Video grabber: Legal considerations aside, there’s no reason you can’t save most online videos to your hard drive to watch later-if you have Freemake Video Downloader. This free ripper supports Facebook, Hulu, YouTube, and dozens of other sites.
Movie finder: Looking for a movie to watch tonight? Flixster offers a combination of professional reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and community reviews from fellow amateurs that give you the honest appraisals you need to make a sound selection. We like the mobile-app version, which is free in two forms: Flixster Movies for Android and Flixster Movies for iOS, better than the version on the site itself.
Personal radio: We’ve long loved Grooveshark’s approach to free online music, but Pandora has done a phenomenal job of migrating onto a vast array of mobile devices and set-top boxes via Pandora Desktop. Your personal radio station awaits on nearly every device you own.
Music discovery: For unearthing new music based on your preferences, Last.fm is terrific. This free download tracks what you listen to in iTunes, Windows Media Player, and even your mobile player, and then suggests new tracks that you’re bound to dig.
Media streamer: Want immediate, on-the-go access to your entire media collection from your phone? Zumocast streams all of your tunes and videos over the Internet, so you no longer need to choose a sparse handful of favorite files to cram onto your mobile device.
Media copier: Rented a video that you need to return? Want to watch it on your phone or iPad? VLC easily converts most media types-even DVDs and streaming videos-to various formats that will play on practically any device. VLC also comes in a mobile version for iOS, and an Android version is expected soon.
Movie ripper: Another great (and free) video converter, HandBrake rips movies from DVD and saves them in standard, mobile-friendly formats.
Hulu controller: Hulu addicts should check out Hulu Desktop, a sleek stand-alone application that gives users better control over their video viewing than the site’s browser-based interface does.
Duplicate-track eliminator: Is your music collection full of duplicate songs that pop up too often in shuffle mode? Duplicate Music Files Finder automatically eliminates the dupes after matching their MP3 metadata.
DIY media streamer: If you have an old PC on hand, turn it into a living-room media streamer to rival Apple TV or Roku, with Boxee free streaming software.
Check our alphabetical list of all of the free downloads mentioned in this package of articles.