I have spent the length of countless movies actually looking for a movie to watch on Netflix.
Of course, despite its ubiquity and its convenience, this is Netflix’s downfall — that much of the time you’re reduced to watching what’s available as opposed to a specific film you want to see. It’s a frustration that underscores the inescapable and perpetual trial-and-error nature of video streaming services.
This problem has been addressed by an app called Fayve, which aggregates the various catalogs of Netflix, Redbox, Amazon Prime, Hulu and others. By allowing users to search multiple databases at once, Fayve offers a solution to the endless scroll of Netflix browsing. The Magnificent Seven or Pacific Rim might not be on Netflix, but Fayve has found the former on Amazon, and the latter at a Redbox machine down the street. Favyve, in short, considerably reduces the amount of browsing typically associated with video streaming.
But the best part of Fayve’s service is a function that allows users to create channels of similar movies and programs — a Pandora-like feature that offers reasonable recommendations, as opposed to the ’80s procedurals and Disney movies Netflix is convinced I will enjoy. Fayve’s channels allow users to explore others, as well as share their own, eliminating moments like the one where I was recommended WWE Smackdown because I watched The Fighter. But you can also hide channels you don’t want others to see, like the one I have peppered with episodes of Friday Night Lights, bookended by Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Fayve reminds me of an app called Ness, which, based on a few simple ratings, can find a restaurant you will enjoy near your current location almost 100% of the time. Fayve will actually introduce you to things you realize went unexplored for far too long. For me, it was Idris Elba’s BBC show Luther, which managed to go for three seasons before I was interested in trying it. But seeing it on Fayve had me convinced almost immediately.