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Tech Review: The second-screen experience

Apps that help users stay connected.

Apps that help users stay connected. Credit: AFP / Getty Images

More people are watching television while cradling a tablet or holding a smartphone. These "second screens" are often used to gather information about what's being viewed on TV or trade opinions with others watching the same show. While Twitter is the go-to place for real-time TV commenting, these specialty apps can help create a first-rate second-screen experience.


(iOS, Android; free)

Is the movie you're about to watch worth two hours of your life? Flixster uses information from Rotten Tomatoes, the popular website that aggregates published reviews for new and old movies from hundreds of newspaper and magazine movie critics. Flixster also tells you what's playing at your local multiplex, along with show times.


(iOS, Android; free)

This app offers news, rumors and snark about your favorite TV shows and stars. Users discuss plot twists and trade opinions in chat rooms dedicated to specific shows while they are airing. You can plan your day of viewing with a listings feature. To use Zeebox, you must create an account or log in using your Facebook, Google or Twitter IDs.


(iOS; free)

As its name implies, the goal of this app is not to give you information about what you're watching now but to guide you on what you should be watching next. Describing itself as a "sherpa for your TV shows," NextGuide simplifies your viewing schedule by searching Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and live TV to offer suggestions on what to view after you're done binge-watching all 62 episodes of "Breaking Bad."

IMDb Movies & TV

(iOS, Android; free)

You're watching "Citizen Kane" and you can't remember the name of the actress playing Kane's mother. You can wait for the closing credits or fire up this mobile version of the venerable Internet Movie Database website to learn it was Agnes Moorehead. Next thing you know, you're clicking on Moorehead's link and reading about her long-running role on "Bewitched." By the time you glance back at the TV, "Kane" has ended and you've missed what "Rosebud" is. Don't worry, IMDb will tell you that, too, along with plot summaries and cast listings for thousands of movies and TV shows.


Tech bytes



Apple seeks exclusives



Apple is urging executives from top music labels to release albums on iTunes before they become available in stores, YouTube or streaming services such as Spotify, according to Billboard. After the success in December of Beyoncé's album, which was available only on iTunes for its first week of release, Apple is looking for more exclusive products "to help shore up slowing download sales," Billboard says. -- Peter King



Thanks for the memory



SanDisk has unveiled a memory card for smartphones and tablets with 128 gigabytes of storage, making it the largest-capacity microSD card on the market. The Ultra microSDXC can store 16 hours of HD video, 7,500 songs, 3,200 photos and more than 125 apps, all on a card the size of a fingernail. The card retails for under $200 and is available at Amazon and Best Buy. -- Peter King



Yahoo changes sign-in policy



Yahoo will stop letting consumers access its online services by signing in with their Facebook or Google credentials. Users will be required to register for a Yahoo ID to use any of the company's services, including Fantasy Sports and Flickr. The change, which will be rolled out gradually, will begin with Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick'Em, a service focused on the NCAA college basketball tournament. -- Reuters


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