The most surprising phenomenon of the internet generation is that we still get bored. Of course, there’s an entirely captivating world out there – but then again, you need to put pants on to go outside. The internet is an amazing all-encompassing playground. The amount of free mediaand knowledge available on the internet for your viewing pleasure at any time is baffling.
But you still get bored. You browse the internet aimlessly, sifting through the garbage, wasting time, time you could have spent being entertained.
Believe it or not, this “problem” is so widespread that there are multiple companies trying to solve it in their own way. Is it working? Which apps are actually better than your YouTube subscriptions page? How do they work? Find out below.
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Do We Need Something Better Than YouTube?
Have you been to YouTube recently? Of course you have. The website is a mess. There’s no end to promotional content, the comments are worse than ever and you have to do a lot of clicking to get to where you want to go. More importantly, you need to know exactly where you want to go.
By contrast, these apps either have editorially or algorithmically curated videos, most of which are sorted in well defined categories and as you watch videos, the apps learn what you like and serve you better. Plus, just like TV, videos keep playing one after the other and I’m yet to encounter an ad in any of the apps.
N3twork (remember it’s an internet startup) is an iPhone and iPad app that thinks it can make your boredom go away using algorithms. In an effort to not bore you any further, I won’t go into the mathematical details. You basically follow some channels that strike your fancy, the app serves you videos, and as you watch or skip them it learns your interests in order to show you more of what you like.
In an effort to emulate the TV experience, the UI doesn’t have any sort of navigation panel. You can swipe right to move to another video or swipe left to save it. Tap on a channel name to see all the videos from the stream.
Pluto.tv is available for every major platform including the web, iOS, and Android. Its philosophy is that TV was the best thing to ever happen to this universe, so we should forget all these individual video streaming services and continue on in the TV tradition.
Just like TV, the website has channels, hundreds of them that offer a stream of content, either curated or based on Twitter hashtags. These channels play stuff 24/7 and they actually have a “channel guide” type schedule that outlines the upcoming shows and videos. Again, all these are web videos (mostly from YouTube) that you can watch anytime on their particular website. Crazy, right?
Crazy is actually the perfect word to describe Pluto.tv. You’ll find channels for all sorts of things from the top Twitter hashtag songs, to dance videos, to breaking news, to even the weed culture. The best way to use Pluto.tv is to not do much at all. Just pick a channel you like, go fullscreen, sit back and bask in the glory of its craziness.
5by is just like N3twork. It has a website, iOS and Android apps. The app says it’s “your video concierge” and surprisingly, that’s not a stretch. Just like with N3twork (I just love typing that app’s name) there are channels based on interests. Select a channel and the app will keep playing video after video.
But thankfully, these are good videos. I consider myself to be a pretty funny guy, as you may have noticed by now, but not everything makes me laugh. The Funny channel in 5by did. Repeatedly. I’d download this app just for that.
But just like the curated comedy content is gold, so is a lot of other stuff. Check out the entertainment, sports channels, news, etc.
My Experience With These Apps
Frankly, I enjoyed the apps more than I thought I would. I’m sure I’ll find myself coming back to them when I’m bored and Reddit, Facebook, or writing doesn’t have me occupied.
Go on, download one or all of these apps, sit back, and be entertained. It’ll be like it’s 2004 all over again.