This site helps people understand how they can watch movies on their cell phone over both broadcast and or wireless 3g/4g networks. Cell phones originally supported the ability to watch short clips but now increasingly include the capability to watch full-length movies and tv shows.
We will also show you how you can convert your favorite movies or videos and store them on your cell phone for viewing anytime.
Barriers and Hurdles to Cell Phone Movies
The primary barriers to watching movies on mobile phones is the size of the movie video files. Even though they are formated for a small screen, they are still very large files that have to be downloaded and/or stored. This is because of the bitrate that needs to be maintained for the file. A typical 2 hour movie is still going to be about 500 Mb, often times much more.
Watch Free YouTube Movies on Your Smartphone
YouTube has a very large catalog of full length movies you can watch on their site. They have a special section of free movies available that you can watch from your smartphone using a mobile browser or a specific YouTube app available for your particular handset.
Watch Netflix Movies on Your Smartphone
Netflix offers a movie and TV streaming service that has apps available on iPhone, Android, and Windows 7 smartphone platforms. The apps are free to download but you do need to subscribe (currently $7.99) to their monthly streaming service.
Watch Your Own Stored Videos on Air Video for iPhone
For iPhone users, there is an application called Air Video. Air video allows you to stream any videos that you're already storing on a home server that is connected to your home network with an Internet connection. So if you already have a library of videos on a Mac or Windows PC in your home, you can now stream them and watch them anywhere any time on your iPhone.
Why Watch Movies on your Mobile Phone?
Sure, it might be challenging to watch movies frequently on a 2" x 3" screen, but there are plenty of times where you might be very thankful you can.
- Entertain the kids in the car or a public place where you need them to behave -- hint, earbuds work great for this.
- Plane trips where you don't have a laptop or don't want to use your laptop.
- Anytime you're waiting and you just want to chill.
Tip: Use Wifi Instead of GPRS/EDGE/3G Cell Data Networks
Because movie files are rather large, using a local wifi network to download/stream movies will almost always be faster than relying on the carrier's data network. Depending on the application/phone/network, you may be required to use wifi.
Tip: Be Aware of Your Data Plan Policies
Working with movies involves working with large files. If you're planning to stream/download files and you have a data plan that is capped at a certain limit, you may end up with an expensive bill at the end of the month.
Tip: Pre-Load from Your PC instead of Stream to Your Phone
It's often faster/easier to move movie files directly from your pc/mac to your phone, rather than using your cellular data
Watch Free Full-Length Movies with YouTube for Mobile
A lot of people aren't aware that YouTube has a number of full-length movies that you can access for free over your mobile phone. You can check out the lastest movies on YouTube here. The titles are the most current or popular, but they are free and easy to access. For example, you can watch Super Size Me and The Best of the Three Stooges -- entire versions of both films -- free and legal.
There are three different modes to access YouTube from your cell phone.
- Pre-installed YouTube Application - iPhones and Android phones have the YouTube application built into the platform.
- Download the app from m.youtube.com/app - for Nokia S60 and Windows phones. Here is a link demonstrating it on an N95 phone.
- Use the web-based version at m.youtube.com - for Android, Blackberry, iPhone, Nokia S60, and Windows phones.
You can get more information on the YouTube for Mobile page at Google. Here is a quick video that explains it.
Watch Purchased Movies on Your iPhone from iTunes
For iPhone owners, you can choose from thousands of movie releases to buy (keep and watch forever) or rent (30-days) on your iPhone. On your iPhone go to the iTunes application and then click videos. You can then browse the latest movies, tv shows, and music videos. You can then choose whether to download directly to you iPhone or you can download to your PC and transfer to your iPhone.
Watch Rented Movies on Your iPhone from iTunes
There are time restrictions for watching rented movies. You have 30 days from the time you rent the movie to watch it. Once you start watching it, you have 24 hours to finish it. Once you start watching it, you can watch it as many times as you want within the 24 hour period. See the Movie Rental FAQ from iTunes for more information.
Convert Your Own Movie Videos for use on Your iPhone
In order to play videos on your iPhone, they must be converted to .m4v format file containing h.264 video and scaled to the right size. There are LOTS of programs designed to help you convert a movie for use on an iPhone or iPod. You can opt to use iTunes itself to prepare the video or Quicktime PRO (costs money) to do the job.
Why A Netflix Streaming iPhone App Could Actually Happen (NFLX, AAPL) - Silicon Alley Insider - August 4, 2009, Dan Frommer talks about the developing possibility of watching Netflix movies on your iPhone.
Blockbuster, Microsoft To Deliver Movies Via Mobile (Eventually)- Mediapost - December 2, 2008, Mark Walsh discusses Microsoft's plans to deliver movies to mobile devices with Blockbuster.