July 31, 2013 at 5:39 p.m. PST
Cord cutters have a new best friend. The new Yidio app for the iPhone is a search portal for movies and TV shows. With this app, you can find out whether a program is available for free, on a subscription service, or a la carte. Yidio aggregates TV show and movie information across multiple sources, such as Hulu Plus, Netflix, iTunes and many others. The service can even launch the video directly, provided you have the app (Netflix, for example) running. While this free app is not perfect, it is very useful. Finally, every option for tv shows and movies is in one place!
When you start Yidio for the first time, you are given a tour of the main features. You can also link Yidio to your Facebook account, so it knows what you like. Yidio is a very powerful search app with many choices for filtering and presenting results. You can use this app to manage your favorite movies and TV shows across several source services. Yidio supports many different providers, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, iTunes, Crackle, ABC, PBS, HBO GO, and many more. Yidio can be your go-to app for video content, presenting you with the best viewing options.
Yidio’s home screen presents popular TV shows and movies, in addition to new releases. Tapping on a video image takes the user to a detail screen. From this screen, one can see the various sources (Netflix, iTunes, etc.) for playing the program. Ratings and reviews are also displayed. It’s also possible to add the program to favorites and share it with a friend.
Swiping right or tapping the menu button reveals browsing, search and source controls. A search field appears at the top of the panel. This search field is also accessible by clicking the magnifying glass icon on the main screen. Users can browse videos based on top picks and “my feed”, which requires a free Yidio account.
With a Yidio account, you can actually earn credits to buy content on Amazon. Registered users can earn Yidio Credits by adding programs as favorites, sharing programs, watching programs, and interacting with the service in various ways.
The browsing and search panel also features preset searches. Users can search for free TV, free movies, and top programs, along with other preset searches. If these preset searches are not up to snuff, more experienced users can alter search parameters from the top tool bar on the search results screen. Search results can be sorted, filtered and the results can be presented in different formats.
The right panel also allows for selection of sources. If you don’t want to buy iTunes content, you can remove that as a source. This enables users to tailor Yidio to their available services, which is essential for budget-minded cord cutters. Each source is labelled with “sub” for subscription, “pay” for pay-per-view, “cable” if it requires a cable subscription, or “free”.
This is one of the most comprehensive portal apps I have used. There’s so many options, it’s hard to complain about this very useful app. That said, there is room for improvement in this first 1.0.1 version.
In my first day of use, I found one very minor bug. When I locked and unlocked my iPhone screen, Yidio displayed a message that there was no network connection. The app still worked when I did another search. It’s a cosmetic bug, definitely not a show-stopper.
Yidio does not have Adult Swim as a source. There is an Adult Swim iPhone app that has full-length episodes. This is a surprising omission, considering the popularity of the late-night adult cartoon network. Adult Swim shows are also available on Netflix, Hulu Plus, and iTunes. I’m hoping this will eventually be added as a source. These are the shows I often search for across multiple sources. I’ll just have to search for them on each individual app for now.
Yidio has been on the web since 2008. The iPhone app was just released. An iPad app is coming soon, and there will also be an Android version released later. Each experience is tailored to the device and available sources. You could theoretically use the Yidio website from your iPad, but the integration is not tight. Some sources available on the web won’t work for the iPad, because they use Flash. Of course, you can use Flash content on an iPad with the Photon browser. The point is that Yidio is designed to integrate with the device. For now, you can use the iPhone version on the iPad. The iPad version is only a few weeks away! We can only hope that Yidio will make its way to Apple TV someday.
Yidio is designed to be your portal for finding and playing tv shows and movies on your device. It does this well. I’ll be using Yidio quite often. This app solves the problem of finding content across many different sources. You can save money by watching a show on Crackle instead of buying it on iTunes. You can even earn credits and buy content on Amazon. This app is exceptionally useful and completely free!