A theatre in your Phone

The smartphone has become a gateway to the world of movies. But are you willing to pay?
twitter-logo Nidhi Singal        Print Edition: June 2013

Till a couple of years ago, it was virtually impossible to watch full-length movies on the phone. While there were hardly any online sources available to stream content directly into the phone, it was a cumbersome process to convert movies to the formats that worked on your phone. Even then, the experience wasn't really great because of the small displays.

But things have changed for the better. Smartphone displays are now getting bigger and better with even FullHD resolution and there are a host of apps that let you play any video format. Today, most of the smartphones have displays larger than four inches. Then the new wave of content stores let you legally download and watch the best movies from around the world on your smartphone. If you haven't noticed, most topend smartphones have HDMI ports that let you beam content from them to larger screens with the same clarity.

Here are the best options to bring the cinemas to your private screen:

CONTENT STORES
The concept of content stores has been very popular abroad. But their delay in coming to India has made users here heavlity reliant on pirated content. But in the past few months both the big players in this space have entered India and are wooing consumers here with affordable rates and a varity of titles.

iTUNES (iOS)
Apple made iTunes available to India late last year. Along with song and podcats, movies from the store are also available on the iPhone. Under the movies tab you find a lot of Indian films too. You have the option of either buying or renting the movies. Prices vary according to the popularity of the movie or the year of release. The cheapest purchases start Rs 50 while rentals could be as low as Rs 30.

MOVIES ON GOOGLE PLAY (ANDROID)
If you are an Android smartphone user, you must have spotted movie titles on the landing page of the Google Play Store in the past few weeks. Google has followed Apple and launched Play Movies in India last month with the option to buy or rent content. Listed movies can be streamed over Wi-Fi or 3G networks. Users can store films for offline viewing using the Play Movies app. Rental rates start from Rs 50 and purchases at Rs 190.

MOVIE APPS
If you are not sure about renting or purchasing movies from the content stores, you need not worry. There are a plenty of apps on each application store that gives access to movies on mobile.

BIG FLIX (Android, iOS, Windows)
Available on multiple platforms, this app is a movie-on-demand service that offers a wide variety of Indian movies. Some of the titles make it to the store within 15 days of theatrical release. Though the app is free, users have to pay for subscription to watch movies. The seven-day trial plan starts for Rs 99.

MOVIES NOW BOLLYWOOD (Android)
This free application on Android Play Store gives free access to plenty of Bollywood movies. Technically, this app just links you to the latest movies on YouTube. The app lists movies alphabetically and you can also search for titles. There are also tabs for dubbed and new movies.

VIKI (iOS, Android)
If you like watching international movies, then Viki is a must-have application. It has a gallery of movie titles from USA, Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Egypt, and India. In settings, one can choose the subtitle language and choose the video quality and even opt for auto that uses celluar connection to stream videos.

VIDEO PLAYER APPS
If you have movie on your phone, here are some best video player apps that you should consider installing on your smartphone.

MX PLAYER (Free) iOS, Android
This is the most popular video player app as it supports multicore processing and plays HD videos without any lag. The interface is easy to use as one can pinch to zoom or swipe on the display to forward or rewind. It supports almost all file formats, including 3gp, avi, divx, f4v, flv and mkv, etc. It also supports various subtitle formats as well.

ROCKPLAYER 2
Free, iOS
This is one of the most popular and top-rated video player apps on the Apple App Store. It supports multiple format videos including mkv, avi, rmvb, flv, wmv, mov. Mp4, mgp, divx, etc. along with mp3, wma, aac, for music. It also support file import for playback from iTunes. The free version offers ads. For an adfree player, users can upgrade to the paid app.

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