iPhone Life magazine

Three great streaming video apps -- including free movies

I wrote an article about 20 streaming video apps in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of our magazine, and have another article coming on in the May/June 2012 issue (on newsstands in mid-April) that covers about a dozen more, with a focus on video-aggregation apps such as Plizy. I've blogged about many of these apps, but wanted to highlight a few that I haven't yet covered here.

Frequency (free, iPad only) is a great video aggregator app on par with Plizy and ShowYou. The interface is intuitive and among the best, elegantly organizing a wide array of content — over 1,000 channels, on topics ranging from Arts, Business, and Celebrity, to TV, Video Games, and Viral Video. Popular channels include CBS, National Geographic, Gizmodo, Discovery Networks, Best of YouTube, BillBoard, and Hollywood Streams. You can browse by topic as well as connect to your Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. Buttons on the top left let you quickly switch among viewing modes. The app has extensive personalization features, allowing you to identify specific channels to add to your list of favorites. You can view the listing of videos in each channel by popular, new, or alphabetically. Other features include Frequency’s Top 25 channel that highlights a select group of videos. There’s also a Trending channel, which highlights videos that are trending at that moment.

Touchtv (free, iPad only) claims to be “the world’s first TV for iPad.” It offers selected content from 40 of the top cable TV channels, such as ESPN, CBS, NBC, ABC, National Geographic, CNN, and Comedy Central. Note, though, that what you get are segments — a daily taste of a wide range of content. It’s sort of like the channel surfing you might do with your TV’s remote.

Segments in that past have included, for example, an ESPN piece about NASCAR driver Danica Patrick willing the pole at Daytona, an E! segment on Kathy Ireland being the world’s richest supermodel, and a Comedy Central weekly recap of the Colbert Report. You can customize the app to show your favorite channels, and the interface is intuitive and easy to use.

Popcornflix (free, iPhone and iPad) offers over 300 free films and intends to have 1,000 movies available by the end of this year. From what I can tell, they're all R-rated. The titles available include many top stars, such as Brad Pitt, Ryan Reynolds, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Charlize Theron, Melissa Leo, and Alec Baldwin. Popcornflix is an ad-supported platform, with each film including pre-roll, spot ads, and banner ads.

The genres include action/ thriller, comedy, family/kids, drama, horror, Bollywood, and documentaries. You can browse by genre, actor or director, select from the latest in new arrivals, pick from the site's most popular films, or browse all of the films. The app also has a feature that lets you post a link to Facebook, Twitter, or via email. Unfortunately this app came out after deadline, so I wasn't able to include it in my most recent video article.

All of these are worthy apps, and cover quite a range: video aggregation, TV content, and movies. And best of all, the apps and the content are free. 

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Jim Karpen's picture

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.