Out of the many things a smartphone can do, serving as a multimedia tool is one of the better capabilities in its repertoire. They now come with enough built-in storage to hold all of your favorite tunes and podcasts, and if you can't store everything on your phone, the cloud is always there to back you up. Only more recently have services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and other various movie streaming and renting options become available via mobile. All of these services harness the true power of the smartphone and allow us to use our pocket-computers as they were intended to be used.

I'm a huge Netflix fan (well, we've been on better terms, but that's another story for another time). I remember getting excited when finally switching to an iPhone, simply because of the Netflix support. At the time, Netflix was only available for a select few Android handsets, and I had even gone through some hacks on my different Android phones to get it to work. I also remember testing it out on the HTC Surround when I reviewed it. It is always one of the first applications I install on my new phones.

Admittedly, I have never – outside of testing it to see if it actually works – used Netflix from my phone. I have never been in the situation where I thought, "Oh, I have two hours to kill. Let me pull out my phone and watch a movie." Granted, I almost always have a tablet with me in my backpack, but I only use my tablet for streaming on rare occasions. It's great knowing the capability is there if I ever want or need it, but there are a multitude of reasons why streaming movies and TV shows via smartphone just isn't worth it to me.

For one, streaming media is a battery suck. I love having essentially every song ever at my disposal with Spotify, and I am almost always streaming music. But I can literally watch my battery drain while streaming only music. When you're streaming – or downloading – a movie or TV show, it's twice as bad. You are pulling nearly twice the bandwidth (depending on the quality of the music and video) and the display is running at full capacity, thus your battery drains much more quickly. I already have trouble making it through an entire day on a single charge. If I stream at all, I can pretty much kiss any hopes of that goodbye.

Also, I would much rather sit and stare at a wall and contemplate life for two hours than to watch one of the few movies on Netflix I have not already watched on a 4.3-inch (or smaller) display. Not to mention, I have serious attention problems from time to time. I'm a people watcher; if I'm in public, I have the tendency to look up every time someone walks by. Five minutes in, the movie will totally lose my attention and I'll just be wasting battery at that point.

On top of battery drainage, attention issues and tiny displays, I am almost always tweeting, texting or constantly using my phone for some other form of communication. I would never be able to make it through a two-hour movie on my phone without having someone call or text me, making me stop the movie. The one thing I hate more than anything while watching a movie is constant interruption.

Like I mentioned, there is the rare occasion that I will use my tablet for Netflix; when I'm out of town and staying at a relative's or friend's place, for instance. But if I for some unlikely and unknown reason left my tablet behind, I would not use my phone to stream instead. I would find something else to do first.

So I'm curious, people. Is it just me and my ADD? Or is watching a movie from your phone just a terrible experience? Have you ever streamed Netflix or Hulu from your phone? Do you do it regularly? What about renting via mobile?

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17 Reactions to this post

"With today's data limitations, do you use your phone to stream TV or movies?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Luis Lopez
Luis Lopez T-Mobile needs to have an unlimited data plan again! 2GB of internet speed doesn't cut it.
Ramiah Deeron Davis
Ramiah Deeron Davis Naw actually I'm with Verizon and enjoy my unlimited data tier pricing doesn't apply to me
Jacob Bessey
Jacob Bessey Enjoying sprints unlimted data plan however i usually use wifi around the house.
Jason Vargas
Jason Vargas Not anymore. I have Tmobile. And since theyre throttling at 2GB i cant use Netflix at all. And music i donth think its worth wasting my data. Its bad. At this point i dont really care about the ATT Takeover im switch carrier either way
Marti Ruiz
Marti Ruiz Too bad ,i dont like limitation . Att ,tmobile , verizon r bad . Only sprint have real unlimited data plan ,
Tim Fuhrmann
Tim Fuhrmann Nope, never saw the point of watching TV/Movies on a small screen when I have a perfectly good TV at the house.
Joshua Bender Horton
Joshua Bender Horton SPrint Unlimited baby, got no problem with it :D
Carol Dudley-Bowen
Carol Dudley-Bowen I do a lot of streaming but usually on wifi
James Miller
James Miller Same as Ryan, used 7GB in like 12 days, and that's not even heavy use
Ben Conover
Ben Conover i would if my phone supported netflix. and i'd use wifi cause i'm at&t
Kelvin Reid
Kelvin Reid When only on wifi
Ryan DeClue
Ryan DeClue I have sprint, so I watch movies on Netflix constantly, and tether my internet
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Michael Piña
Michael Piña Yes. Usually over Wifi though. Ill maybe see a 3 tv episodes a month depending on my area signal
David Hilgendorf
David Hilgendorf Yup droidx2 HDMI out to the 72"
Jersey Joe Da-Know
Jersey Joe Da-Know There SHOULD be "no limitations" on bandwidth"."
Jorge Alfaro
Jorge Alfaro Movies

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