Although our streaming video landscape has delivered many benefits, we still struggle not only deciding what to watch, but where to watch it.
The proliferation of streaming apps including Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max and Disney+ among countless others, has left TV and movie watchers with an abundance of options.
In a lot of cases, those movie and TV options tend to move around. What was once on Netflix is now on Peacock, or that movie you loved on Hulu is now on Amazon Prime.
Let's say you have the urge to watch a classic TV show or a recently released movie, and you have no clue which service has it. Lucky for you, the smartphone is here to help.
There are a few apps that can help viewers navigate the myriad streaming services and find the exact show or movie you want. Here's a look at some of the better ones.
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Of all the apps on this list, Reelgood is my favorite. Once you plug in your subscribed services, the app displays all the available programming in a variety of categories, including what's popular, "Academy Award Best Picture Winners," and more. You can track movies and TV shows you want to watch, which will appear in the "Watch Next" tab.
When you see a show or movie you like, tapping it will show you the various services where it's available, either as part of a streaming subscription or for purchase digitally.
So why is Reelgood, well, real good? The seamless transition from finding the show or movie to watching it on your TV or smartphone. When you pick "Watch on TV," it will automatically find the streaming device connected to your Wi-Fi network and start the program. It worked effortlessly testing on my Roku Ultra. It can also automatically direct you to the app on your smartphone and start playing.
If there's a movie or show not streaming anywhere, you can have the app alert you when it does become available.
The app is available on iPhone and Android, as well as Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and LG Smart TVs. You can use it on web browsers, too.
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Another great option if you want a smartphone app to track shows and quickly play them on TV. Similar to Reelgood, JustWatch lets you plug in the services you use then displays shows and movies across a variety of categories, including what's popular and by genre.
One great perk on JustWatch's app is the New section, which alerts you to all the new content added to your subscribed services. You can check whether you've seen it, like or dislike it to fine tune recommendations or add it to your watchlist.
When you're ready to watch, you can either click the icon of the subscription service to view on your smartphone or choose "Play on TV." If you have a Roku, the process is pretty straightforward. It also works on smart TVs like Samsung, and available on Fire TV and Apple TV.
The approach of Watchworthy is different but still gets the job done helping you find what TV shows or movies are streaming on which platform. You start by plugging in the services you use, then any TV shows you like.
The app's home page features buzzworthy shows or ones that have recently premiered. Then there's the Worthy section, which takes your recommendations and likes and forms a list of shows they believe are worthy of your time based on what you like. For example, based on the shows I liked, the app said "Game of Thrones" would be 99% worthy of my time (lucky for me I still haven't watched it).
Two things hold it back compared to JustWatch and Reelgood: First, it's only TV shows, so you can't look up movies. Second, there's no "play on TV" option, although you can jump straight to the first episode from the app.
TV Time is a more streamlined app that allows you to set up watchlists and search for new movies or TV shows. You start by not only picking shows and movies you want to watch but where you left off on a TV series. So, if you watched only Season 1 of "Ted Lasso" but not the second season, you can note that in the app. When you pick the show, it will start you where you left off. Like the other apps, it provides options on where to buy or stream via subscription. And although it automatically shifts to the streaming app when you make a pick, there's no option to play on the TV.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Streaming video: How to find your favorite TV shows or movies online