Get This App: Can I Stream It?
[Apps to the left of you! Apps to the right of you! In the crowded app marketplaces, it’s all too easy to overlook a useful piece of mobile software. Our Get This App series can guide you to these under-appreciated gems.]
Like many of my 20- and 30-something comrades-in-arms, I have no cable subscription, choosing instead to satiate my television- and movie-watching desires with the likes of Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, and Amazon.
Most of the time, I’m content watching whatever Netflix decides to recommend to me. But when my tastes demand a specific film, the service often lets me down. Now, I’m not going to be discouraged just because my primary streaming service doesn’t have the film I want, but the thought of manually searching each streaming, rental, and purchase program is a little exhausting. Lucky for me and every other streaming movie-lover out there, there’s an app for that.
The appropriately-named Can I Stream It? is a website and app that lets you search for films across every major paid streaming and online rental service. This includes Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, the Android Marketplace, Vudu, Blockbuster, Crackle, YouTube, Epix, and Comcast’s Xfinity StreamPix; in addition, the service will display DVD/Blu-ray results from Amazon, Netflix, and Redbox, and whether the film is available for Comcast Xfinity subscribers who have HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz, Encore, or Xfinity Free.
In short: If there’s a movie legitimately available for rental or sale on the Internet, the service should be able to find where it is and how you can watch it. (Sadly, there’s not yet support for television shows, though the developers claim it’s coming in a future update.)
The app is simple, rather than flashy, but it needs little pizazz to do its job. A search bar at the top allows you to type in your query, or you can tap on a movie poster from the Most Popular section below.
Search for a film, and you’ll see the movie title, poster, cast, and links to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes; below that is a table of services that offer streaming, rental, purchase, or DVD/Blu-ray, along with Xfinity subscription channels. (If your query returns several results, swipe up to view subsequent listings.)
Tap the relevant category to see the available services. If your movie is available, you can tap on the service’s icon to head to its webpage and stream the movie; if unavailable, you’ll see a little orange clock icon hovering over the service. Below the row of services is a big orange Notify Me button; if you tap on an unavailable service and then tap Notify Me, you’ll receive a push notification if the film becomes available on that service. You can then track and edit those reminders by tapping the clock icon in the lower left corner.
There’s not much more to the app beyond that—you can turn push notifications on or off and log in with Facebook to track movies, but the primary focus is on finding and tracking films. And it does its job pretty well. You may still run into movies that have no options instantly available—but that’s less the fault of Can I Stream It? than it is the studios who license the films to online providers.
If you like watching a lot of films, though, or you want to avoid purchasing a movie when you could simply rent or stream it elsewhere, Can I Stream It is invaluable—and free, to boot.