In the age of smartphones and tablets, today’s apps act as a direct line into the world’s music and media.
With a few taps on a touchscreen, you can fire up your favourite movie or TV show, or plan a night out by seeing what bands are playing nearby.
There’s even an app for experiencing the latest video game (without buying it), or creating a one-man band.
Whatever you’re looking to listen to or watch, these apps have you covered.
Pocket Casts is the best podcast app around. The app is straightforward and simple, and with automatic downloads, you'll only have to open the app when you're looking to listen. There's a smart filtering system for seeing the podcasts you haven't listened to yet, and if you're watching a video podcast, you can quickly switch to audio-only if you're headed out and about.
HBO Go is great for watching 'Game of Thrones' and other HBO shows like 'True Detective.' You'll need to already be an HBO subscriber to sign into the app, but you'll get access to the network's entire original series TV catalogue and a ton of movies. You can access it via iOS, Android, Kindle fire, Roku, some Samsung TVs, Xbox 360, and Apple TV.
Price: Free (with an HBO subscription)
SoundCloud started as a destination for you to share the sounds you've created, and the platform has quickly evolved into a diverse ecosystem of free music from both established and up-and-coming artists. It's great for finding new music, comedy, and podcasts, and SoundCloud's new look for its app is simple and stunning. If you're looking to discover new music, SoundCloud's algorithm is great at making suggestions.
Bandsintown scans your iTunes, Spotify, Rdio, or Pandora account to get a sense of who your favourite bands and artists are, and then it keeps you informed if they're playing nearby. You can browse upcoming tour dates, set up notifications from your favourite artists, and even buy tickets using the app.
Netflix costs $US7.99 per month and has its own original series like 'Orange is the New Black,' 'House of Cards,' and 'Arrested Development.' Besides its own series, Netflix has a ton of popular content that will satisfy the entire family. Netflix is available on the Web, streaming boxes like Roku and Apple TV, video game consoles like the PS3, and several TVs with built-in WiFi.
Price: Free (with subscription, starting at $US7.99 per month)
IMDB is a full database of the actors, movies, directors, and everything else in the entertainment world.
IMDB, which stands for Internet Movie Database, is arguably the most comprehensive resource for finding information on movies, TV shows, and actors. The app is no different, and should be on every movie buff's phone. Besides being the perfect place to look up movie facts and settle debates, IMDB also lets you watch movie and TV trailers, browse photos from events, read reviews, and see what films are playing near you too.
Twitch makes it easy to live stream a game session or watch the world's top players as they battle their way to a world-first achievement. You can chat with others while watching a stream, browse different game channels and genres, and the app will even notify you when your favourite stream is broadcasting.
Spotify is our favourite music app. For $US9.99/month, you can listen to millions of songs, from small indie bands to major record label releases. You can search for specific tracks, build playlists, stream curated radio stations, listen offline, and discover new music with Spotify's clever Discover feature. Both the desktop and mobile app are smartly designed, and since Spotify has deals with most major record labels, you can usually enjoy your favourite band's new album the same day it hits the shelves.
Price: Free (Premium subscription is $US9.99/month)
Amazon Prime Instant Video is included with an Amazon Prime Membership ($US79/year). With Prime Instant you'll be able to stream thousands of popular movies and TV shows. You can watch Prime Instant videos on iOS, Kindle Fire, PS3, Xbox, Wii, Roku, and a ton of TVs and DVD players.
Price: Free with a $US79/year Amazon Prime Subscription
Available on: iOS, Kindle Fire (included)
Sometimes you want to listen to the traditional over-the-air radio. Luckily, TuneIn Radio has over 100,000 real radio stations covering everything from music, sports, news, and talk radio, and the app's customisable Newsfeed shows you what stations are currently on-air. If podcasts are more to your liking, you're in luck. TuneIn has over 4 million.
YouTube is where viral videos are born. From movie trailers to web series to feature-length films, there's always something new to watch. Google's taken its time developing the app, and it shows. You can save videos to your 'Watch Later' list, subscribe to your favourite channels, and now you can even watch a YouTube video in the corner of the app while browsing.
Pandora lets you create music stations based on a genre, band, or song you like, and over 400 music characteristics are taken into account when it chooses your next song. Pandora's a great way to discover new music that's rooted in a style you already enjoy, and if you hear a song you like, you can buy it right from within the app. You can listen for free if you're willing to put up with ads, or you can pay $US4.99/month for Pandora One, which is ad-free and streams music at a higher quality bitrate.
Price: Free to download ($US4.99 for Pandora One, a premium subscription)
You might remember Loopy HD from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where Fallon teamed up with Billy Joel to sing 'The Lions Sleeps Tonight' with the help of the app. With an easy-to-use interface, Loopy HD lets you layer beat boxing, instruments, and singing to create vibrant songs all by yourself.
Price: $US3.99 (iOS)