Deciding what to watch on a weekend is now an endless scroll through what’s new on Netflix rather than a quick check of movie times at your local theater. While it can be tricky to find out what’s streaming and where, and what’s new and coming soon on all the streaming platforms, there are a few ways to make it easier.
Your first stop should probably be the excellent JustWatch (also available in app form), which is a comprehensive directory of everything showing everywhere—you can either pick a platform (like Netflix or Prime Video) to see what’s on, or search for specific titles of movies and shows that you know you want to watch.
To see what’s new on JustWatch on the web, click the New button up at the top, then pick your streaming service from the row of icons—Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, or whatever it is. Digital download services from Apple and Google are included as well, so you might be able to buy or rent something even if it’s not currently being streamed.
The Popular link shows you what everyone else is watching. If there’s something specific you’re in the mood for, then search for it using the box at the top. The filters above the movies and shows are a helpful way of finding something to watch, too: You can look for titles matching a particular genre, or everything released in a particular year, or kid-friendly content.
You don’t have to create a (free) account to use JustWatch, but if you do, you can set up a personal watchlist to keep track of everything you’re trying to binge watch your way through. You also get personalized recommendations for what to watch next, based on what you’ve liked in the past. But JustWatch isn’t your only option.
Reelgood covers all the popular streaming platforms, and is available on Android and iOS. You can search for specific titles and find out where they’re streaming, get alerts when something you want to watch arrives online, see what’s brand new on these platforms, or just browse through the catalogs. To keep it simple, you can limit your searches to just the apps you subscribe to.
Reelgood lets you build up lists of what you’ve watched and what you want to watch next, and you can apply a selection of filters to narrow down your binge-watching options—listings can be restricted by genre, by the year of release, and even by the ratings given on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes (though you can’t always trust those).
Watchworthy also deserves a mention, though it doesn’t have a desktop web interface. Instead you need to install the iOS app (an Android version is reportedly coming soon). Dozens of streaming services are supported, and you can very easily run a search to check out where you can watch a particular show or movie.
While Watchworthy isn’t quite as good as the other options we’ve mentioned here for alerting you when new content arrives (or old content leaves), it does go all in on the recommendations aspect. Specify your tastes with a quick, Tinder-style swiping game when you first open the app, and you’ll get some pretty accurate recommendations about what else you might be interested in (and where to watch it).
NewOnNetflix just focuses on Netflix—as you might have figured out from the name—but it does an excellent job of it. With just a few clicks you can see what’s brand new on the service and what’s about to leave, find content popular with other people, and explore the entire catalog. Every entry comes with a ton of information too, from a plot synopsis to an IMDB rating (if available).
What appeals most to our geeky side about NewOnNetflix is that it has its own RSS feed, so you can get pinged in your RSS reader of choice every time new stuff gets added. It’s the perfect way to make sure you don’t miss any new additions that you’d like to watch, assuming you’re still making use of RSS (and you should be).
All the streaming and digital download services have their own search functions and ‘new arrival’ sections of course, which is somewhat useful—you’re just limited to going through them one by one. Keeping up to date with each service’s Twitter feed is a good way of finding out about new shows and movies too, and you could even put together a Twitter list for easy reference.
Finally, don’t forget Google: The search engine knows that you and millions of other people want to know what’s showing on which streaming service, so if you run a search for “watch...” followed by the name of a movie or TV show, you’ll see some options. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and, of course, YouTube are among the services covered.