streaming follow-up: we need a universal watchlist app: updated!

On my recent post about streaming -- five reasons streaming is still better than cable and etc. -- I alluded to something towards the end of the post that I want to spotlight here.

We need a universal watchlist app. Perhaps several universal watchlist apps, so we can choose the one that suits us best.

This app would combine all your watchlists, from all the different streaming services you use, into one list. I wouldn't have to look through Netflix, Crave, Prime, and Britbox - not to mention some free services that once in a while have something good.

I wouldn't have to wonder, Where did I see that show? Was that Netflix or Prime or Crave? Didn't we see something good on Tubi? Or was Hoopla?

All my watchlists across all services would be combined.

Reelgood and JustWatch may do this, but it's unclear. I'll try them both and report back.

One thing right off the top: Reelgood doesn't include Crave, even on their Canada site. Crave is where Canadians can legally watch HBO, Showtime, and Starz movies and series, so it's important. I did email Reelgood to ask if they can pick up Crave. JustWatch has Crave, so it's possible to do.

More info when I have it.

Important update below.

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I've been searching for this for a while, but I didn't know quite what to call it. I was coming up with services like Cinetrack, Seriesguide, and TVTime -- there's a list here. This would tell you where you could stream a particular movie or series, and you could track what you've watched. But they are more streaming search engines than feed aggregators.

Plex has the idea -- all your media streaming through one app -- but it works with media you've purchased or downloaded, not streaming.

I just had no idea what to call this thing I was dreaming of, until I recently saw this post: Forget universal search; give me a universal watch list. That's when the light bulb went off.

Now I've found two services that sound like they can do this. The strange thing is, they are both referred to as streaming search engines. Yet both services claim you can create a master watchlist and click through to the service through this.

Even comparisons of Reelgood and JustWatch calls them streaming search apps.

Maybe that's what the universal watchlist will be called?

I'm going to try both and report back.

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Update. Reelgood or JustWatch? Neither.

Neither service works properly. Choosing your streaming apps and adding shows to a watchlist is simple enough. But neither Reelgood or JustWatch functions as a streaming hub or universal watchlist on either Roku or AppleTV.

Reelgood has more streaming services -- but not Crave, which Canadian viewers need.

JustWatch has Crave, but is missing Kanopy and dozens of free services. Part of the beauty of the universal watchlist would be the ability to access the bits of decent content on each of the free apps.

But more importantly, neither of them works properly on a TV. They might function properly for people who watch everything on their computer or phone. But the quest for a universal watchlist app continues.


Jim said...

Agree. Need the universal watch list app.
I'm a Britbox fan. I worked in London for 4 years during the 70's and still have a soft spot for Brit shows, especially the detective stuff. In fact, one of the reasons I ditched cable in Jan. was the realization that the only time I watched cable live was for the Sunday night PBS Brit shows. That and Cogeco cable giving unlimited bandwidth for the price I was already paying for a 175 cap (MLB-TV really chews it up, but, alas, not an issue this season). Anyway, back to Britbox. I can be dumb when it comes site navigation, but does Britbox have a Netflix-style page that shows your watching history? I've tried, and even asked them via their website (no reply). Some of their shows are missing some seasons, and if they ever pick them up, I'd like a list to refresh the fading memory. Apologies in advance for kind of hi-jacking your sensible post.

laura k said...

Hey Jim! Thank you for giving me some librarian work!

The Britbox apps are pretty awful. They really need a re-design. Are you using it through a device like Roku or AppleTV, or on your computer, or something else?

Lucky you, I always had a dream to live in London for a while. But with or without that, those Brit detective shows are incredibly popular. I am finishing up Vera now. She is now my favourite TV detective, knocking Lewis out of first place.

I wish Britbox would get Endeavour, but so far, it's only on PBS.

Jim said...

Me again. I have my desk-top hooked up to my big screen (I have a computer guy who does this stuff) so I'm simply streaming, I guess. Yeah, Vera is one of the ones with missing seasons. My all-time fave is Helen Mirren/Prime Suspect with Robbie Coltrane/Cracker a close second. Plus all the the John Thaw stuff. I could go on and on. Anyway, yeah, Britbox needs a re-design. On a related note, I've some how fallen in love with the detective shows based in Iceland (mostly Netflix). Something about Iceland seems to be oddly symbolic these days.

laura k said...

We are watching Prime Suspect right now! I've seen the whole thing before -- it is so amazing -- but this time Allan is watching with me. I don't consider DCI Jane Tennyson as part of the Brit detective thing. The show is unique.

I also have Cracker cued up. John Thaw, big time.

I'm into all those barren northern landscapes and brooding, grieving detectives -- Wallander (the first and best), Shetland, Hinterland. Allan and I just finished The Valhalla Murders, the first one I've seen that takes place in Iceland. What are some others?

laura k said...

Jim, it looks like Britbox has no way to save your viewing history. :(

Jim said...

Trapped is one, plus there's a Finland one--Bordertown, plus The Break, which may be Swedish, but what the hey. Oh yeah, forgot about Wallander. I actually read the library books. Good reads, too. I miss the library (my afternoon reading time is now "ON STREAM"). Since I'm a retired, life-long bachelor with obvious hermit tendencies, this forced house arrest is no biggie.
PS, thanks for the research on Britbox. I'm sure there's a fledgling website somewhere trying to compile this stuff (and trying to figure out how to monetize it).

laura k said...

I am in the middle of reading the Wallander books! I read them sporadically, in between all the heavy nonfiction I read. I don't usually read series, but I can't miss any of these.

I am loving social distancing. I feel a bit guilty for how much I'm enjoying it. Glad you are too.

(Adding Trapped, Bordertown, and The Break. I think The Bridge is Scandinavian, too.)

Jim said...

The Bridge, yes. The one between Denmark and Sweden. Yeah, it lives up to our obvious good taste (insert emoji of choice here).

IanS said...

A universal watch list would be a good idea. Also useful would be an option to create a do-not-watch list where you could transfer programs that you do not ever want to watch (with an checkbox to automatically put shows that you have already watched in that list). Once a show was moved to the do-not-watch list; it would no longer appear in the list of available shows. Like most subscribers to streaming services, I waste a lot of time scrolling through available shows on various streaming systems and repeatedly skipping past shows that I have already seen and/or never want to see. A potential downside for streaming services is that a do-not-watch list could make their list of offerings seem small once it is stripped of anything that you have seen or never want to see. On the other hand, such a list would allow streaming services to find programs that would be more popular.

laura k said...

Interesting idea. I can't see a streaming service ever letting you hide content, but it would be useful. Already seen would be good -- like a checkmark denoting that you had watched it.

I'd like an easier way to browse more options by category, instead of just the limited number of titles under that are shown.

I do find that keeping a list of titles I want to see and periodically searching for them on various apps is an important piece. And it can be tedious.

Barry James said...

I have figured out a 'universal watch list' via configuring SeriesGuide to support that capability. I have documented both how to set it up as well as how to use it. It has all the features alluded to here in the comments.

Check it out here: Tracking Your Shows & Movies

Please let me know what you think!!!! Thanks....Barry James, Media Guide

laura k said...

I wasn't sure if I should put this comment through, but I'll give it a try.

strumminjay said...

Your article mentions “Best Cross-app Watchlist App: Apple TV App” but that just kills in half a dozen non-competing networks (like ABC), nothing like a universal watchlist. I don’t have an Android so most of your article is out for me too. Frustrating.

laura k said...

Your article mentions “Best Cross-app Watchlist App: Apple TV App”

This post does not mention that. You're either at the wrong link, or possibly responding to a story I linked to here. There is nothing approaching a universal watchlist yet.

gabbiehanks@gmail.com said...

Hello, I have been dreaming of an app like this for years. I just came across this thread and was wondering if anyone had discovered anything yet.

gabbiehanks@gmail.com said...

Hello, I have been dreaming of an app like this for years. I just came across this thread and was wondering if anyone had discovered anything yet.

laura k said...

Hi Gabbie. Nothing. Nothing! We need this! When will someone create it!