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JustWatch just made the media streaming hub of my dreams
It’s the golden age of television and movies. However, the abundance of streaming services has created a whole new problem. Not only are you expected to have multiple streaming subscriptions, but finding content is harder than ever. More often than not, I end up spending more time looking for something to watch or juggling through Netflix, Prime Video, and other platforms to find where my favorite show is streaming. This is not the future we were promised. However, JustWatch‘s latest update might have finally solved my streaming woes once and for all.
I’ve long relied on the JustWatch mobile app (Play Store) to find recommendations and keep a track of upcoming shows, movies, and watch lists. More importantly, I use the app to find out where to watch those shows. But there was still a lot of friction, and I often avoided using the app on my streaming boxes because of the sheer number of steps involved. From launching it, to tapping my watchlist, scrolling to a show, looking up the streaming service it’s available on, backtracking to the home page, opening the streaming app, searching for the show, and then finally watching the show, it was an extremely tedious process.
The updated JustWatch app removes the friction between finding content and streaming it.
The latest update to JustWatch tosses out most of those steps — or at least the second part. Not only does it show you where content is streaming, it now bounces you directly to the show or movie’s landing page on whatever platform it is streaming on.
Now you might be wondering, didn’t Plex just release a similar feature? Plex Discover, announced earlier this week, does something very similar. In fact, my colleague Frederick proclaims that it could very well kill streaming media boxes. I disagree.
I’m a huge fan of Plex. My home server has dozens of terabytes of content meticulously organized by Plex. However, Discover is a feature that’s tacked on to an already bloated platform. The tab is tucked far away under a host of options, and the interface has been anything but fluid in my tests. Sure, it is available on mobile as well, but the clunky interface is even more noticeable when you just want to quickly add a new movie to your watchlist. Essentially, Discover is a side note for a service that is already stretched thin between its core streaming offering and its ambition to consolidate free content, live TV, and more.
Its the same feature as Plex Discover, but better.
JustWatch, on the other hand, has streaming content discovery at its core. Even the implementation is designed to get you to your preferred show or movie as quickly as possible. Just log in to your JustWatch account, and scroll through a list of popular titles or your own watchlist. Tap the streaming service, and it’ll send you directly to the show or movie’s landing page.
Now, it’s not that we haven’t seen this before. One of my favorite features of Xiaomi’s televisions in India is PatchWall. The software skin integrates both streaming services and over-the-air programming to give you a universal search option as well as a wishlist. However, that’s locked to Xiaomi’s ecosystem.
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Similarly, the Apple TV, Chromecast with Google TV, Amazon Fire Stick, and Roku offer features that approximate the consolidated search experience. For obvious reasons, there are restrictions to the platforms you can search through, and any recommendations or wishlists are locked to the respective streaming boxes.
JustWatch, on the other hand, frees up streaming from the shackles of proprietary ecosystems. Content suggestions, preferences, and watchlists can now travel with you irrespective of the platform.
Getting to my preferred media is all that matters. And JustWatch’s fluid, platform-agnostic approach towards enabling that, without any of the cruft associated with Plex, pushes it right at the top of my list of favorite media apps.