Smartphones and tablets have made it convenient to watch movies on the road. Unfortunately, much of the content is only available through a monthly subscription or rental fee. Until now.

First launched for iOS devices in January, Popcornflix offers hundreds of motion picture titles at no cost to the customer. Instead, the service is entirely supported by preroll, spot ads, and banner ads.

AppAdvice recently had a chance to discuss the free service with Gary Delfiner, the senior vice president of Screen Media Ventures, the company behind the universal app. What we found was someone committed to bringing unique entertainment to customers at no cost, and through various distribution outlets.

Screen Media Ventures

One of the leading independent motion picture distribution companies in the world, Screen Media Ventures was founded in 2001. It offers independent feature films that are distributed in theaters, on DVD, and via cable and home video outlets.

As Delfiner explained, the company is like Warner Bros. or Universal, but on a smaller scale.

Popcornflix, by contrast, was conceived in 2010, as a way for Screen Media to stream full-length movies, plus original content including Web series, and film school originals. The online version of Popcornflix is currently available in 10 countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

What sets Popcornflix apart from other distributors is that they own the digital rights to the programming they offer. Because of this, they own and control one of the largest libraries outside of the traditional studios.

To date, this library includes 2,000 titles spread nationally and internationally.

And these motion pictures aren’t second-rate. In fact, many of the company’s titles star some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig, and more. Still, don’t expect to see “Hunger Games” or any other “big” movies to arrive here anytime soon, because they won’t. We’re talking independent movies here.

So what do you get with Popcornflix?

Popcornflix, iPhone

Popcornflix, iPhone

Popcornflix, which is also available on Roku devices, offers access to 400 movies with more titles added daily. You can also access movies at the Popcornflix website on your desktop, which is also free and requires no registration.

On the iOS app specifically, movies are arranged by featured and most popular. You can also search for titles using the app’s browse feature. When you find a movie you want to watch, simply click on it, and it will begin automatically.

Don’t have time to watch a title right now? Add it to your queue.

What makes the Popcornflix app so easy is that it takes only two clicks to begin watching a movie. This functionality was deliberate, says Delfiner, since it enhances the user experience.

About those ads

Watching ads, especially on an iPhone or iPad, is never an enjoyable experience. Still, Popcornflix’s ads are not intrusive. However, there may be too many ads for some users’ tastes. But, remember: You’re getting free content here.

Future plans

Because of its growing popularity on iOS and Roku devices, Popcornflix will soon expand to other outlets. For mobile users, this means entry to both the Android and Windows Mobile market. The service could also soon expand onto television sets, and to the Apple TV.

Regardless of where it ends up, Popcornflix’s creators are committed to keeping the service free. As such, at least in the short-term, there are no plans to begin offering tiered or premium packages.

Summary

We’ve been testing the Popcornflix app on our iOS devices for a while now. What we found was a fun and enjoyable experience. Still, it isn’t for everyone.

If you’re only into “event” movies, and dislike ads of any kind, we suggesting checking out the Netflix or Amazon Instant Video apps instead. Otherwise, you might be disappointed. For those that like independent programming, however, there is nothing better for iOS right now than Popcornflix. Download the app today.