Television has changed so much over the years, and so has the way we consume it. In decades prior, we had to drag our lazy bones to the movies to watch new releases in theaters or tune in at a set time each week to check out our favorite TV shows. Nowadays, we can simply watch whatever we want whenever we want to on any streaming platforms currently available.
Whether it's Disney+, Netflix, or Prime Video, there is no shortage of streaming services playing some of the most popular TV shows and movies, many of which premieres exclusively on the specific service's website. Outside of those streaming giants we all know and regularly watch, there are plenty of other lesser-known streaming networks for you to subscribe to.
Here are some of the best and most underappreciated streaming platforms to check out, as well as basic information about their subscription costs.
Who doesn't like horror? It's one of the most distinct and entertaining genres you can find anywhere. Luckily, too, there exist a few services that provide viewers exclusively with dozens of movies and TV series within the horror genre — the most well-known being Shudder.
No longer will you have to scroll through pages of TV shows or movies to find the perfect horror movie on Netflix or HBO Max. With Shudder, all you need to do is open the app, with hundreds of horror movies from different eras, countries, and subgenres immediately popping up. These range from landmark horror films like Poltergeist and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to cult classics like Deep Red and Re-Animator. The ideal option for a chilling weekend viewing party.
Price: $5.99 a month/$56.99 a year
National Theatre at Home
National Theatre At Home is a must-own for our resident theater geeks out there. An off-shoot of the popular National Theatre Live — filmed productions of British theater programs released to theaters across the globe — National Theatre At Home gives you the joy of seeing a theatrical performance entirely from the comfort of your home.
Instead of having to skip across the Atlantic and see Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet or Ralph Fiennes as Mark Antony in person, all you have to do is log into a National Theatre At Home account to see dozens of award-winning British stage shows.
It's a relatively young streaming platform but still boasts some strong streaming choices available to watch right now, including numerous Shakespeare productions and adaptations of classic novels like Frankenstein, Treasure Island, and Peter Pan.
Price: $12.99 a month/$129.99 a year
A slightly better deal than the abovementioned National Theatre At Home, BroadwayHD brings the glamor of a Broadway musical to your laptop and TV screens. There may be nothing like going to the Big Apple to see an actual show on Broadway, but BroadwayHD does a remarkable job capturing the magic of a stage show and presenting it as a streaming option.
The appeal of BroadwayHD lies in its nearly endless viewing options, ranging from classic Broadway musicals like The Phantom of the Opera and Cats to more recent hits like the 2018 Tony Award-winning production of An American In Paris.
In addition to the dozens of musicals, foreign productions, Shakespeare plays, and ballet performances in their catalog, the most remarkable aspect of BroadwayHD lies in its impressive vault collection of shows. So if you ever wanted to see Katherine Hepburn in The Glass Menagerie or The Ice Man Cometh, directed by Sidney Lumet, this is the streaming service for you.
Price: $11.99 a month/$129.99 a year
Documentary+ is basically just what it sounds like: a streaming service that offers a number of documentaries on diverse subjects like history, art, cooking, science, religion, and nature.
If you tend to scroll down towards the National Geographic section of Disney+ or your favorite TV show is Planet Earth, then we'd seriously recommend checking out Documentary+. It's an educational and endlessly informative network that features award-winning documentaries from acclaimed directors.
It doesn't matter if your interests lie in the wildlife of Africa or the life and career of Evil Knievel — Documentary+ has it all. And amazingly, it's all free too! You don't even need an account to get started. Just open the app, click on a documentary, and enjoy.
Price: Completely free!
The Criterion Channel
We recommend the amazingly well-curated Criterion Channel for all our astute film buffs. The successor to the earlier, short-lived FilmStruck, The Criterion Channel is an extension of the Criterion Collection, a home-video distribution company that re-releases “important classic and contemporary films.”
Like their DVD and Blu-ray releases, The Criterion Channel features hundreds of films from every corner of the globe, covering dozens of cinematic genres. Naturally, Channel subscribers can view most films that have been released through the Criterion Collection, as well as monthly new releases from renowned directors like Charlie Chaplin to modern auteurs like Wes Anderson and Wong Kar Wai.
Aimed at film scholars, historians, and cinephiles, the best thing about The Criterion Channel is not only its impressive streaming options but the bonus features attached to The Channel's films. You can hear introductions to certain films from noteworthy filmmakers and actors like Bill Hader, Edgar Wright, and Guillermo del Toro as they shed light on the impact the films have had on their careers and their personal lives.
Price: $10.99 a month/$99.99 a year
Shout! Factory TV
When it comes to free streaming platforms, you'd be hard-pressed to find something as entertaining as Shout! Factory TV. Like The Criterion Channel, Shout! Factory TV is an off-shoot of Shout! Factory's DVD and Blu-Ray, offering a variety of low-budgeted cult films.
Sure, Shout! Factory TV might not offer as quality films as The Criterion Channel, but the platform still makes for a great way to spend a weekend at home if you're looking for a cheesy '60s horror film or a laughably bad '80s action flick like Samurai Cop.
There's always something to watch on Shout! Factory TV, whether it's any of the underrated films showcased on the platform's “VHS Vault” or the new movies added monthly to the site. Uniquely, Shout! Factory TV also makes it a point to constantly air episodes of well-known shows like Mystery Science Theater 3000, Candid Camera, and ALF, among many others.
Price: Completely free!
There's a mind-bogglingly large amount of anime in the world today. That said, it shouldn't be surprising that there's a streaming platform revolving exclusively around anime content in the form of the free-to-use RetroCrush.
While other, more notable anime-related streaming services like Funimation or Crunchyroll revolve around more recognizable anime, RetroCrush focuses on the lesser-known but equally excellent series out there.
However, the platform still has plenty of popular anime TV series and films that fans are sure to know and love, such as Astro Boy, Barefoot Gen, and the Lupin III films. RetroCrush also has a few live-action Japanese TV series for you to check out.
Price: Completely free!
It's worth noting that several streaming services are made with a more specific audience demographic in mind. In the case of ALLBLK, a service specializing in programming meant for a predominantly Black audience.
Operated by AMC Networks and founded by Robert L. Johnson (the creator of BET), ALLBLK operates very much the same way as BET does on cable television. In addition, the service advertises many Black-centric movies, TV series, reality shows, documentaries, and live stand-up performances.
Like most streaming platforms, ALLBLK also has a ton of original content released exclusively onto the service, such as soap operas (A House Divided), sitcoms (Millennials), and drama series (5th Ward The Series). As AMC runs the service, ALLBLK also comes in a bundle purchase, allowing you to access other platforms in addition to this one, making it a great bang for your buck.
Price: $4.99 a month/$49.99 a year
Similar to the abovementioned ALLBLK, the VOD streaming service, Dekkoo, was created with a set audience membership in mind — specifically, members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Dekkoo's programming is comprised almost entirely of films, TV series, and documentaries centered around homosexuality, bisexuality, drag, and transgender individuals. It's an amazing platform that makes viewers from every facet of society welcome.
The documentaries are informative, the TV shows are hard-hitting and dramatic, and the movies enthralling. Most of the service's content is produced by and aimed at gay men, but every viewer can enjoy the app's captivating original content, including People Like Us and Here Comes Your Man.
Price: $9.99 a month
Granted, Tubi TV isn't as recognizable or well-known as Netflix. However, Tubi still has a whopping number of content available to stream for free (although the app requires you to watch ads to access content, similar to Hulu).
The great thing about Tubi TV is that many of the films and TV series populating the platform come directly from partnerships Tubi has with big-name production companies. That means many of the 5,000+ movies (like thriller Hard Evidence) at your disposal are quality films from industry titans like MGM, Paramount, and Starz.
Like other streaming platforms, Tubi TV cycles through new content on a monthly basis, meaning there's always something new and exciting to watch practically every week — including award-winning films like Platoon and Who Framed Roger Rabbit or cult TV series like Firefly and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (all currently streaming).
Price: Completely free!
Though it sounds like a website related to Tubi, it's not. Unlike Tubi TV, which focuses predominantly on American- and British-produced films and TV shows, MUBI has an extensive list of content from all corners of the world, specializing in international films.
There's seemingly no end to the amount of content available on MUBI, with many films being exhibited on the platform having won worldwide praise from global audiences. So if you ever wanted to get into internationally-produced films or are even slightly interested in French, Korean, or Japanese films (among many other nationalities), MUBI is the perfect place to start your viewing experience.
Price: $10.99 a month/$83.88 for a year
British TV series may be an acquired taste for some, but there's no denying that some fantastic programs have come out of the United Kingdom since the creation of television in the first place. Fortunately, Acorn TV allows you to explore some of the best British shows and movies ever made. The platform is exclusively comprised of content produced in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
While you're not likely to find certain iconic shows like Doctor Who on the app any time soon, Acorn TV still boasts some fantastic series worthy of your time. After all, you don't need to be an Anglophile to enjoy Acorn originals like the comedic mysteries series Agatha Raisin or the crime show Mystery Road (advertised on the app as “Australia's answer to True Detective”).
Price: $5.99 a month/$59.99 for a year
Brought to you by Prime Video, Pantaya offers a selection of TV shows and movies from Spanish-speaking countries. Once on the app, you can scroll and select content based on specific nationalities or genres. The platform has a practically endless number of Hispanic- and Spanish-centric series and films for you to choose from.
Though operated by Amazon, Pantaya is not included in default Prime Video subscriptions. To gain access to it, you'll need to acquire a premium subscription, allowing you to stream Pantaya for a monthly charge of $5.99.
Price: $5.99 a month (as a premium add-on to Prime Video)
Bollywood — a guilty pleasure for some, a favorite genre for others. In terms of the online world, Eros Now is the go-to platform we recommend for any Bollywood-related viewing options. In addition to that famous Indian genre of film, countless Hindi, Tamil, and local Indian movies, TV series, music videos, and original content were produced in India and released on Eros Now.
For music lovers, Eros Now also provides you with soundtracks from their most popular Bollywood films, as well as a number of other musicians based in India like A.R. Rahman.
Price: $4.99 a month/$49.99 a year
Kanopy is unique in that, to access it, you only need to use your local library card. It's free for students and anyone with a library membership at their fingertips, allowing you to flip through a range of classic films and new releases, which premiere on the website nearly right after their theatrical runs have concluded.
The one slight drawback to Kanopy is that it does cap the number of films you can watch monthly. However, depending on your library, you can stream anywhere from six to ten movies a month, which — considering it's a virtually free film library — still makes for an incredible deal.
Price: Completely free (as long as you have a library membership)
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