Life was so much simpler back when we only had one main streaming service to track: Netflix. When it came time to find out whether a TV show or a movie was available to stream, all you had to do was go to netflix.com and quickly peruse whatever they happened to have up at the time. There was no complicated and disappointing matrix of release and contract cancellation schedules to keep track of. It was not a confounding decision when it came time to choose which service to use on a given day. It was just simple. You just logged onto Netflix, chose from the available titles, and watched. Nothing more, nothing less.
Simplicity, though, nowadays is hard to come by (to say the least). There are just so many streaming services out there to choose from. And many of us have subscriptions to several of them (each, of course, coming with its own monthly price). Although there are many benefits to this model, it is also true that each service has limited the scope of content that it is able to offer, to network-specific titles. To add to the frustration, each streaming service is constantly cycling syndicated content in and out of availability, to the point where it is almost impossible to keep track of which streaming platform will be carrying your favorite shows and movies on a monthly basis.
Maybe you have a better system for tracking this than I do, but I find it almost impossible to keep track of which streaming site will have that when I find myself wanting to watch a given show or movie. Not only is it difficult to remember which platform puts out what original series or movie, but they also all keep unnecessarily confusing (and sometimes annoyingly short-lasting) schedules of syndicated programming.
And as I’m sure many of you have already figured out, Google is not always the most helpful when it comes to figuring this out. Google is great for most things, of course, but there are some kinds of information that Google’s algorithm just isn’t designed for – like, for instance, trying to figure out if Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video is going to be the best site at the moment if you are trying to watch classic sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother, Friends, or Third Rock from the Sun. Eventually, Googling this information will yield an answer. But it is far from convenient and time-efficient.
In this day and age, when new streaming services are released all the time and every individual network wants to get their hands on the streaming site gold mine, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a site that helped you keep track of these constantly fluctuating contract schedules? A site that would be built more for this sort of inquiry than Google, specifically to keep you in the loop on which service will help you watch what you want to watch when you want to watch it?
Fortunately, friends, there is no need to fret. Because there is such a site. In fact, there are several of these sorts of sites for us to choose from. However, as is the case with any kind of website, not all of these streaming site search engines (or streaming site aggregators, as they are sometimes called) are equally powerful or effective. Some are better designed than others, some draw from more streaming services than others, some offer more useful features than others. Therefore, you have come to the right place – I will help you figure out which one is going to be the best for your purposes. And today we’ll start with a streaming site search engine known as Yidio.
Yidio, an odd name at first glance, is short for Your Internet Video. It is a video streaming platform aggregator, making it easier than ever for you to browse what’s available across all of your video streaming accounts. And the kicker is that you can do all this from a single and convenient platform, yidio.com.
Yidio was created by brothers, Adam and Brandon Eatros in January of 2008. About half a year later, in June, Yidio officially launched. Having found a great deal of success early on with their novel site, Yidio attracted the attention of angel investors Alan Warms, Bill Luby, Jim Collis, Lon Chow, and Jamie Crouthamel. Between the five of these angel investors, Yidio managed to raise $350,000 in funding in November of 2009.
From there, Yidio used this seed money wisely and continued to expand its reach. In 2011, Yidio added alerts for Facebook and Twitter. Then, they released an iPhone mobile app for the service in July of 2013, and an Android version shortly thereafter. Yidio, too, has been met with some critical acclaim. On July 28th of 2013, the Yidio app was featured on “Mario’s Top 3” segment on the Today Show.
I think that you will be pleasantly surprised by the way that yidio.com is designed. This is one area where sites like this can easily fall to the wayside, in my opinion, via sloppy, cluttered, or hard to navigate site design. Luckily, though, that is far from the case with Yidio. This site is equal parts well-designed and familiar.
Anyone who has used Netflix or Hulu will immediately find adapting to Yidio to be a seamless process. That is because the design of Yidio emulates both these leading streaming platforms. You can quickly browse titles by genre, what’s popular, what’s trending, by platform, by the network, by airdate, etc. Imagine all of your favorite streaming sites rolled into one convenient location and you have a good idea of how Yidio is designed.
You can also, of course, search by title or simply browse by movies or TV shows. It is one of the simplest (but not sophomoric looking) sites of its kind that I have ever seen. In fact, I would even argue that Yidio is better designed than Hulu – it is less confusing, less cluttered, and easier to browse.
Well, the content of Yidio really depends entirely on what streaming services you are already subscribed to – as that is the content that you will be able to view. If you are a Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO member, well, you can browse everything that those platforms have to offer. But what really makes Yidio stand out is the fact that you can also actually view this content from the site itself. There are several other streaming site search engines out there, many of which do not offer this seemingly basic feature. So, that is a huge win for Yidio in my opinion.
What’s more, Yidio also offers free streaming content of its own for users to enjoy. Even if you aren’t a member of any of the streaming services out there, in other words, as a Yidio member, you will still be able to view certain movies. At the moment, some of Yidio’s titles include Basic Instinct 2, Blitz, Lionheart, Stuart Little, National Security, Hancock, and The Passion of the Christ. This is yet another feature that really sets Yidio apart from its competitors.
In addition to movies, Yidio even offers television networks for free, and I believe that they are Yidio owned and operated. Enjoy broadcasting from Yidio channels such as Horror 24/7, News 24/7, Standup TV, Docu TV, Anime All Day, and Celebrity TV. Now, if this doesn’t make you want to sign up for Yidio right this minute, I don’t know what will.
Mobile and Desktop Experience
As I mentioned before, I am quite fond of Yidio’s desktop browser site. I like how it emulates Netflix and offers an intuitive and familiar user experience. However, to get the most out of the Yidio mobile experience, you will be best off downloading the app.
It offers an equally easy to navigate and streamlined experience, as well as personalized reminders for when your favorite shows air and a customizable watch list. This is, honestly, on par with the Netflix app in my opinion, and it has an average rating of 4.2 stars on the Apple App Store (from 1.9 thousand individual reviews). Looks like I’m not alone in loving the Yidio app then.
Pricing and Plans
As I touched on already, subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and the rest of them, of course, will still continue to cost whatever monthly fee you have with them. Using Yidio itself, though, is 100% free of charge. You may have to put up with the occasional ad, sure, but other than that, you don’t have to worry about paying Yidio for their services in any way, shape, or form.
Suggestions that I have for Yidio
Honestly, everything that I would want a streaming site aggregator or search engine to do, Yidio does (and then some). I cannot think of a single way that this site could be made better.