A microSD memory card slot is a good idea if you want to watch lots of downloaded films and shows. It’s an essential feature on some cheaper phones that have limited built-in memory or any phone with 4GB or less of storage. Adapters that make the small microSD able to fit in many devices are available, including iPhones.
Lights, camera, action
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