Screen grab of the JustWatch home screen, with the streaming services you use highlighted.
Like Reelgood, JustWatch lets you filter searches by including only those services you subscribe to or use.

It’s a modern irritant: You want to watch a particular TV show or film but you don’t have a clue whether it’s on a subscription streaming service, such as Amazon, Hulu, or Netflix; a free one, such as Pluto TV or Tubi; or a pay-per-view one, like FandangoNow or Vudu. Or maybe your movie isn't available at all. Sifting through each service separately can be tedious.

There are easier ways to find out what’s streaming.

Some streaming media players, such as Roku and Apple TV, will look through multiple services to find specific titles. (See below for more information about these platforms.) Many smart TVs will do the same. But more often I’ve been relying on a couple of free websites and mobile apps that do the hunting for me.

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Just two years ago there were maybe a dozen apps or sites from which to choose, but since then the options have narrowed. So right now I'm really using only two: Reelgood and JustWatch. Both of these sites search across multiple streaming services as well as some "TV Everywhere" apps that let you access content you get from a paid TV subscription.

Both offer filters that let you narrow your search parameters by letting you select only those services or apps you already use. They also let you build up watch lists of shows that aren't currently available, then get alerts when the shows hit a streaming service or if the price drops.

Both services are free to use. We suggest giving all the options below a try to see which one works best for you.

Reelgood

Website, and Android and iOS/tvOS Apps
Reelgood has greatly expanded the number of streaming services it tracks to about 60 and counting. It’s the site I’m currently using the most.

When you first sign up, you check all the services you have access to, and Reelgood searches across all of them. You can add “free” as a search item, and it will look for free content from networks, along with services such as Crackle and Tubi.

Reelgood covers all the major subscription services, such as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix; niche ones like Acorn TV and Mubi; and premium channels, such as HBO and Showtime. It has also recently added new services, such as Apple TV+ and Disney+. It will check TV Everywhere channels you can stream if you subscribe to a traditional pay-TV package. There’s also a section where you can find out where to rent newer movies from pay-per-view services such as FandangoNow and Vudu.

Screen shot of the Reelgood home page, with its tracking feature highlighted.
Reelgood's tracking feature lets you follow TV shows and movies you want to watch and get alerts when they're available.

You can browse by title or genre, or simply scroll through rows of recommended content organized under headings such as “What’s Popular,” “Trending,” and “New.” Once you find a show or movie you want to a watch, just press the play button and it will launch that service, with your show pulled up. 

The service also lets you follow shows and movies using a "tracking" feature. For TV shows, just click “Track Series" on the show's product card to build a lineup of unwatched episodes. For movies, click the “Want to See” button on each title to create a watch list. Your "Watch Next" section will let you know when there are new episodes to watch or movies to stream.

You can access Reelgood online via its website, and it now has apps for both Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones as well as for Apple TV (tvOS) and LG smart TVs. The company says it's working on apps for Android TVs, and Roku TVs and streaming players.

JustWatch

Website, Android, iOS, and Fire TV Apps
JustWatch—another free site with both iOS and Android apps—has recently upped its game. Its coverage jumped from 18 services just a few years ago to more than 85 now, and it acquired rival GoWatchIt late last year.

Like Reelgood, the service is easy to use; you just enter the movie or show you want to watch and JustWatch will tell you where you can stream, rent, or buy it, and where you’ll find the lowest price. One unique feature is that JustWatch will make movie and TV show recommendations based on what other people with similar tastes are watching.

The site’s home page shows you what’s new and popular. You can add TV shows and movies to your watch list simply by using a bookmark icon, and you can limit searches to services you already use by clicking on each service from a row of icons.

JustWatch organizes titles in dozens of ways, including by genre, what's highly rated or trending, and what's new to a service. It can even offer selections based on what mood you're in. (When movie theaters open again, it will also show you the top five movies currently playing and provide alerts when they become available for streaming.)

You can access JustWatch using a web browser on your computer and through iOS and Android phone apps. JustWatch is now also supported on Amazon Fire TV. One app exclusive is that you can get the best daily deal updates on rentals and purchases.

Watchworthy

Website, iOS, Android coming soon
Like other apps, Watchworthy allows you to find shows by choosing the services you subscribe to or use. What makes Watchworthy unique is that it does a nice job of providing personalized, crowd-sourced recommendations from its parent company, Ranker.com. You can build a watchlist of shows from TV networks and more than 200 streaming services, including popular ones such as Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Disney+, Hulu and Netflix. The company says it will be adding movies later this year.

To get started, you need to spend about a minute swiping left and right, liking and disliking shows. Then, Watchworthy starts sending recommendations of other programs you'll probably like by using a personalized "worthy" score.

Screen shot of Watchworthy's watch list.
Watchworthy lets you build a watchlist of shows from TV networks and more than 200 streaming services.

If you load the app on your phone or tablet, you can immediately start watching shows either directly on the device or by casting the program to your TV; you don't have to log in to each app individually. You can filter shows by service and genre, or even by MPAA ratings if you have kids. It also integrates Ranker's existing TV lists and polls, such as "Shows for Self-Quarantine" and "Funniest Shows on Netflix."

For now, Watchworthy is available on iOS mobile devices or via its website; Android support is coming soon. Later this year the app will be available on additional devices, including Amazon Fire, Apple TV, and Roku streaming players.

Streaming Players and TVs

Most streaming players and smart TV platforms now offer some type of universal search for the streaming services they support. You can either type queries into a search box on the home screen or, in some cases, use voice control.

For example, with Roku TVs and streaming players, you can say the name of the title—or actor's or director's name—while pressing the voice button on the remote control, or speak into the mic on a smartphone or tablet loaded with the Roku app. Roku now searches across more than 100 streaming services, and more than 50 of them support direct playback from search when you use voice commands. A recent OS update added Spanish-language support to Roku devices.

Both Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV work similarly. Apple TV's voice search is powered by Siri. When your search result comes up, you can see additional details about the title, plus all the apps where that content is available. Siri can search about 90 channels and services to find movies and TV shows based on a wide range of criteria, including title, topic, genre, actors, director, rating, and age appropriateness. You can even ask it to find “good” or “popular” results. For apps, you can search by app name, developer, or category.

Amazon's voice search, on both Fire Edition TVs and Fire TV streaming players, is powered by Alexa. It now covers more than 80 channels and services. Amazon tends to prioritize its own video content, but you can use the More Ways to Watch feature to find movies and shows on other services.

With Google Android TVs, you can personalize your TV by adding your favorite apps, just as you do on your smartphone. Google's voice search is powered by Google Assistant. Just press the microphone button on your remote to ask Google Assistant for the movie or TV show you want to watch. It will search multiple streaming platforms and let you do searches within the app.

Amazon Prime videos aren't included in the search on Android TVs, but Google tells us it's in the works.