The Android Toolbox is a six part video series covering Android essentials. Whether beginner or advanced, this series will introduce you to interesting ways to customize your Android phone or tablet, methods for getting multimedia onto your device, and even apps to control your home or apartment.
For many years now, it’s been pretty easy to get multimedia onto your device if you’re simply transferring it from your computer. This method is ideal for those that own CD and DVD collections and just want to be able to convert their content to digital so that they can have it in their pocket at all times.
But for everyone else, there are now a ton of fantastic multimedia subscription services that offer all-you-can-eat plans so that you’re just a tap away from the newest album from your favorite artist or the newest episode of your favorite TV show. In this video we cover a handful of these subscription services (and unfortunately, some of them are available on the US only for now), all of which cost less than $10 per month (which is less than you’d pay to buy a DVD or CD at the store, or even through Google Play).
Spotify: This services has a free, unlimited ($5 per month) and premium ($10 per month). The difference between each level is music quality (with the former two streaming at 160kbps and the premium option at 320kbps), the ability to use the mobile app (available in both pay options), the ability to download offline playlists, and more. Check out the Spotify service plan comparison grid.
Pandora: Pandora has been around for a while, and intelligently creates music stations that sound similar to an album, artist, or track that you specify. Most other music services can now do this. The free level of Pandora has ads and limits the number of times you can progress to the next track. For $36 per year, Pandora One removes these restrictions, grants you access to a desktop application, and increases audio quality.
Rdio: Similar to Spotify, Rdio offers multiple service plans including a free, medium, and premium tier that range in price from $5-10. Rdio goes a step further by offering an $18 per month plan that is essentially two subscriptions at a $2 per month savings. Check out Rdio’s service plan comparison.
Rhapsody: In terms of features and functionality, Rhapsody is similar to both Spotify and Rdio, but there is just one subscription plan: $10 per month will grant you access to unlimited music streaming with access to an offline mode. Check out their free trial.
For TV shows and movies…
Netflix: For years, Netflix has been building up its catalogue of movies and TV shows. Today, it’s relatively robust, but don’t expect to ever see new releases. In fact, it often takes Netflix up to a year to add a TV season, and many months before the latest movies are added to the catalogue. But for a very reasonable $7.99, Netflix is a no-brainer for those that want to have access to Netflix’s growing library of streaming titles. The video quality is quite impressive over fast connections, and there is a Netflix app for every platform.
Hulu+: If you want to have access to the latest TV shows, Hulu Plus is a service you should consider subscribing to at just $7.99 per month. Hulu has content deals with most major studios so that in most cases, new TV episodes become available just a day after they first air. The quality on Hulu+, like Netflix, is terrific over fast connections. And while even paying customers have to watch advertisements, it’s not too bad.
YouTube: YouTube might seem like an obvious option, but it’s about to get a lot better: a plethora of new original-programming channels are springing up, making YouTube a fantastic (and free!) option for entertainment on your Android.
And everything else…
We didn’t cover each and every multimedia streaming service: there are many others like Mog, Slacker Radio, iHeartRadio, and others, but the above list should cover the needs of most.
What multimedia apps and services do you use with your Android?