These days, if a movie or TV show isn't available to legally stream online, it basically doesn't exist. It's no secret that we're no longer slaves to cable TV subscriptions and theatrical release dates for movies.
What do we want? Entertainment! When do we want it? Now!
That's why we all love popular online streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu so much. For a not-so-terrible monthly fee, you can access some of the best movies and TV shows of all time with just the click of a button.
However, if you're a big binge-watcher (and who isn't?), you might be running out of selections on these streaming services. But there's no need to freak out because if there's anything the Internet has taught us it's that you can always find more entertainment somewhere else.
There's actually a whole world of movies and TV shows you can stream legally online through platforms you've probably never even heard of. Whether you want to hop across the pond and watch all of the British TV you can get your hands on or impress your friends with your indie film knowledge, there's a streaming service to satisfy all of your entertainment needs.
Here are 14 lesser-known movie and TV streaming services you need in your life right now.
1. Acorn TV
Do you prefer your TV shows to come with a fancy accent? Then Acorn TV, a streaming service devoted entirely to British dramas, comedies, mysteries and documentaries, is for you. You won't find more well-known British TV shows like Doctor Who and Downton Abbey on here, but there's plenty for you to discover so you can call yourself a true British TV buff, such as Upstairs Downstairs, Midsomer Murders and Peep Show. You can try Acorn TV for one month for free now, and then subscribe for $4.99 per month after that.
Crackle has gotten a little bit of notoriety in recent years thanks to Jerry Seinfeld's hilarious series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee that is streamed exclusively on the platform. However, there's so much more to watch on Crackle, and it's all for free. This includes cult movies like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a small collection of Seinfeld episodes and even some original content. Crackle's offerings are definitely nowhere near the level of Netflix or Amazon, but hey, it's free.
Crunchyroll is an anime lover's dream. The streaming service offers more than 25,000 episodes and 15,000 hours of Japanese anime and other Asian media content available in several languages. Many shows are even available right after they're broadcast in Japan. You'll find tons of episodes of Japanese anime like Naruto Shippuden, Sailor Moon Crystal and Parasyte the Maxim on here. You can watch a limited amount of Crunchyroll's content for free with ads, but accessing all of it without ads will cost you $6.95 or $11.95 per month depending on what plan you choose.
If Netflix and Amazon's offerings are just too mainstream for you, Fandor has you covered. This streaming service offers a truly impressive selection of indie, foreign and cult films of all different genres from around the world, including some Criterion Collection picks. However, Fandor, which is available for $10 per month or $90 for a yearly subscription, goes way beyond streaming to offer users an experience. It's kind of like a virtual arthouse cinema with curated film collections, a channel that continuously plays films selected by the curators and all of the cinematic news you could ever ask for. Simply put, if you love film you'll love Fandor.
5. Internet Archive
Internet Archive is a non-profit organization that preserves everything from images to audio clips to software in a digital library available for anyone to use. It even has feature-length films you can watch for free. Though you'll have to do some digging, there are some gems available on Internet Archive, such as His Girl Friday, Night of the Living Dead and Plan 9 From Outer Space.
One of the downsides to streaming services is that the content can be a few weeks or months old by the time it appears online. However, if you want brand-spanking-new movies and TV shows, you're going to have to pay. If Amazon and iTunes aren't your scene, you can go with M-GO, which has a ton of recent movie and TV releases available to purchase or rent individually. However, one of the most appealing aspects of this platform is that you can find some good deals on movies that you might not find anywhere else. For instance, Richard Linklater's recent Academy Award-nominated film Boyhood is available to rent for $0.99 right now. That's not too shabby.
With so many movies and TV shows available to stream online, it can be overwhelming to decide which flick you're going to spend your Friday night watching. If you're not great at decision making, you might want to check out MUBI, which recommends a new film to watch every day handpicked by film experts. Unfortunately, that also means the movies are only available for 30 days with a $4.99 per month subscription. Oh well. All the more reason to spend your days immersed in cinema, I guess.
8. Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory has possibly the weirdest collection of movies and TV shows you'll find to stream online for free, but they are no less delightful. Through its new streaming service Shout! Factory TV, you can watch 16 Werner Herzog films, Laverne & Shirley and enough Mystery Science Theater 3000 to make your head explode. Yeah, it's bizarre, but you probably won't find as much fun anywhere else.
The Internet has made the world a much smaller place, and the fact that you can stream Bollywood movies and TV shows right to your computer anywhere in the world proves it. There's a limited amount of content available to watch on Spuul for free with ads. However, you'll get access to the full catalog without ads for $4.99 a month, or you can pay for some content a la carte for $0.99 each.
10. Sundance Now Doc Club
There's nothing like a good documentary to make you feel all of the feels, and the SundanceNow Doc Club has a really nice collection of docs new and old for you to stream for $6.99 per month or $4.99 per month if you sign up for a yearly membership. As a member, you'll also get to browse curated collections of docs and take advantage of a lot of neat offers like attending special screenings.
11. TV Land
Sure, TV Land is super focused on original programming these days, but you can transport yourself back in time to when the network just played re-runs of classic sitcoms. You can still stream some of those shows for free on TV Land's website, such as I Love Lucy, The Golden Girls and Three's Company. This won't be the most satisfying streaming service in the long term, but it'll do the trick if you need a quick fix of Lucy Ricardo's shenanigans.
If international TV is your bag, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more comprehensive streaming service than Viki, which features hit shows from everywhere from China to Colombia to France. You can stream it all for free, or sign up for the Viki Pass for $3.99 a month to watch shows in HD without ads on nearly any device.
VUDU is a lot like the aforementioned M-GO, offering up the latest movie and TV releases to rent or own. What differentiates VUDU is that Disney Movies Anywhere also works with the platform, you can stream films in HDX and you can connect your UltraViolet account for seamless entertainment integration.
Spanish-language movies and TV shows are some of the most entertaining around, and you'll find a wonderful collection of them on DIRECTV's streaming service Yaveo. For $7.99 a month, you'll be able to enjoy everything from telenovelas to sports to Spongebob Squarepants in Spanish. ¡Estoy listo!