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The 8 Best BBC Documentaries to Watch on Netflix

We know it’s hard to pull yourself away from the endless stream of Netflix Originals, but the best BBC documentaries on Netflix are well worth watching. The British network has a reputation for creating stunning shows covering topics such as war, nature, and celebrity.

So, what are the best BBC documentaries you can watch on Netflix?

1. Wild Alaska

Wild Alaska is a three-part documentary that first aired in 2015. It features three 50-minute long episodes, each of which focuses on a different season of the year—Spring, Summer, and Winter.

As you watch, you will learn about how the local wildlife deals with coming out of hibernation, the competition between the species for the landscape’s resources, and the dramatic change in life and scenery that occurs when the coldest months return to Alaska.

2. Nature’s Weirdest Events

Nature’s Weirdest Events has run for five seasons since 2012, but only the second, third, and fourth seasons are available on Netflix. Like Wild Alaska, each season has three parts, and each of the three episodes runs for 50 minutes.

Narrated by the English naturalist, Chris Packham, the show explores some of the natural world’s oddest phenomena. They include a ball of worms rolling down a road, frozen frogs, and fish that attack birds on the land. Trust us; it’s all very bizarre, making the title a fitting one.

3. Monkey Planet

2014’s Monkey Planet was an immediate hit when it first aired in the UK, and this BBC documentary has remained just as popular since making the leap to Netflix.

Filmed in South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia, Congo, Thailand, and Japan, the show aims to explore the diversity of primates, their social behavior, their intelligence, and their self-awareness.

The British entomologist, George McGavin, presents the documentary. Each of the three parts lasts for one hour. Unfortunately, a second season was never made.

4. Hiroshima: The Real History

Hiroshima: The Real History brings a new sense of understanding to one of the 20th century’s greatest tragedies.

The documentary uses never-seen-before footage, new interviews with eyewitnesses and survivors, and tales of human suffering to add a personal element that is perhaps missing in many of the other documentaries on the subject.

One of the most jaw-dropping claims made during the 90-minute documentary is that Japan knew about the bombs at least five hours before they hit but refused to warn the city or its residents. Give it a watch to learn more.

This is one of the only World War II documentaries by the BBC you will find on Netflix. Many of the BBC’s best documentaries about that period were removed at the end of 2019.

5. Weird Wonders of the World

Weird Wonders of the World is the second BBC documentary on Netflix narrated by Chris Packham. The first and second seasons are available on the platform, and each has eight episodes lasting 50 minutes for you to enjoy.

Some of the weirder events you can look forward to seeing in the multi-part documentary include a silk-producing goat, an Antarctic glacier that emits red water, and a drought which causes rocks to explode.

6. My Scientology Movie

Louis Theroux is a famed documentary maker on both sides of the pond. Some of his most famous early works include Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends and When Louis Met… However, it was his 2015 documentary about The Church of Scientology that really catapulted him into the mainstream. It was his first full-length feature film and was shown in movie theaters around the world.

The uniqueness of My Scientology Movie comes from the way it is filmed. The church repeatedly refused to give Theroux inside access for a true documentary, so he joined forces with some of the church’s former senior officials to reconstruct some of the events described by witnesses. Of particular focus is alleged unseemly behavior by the group’s leader, David Miscavige.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the church does not react well and puts Theroux under constant surveillance. It predictably leads to fireworks, and the events are captured on film for our entertainment.

7. Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story

The first (and only) BBC sports documentary on our list is Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story. Armstrong, of course, went from being one of the most acclaimed cyclists on the planet to a world-renowned cheat after he admitted to doping offenses in 2012.

At the time, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said the fallen star was a leader of “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that [cycling] has ever seen.”

This BBC documentary was filmed after Armstrong was exposed. It paints a portrait of a man who would stop at nothing for money, fame, and success. The show tells the story of how he conned fellow riders, blackmailed friends and team owners, and eventually came to his downfall.

8. A Grand Night In: The Story of Aardman

Wallace and Gromit will never be forgotten. The stop motion clay animation (which is split into four short films and one feature-length movie), was widely acclaimed by critics. The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave both won Oscars for Best Short Film (Animated), while The Curse of the Were-Rabbit won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.

A Grand Night In: The Story of Aardman explores how Aardman Animations came to make some of the most famous animated films of all time. Narrated by Julie Walters and featuring interviews with David Tennant, Hugh Grant, and Martin Freeman, the documentary shines a light on the creative processes behind these brilliant films.

More BBC Shows to Watch on Netflix

Sadly, the BBC has pulled many of its best documentaries off of Netflix, presumably due to the popularity of BBC iPlayer and BritBox, its increasingly successful joint streaming venture with ITV.

However, there are still lots of other BBC shows beyond documentaries you can watch on Netflix, including these, the best BBC shows on Netflix that Americans will enjoy.

Read the full article: The 8 Best BBC Documentaries to Watch on Netflix

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You Can Now Rent Movies Still Playing in Theaters

In an extraordinary move, Universal Pictures is offering movies to rent online at the same time that they’re playing in theaters. This is in response to the coronavirus crisis, which is forcing people to stay at home rather than venture out to movie theaters.

How COVID-19 Is Changing Everything

COVID-19, which is caused by coronavirus, is now a pandemic. Which means it’s prevalent in almost every part of the world. Governments and civilians are reacting differently to the crisis, but almost everyone is being urged to stay at home whenever possible.

This is impacting the way people work, but also how they choose to spend their downtime. Vacations are being cancelled, pubs and restaurants are being closed, and movie theaters are shutting their doors. Which has led Universal Pictures to do the unthinkable.

Universal Pictures Rents Movies Early

As announced in this Comcast press release, Universal Pictures is offering its movies out to rent from home on the same day as their theatrical releases. Starting with DreamWorks’ Trolls World Tour, which you can rent on April 10, 2020, when it’s released in theaters.

Even before that, you’re going to be able to rent The Hunt, The Invisible Man, and Emma through a number of video-on-demand services from as early as March 20, 2020. This despite the fact that all three films are still showing in movie theaters.

All of the films mentioned above (and possibly others) will be available to rent for 48 hours and cost $19.99 (or its equivalent outside of the US). Which is a lot of money for a mere rental, but a lot cheaper than taking your family to the theater.

Reasons Not to Abandon Movie Theaters

Theaters have traditionally been afforded at least a 90-day window before movies are released for home viewing. And there’s usually a gap of 4-5 months between a theatrical release and a home release. However, COVID-19 has changed everything.

The question is whether Universal Pictures will carry this on after the coronavirus crisis has ended. After all, streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have already started to break the wall between theatrical and home releases.

To balance the scales, here are some reasons not to abandon movie theaters.

Read the full article: You Can Now Rent Movies Still Playing in Theaters

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10 Inspiring Movies on Netflix That Could Change Your Life

Are you planning to kickstart a new phase of your life? Or maybe you need motivating for a new career or new relationship? Then why not start by watching these inspiring movies on Netflix.

Movies are more than just popcorn flicks. They can change the way we live, love, and even think. From kids rushing out of cinemas slinging webs from their wrists to adults realizing their greatest fear is holding them back, movies can be uplifting, inspirational, and even motivational.

Why You Should Watch Inspiring Movies on Netflix

Perhaps you’re kicking back on the sofa with the TV remote in hand. Or perhaps you’re checking your Netflix library on your phone or tablet while travelling.

You could binge-watch that comedy series you’ve seen three times. But wouldn’t it be better to watch one of these inspiring movies on Netflix that could motivate you to improve your life?

If so, you’ve come to the right place, as we have compiled a list of inspiring Netflix movies.

We thoroughly recommend you watch these films whether you’re feeling inspired or need some extra motivation. Just remember that you should never watch movies on your smartphone.

1. Saving Mr. Banks

In Saving Mr. Banks, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) is desperate to adapt PL Travers’ much-loved children’s novel Mary Poppins. Mrs. Travers (Emma Thompson), however, is less keen, expecting the the movie maker to produce a trivial cartoon.

Thus begins a back-and-forth tale of persuasion and realization as Disney and Travers each jet back and forth between the UK and Los Angeles.

Why you should watch this:

Interspersed with flashbacks of Travers’ childhood in Australia, it soon becomes apparent (if you hadn’t already realized) that Mary Poppins isn’t what you think it is.

Saving Mr Banks is as amusing, heartwarming, and feel-good as Mary Poppins itself.

2. The Theory of Everything

Essentially the biopic of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), the film explores his life, career, and debilitating illness amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or motor neurone disease).

After being given two years to live while researching his thesis on black holes, Hawking carves out the most remarkable career possible, becoming a world-renowned physicist. He achieves this despite his steadily worsening condition, which eventually results in the end of his first marriage.

Including the impact of his groundbreaking book A Brief History of Time, The Theory of Everything is the closest we’ll get to knowing the real Stephen Hawking.

Why you should watch this:

Professor Hawking achieved so much under unimaginable physical hardship. How can anyone not be inspired by this?

3. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

William Kamkwamba fixes radios in his spare time while not at school or helping his family. But when crops fail and famine strikes, he feels he must act. Kamkwamba devises a way to build a windmill-powered water pump using the electrical engineering skills he has learned at school.

Overcoming opposition from his friends and family (who largely doubt the practicality of the plan), Kamkwamba eventually harnesses the wind.

Why you should watch this:

The impact William Kamkwamba’s actions had on his people is incalculable. Who among us can say we’ve been able to save our community in such a way? There was nothing accidental about this—the technology was there, Kamkwamba just saw the opportunity, and overcame adversity.

4. Summer of ’92 (Sommeren ’92)

In 1992, military conflict threatened Eastern Europe as former communist state Yugoslavia fell into civil war. As a result, Yugoslavia was disqualified from the Euro 92 soccer tournament scheduled for the summer.

No one expected much from replacements Denmark; only manager Richard Moller Nielsen believed they could win. Summer of ’92 tells the story of how Nielsen dealt with the press, players, and the Danish Football Association.

Why you should watch this:

This isn’t about the soccer. It’s about taking the opportunity, embracing it, and running with it. Sure, be prepared, but overcome the opposition with passion and drive. Note that this motivational Netflix movie requires subtitles for non-Danish speakers. 

5. The Pursuit of Happyness

Starring Will Smith and son Jaden Smith in his first role, The Pursuit of Happyness is a heart-wrenching tale. It is perhaps best defined by this quote, from father Chris Gardner to his son:

“Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves; they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.”

Having lost his home, wife, and job, Chris is left with his son and a dream: to become a successful stockbroker.

Why you should watch this:

The adversity Chris and his son overcome is an inspiring demonstration of a father’s love for his son and determination to succeed.

6. Jersey Boys

Directed by Clint Eastwood, Jersey Boys is a cinematic adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. It tells the story of New Jersey pop group The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, and Nick Massi.

At times heavy, you’ll learn about the group’s early brush with crime, and their path to stardom.

Why you should watch this:

It’s the story of four kids from a bad neighborhood who could have fallen into organized crime. Instead they became one of the biggest pop groups of the 1960s.

7. Steve Jobs

Not to be confused with Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher, this biopic of the visionary co-founder of Apple stars Michael Fassbender. Joined by Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, the movie charts the launch of three products: the Apple Macintosh 128K’s voice demo, NeXT Computer, and the iMac.

Covering a 14-year period, it charts not just the development of Apple but Jobs’ relationships, particularly with his daughter.

Why you should watch this:

You’ll learn about Steve Jobs’ impact on the digital revolution. Most importantly, you’ll see that despite lacking coding and design skills, he had the vision to shape the modern world. If that isn’t inspiring, we don’t know what is.

8. Same Kind of Different as Me

Art dealer Ron had an affair and confessed all to his wife. As penance, he volunteers at the local homeless shelter. Ron and Debbie meet ex-convict Denver and befriend him, learning about his life. Overcoming challenges such as bereavement and reconciliation, Ron and Denver’s friendship changes them both for the better.

Why you should watch this:

We really don’t know what we have until it’s gone. But friendship can come from the most unusual places and inspire you to success. This is one of the most uplifting movies on Netflix.

9. The Shawshank Redemption

Life is tough and for many it is punctuated with hardship. But things don’t get much tougher than discovering your wife is having an affair and then being framed for the murders of her and her lover.

This is the starting point for The Shawshank Redemption, based on the Stephen King novel. It stars Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne, falsely convicted of murder. Yet despite his early struggle to adjust and scenes of violence, this is a movie about hope and friendship. Helped by Red (Morgan Freeman), Andy survives against impossible odds—and he’s not the only one learning lessons.

Why you should watch this:

Considered the greatest movie never to win an Oscar (despite seven nominations) and for good reason. Shawshank teaches us that hope can see you through the worst of circumstances.

10. The Karate Kid

Dre Parker (Jaden Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness) is wrenched from his home when his mom gets a new job. Not unusual, but this one is in China, and Dre is completely lost. After making friends with a girl, a jealous school bully attacks Dre at home, stopped only by the maintenance guy.

In his spare time, the secret Kung Fu master Mr Han (Jackie Chan) teaches Dre to defend himself and overcome his challenges.

Why you should watch this:

Hidden in this tale of overcoming adversity, achievement, and adjustment is another vital message: is kung fu for violence or for peace?

Be Inspired by These Inspiring Movies on Netflix

It isn’t every day that you get the chance to sit down and choose from such a selection of uplifting movies.

Sure, you might prefer a shooter; Tom Cruise’s latest Mission Impossible is always a strong option. But instead of the crash-bang-wallop of beating bad guys, why not kick back with a movie that has the capacity to change your life?

After all, if you’re ready to be inspired, these Netflix movies could prove to be truly life-changing.

Looking for something a bit more light-hearted? Then why not try the best British comedies on Netflix right now.

Read the full article: 10 Inspiring Movies on Netflix That Could Change Your Life

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The 15 Best Apps to Install on Amazon Fire TV or Fire Stick

If you’ve just switched from Android TV or Roku to a Fire TV device, what are the essential apps that you need to install right away?

In this article, we list the best apps for your Fire TV or Fire Stick.

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Preparing Your Fire TV or Fire Stick for Apps

Once you’ve spent the necessary time setting up your Fire TV or Fire Stick, it’s time to install some apps. But before we talk about the apps themselves, you need to prep your Fire TV device.

Why? Because you will need to sideload some of the apps we discuss; they are not available in the Amazon Appstore.

To make sure you can install sideloaded apps on your device, you need to change two settings.

  1. ADB Debugging: To enable ADB debugging, head to Settings > My Fire TV > Developer Options > ADB Debugging and select On.
  2. Unknown Sources: To allow apps from unknown sources to be installed on your Fire Stick, go to Settings > Device > Developer Options > Apps From Unknown Sources and select On.

Make sure you also check out our article detailing how to sideload apps on an Amazon Fire TV Stick. With the basics all sorted out, it’s time to install some apps. So here are the best Amazon Fire TV apps for your new device.

1. Downloader

downloader fire tv app

Downloader is an essential tool if you’re planning to sideload Fire TV apps onto your device.

The app lets you download APK files directly from the internet and then install them on your Amazon Fire TV or Fire Stick. It means you won’t need to use a PC or network connection to transfer the file.

Theoretically, Downloader doesn’t require any setup. However, it’s worth ensuring JavaScript is turned on. Open the app, select Settings in the left-hand panel, and mark the checkbox next to Enable JavaScript.

Download: Downloader (Free)

2. Mouse Toggle

Although you can sideload just about any app on your Fire TV or Fire Stick, many of them have not been adapted for the TV screen. They still require finger taps and other gestures to navigate them.

The solution is to install a mouse pointer. The best is Mouse Toggle. With a double-tap of your remote’s Play button, you can launch an on-screen mouse icon. You can control it using your remote’s D-pad. To install the app, enter http://tinyurl.com/firetvmouse into the aforementioned Downloader or use the Google Play app.

If you don’t want to use a mouse, you could consider using one of the best Amazon Fire TV remote apps.

Download: Mouse Toggle (Free)

3. Plex

plex library

Plex surely needs no introduction. Along with Kodi, it’s one of the best ways to stream your locally saved media to other screens and devices around your home. If you pay for a Plex Pass, you can even access your content remotely.

Unlike Kodi—which we will discuss next—Plex is one of the Fire TV apps available through the Amazon Appstore, thus making installation a breeze.

Download: Plex (Free)

4. Kodi

Kodi is Plex’s biggest competitor. Both apps have pros and cons, but broadly speaking, Kodi is more customizable but requires more maintenance.

As we just mentioned, Kodi is not available in the Amazon Appstore. You will need to sideload it onto your device.

Luckily, we’ve explained how to install Kodi on an Amazon Fire Stick in a previous article.

Download: Kodi (Free)

5. Firefox

One of the main reasons for installing the Firefox web browser on your Fire TV device used to be in order to access YouTube. This was because a spat between Google and Amazon meant the YouTube app was not available on the Fire TV platform.

Thankfully, the two companies buried their differences in 2019, meaning you can now use YouTube freely. However, a browser still has some benefits—you can use it in conjunction with a VPN to access free live TV streams from other countries.

Most long-term Fire TV users agree that there are only two browsers worth considering: Firefox and Silk. If you already use Firefox on your other machines—or you value open source software—this is the browser you should install.

Download: Firefox (Free)

6. YouTube

The return of YouTube has been widely welcomed by Fire TV users. It’s instantly become one of the best apps for the Fire TV and Fire Stick.

The new app replicates all the features that you’ll find on YouTube for Roku and Android TV. These include browsing by interest, support for multiple accounts, voice searching, casting, and 4K video.

Download: YouTube (Free)

7. Silk Browser

silk browser fire tv

Because you can sideload apps, you can install any browser you want, including Chrome. But Silk is more popular.

In case you’re not aware, Silk is Amazon’s in-house browser and has been specifically designed to work on Amazon Fire devices.

It lets you control web videos and music using your remote’s Play, Pause, and Skip buttons, and offers lots of standard browser features like a password manager and browsing history.

Download: Silk Browser (Free)

8. Netflix

With over 100,000 hours of content and 50,000 TV shows and movies, you don’t really need to pay for anything else other than Netflix. OK, it isn’t free, but it does represent good value for money.

Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to live sports or news coverage. However there are plenty of free streaming news channels to keep cord-cutters happy.

Download: Netflix (Free)

9. Euronews

euronews fire tv

Remember we just said that news nerds could get their fix for free? Euronews makes it possible.

Euronews is a collaboration between a group of European and North African national broadcasters, including ITN, RAI, RTE, and VGTRK. It was founded in 1993 and has since grown to offer free news in 166 countries and in 15 European and Middle Eastern languages.

Download: Euronews (Free)

10. Haystack TV

Let’s stick with the theme of news. Haystack TV is another option for you to consider.

Unlike Euronews, it does not offer live TV. Instead, it aggregates clips from hundreds of reputable online sources to deliver videos about the topics you’re interested in. The more you watch the app and rate the videos and topics it shows you, the more it learns about which sources you enjoy and which subjects you care about.

Download: Haystack TV (Free)

11. TuneIn Radio

tunein fire tv

Televisions aren’t only for watching stuff. They’re also for listening to stuff.

One of the best ways to fill your ears with music is to install TuneIn Radio. Although Spotify also offers an Amazon Fire app, you need to have a premium membership. TuneIn Radio is entirely free for all users.

TuneIn provides access to 100,000 radio stations from around the world, along with millions of on-demand programs.

Download: TuneIn Radio (Free)

12. VLC

Why would you need to install VLC on a Fire TV or Fire Stick? There are two primary reasons:

  1. Third-party apps that access video content often need a third-party video player to display their content.
  2. You can use VLC to watch content saved on another local device using your home network.

Download: VLC (Free)

13. IPTV Smarters

smarters fire tv

IPTV allows you to watch free and paid-for IPTV streams. Like Kodi, it is an empty shell which requires you to add content.

Specifically, you need to add an M3U file. The file contains a playlist of channels that IPTV Smarters can then read. You can also add XMLTV files so you can enjoy electronic program guides (EPGs) in conjunction with your streams.

Other popular IPTV apps for Fire TV include Tivimate and OTT Navigator. You need to sideload all three from the Google Play Store.

Download: IPTV Smarters (Free)

14. IMDb TV

The Amazon-owned IMDb offers a free television service called IMDb TV. It has licensed films and TV series from several movie studios and TV production companies, including Warner Bros., Sony, and MGM. Some of the most notable TV shows on the platform at the time of writing include Ally McBeal, Lost, and Desperate Housewives.

Unfortunately, the IMDb TV app is only available in the United States. If you live outside the US, you can use a VPN to access it. We recommend CyberGhost or ExpressVPN.

15. Easy Fire Tools

If you decide to sideload any of the apps we have discussed in the article, Easy Fire Tools is an essential app. It allows you to send Android apps from your phone or tablet directly to your Fire TV or Fire Stick.

Download: Easy Fire Tools (Free)

The Best Fire TV Apps Can Help You Cut the Cord

The Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick have helped turn cord cutting from a trend into a phenomenon. Fire TV devices now offer so many apps across such a broad range of categories that you’ll never be stuck for something to watch or listen to, even if you cancel your cable TV plan.

If you want even more suggestions, check out our list of the essential Amazon Fire Stick channels.

Read the full article: The 15 Best Apps to Install on Amazon Fire TV or Fire Stick

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7 Reasons to Avoid Subscribing to Netflix

While Netflix is certainly an amazing streaming service for many people, it may not be right for you. Just as there are pitfalls to cutting the cord, there are downsides to subscribing to Netflix.

So, before you hop aboard the Netflix hype train, take a moment to consider the problems with the streaming service. Is Netflix worth it? In this article we examine the disadvantages of Netflix.

1. Limited Regional Selections

Of all the drawbacks to Netflix, one is undeniably bad for viewers: The number and quality of movies and TV shows you have access to will depend on where you live.

For example, if you live in the United States, there will inevitably be times when you want to watch something that’s only available on Netflix Canada or Netflix UK. This happens very rarely, but when it does, it’s annoying. We can’t imagine how frustrating it is for people outside of the US wanting to watch Netflix content available exclusively in the United States.

There are, of course, ways to watch everything on Netflix no matter where you live, the most common method being the use of a VPN. Many paid services still work even though Netflix theoretically cracked down on their usage. We recommend CyberGhost or ExpressVPN for VPNs that work with Netflix.

2. An Outdated Library

The other big complaint about Netflix—which has been one of its sore spots ever since the streaming service went live—is that its library is really be up-to-date. These days, only Netflix originals can really be considered timely and trendy.

Due to licensing agreements with TV networks, it doesn’t make sense to let Netflix stream episodes as they’re released on a network (like ABC or CBS) because that would kill any incentive for people to watch the networks themselves.

Netflix’s strength is in binge-watching, which means it’s really good for catching up on TV shows just before the next season begins airing. That’s why a lot of Netflix’s library is about one year in the past. Networks aren’t willing to let Netflix load up its library with recent content.

Why one year, though? Because that’s when full-season DVD sales are still profitable, and that’s also one reason why films are so late to join Netflix’s library. Publishers only start licensing with Netflix when sales of a season, show, or movie have run their course.

3. Internet Requirements

netflix speed of internet

The thing about Netflix (along with any other streaming app) is that the entire service is contingent upon your internet connection quality. Whether you’re watching YouTube, Twitch, or Netflix, your ISP could be the difference between watching in 240p, 720p, or 4K video.

If your internet goes down then there’s no Netflix. If people on your network are watching YouTube or playing games, and consequently hogging up your bandwidth, Netflix will stutter. And if your internet speed is bad, video quality will suffer. Remember, Netflix automatically decides stream quality based on the health of your connection.

Compare that to Blu-ray or DVD: you just pop the disc into the right player and you get the exact same quality all the time, and you can keep watching even if your internet connection goes out. The value of this reliability cannot be overstated.

4. Data Cap Consumption

While we’re on the topic of internet connections, let’s not forget that data caps are a very real nuisance to consider when streaming media—especially for videos, which can eat up more than 1GB/hour depending on how much quality you demand when watching movies and TV shows.

Indeed, data caps are a serious threat to services like Netflix. If you have trouble visualizing just how bad the problem is, consider this example:

  • 1,000 hours at Low quality.
  • 425 hours at Standard quality.
  • 100 hours at High quality.
  • 40 hours at Ultra HD quality.

(NB: These estimates are based on Netflix data usage details.)

And these figures assume that you do nothing else besides Netflix. With Ultra HD becoming the norm in home entertainment, these figures are simply unacceptable. If you have a capped internet connection, then beware: Netflix will consume your data faster than you think.

5. No Ownership of Media

Of all the reasons not to sell your CDs and DVDs, this one is the most relevant: even though you pay for Netflix, you don’t own anything on it. If you buy a DVD, it’s yours. With Netflix, your payments disappear into thin air.

This means that after one year you will have paid anywhere from $108 to $192 depending on which Netflix plan you choose. However, you’ll have nothing to show for it except the memories of whatever TV shows and films you watched during that time.

This is one of the big tragedies of joining the streaming generation. We’re seeing a decline in the ownership of entertainment media, and that puts you at the mercy of content publishers and streamers.

The worst example of this is that shows and films can be pulled from Netflix’s library at any time. Nothing is more irritating than binge-watching a show like Breaking Bad only to find that it has disappeared when you’re only halfway through.

6. Subscription Value

netflix cost in usa

Netflix encourages binge-watching. In fact, it’s such an integral aspect of the service that the word “Netflix” is pretty much synonymous with “binge-watching” these days. Once you start a show, it’s really hard to stop.

Television is also addictive, but it’s much easier to walk away when a show ends because you can’t control when a show can be marathoned or not.

And it’s not just because Netflix makes it really easy to move from one episode to the next, although that does play a big part. It’s because Netflix is a subscription service. You pay the same no matter how much you watch, so watching more in a month means wringing more value out of your subscription.

On the other hand, if you don’t watch much at all, then Netflix may not be worth the price tag. If you go a month without watching anything, then you’ve basically thrown away your money.

7. Loss of Channel Surfing

netflix popular usa

This last point is minor in the bigger picture, but still worth considering if you haven’t cut the cord yet: you can’t surf channels and just watch whatever’s playing. You always have to pick something, and sometimes this isn’t that easy.

Some workarounds to simulate channel surfing based on certain genres exist, but even those tend to be riddled with bugs and/or veer too far from the real thing. There’s a charm to knowing that a show is playing live, and Netflix doesn’t have that.

If you’re really stuck on what to watch, you can now see what’s popular on Netflix in your region.

So, Is Netflix Worth It?

Again, let us reiterate that we are huge fans of Netflix. Indeed, our appreciation of it far outweighs any gripes we might have. It has saved a lot of people a lot of money and has reimagined what it means to watch TV in the 21st century.

So, is Netflix worth the money? Well, if you’d like to hear some counterarguments, check out our other article explaining why you should be happy to pay more for Netflix.

Read the full article: 7 Reasons to Avoid Subscribing to Netflix

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Vudu Lists Help You Organize Your Digital Content

Vudu has launched Lists, which help you organize your digital content. Lists are exactly what you’d expect them to be: lists of movies and/or TV shows organized around a theme. All of which should make it easier to find the content you want when you want it.

How Vudu’s New Lists Feature Works

If you’re new to Vudu, you should read our beginner’s guide to Vudu. However, Vudu, which lets you buy or rent movies and TV shows, has now launched a new feature called Lists. This is designed to make the on-demand streaming service even better for customers.

Vudu sees Lists as a way of putting customers in control and providing them with “the best possible user experience”. In a nutshell, Lists allows Vudu users to organize their digital content as they see fit. And there are a number of ways to do so.

With Vudu Lists you could:

  • Create a list called “Date Night” full of movies for chilling on the sofa.
  • Create a list called “Family Movies” full of films suitable for the whole family.
  • Create a list called “Superheroes” full of your favorite Marvel and DC titles.
  • Create a list called “My Wishlist” full of movies and TV shows you haven’t seen.

You can create a list about anything, and then populate that list with movies and TV shows. You can create as many lists as you want, and add titles that you own and even those you don’t own. The latter acting as a kind of wishlist function.

How to Create Vudu Lists

To create a list on Vudu, open the My Vudu menu, and look for Lists. Then, click Create New List, and add the titles you want to add to that list. You can add multiple titles at once, and add the same title to multiple lists.

Once you have created your lists you can then reorder them as you see fit, and as many times as you want. Which means that you can create a list called “Star Wars” and decide the best order to watch the Star Wars movies in. And no one can tell you you’re wrong!

Read the full article: Vudu Lists Help You Organize Your Digital Content

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Love Silicon Valley? 8 Similar TV Shows to Watch on Netflix

Silicon Valley is a geeky show, but it’s not just for geeks. What makes Silicon Valley compelling is that it not only provides big laughs, but it also offers both satire and insight into the whole tech startup craze.

Since Silicon Valley finished forever after six seasons, you might be looking for similar TV shows. So we have rounded up the best TV shows like Silicon Valley to watch on Netflix.

These aren’t all geeky TV shows, but they’re similar enough to Silicon Valley that we think fans of Silicon Valley will enjoy it. Whether because of the subject, the tone, or the humor.

1. The IT Crowd

The IT Crowd is as close as it gets if you’re just looking for a comedy show about tech geeks—except the geeks in this show aren’t exactly the sharpest tools in the box. You don’t have to be an IT geek to enjoy this show, though.

There’s also a world of difference between those who work in IT and those who are part of the Silicon Valley culture. That said, The IT Crowd is funny for a lot of the same reasons: well-developed characters, interesting situations, and a glimpse into a world not often seen on television.

2. Arrested Development

Arrested Development has nothing to do with the tech industry, but it features a lot of the same undercurrents that make Silicon Valley hilarious. In short, Arrested Development is a clever comedy about a family of wealthy narcissists who can’t help but get in each other’s way.

It’s extremely layered—you can watch it 10 times and still catch gags that you hadn’t noticed before. But the greatest things about this show is its incredible cast, the strongly-written characters, and the amazing punchlines. Although the quality does dip slightly in later seasons, Arrested Development is still worth watching.

3. Loaded

Loaded has a similar premise to Silicon Valley, following a group of friends within the tech industry. The big difference is that it’s set across the pond, so you could call it the British version of Silicon Valley. In the show, the four men sell their tech startup and become overnight millionaires.

However, all of their new money puts strain on their friendships and personal lives, with far more comedy than that premise might suggest—much like how it plays out in Silicon Valley. Loaded has eight episodes, each an hour long, which means you’ll be laughing for a long time.

4. Halt and Catch Fire

Halt and Catch Fire is the only show on this list that isn’t a comedy. It doesn’t even come close to generating laughs, so don’t expect any. Why is it included then? Because Halt and Catch Fire is what you’d get if you took Silicon Valley and planted it firmly in the drama/suspense genre.

The show is a fictionalized story that shows an insider’s perspective of the PC revolution that happened in the 1980s and the internet revolution of the 1990s. If the tech side of Silicon Valley is what interests you, then you’ll probably enjoy this show quite a bit.

5. Master of None

Master of None is a shining example of what Netflix can accomplish with its original productions. It’s a unique show created by and starring comedian Aziz Ansari. Interestingly, Master of None doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre, which is one of the aspects that makes it so unique.

While there are elements of comedy and drama, and at times even mystery, it isn’t a full-blown comedy or drama. It’s essentially a slice-of-life series that has nothing to do with geeks or technology. Nevertheless, you might enjoy it because it’s a mature show with a lot of tonal similarities to Silicon Valley.

6. Bojack Horseman

Bojack Horseman is one of the greatest animated shows ever, which is a bold claim, and one of the best Netflix originals. It revolves around Bojack Horseman, a washed-up sitcom star (voiced by the always-excellent Will Arnett) who is trying to get his life together with help from his friends and colleagues.

Not only is it hilarious, set in a world where humans and anthropomorphic animals co-exist, but it also deals with mature themes like depression and addiction. If you like the dark comedy and self-centered characters of Silicon Valley, you’ll love Bojack Horseman.

7. Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation gives a fictional look at the lives of people within a Parks Department. Much like Silicon Valley, the characters often have to deal with the fact that what can go wrong will go wrong. Amy Poehler plays Leslie Knope, a feisty bureaucrat who wants to do best by her employees and people.

The show really finds its feet after the first season, so stick with it for a hilarious and often heartwarming experience. It has a killer gag ratio which holds up through multiple viewings. Parks and Recreation is also notable for featuring Chris Pratt before he became a blockbuster star.

8. The Office

The American Office is based on the British show of the same name. While both are great, controversially the American version might be better thanks to the brilliance of leading man Steve Carell. It also ran for many more seasons, so there are lots of episodes to enjoy on a binge.

The show is a mockumentary set in a Scranton paper company. This may be a long way away from Silicon Valley geographically, but The Office is similar because of its great ensemble cast and wacky situations.

The Office also has a lot of purposely cringeworthy moments, similar to the messes that Richard Hendricks finds himself in time and time again.

How to Find Other Shows to Binge-Watch

Netflix is crammed full of great TV shows. While this article focuses on shows like Silicon Valley, there are lots of other great shows worth binge-watching on Netflix. You just need to know where to look.

If you want to know what other shows you should devour, here are the best ways to find TV shows to binge-watch.

Read the full article: Love Silicon Valley? 8 Similar TV Shows to Watch on Netflix

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The Best BBC Shows on Netflix That Even Americans Will Enjoy

The BBC produces some amazing TV shows, with high-quality dramas and comedies airing on the BBC in recent years. Some of these shows rival anything you’ll find on AMC or HBO.

The good news is that many of the best BBC shows are available on Netflix US, providing Americans with even more reasons to subscribe to Netflix.

British programming has a different feel to it, but if you’re willing to cross the pond and try something new, you may fall in love with what the best BBC shows have to offer.

1. Sherlock (2010)

Sherlock is a modern take on the renowned detective story series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are perfectly cast as Holmes and Watson, and the entire show is so stylish and entertaining that one can’t help but be drawn in and enthralled.

Each season only has three episodes, but each episode is basically a 90-minute feature film that covers the material in one or two of Doyle’s stories. There’s a lot to love about this show, including the surprising-but-inevitable twists and turns that made Sherlock Holmes such a hit in the first place.

Four seasons are available on Netflix.

2. Peaky Blinders (2013)

Peaky Blinders stars Cillian Murphy, also known as “that guy from the Christopher Nolan films,” who plays the leader of the Peaky Blinders gang in post-WWI Birmingham (England) and attempts to avoid the investigations of a ruthless detective (played by Sam Neill) and move up the ladder of the criminal underworld.

But that premise doesn’t do the show justice. It presents a richly interwoven narrative with lived-in characters who span multiple storylines. If you’re looking for a gritty and grounded period drama, it doesn’t get better than Peaky Blinders.

Peaky Blinders is a strong contender for the best BBC series on Netflix. All five seasons are on the platform.

3. The Last Kingdom (2015)

The Last Kingdom is an historical fantasy show like you’ve never seen. It’s like Game of Thrones with its political intrigue in a medieval setting, but grounded in reality and not as stylized or embellished as other historical fantasy shows like Rome or The Tudors.

This show takes place in the 800s when England wasn’t yet England and when the Saxons were at war with the Danes. The story follows Uhtred, a Saxon by birth but raised by Danes, who wants to reclaim his homeland but is often caught in the conflicts of both sides and is never quite sure to whom his allegiance should belong.

It’s easily one of the best BBC shows on Netflix, and you can watch all three seasons on the streaming platform.

4. North and South (2004)

North and South is a four-part miniseries (more like a mega-movie, if you ask me) that tells the story of a woman who moves from southern England to a factory town in northern England during the 1850s and falls in love, but struggles to assimilate.

While there’s nothing particularly original about an “outsider meets hostility and resistance” story, North and South is a winner due to how much attention it pays to production design, atmosphere, and most importantly, its characters. Execution is everything with TV shows, and North and South nails it.

5. Happy Valley (2014)

Happy Valley is anything but happy. This small-town crime drama centers on a police sergeant who’s depressed and grieving the suicide of her teenage daughter. When the man responsible for it is let out of prison, she grows obsessed with tracking him down and demanding justice.

This is drama in the truest sense, and it’s elevated by the intricate web of characters and relationships that drive the central conflict in Happy Valley. A wonderfully written show, though a bit hard to get into if you aren’t in the right frame of mind to enjoy it.

Both seasons are available to watch.

6. Call the Midwife (2012)

Call the Midwife follows a group of midwives in poverty-stricken London during the 1950s and uses the setting to explore various hard-hitting social and economic issues like miscarriages, abortions, prostitution, birth defects and disabilities, prejudice, and more.

Despite the weight of its themes, Call the Midwife has enough levity to avoid being a depressing mess of a show. In fact, it’s surprisingly hopeful and optimistic on the whole, which just makes it that much more of a must-watch.

The lead role is played by Oscar winner, Vanessa Redgrave.

7. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2015)

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell takes place in an alternate 1800s England where magic has been dead for hundreds of years and only two magicians—the titular characters—are able to tap into that power. It’s an entertaining miniseries that builds to a satisfying conclusion, and makes you wonder why miniseries aren’t more popular.

If nothing else, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a fun journey to a not-so-long-ago England propped up by strong performances. It’s definitely worth a watch as it’s one of the best BBC miniseries on Netflix.

8. The Fall (2013)

Are you tired of murder mystery shows where criminals are dumb, cops are dumber, and impossible cases are solved and tied off with a neat bow in one episode? Then this is the show for you. The Fall is a slow-burning, methodical crime drama that shows what might actually happen if a smart detective pursued a clever serial killer.

Gillian Anderson delivers one of her best performances as Stella Gibson opposite Jamie Dornan’s murderous Paul Spector. This is a must-watch if you prefer your criminal justice television shows to be more than just mindless entertainment.

9. Bodyguard (2018)

Bodyguard is a crime drama and political thriller that isn’t afraid to take its time when exploring story beats. It centers on a police sergeant, who suffers from PTSD from his time as a war veteran and finds himself assigned as bodyguard to a politician whose politics don’t align with his own.

The show has its share of political and social commentary, but its main draw is its expertise at being a grounded-but-intense psychological thriller. Performances are great all around, especially by Richard Madden, who you may recognize as Robb Stark from Game of Thrones.

10. Doctor Foster (2015)

Doctor Foster is a thrilling family drama about Dr. Gemma Foster, a practicing physician who begins to suspect that her husband is having an affair. All of the signs are there, but they’re just vague enough to make her wonder if her gut instinct is right—and, as the obsession grows, her life begins to unravel.

It teeters into melodrama at points, but it’s engaging and gripping all the same. Suranne Jones’ performance is enough reason on its own to give this series a try.

Two seasons are available on Netflix.

More Brilliant Shows to Stream Online

We believe that these are the best BBC shows to watch on Netflix, and all Americans should enjoy watching them. However, there are lots of other great shows to stream online.

If you’re bored of American television programming, here are the best nordic dramas on Netflix and Amazon Prime and the best war documentaries on Netflix.

Read the full article: The Best BBC Shows on Netflix That Even Americans Will Enjoy

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The Best YouTube Originals to Watch on YouTube Premium

In 2018, Google split YouTube Red into two standalone offerings: YouTube Music and YouTube Premium. YouTube Premium offers ad-free videos, offline viewing, background playback, and access to YouTube Originals.

As YouTube Premium matures, the number of YouTube Originals grows. So, in this article, we list the best YouTube Originals to watch on YouTube Premium.

What Are YouTube Originals?

Much like Netflix and Amazon, YouTube is now creating its own exclusive content. All of this content is available under the YouTube Originals moniker.

The shows and movies straddle a wide range of genres and feature a mix of well-known actors and famous YouTubers. All of the shows are available in any market in which YouTube Premium is available, and they are viewable on all of your devices.

To help you get started, here are the best YouTube Originals that you can watch right now.

Note: Some YouTube Originals are now available to watch for free without a YouTube Premium subscription.

1. Wayne

Wayne is an action-comedy that first aired in January 2019. The show has been well-received by critics, boasting an 89 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The story follows the life of the titular character and his crush, Del, as they aim to retrieve a stolen car that belonged to Wayne’s father. Mark McKenna and Ciara Bravo play the lead roles.

Despite its popularity, Wayne was canceled after one season.

2. Impulse

Science fiction drama Impulse is based on a book of the same name by Steven Gould. The first season premiered in June 2018 with a second season going live in October 2019. At the time of writing, there is still no word on a possible third season.

The central character is a 16-year-old girl called Henrietta. Without giving away too many spoilers, Henrietta has the power to teleport whenever she feels emotional discomfort.

3. Best Shot

Best Shot is a basketball documentary series. It follows the fortunes of Newark Central High School through both the results on the court and the off-field lives of the players during the 2017-18 season.

Only one season is available. It first aired in mid-2018. There are eight episodes for you to dig into. Each episode lasts between 20 and 50 minutes.

The series is produced by legendary players, LeBron James, Maverick Carter, and Andrew Fried, and the content was made in partnership with the NBA.

4. Origin

After the popularity of Impulse in mid-2018, YouTube followed up with a second science fiction drama in the winter.

Origin tells the story of a bunch of strangers who find themselves stuck on an alien spaceship heading out into the universe. It quickly transpires that one of the party is not the same as the rest.

Despite what sounds like an appealing plot for sci-fi plans, the show was not as popular as Impulse, and was canceled after one season.

5. Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television

Another YouTube Original worth checking out is Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television. Ryan Hansen plays an exaggerated version of himself in the show.

He is part of a dysfunctional LAPD. The series stands as a comedic mirror to the way the police conducts itself, with the notion of celebrity, police procedures, and endless stereotypes put under the microscope.

The series was popular. It ran for two seasons and 16 episodes before YouTube and Hansen decided to cancel it in mid-2019.

6. Weird City

Science fiction drama Weird City premiered in February 2019. With an 84 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 25 critics’ ratings), it’s definitely one of the best YouTube Originals to watch.

The city, called Weird, is physically divided into two halves: the “haves” and the “have-nots.” Each episode follows a different resident of the metropolis as they go about their daily lives. It’s satirically brilliant.

7. Sherwood

Sherwood is an animated show for both kids and adults. It retells the story of Robin Hood, albeit with a hefty dose of creative license.

Robin is now played by a teenage girl, while Sherwood has become a dystopia in a world that’s predominantly underwater following the climate crisis.

So far, there has only been one season consisting of 10 episodes. Each episode runs for 20 minutes.

8. The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash

Some of the best original YouTube shows are documentaries. Many of them focus on particular celebrities, artists, or musicians.

One of the most recent releases (airing in late-2019) is The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash. It follows the singer’s rise from a tiny town in Arkansas to become of the best-selling music artists of all-time. It is estimated that Cash sold more than 90 million records before his death in 2003.

9. Cobra Kai

Cobra Kai is perhaps the best-known YouTube Original. The storyline uses the four Karate Kid movies as inspiration.

Taking place 34 years after the first film, the series follows the reopening of the Cobra Kai karate dojo and the rekindling of the rivalry between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence.

Actors Ralph Macchio (LaRusso) and William Zabka (Lawrence) both return to reprise their original roles.

The first season aired in 2018 and a second followed in 2019. YouTube has confirmed that a third is in the works.

10. Step Up: High Water

Step Up: High Water is another YouTube Original that draws heavily on a movie franchise.

For those who aren’t aware, there were five Step Up films released between 2006 and 2014. They fall into the dance drama genre.

The YouTube show tells the story of twins Tal (Petrice Jones) and Janelle (Lauryn McClain) as they are forced to relocate to Atlanta due to a family crisis. Once they arrive in their new home, they join a free performing arts school run by Sage Odom (Ne-Yo). It’s described as the most cutthroat school in the city.

You can expect lots of music, lots of comedy, and lots of dark moments across the episodes. The franchise’s breakout star, Channing Tatum, serves as an executive producer on the YouTube show.

The show was canceled after two seasons.

11. Kedi

What do you get if you place a group of documentary makers in a city with millions of stray cats? The answer is Kedi. It’s the first movie on our list.

Kedi tracks the lives of seven strays in Istanbul. With a healthy dose of melancholic music and a voiceover that’s sure to pull on your heartstrings, it’s a must-watch for cat lovers.

12. Rhett and Link’s Buddy System

Still wondering what to watch on YouTube Premium? Try Rhett and Link’s Buddy System. Created by comedy duo Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal, this absurdist comedy hit was arguably the first YouTube Original that became popular with a mainstream audience.

When it launched in early 2017, demand was for the show was higher than demand for several big-hitting series from other streaming providers, including Orange is the New Black, Santa Clarita Diet, The Grand Tour, and The Man In the High Castle.

The story follows the lives of Rhett and Link (playing themselves) as they seek to regain control of their morning chat show from a mutual ex-girlfriend.

There are two seasons and 16 episodes.

13. Scare PewDiePie

If you like Felix Kjellberg’s style of content, you’ll enjoy Scare PewDiePie. The series sees the YouTube star put himself into reality-based horror setups.

There’s only one season of 10 episodes. The second season was canceled before its release in 2017 after YouTube decided Kjellberg was too divisive a figure to promote on its platform.

14. Youth and Consequences

Youth and Consequences ticks all of the usual boxes for a teenage high school drama.

There’s the school queen struggling to hold on to her status, the ensemble of bullies making crude remarks about everything from sexuality to social class, the ongoing web of love interests, the cliques, and every other high school stereotype you can think of.

It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but after its release in March 2018 it quickly shot up to the top of YouTube’s most popular shows.

No second season is planned.

15. The Keys of Christmas

The Keys of Christmas is the second YouTube Original movie on the list. It offers a modern take on the classic Charles Dickens novel, A Christmas Carol.

The film enjoys an all-star cast, with Mariah Carey, DJ Khaled, Ciara, Fifth Harmony, Rudy Mancuso, Melanie Iglesias, and Mike Tyson all playing significant roles.

DJ Khaled and Mariah Carey are the do-gooders; they transport YouTube star Mancuso into a winter wonderland in an attempt to teach him about the true meaning of Christmas.

It’s certainly not a classic film, but it’s a fun Christmas movie. For more festive fun, check out our list of Christmas movies worth watching on Netflix.

16. Lifeline

Lifeline takes us into the world of science fiction (as do the best modern sci-fi movies on Netflix). The two main protagonists, Conner (Zach Gilford) and Haley (Amanda Crew) work for an insurance firm that has the ability to time travel.

Using their powers, Conner and Haley try to predict their clients’ death by traveling 33 days into the future. They then return to the present day and try to prevent the deaths from occurring.

In some respects, the show feels like Black Mirror. Some of the sub-plots, such as the duo’s slower aging process due to their time travel, are explored in more detail in later episodes.

The series runs for eight episodes. Unfortunately, YouTube has confirmed that there will not be a season two.

17. Mind Field

Fans of Michael Stevens’ Vsauce channel will be instantly familiar with the premise of Mind Field. The episodes use a documentary-style format, with Stevens discussing various aspects of human behavior.

Each episode contains an experiment that links to the theme of the video. Sometimes Stevens performs the experiment on himself. On other occasions, he uses guests or test subjects.

Experiments have included three days of solitary confinement to test the effect on the brain, making people angry and giving them things to smash up, and asking a group of people to incorrectly answer a question in front of one unwitting participant to test the power of conformity.

18. Single by 30

Single by 30 is a romantic comedy series. Set in Los Angeles, the show starts with two high school students who make a pact to go to the senior dance together if they cannot find a date.

In the aftermath of the dance, they make another pact: They will marry each other if they are both still single by the time they hit 30.

Predictably, they lose touch with each other. But as they approach their 30th birthdays, they reunite after the breakdown of their long-term relationships. They choose to reinstate the old pact, with the series focusing on their feelings for each other as they re-enter the dating world.

Is YouTube Premium Worth the Money?

Some of these shows are only available to YouTube Premium subscribers. However, despite this, some of you might not see the value in subscribing to yet another streaming service.

To help you decide whether YouTube Premium is for you, you should read our article on Is YouTube Premium worth the money?

Read the full article: The Best YouTube Originals to Watch on YouTube Premium

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The 7 Best Free IPTV Apps: How to Watch Live TV on Android

It’s easier than ever to watch on-demand TV shows and movies on your Android device. But what about live TV?

Yes, there are services like Sling and YouTube TV. However, if you know where to look, you don’t need to subscribe to their expensive plans. You can use free IPTV instead; you just need an IPTV app and an IPTV source.

But which is the best IPTV app for Android and Android TV? Keep reading to find out.

What Is an IPTV App?

IPTV apps are a bit like Kodi; they are empty shells that can’t stream any content without some user input. You have the responsibility for adding channels, playlists, and other sources.

Typically, you cannot use the apps to watch Netflix, Hulu, or direct content from other third-party providers. You need to grab an M3U file, which you add to the IPTV app.

1. IPTV Smarters Pro

If you have ever subscribed to a paid IPTV service, there’s a good chance the provider gave you access to a branded version of the IPTV Smarters Pro app. It’s the software of choice among many distributors.

However, you don’t need to rely on a branded version. As long as you have an M3U URL from your provider, you can add it to the app and enjoy all the same features. Better yet, this “white label” version of Smarters Pro can accept multiple logins, while the branded versions typically cannot.

The app supports on-demand movies and TV shows, as well as catch-up channels, if your provider offers them. It even integrates with external video players (like Perfect Player and VLC) if you would rather use their respective interfaces.

IPTV Smarters Pro is great on mobile devices, but really shines on a TV. It’s definitely one of the must-have IPTV apps for Android TV.

Download: IPTV Smarters Pro (Free, premium version available)

2. Lazy IPTV

lazy iptv app android

Lazy IPTV supports M3U playlists in open-view, ZIP, and GZ formats. The app can also read playlists in XSPF (XML Shareable Playlist Format).

Adding new content to Lazy IPTV is easy. You can access media on your local file system, as well as pasting URLs directly from the web or your device’s clipboard. The app works with HTTP and UDP streams and can play videos directly from YouTube and social network VK. There’s also a built-in audio player for internet radio channels.

Importantly for an IPTV app, Lazy IPTV supports electronic program guides (EPGs). It can read XMLTV EPGs saved as open-view, ZIP, or GZ.

From a usability standpoint, Lazy IPTV lets you add favorites, supports nested folders, and allows you to create playlist groups. You can export your playlists if you ever decide to switch to an alternative app. The app’s home screen is also fully customizable, providing the option to add shortcuts to your most-watched channels and change how the content displays.

Lazy IPTV is great for mobile devices. It is less well-suited to the larger screens of Android TV, however.

Download: Lazy IPTV (Free)

3. TiviMate

tivimate channel list

In our opinion, TiviMate is comfortably the best IPTV app for Android TV. It’s not available as a mobile version.

The app supports multiple playlists, renaming of channels and categories, and hidden categories. You can import your own channel logos, customize the order in which channels appear in the TV guide, and take advantage of the search feature (which works for both channel names and currently playing shows).

The free version of TiviMate will suffice for people with one playlist who don’t watch too often. If you’re an IPTV power user, it’s worth upgrading to the pro version. This costs $4.99 per year and allows you to install the app on up to five devices.

Download: TiviMate (Free, subscription available)

4. GSE Smart IPTV

gse android iptv app

GSE Smart IPTV is one of the most popular IPTV apps in the Google Play Store, and for good reason. First, it’s one of the best-designed IPTV apps for Android. Its crisp design and cable TV-like EPG layout make it easy to forget you’re even using an app.

Second, GSE Smart IPTV is available on far more platforms than most of its competitors. You’ll find versions for Android, Android TV, iOS, and Apple TV. The app is also Chromecast-compatible. And remember, you can even install Android apps on Amazon Fire TV devices if you know how to sideload APK files.

Feature-wise, GSE Smart IPTV supports EPG content in the XML, ZIP, and GZ formats. It also offers native parental controls and subtitles (SRT files) support. It can play live streams from HTTP, HSL, M3U8, MMS, RTSP, and RTMP sources. The app is ad-supported and suitable for both Android TV and mobile Android devices.

Download: GSE Smart IPTV (Free, premium version available)

5. Perfect Player IPTV

perfect player iptv app android

Perfect Player IPTV is another hugely popular app. It’s especially popular among Android TV users looking for an alternative to the native Live Channels app.

The app supports M3U and XSPF playlists. And if you want to add an electronic program guide, you can use XMLTV (ZIP, GZ, XZ) and JTV.

There are also a few different decoder options to choose from: Native, Software, Hardware, and Hardware Accelerated. Other features include the ability to watch locally saved content, UDP-to-HTTP proxy server support, and automatic syncing with the desktop version of the app for a consistent experience.

Like GSE Smart IPTV, Perfect Player uses a theme that’s easy on the eyes and draws its design cues from cable and satellite TV EPGs.

Download: Perfect Player IPTV (Free, premium version available)

6. IPTV

The straightforwardly named IPTV app is one of the most-downloaded IPTV apps for Android, with more than 10 million installs.

As you’d expect, you can add both M3U and XSPF playlists to the app. EPG support comes in the form of XMLTV and JTV. If you have a UDP proxy (installed via your local area network), you can use the IPTV app to play multicast streams.

The app offers some customization options too. It can display the channels you’ve added in a list, grid, or tile view, depending which you prefer.

Finally, if you have a dedicated Android set-top box that you use for watching IPTV, it’s worth upgrading to the pro version. It includes a feature that allows the app to auto-start when its host device boots up. The pro version also removes ads and adds a “resume watching” feature that can auto-play your most recently watched channel.

Download: IPTV (Free) | IPTV Pro ($2.99)

7. OTT Navigator

ott navigator iptv app android

OTT Navigator is the biggest IPTV rival to TiviMate on the Android TV platform. Like TiviMate, it is popular among power users.

There is little difference between them; the two apps share a lot of similar features. OTT Navigator supports filters (by channels, categories, genres, seasons, years, favorite channels, rating, and country), customization of channels and categories, and a search tool.

In our view, the TiviMate interface is slightly more modern and the UI is a little more user-friendly, but you might think differently. Make sure you check out both options before deciding on which is the best IPTV app for your needs.

Download: OTT Navigator (Free, in-app purchases available)

What About Free IPTV on Kodi?

In this roundup, we focused on apps that specialize in IPTV. Kodi can play IPTV content, but also does so much more that we didn’t feel it was a fair comparison.

If you prefer to use Kodi, you won’t need to install any third-party Kodi add-ons. M3U playlist support is a native part of the Kodi app—you just need to add the right component. To get up and running, head to Add-ons > My Add-ons > PVR > PVR IPTV Simple Client > Configure. Enter your M3U playlist address when prompted.

To learn more about this topic, check out how to watch free TV on Android TV.

Read the full article: The 7 Best Free IPTV Apps: How to Watch Live TV on Android