There was a time when true cinephiles had to rent movies from video rental shops or buy video tapes and DVDs, filling entire bookcases with movies in physical format. Now, things are different. A huge movie collection can fit into something as small as a smartphone and memory is not even a problem, because you can watch movies online, using an app, without needing to download anything locally. The concept might have seemed a bit Sci-Fi a while ago, but nowadays, this is the way to enjoy content. According to recent statistics, people are more likely to stream content than tune in to live TV, and dedicated smartphone apps are emerging as the go-to way to do so. There are hundreds of options on the market, both free and paid, but which one is worth your time? The answer, of course, depends on what you are looking for specifically, because not all cinephiles are the same, but, if you’ve never used a streaming app before, reading the best free movie streaming apps review will give you an overview of what main features you should be looking at.
Wide variety of movies & TV
This is without a doubt the first thing that cinephiles check in reviews before downloading an app and it’s obvious why. When streaming movies or TV, you want all your favorite content at your fingertips. Whether you’re in the mood for a teen comedy, a horror movie or an Oscar nominated drama, you should be able to find what you’re looking for easily. The available content should span across a wide spectrum of genres and periods and if period motion pictures are included, so much the better.
High streaming quality
Another important thing that should be on your checklist is streaming quality. Most apps offer a default of 720p, but you should expect more than that, especially if you have a high-end smartphone with an amazing display. An app that has content in 1080p is much better, even on a smaller screen. This higher resolution allows you to immerse yourself in the story and enjoy the movie to its full potential.
This feature matters a lot for people who want to see highly anticipated movies as soon as possible. Whether these are summer blockbusters that you missed in cinemas or a recent release that didn’t play in your city, a respectable movie streaming app should offer you new movies, at least before they are shown on TV.
Clean, intuitive interface
When it comes to apps of any kind, interface is something that you shouldn’t neglect, because it influences user experience. No matter how many HD movies an app offers, if the menu is cluttered and you can’t wrap your head around it, it’s not worth your time. Generally, a few screenshots of the app are enough to see if it is user friendly. Movies sorted by category are a useful feature, because this helps you find content more easily.
Download content for offline mode
Most apps require an Internet connection every time you want to see them. More specifically, you watch the movie online every time, you can’t access anything if you don’t have coverage. However, some apps have an offline mode, meaning that you can download a movie on your local device and watch it later, even if you don’t have the Internet turned on. This is a nice feature to have if you’re going on a long-haul flight or somewhere where you don’t have Wi-Fi.
Power users know just how important it is for a movie streaming app to be lightweight and not use a lot of RAM. If an app uses too much RAM, you’ll notice that your smartphone will move slower, especially if you don’t have the latest flagship. Reviews usually cover this topic, so make sure you read them carefully before you download the app.
Smartphones are great, but they are infamous for how fast they run out of battery, especially when the screen stays on for a long time. Now, it would be unrealistic to expect to watch two movies in a row without plugging in, because no smartphone has more than 4 hours screen on-time, but that doesn’t mean the app should drain your battery and shut down the phone mid-play.
Movie streaming apps gather links to movies posted on video hosting websites like YouTube, and these links work when they are posted, but sometimes the user deletes the video, so the content becomes unavailable. In this case, it’s every useful for the app to offer one or two alternative links for each movie, so you can be sure you can watch it.
All of the above are general features that you should look for in the best free movie streaming app, but some extras are always good. For example, you might want an app where you can create an account and then make lists of your favorite movies sorted by genre or maybe make lists with movies you want to watch later.