The best mobile apps for watching video from the pros

Feb 9, 2012
Tech

While many of us are familiar with watching YouTube clips on our smartphones and tablet computers, there is a whole new generation of video and entertainment applications that are ready for us to explore. Whether you are looking for videos that are shared by friends and contacts, want to see summarized clips from the major […]

While many of us are familiar with watching YouTube clips on our smartphones and tablet computers, there is a whole new generation of video and entertainment applications that are ready for us to explore. Whether you are looking for videos that are shared by friends and contacts, want to see summarized clips from the major networks, or even are interested in getting rewarded for sitting on your couch and watching the boob-tube, we have some must-see recommendations for you.

So pass the virtual remote and download any or all of these apps right away.

Showyou (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire Android tablet: free)

We have told you in the past about one of our favorite apps, Flipboard, which beautifully showcases news and magazine articles shared by friends and contacts from leading social networks. Showyou does the same thing for video entertainment, curating a personalized stream of videos based on your interests. The free app is divided into a series of Grids, which segment videos by overall popularity, individuals and broadcasters you choose to follow, and videos shared by your Facebook and Twitter contacts. The benefit of Showyou is that is displays sharp, teaser images of every video in your streams, and organizes them either by popularity or reverse-chronological order. You will likely be exposed to videos within this app that you would overlook on other channels. Users with iOS devices who have the most recent version of Apple TV can also watch videos served within the app on the larger screen with a connection to Apple’s Airplay wireless connectivity service. Note to Android users: Showyou currently can only run on Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet computer.

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Touchtv (iPad: free)

To get a great glimpse of how the major broadcasters are experimenting with distributing content on mobile devices, check out this wonderfully organized iPad application. Touchtv pulls short video clips from approximately 40 partners from the news, sports and entertainment arenas ranging from ESPN to CBS to the Travel Channel. One of the knocks from early users of the app is that it does not provide live programming from all the networks all the time. That would be a nice trick for a free app that has little-to-no ads within it. Also, you get the feeling that this app is just scratching the surface and will soon offer a lot more content. Even today, it is worth downloading and watching daily, particularly if you’ve “cut the cord” and no longer rely on your cable or satellite provider to watch TV.

IntoNow (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android: free)

Using similar sound/voice-recognition technology pioneered by apps like Shazam and SoundHound, IntoNow recognizes what television programs you are watching (oftentimes even during a commercial!), displays background information of the program, and shares your viewing status with friends that also have the app installed. IntoNow last year was acquired by Yahoo!, and was honored by Apple as the best social networking app of 2011.

Fanhattan (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad: free)

Another app that combines video entertainment with social networking, Fanhattan is an app-based search engine for television shows and movies. The app also recommends films and programs based on what you say you like and who your friends are. Users can also watch previews and rent or purchase content from iTunes and vudu.

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Viggle (iPhone, iPod Touch: free)

This is one all of us couch potatoes have been waiting for! Viggle uses similar technology to IntoNow to identify what shows you are watching at any given time. Users who check-in to a show while watching it over time will get rewarded with gift cards and ‘coupons’ from the likes of Amazon, Starbucks and Fandango.

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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