Over the last couple of years, the concept of tracking personal collections – be it books, movies, music, TV shows, venues you visit, recipes, or really anything else – has been more popularized by smartphones, thanks to them letting you carry a digital archive of your prized possessions, search through it quickly when asked about a specific item, and show it to your friends.
One good example of managing collections for movies and TV shows is Trakt, a web service. This already supports a full API allowing several developers to work on apps for our beloved Android phones.
What Is Trakt?
Trakt is a free web service for tracking movies and TV shows.
- Trakt allows automatic scrobbling: thanks to some apps and plugins, it can track when you start watching a movie or show on your computer with many media centers like XBMC, Plex and Boxee, and instantly send that to Trakt so you don’t have to manually search for an episode or a movie and mark it as seen.
- Trakt is more about managing collections: although you can choose to send your watched history to Twitter and Facebook, this feels more like a side feature in Trakt; the service focuses on marking movies and TV shows as seen, collected, loved, or wished.
- Trakt gets subtle differences: it understands that you can watch something several times, that you own some videos without having watched them yet, that you can watch something and hate it, or that there are things you want to see but don’t own yet. All of these are subtleties that aren’t yet supported by GetGlue or Miso. Plus, Trakt helps you organize all of that in a clean way, with a history, library, charts, progress, and personal lists. It even works on a per season and per episode basis for TV series, something GetGlue miserably lacks for true collectors.
Let’s take a look at a couple of Android apps that are designed for Trakt.
Traktoid: For Tracking TV Shows
Traktoid is a free and rather simple application, UI-wise. Enter your username and password in the Settings screen, and you’re instantly signed into your Trakt account. The main screen presents you with links to your personal Library, a Search for new shows, Suggestions for series to watch, and a Calendar to see the upcoming episodes from your own series. There’s also a Trending banner for series that are currently popular on Trakt.
The Library is the most developed aspect of Traktoid, with a tiles view of all your shows that has similar branding to Trakt: “watched” banners for completely watched shows, and a red heart icon for loved shows. The Library can be filtered by “all series”, “loved”, and “unwatched”.
Two particularly awesome features in Traktoid are that all information is available for offline viewing and the “eye” icon that, when clicked, transforms the list into a check list, so you can mark episodes or seasons as seen.
Traktoid also delves deep into each series with a list of seasons, list of episodes, then episode details with the air date, the percentage of “love” received, and the plot. Traktoid’s significantly intuitive feature, UI-wise, hides here with the horizontal scroll between seasons or between shows. Once you start swiping, you’ll instantly fall in love with how smooth it works.
There are still a couple of missing features in Traktoid, like the lack of support for “Collected” and “Loved” management (it only handles seen/unseen status for seasons and episodes). It also doesn’t feature the “Shout” feature that lets you see what other users have written about a certain episode or series.
Movie Trakt: For Managing Movies
Movie Trakt is a free Trakt application for movies. Just like Traktoid, after a simple login you can get into your profile, view recommendations for movies to see, and see a list of currently trending movies. There’s also a search function to find new movies to add.
Opening your profile gives you links to your seen and loved movies. The Menu key holds more options, with your Collection (movies you own), Watchlist (that’s your wishlist) and a link to your Friends most recently seen movies.
Whether you opened a movie from your own collection or watched list, or from the search results, Movie Trakt displays it with a poster, plot, and clickable links to love or hate it, mark it as seen, collected, or wished. There are also quick links that take you to the movie’s IMDb or TMDb pages and trailer. Also available is a Shoutbox that slides up containing other person’s opinions about the movie.
The main letdown of Movie Trakt is that it doesn’t list actors when viewing a movie’s details, doesn’t perform searches by actor name either, and that the application requires a connection every time you want to use it, with nothing available for offline browsing.
Other Trakt Apps to Keep an Eye On
Since there’s no official Trakt application for Android yet, the field is open for anyone to come up with a decent offer. After some trial and errors, I personally settled on the above mentioned Traktoid and Movie Trakt, finding them the most featured and well suited for use. However, there are three other applications you should keep your eyes on:
- SeriesGuide Show Manager is a TV series collection manager that works wonderfully on its own, both online and offline, offers a homescreen widget for upcoming shows, and simply plugs into Trakt to mark shows as seen. There’s no collection, “loved”, or any other details pulled from Trakt, which is why I prefer Traktoid to it.
- TraktApp is quite fully featured for series and movies alike, with history, watchlist, trending, recommendations, shoutboxes, and full management for seen, collected, loved and hated. On paper it’s perfect, but the UI is quite cumbersome, there’s no multiple select (which makes any significant change take an eternity to achieve), and it doesn’t support any caching of data.
- trakt is still in its very first beta stages and only offers trending information with no option to sign in and edit your own profile. However the UI is really clean, and if more features are added, it could become quite a wonderful application.