If you request to watch a movie, you can easily open one of these platforms on your desktop or phone and enjoy an uninterrupted HQ movie viewing experience anytime, anywhere you want. There is no shortage of content to grab attention today with movie apps like the ones mentioned above. but, even they have their limitations. Despite having huge libraries, it is impossible for OTT platforms to have an unlimited category of movies. Chances are you won’t find the movie you’re looking for when you browse their list. As such, it’s important to expand your options and immediately switch to a different movie app to find your favorite movies to stream. The movies that can be obtained to stream on a service depend on the distribution rights and media properties of the service’s parent company. It’s the same as live TV streaming services must make deals with cable channel owners to get broadcast rights. Services that already own the rights to large lists of content (or have the money to get the streaming rights) have an advantage. Other services have a more particular focus. Criterion Channel focuses on classic and foreign movies. Filmatique, Mubi and Ovid.tv curate a rotating library of independent films and documentaries. Angelika Anywhere allows you to rent or buy streaming movies selected by the art house chain.
Being a free service, there are some downsides to consider. While watching movies, you may have to put up with numerous ads that interrupt the flow of the experience. Like all other free streaming services, there are no DVR storage features. And if you want to watch offline or save for when you’re out of Wi-Fi range, you’re out of luck. There are several high-quality free streaming services, including Crackle, Kanopy, and Pluto TV. Crackle stands out from the crowd with its rich library as well as its original content. Whether you’re a cord-cutter or just looking for an insight into how VOD streaming services work, Crackle is a good fit.
The TV shows available on Netflix are full season, which is not always the case with competitors. Hulu sometimes only has the most recent episodes of a show, so it’s impossible to catch up if you fall too far behind. On the other hand, Netflix only adds shows one season at a time. Netflix specializes in big-name blockbuster documentaries about household names racking up award nominations. From Miss Americana: Taylor Swift to Becoming, a documentary about Michelle Obama, to Grammy-winning Beyoncé’s Homecoming, there are plenty of behind-the-scenes documentaries that delve into the lives of celebrities.
After nearly a year of Disney Plus, we’re pretty impressed with how it’s growing, even if it’s still in need of top-tier originals for adults. However, the basic offering of movies is solid, as is the choice of 4K-ready content. However, the long-term performance of Disney Plus will largely depend on how quickly more movies and TV series arrive on the service. The logos of the five big Disney brands can be found in a dynamic banner that links directly to movies and shows from those brands, while featured content such as The Mandalorian, The Simpsons, and Avatar occupy the top row. Beneath the brand banners, you’ll find the Originals section that highlights exclusive content from the service, and below that, a familiar-looking recommended row that you’ve likely seen on a streaming service like Netflix.
Tubi is available to stream through a regular internet browser, so it’s available for most devices that connect to the web. However, it does have native apps for phones, tablets, streaming devices, and smart TVs that can enhance your viewing experience. However, Tubi offers a free registration process that could improve your user experience. Creating an account with the service gives you the ability to start a queue of content to view and resume viewing later from where you left off. That could be particularly useful, for example, if you start watching something on your phone and want to finish it on your TV.
Redbox is more than the big red rental kiosk you find at the pharmacy or supermarket. It is also an online movie marketplace that offers live and on-demand video streaming. Not everyone knows that Redbox has branched out beyond the DVD and Blu-Ray business. Redbox’s platform support is decent, but could be better, especially for the Live TV feature. At the time of this writing, Live TV is not available on Samsung devices or Android TV. However, on-demand content is available on both platforms. Redbox’s on-demand segment is a valuable way to watch movies and TV shows. It’s not a spectacular design feat or anything like that, but the navigation is easy. It’s not complicated to find out if a movie you want is available.
Hulu + Live TV’s channel lineup should please most general audiences, with a broad list of content in the news, entertainment, and sports categories. News channels include ABC News, CBS News, CNBC, CNN, CNN International, Fox Business, Fox News, and MSNBC. While Hulu’s lineup features NBC-owned RSNs, it lacks most of the AT&T-owned RSNs (except SportsNet NY) and all of the Sinclair-owned Bally Sports RSNs (previously these were FOX Sports RSNs). DirecTV Stream is the only live TV service we’ve reviewed that includes RSNs from AT&T, NBC, and Sinclair, though it’s missing a few RSNs from NBC Sports.
Pluto TV is an “over-the-top” (OTT) service, which means it comes through the Internet (like Netflix) instead of leased lines or over the air. It’s also an advertiser-supported video-on-demand (or AVOD) service. That puts it in the same group as streaming services like Crackle, Tubi, and Sling Free. Pluto TV channels are divided into sections like Featured, Entertainment, Movies, Sports, Comedy, Kids, Latino, and Tech + Geek. There are versions from major cable networks like MTV, but in general, the channels on Pluto TV aren’t what you’d find on a standard cable or satellite package.
This streaming service offers two main basic packages: Sling Blue and Sling Orange. Both the Blue and Orange options start at $35 per month, with a Blue + Orange package costing $50 per month. Each base package has its own specialty, so you can choose whether you’re more interested in news and entertainment programming or family and sports programming. Sling TV’s user interface is a bit different than what you might expect from live TV, with a tile system that’s more like an on-demand streaming service in some ways. However, if you’re a streaming pro, this makes it easy to navigate to your favorite content, and even if you’re new to the world of cord cutting, you’ll probably quickly adjust to its unique look.
Peacock’s large library of free content is enticing, and NBC has promised to limit commercials to a maximum of five minutes per broadcast hour. However, Peacock Premium lacks the value offered by streaming competitors like Netflix and Hulu, and there are some significant gaps in NBCUniversal’s catalogue. Peacock features hundreds of Universal Pictures movies, but many of the studio’s recent releases are absent due to prior deals with HBO and FX. Several key Universal franchises, including “Fast & Furious,” are available on HBO Max, and it’s unclear how long it will be until they hit Peacock.
Apple TV Plus
The good news is that Apple TV Plus supports 4K and HDR streaming, and helpfully lists that information on every show page, unlike Netflix, which waits until you’re watching an episode to tell you. However, not everything on the service uses those premium visual standards, and naturally you’ll need an HDR-compatible 4K TV to use them. However, we found the streaming experience on our home Wi-Fi to be seamless, with no noticeable issues related to frame rate and fast buffering, even if this can vary depending on the strength of your internet connection. Apple TV’s streaming service feels a bit like an afterthought; a lazy move in a market already full of competitive platforms.