January 5, 2006 spout

Mobile Movie Listing Sites Compared

On a recent mailing list discussion, folks posted a large number of URLs for mobile movie listing sites. Since searching for movies is one of the things I like to do on my smart phone, I did a quick compare and contrast, looking for the site that would give me a quick list of movies by my house. Here’s what I found:

Yahoo Mobile: once I chose my location, it showed me theaters, not movies in my location. I don’t pick the movie I want to see by theater, I pick it by title and time.

Google Mobile Search (XHTML): required me to enter movies , but once I did, showed me a nice list of movies (in random order) along with running times and a rating (although I have no idea where the ratings come from), the genre and the maturity rating. Clicking on a movie showed me a list of times by theater, an address and a phone number. Once I save the URL into my smart phone favorites, this site could be handy…

Fandango Mobile: crashed when I entered my zip code.

Hollywood Mobile: asked for a zip code, then showed me a list of movies. Clicking on a movie didn’t show the theater closest to my house, so that dropped it from my list of potentials.

Metracritic Mobile: shows movie reviews, but doesn’t allow me to enter a zip code to show movies near my house.

Moviefone Mobile: can find movies by movie or theater in a cute tabbed interface. However, instead of showing me all the movies, it made me pick by category. Once I picked a category and a movie, it showed the local theaters and times.

IMDB Showtimes & Tickets: until this review, I’ve been using IMDB for my movie times. It’s designed for a desktop browser (they don’t have a mobile version I know about), but for a given zip code, you get all the movies, the IMDB rating, the maturity rating and the local theaters. You can also choose to look at the results by theater and easily change the day (e.g. tomorrow’s movies) or sort by theater. There’s a lot of scrolling around on a phone, but before this review, it was the one I used.

Of all of the sites, IMDB has the most capability, but it’s awkward on the phone. I think I’m going to see how the Google mobile movie search stands up to regular use.