Best Apps for Watching Videos Online

Oct 11, 2017

Videos are the most popular form of media that is available online with sites such as YouTube, Netflix, and Vimeo adding millions of hours of content every month. As videos continue to grow and become more accessible, so do the number of mediums that allow for it to be watched with greater convenience and speed. For this reason, mobile apps are increasingly being used to consume different forms of videos as they offer access to any source of content while on-the-go. With so many apps available, this article explores the best ones that can be used to watch a variety of online videos right from the phone. As different apps update their content at different times, it is a good idea to download multiple video streaming apps so that if one app has not yet updated their collection, another app may have.

Video players

VLC (iOS, Android)

Although the number of video formats that can be played on iOS and Android devices are limited, VLC is an app that lets users watch nearly all forms of videos right from their device no matter what format it is in. The app is highly applicable for those who are looking to sync their video content to their mobile device in an easy and reliable way. For example, iTunes is usually regarded as slow and inconvenient whereas VLC lets users sync their videos from Dropbox, over Wifi, or direct downloads. In offering these methods of transferring videos that is highly convenient, VLC is a great alternative to using the default video players on mobile devices. Furthermore, the controls that are found in the video player are extremely comprehensive to include advanced settings such as playback speeds, subtitles, and multi-track audio. Given the range of functions that are available on the VLC app, it is a great tool for syncing and watching videos.

XPlayer (Android)

Sometimes the video format or coding is not compatible with VLC. No worry, XPlayer will play all the video formats and codecs you can imagine, including MKV, MP4, M4V, AVI, MOV, 3GP, FLV, WMV, 4K etc. The app is also surprisingly lightweight, the current version takes less than 10 MB.

Dolphin Video (Android)

Dolphin Video is a video player that can play nearly any format that is available, including Flash. Although several browsers cannot play Flash content by default, the app is one that enables for it so that videos online can be watched as well as those found on the device. For example, users can stream videos, movies, shows, and music right to the app. Furthermore, the controls on the app are extremely intuitive so that navigating the settings are simple such as brightness, volume, and video progress. Similar to VLC and XPlayer in that the app can play a large number of video files, what differentiates Dolphin Video is that it also enables for Flash to be played.

Video sharing apps

YouTube (iOS, Android)

For the largest source of user-generated content, YouTube is constantly adding hundreds of thousands of videos per day. With videos in nearly any category imaginable, it is the best source for both short and longer videos that covers topics such as education, music, and even movies. More recently, beyond user-generated content, the app has started to include official movies and shows that users can pay for so that viewers get the best possible quality videos. Given the vastness of videos available, the app is broken down into feed, recommendations, and subscription so that the most relevant and catered videos are presented. Furthermore, live content can be watched by streamers so that sporting events, games, and interviews can be watched in real-time. One of the best features of YouTube is that certain videos can be downloaded into the app and saved for later so that the videos can be watched even when there is no internet connection available. As a highly recommended sources of user-generated videos available online, YouTube is a must-have for those who are interested in watching internet videos.

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Dailymotion: videos for now, picked for you (iOS, Android)

Similar to YouTube, Dailymotion is an app that delivers curated content in the form of videos to the viewer. With a combination of user generated videos as well as videos by various brands. What the app boasts is the ability to create highly personalized recommendations that tailor to exactly what they viewers are interested in. Although there is a lot of content that is available, the more videos that a user watches, the better the algorithm is in understand what the viewer is interested in and can therefore make better suggestions. As an app that is highly comparative to YouTube, getting both of the apps is recommended in order to get the maximum coverage of online videos.

Vine (iOS, Android)

One of the most simple apps regarding mobile videos is Vine which allows for 6 second videos to be shot and uploaded. Described as the video version of Twitter, the 6 second videos are easy to create and view. With the videos that are shot, users can either upload it Twitter or save it to their camera roll. Uploaders can do several different enhancements such as creating loops, multi-cut trimming, and grid overlay. Although very simple in nature, the app is one that has grown significantly and become extremely popular for uploading and watching videos. Aimed at entertainment, there is very little informational value that can come from the videos as with certain categories on YouTube and Vimeo but is  a great source of entertainment.

Vimeo (iOS, Android)

Another alternative to YouTube, Vimeo is an app that lets users share videos with each other from around the world. With the ability to watch, discover, and upload videos right form the app, Vimeo offers many comparative features such as the ability to stream in high definition, save videos to watch later, and downloading videos for offline viewing. One of the best features of Vimeo is that there is an entire section that is dedicated to the best content which is hand-selected by the staff. In this Staff Picks section, viewers get the best quality videos as opposed to only recommendations based on what has been previously watched. For those who are looking for another source of user-generated content, Vimeo is a worthy alternative that provides a host of functions.

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Movie Apps

Netflix (iOS, Android)

Although this is a paid service, Netflix is an app that offers high quality videos right to any device with internet connectivity including the iPhone. While content on the app can be streamed using different sites and services, Netflix ensures high quality videos to maximize the viewing experience. Furthermore, a lot of content is exclusive only to Netflix so that if a user were to want to watch specific shows such as House of Cards or Narcos, the app is one that can offer the latest episodes as they are released. Beyond this, members are able to share accounts with up to 5 other users so that the costs can be split up among multiple people. Although only specific content is offered through Netflix as opposed to nearly all movies and shows, the app ensures only the best and relevant videos are made available as they are all screened prior to being made available. With a free 1-month trial available for new users, there is very little risk associated with trying out Netflix, making it one of the best apps for watching internet videos.

Tubi TV – Movies & TV Shows (iOS, Android)

Another source for the latest television shows and movies is Tubi TV which also makes millions of videos available right from the app. All that a user needs to do is create an account at which point all of the movies and television shows will be made available. Through this free account, the saved content can be synced across different devices so that if a user has saved a video on their iPhone, they can access it through their iPad with the same login credentials. With so many different categories available as well as foreign content, Tubi TV is highly comprehensive in what it offers to cater to whatever interest a viewer has. Given the vastness of videos that is available, users can also add what they want to watch to a queue category to revisit later. As viewers have the ability to search for specific movies by actors, genres, or titles, Tubi TV is one of the most comprehensive apps for watching videos online.

Given the growing popularity of online videos, many mobile apps have emerged to provide users with both television shows and movies right from their mobile device. From apps that offer exclusive content to others that make millions of videos available for nearly any category, these apps can be used to watch nearly any movie or show while on-the-go.

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Kevin Chau

Following my passion in the realm of business and entrepreneurship, I am always eager to develop skills that enable me to learn, build, and grow. My previous projects, both academic and personal, reflect my dedication towards expanding and applying my theoretical knowledge for practical results in these fields.

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