Reelgood: TV Guide for the Streaming World

If you are a serious cord-cutter or a serial streamer then you know what a hassle it can be to find movies and TV shows you want to watch. Finding the right title usually means opening multiple apps and going through recommendations. The recently released Reelgood app aims to change that.

The free app searches over 250 free sources as well as the main streaming services — Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Hulu, Showtime, FX, and Starz — and displays the best available movies and TV shows. If, like most people these days, you subscribe to more than one service, Reelgood makes it easy to see where you can stream new and popular movies and how much it will cost to do so. A spokesperson for Reelgood calls the app “the TV Guide for the streaming world.” It’s currently available only as a web browser app for computers but is slated for release on iOS at the end of August.

Reelgood doesn’t follow algorithms to suggest titles specific to your viewing habits or taste. Instead it recommends titles that are popular and trending or highly rated by IMDb and will soon include Rotten Tomato ratings.

Titles are organized in categories, including Popular Movies, Trending TV Shows, Network Original Shows, All Time Faves, Top Dramas, Killer Comedies, IMDb-Best Rated, Action-Adventure Movies, and movies that pass the Bechdel test (a movie or show featuring two or more women who have conversations about topics other than men). You can also search for a specific title or browse by genre — Biography, Travel, Western, Horror, Home and Garden, and more — across all streaming sources.

Reelgood works real good (couldn’t resist) if you’re looking for suggestions of what to watch. When you click on a title you think might be of interest, several similar titles are displayed. You can also create a watchlist by clicking the “want to see” + button. The list appears at the top of the app for fast access to your queue.

If you want to make room in the menu for more titles you haven’t watched, all you have to do is click on a movie or TV show you’ve already viewed to indicate you’ve “seen it” and it is replaced with a new suggestion.

The app works is particularly useful when you are watching a TV series. A Track Series feature keeps track of the episodes you’ve watched and queues up the following episode in your watchlist. The first time you track a series, you can indicate if you’ve seen none of the episodes, all of the episodes, or mark the last episode you watched. When you finish the series, the app will automatically notify you when a new episode is released. Track Series works for network shows from ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox as well as original series from major streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon. It’s worth noting that Reelgood only displays results of streaming content not live broadcasts.

While it is convenient to view the list of shows from all services, the app is designed for web browsers and playback on a PC or Mac — not TVs. In the past, I have been able to mirror video playback from my Mac to my Apple TV but with Reelgood I would get an error message when I tried to mirror the content to my Apple TV. The app detected that I was using Airplay and stopped playback due to “HDCP (copyright) issues.” This is a new development with Netflix and Amazon and AirPlay and while it is not related to Reelgood, it diminishes the convenience of the app.

Other apps like A&E allow AirPlay mirroring from major services but extra steps are required to choose a title for playback on a TV. To benefit from the convenience of finding a title in the Reelgood web browser app, I came up with a workaround: I would start playback on my computer and then stop it, knowing that Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and most other streaming apps recognize when you start watching a title and display it as a recently watched movie or TV show on other devices. I would then go to the streaming app on my Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku or other device and the movie or TV show I started and stopped was ready to resume play. When the Reelgood iPhone app is released in August, we’ll have to see if it will work with AirPlay and Chromecast on compatible devices and TVs.

While not ideal, Reelgood helped me find something to watch without having to open multiple apps and made it easy to browse popular and trending titles in one window.

JustWatch is a competing aggregation app that offers content discovery. It uses filters — release year, critics ratings, subscription or price, genre, and picture quality from SD to 4K — to help you find titles in a simple grid that makes it easy to scan available titles (and pricing where applicable). Other small streaming apps like Tribeca Shortlist and A&E also offer content discovery features but none offer the breadth of content sources offered on Reelgood.

The Apple TV media player has a TV app that lets you know when the next episode of a series on Hulu, CBS, or Starz is available and suggests a few titles based on your viewing habits. The NVIDIA Shield (Android TV) also displays a couple of titles from streaming apps you use and Roku lets you choose to “Follow” a TV series and be notified of new episodes or when a specific movie is available to stream. While all of these apps offer some utility, Reelgood has them beat when it comes to variety.

Reelgood’s platform is a good idea. It removes the hassle of having to open multiple apps to find movies and TVs available for streaming. It’s particularly helpful when you don’t know what to watch or have a specific movie or show in mind and want to find out where it’s available for streaming. As Reelgood continues to evolve based on user feedback, it bears watching. It can only get better.

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