Why would anyone need more than Hulu or Netflix?
One of the things I love about living in France is watching French movies. One of the things I hate about living in France is watching American movies dubbed into French at the movie theatres. (Dubbed American movies represent the bulk of films in French theatres). This is how I came to rely on Hulu and Netflix- I was sick of watching dubbed lips out of sync. That and the fact that dubbed movies get lost in translation and sometimes sound weird. Check out Homer Simpsons voice in French. He sounds like a drunk Forest Gump. (play video clip below).
Anyways, I was blissfully happy with Netlix and Hulu until slowly I realized I wanted more than just mainstream Hollywood so I started a new quest to find sites not like Hulu and Netflix. Dare I say better? Maybe.
What I found astounded me- hundreds upon hundreds of streaming choices online. Some great, some good, some really crappy. I whittled what I found down to about 60 or so streaming choices. Before I share them with you, I would like to point out other benefits to watching more streaming video services and less cable TV.
5 Benefits to watching streaming video
- More Diversity in shows and movies:
Give me Indie, give me off beat, give me quirky, scary and the classics. Hulu and Netflix just don’t cut it for me in this respect.
- No need to wast time channel surfing:
I can never seem to time it just right. I always end up tuning in halfway through a show or just watching whatever is on channel surfing. Screw that. Streaming on demand video is way more efficient.
- Different slants on world news:
When you live in one country, you get used to the local and national news but when you travel, you get to hear world news from a different perspective and you begin to see things in a whole new light. There are a lot of streaming news from different countries available online.
- Cut the cord & save money
Watching streaming video gives you an alternative to cable. You can essentially cut the cord and untether yourself from expensive cable tv and get more value for your money.
- Get Access To Streaming Sites That Will Not Region Block Me: Hulu is blocked outside of the US. I have to use a VPN or a Smart DNS to trick the site into thinking I am in the United States otherwise I can’t play or watch any videos on Hulu. Lately Hulu and Netflix US have gotten smarter about figuring out who is faking their IP address through a VPN and blocking them anyways. Myself included. Other sites don’t go through the trouble so it’s good to have other streaming sites a a fall back. I have used several Smart DNS services. The one I currently use is called Overplay and It works great with Hulu and unblocks loads of other sites which you can’t view outside of the US without a DNS or VPN.
My best recommended alternatives to Hulu and Netflix (This is a pretty big list of 60 + choices)
Below is a list of streaming sites handpicked by me. Some are membership sites like Hulu and others à la carte sites. I also included a few worthwhile Free streaming sites which are good if you don’t mind the ads which are similar to what you would see on YouTube.
For those of you region blocked from Hulu and Netflix (USA) despite using a VPN or Smart DNS proxy, these are excellent alternatives that all work with a VPN or Smart DNS. Guess their technology is not as high tech.
What: Independent, international and obscure foreign films
Subscription Cost: $10/month or pay $90/year up front
Fandor is without a doubt one of my most favorite sites to watch these days. I honestly did not consider myself an indie movie lover until I started watching Fandor. There are over 8,000 handpicked independent, obscure movies and foreign films for you to choose from in every genre you can think of and then some. Many you won’t find anywhere else. Think of Fandor as the Indie version of Netflix. You’re sure sure to get your fix with Fandor. Try it free for 14 days. Have you seen or heard of the movie called Melancholia starring Kirsten Dunst?
What: Good and great handpicked HORROR FILMS
Subscription Cost: $4.99 a month or pay $49 up front per year
I was screaming from fear and for joy when I discovered Shudder because there is nothing but handpicked streaming horror films to die for from around the world and the price of admission is a scream at just $4.99 per month. Shudder is backed and put together by AMC Networks (producers of Breaking Bad) and DramaFever. Yes you do see some of the usual free, public domain stuff but not the crappy quality and not the really bad crap because the sites library is curated by horror aficionados Sam Zimmerman and Colin Geddes. If you’re not sure what to watch, there’s also a constant live stream of horror movies playing on the site. It’s almost like the old days of cable TV where you turn it on and see what’s playing. You never know when a movie is going to start or end, and you don’t know what’s coming next. There are plenty of foreign films too but you can easily switch on subtitles. I dare you.
What: Contemporary and classic movies from the criterion collection
Cost: Subscription price not published yet
If TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and the Criterion Collection had a baby what would they call it? Film struck! FilmStruck is made for die-hard movie enthusiast who love independent, foreign, cult and art house films.. It’s library will be constantly refreshed and as of Q3 2016, Film Struck will succeed Hulu as the exclusive streaming service for the Criterion Collection. I think this streaming video service may quickly become your favorite go-to site for always fantastic movies!
If you are not familiar with the Criterion Collection. It’s an American home video distribution company which focuses on licensing “important classic and contemporary films” and selling them to film aficionados.
What: Asian TV shows and dramas, Latin American Telenovelas.
Cost: Starting at .99 cents /month with ads. $4.17 / month no ads. If you want access offline its $8.33 / Month (7 day free trial)
Watch Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Spanish dramas, variety shows, films and kids programs all with subtitles and available in more than 20 countries globally. Drama Fever was purchased in 2016 by Warner brothers so you can be sure that this streaming video service is only going to get better. Af first I wasn’t sure about this site but after trying it out, I think it is definitely worth checking out especially for $.99 cents a month for the most basic plan.
What: Warner Brother timeless classics
Cost: $9.99 / Month (Free 30 day trial)
I was initially really excited about Warner Archive because I love the Warner classics. The product of 3 major movie studios, Warner Brothers owns a massive catalogue (maybe the largest in the world) of American movies and TV shows including westerns, film noirs, musicals, comedies, pre-code classics and more. Many of which are not available for purchase any more. The site works like a revolving door for their content. Their massive collection of movies and TV shows get rotated in and out each month to keep the site Fresh I guess. I love the idea but I think 10 bucks a month is too much for what it is. If it had all of it’s library available or most of it available to me at any one time then I could see the value of paying 10 bucks a month but as it is Netflix is cheaper and Hulu is cheaper and they have HUGE libraries available all the time. There are usually only 13 or so TV shows and 160 movies available at any one time (as of 2016). I could not find Gone with the wind, Casablanca, A streetcar named desire, The shining and a bunch more that are in the Warner collection. *Sad face. Check it out for yourself. Maybe you’ll get more value out of it than me which is why I did not rule this site out.
What: All the same HBO episodes, original programming, theatrical films, seasons, episode as regular HBO plus more.
I’m not ashamed to say that I luuuuuuv “Game of Thrones” which is on HBO. HBO now is for anyone who doesn’t have a monthly cable subscription but still wants to watch HBO shows online. You can watch HBO NOW on most devices including your computer however you can’t sign up using your computer. You have need to sign up through an app or through a subscription provider as an add-on like Amazon, Roku or Apple. It is what it is.
What:Watch almost any show it airs live or on demand.
CBS All Access, like the HBO now does not require users have a traditional TV subscription: You will have access to most of the old shows as well as the new shows aired as soon as the next day. All you need is an Internet. There are well over 6,500 Episodes for you to watch on demand. Give it a try for 7 days with a free trial After that pay just $5.99 per month with limited commercials or $9.99 for no commercials.
Online Video, Movie and TV Show Sites (Pay as you go –rent or buy)
If you would rather rent or buy movies and shows rather than subscribing to a monthly plan, here are your best options.
What: latest big-name movie releases and TV shows often released on the same day as the DVD release.
Cost to rent: $0.99 special rentals up to $5.99 usually in HDX 1080p. Cost to buy: $4.99 to $24.99 to purchase.
Vudu is a solid pay-as-you go streaming video website. No monthly subscriptions here- you can rent or buy the latest big-name releases on the same day they come out on DVD whereas Netflix waits around 20 days or so. Prices seem to be determined by how new or old a movie is with newer blockbuster movies costing around $6.99. For you basement bargain hunters, there are regularly reduced videos for as little as $0.99 cents. Vudu occasionally offers content the competition doesn’t.
What: latest big-name movie releases and TV shows
Cost: $1.99 to $19.99 for newer releases.
FandangoNow used to be called M-Go and uses a pay as you go model like Vudu where you can rent or buy newer big-name release movies fresh out of the theatre however you can only buy TV shows not rent them. Their library is massive, they claim to have over 30,000 movies and TV shows so you are sure to find something to watch.
What: Anime and Japanese dramas
Cost: $6.95/month – $11.95/month (14 day free trial)
For anime lovers and Japanophiles, Crunchy Roll streams anime videos and Japanese dramas (legally) with professional subtitles (not the illegal/ bootleged version created by fans). There is some free content but it is very limited. They have 2 subscription plans. The higher priced plan has no ads so you can watch Naruto Shippuden, Attack on Titan, Sword Art Online, Skip Beat, and Shugo Chara and more ad-free.
What: Anime and Japanese dramas
Cost: $$4.95 / month (free 2 week trial)
Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z fan? Get access to over 8,500 streaming anime episodes and movies commercial-free in HD!
What: Movies and TV, original web shows
Crackle is pretty descent for a site that is FREE if you don’t mind the commercials galore. It has TV shows, Hollywood movies and some really good original web shows you won’t find anywhere else. It’s owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment which also means it’s library is going to work with Sony Platforms and devices. The site has expanded to produce and distribute originals since Sony has its own Hollywood studios.
What: A little of everything, TV shows, movies, sports, cats.
This site tries to mimic the TV experience. It has over 100 Internet channels instead of TV channels from mainstream news and stand-up comedy to TV shows, movies and and extreme sports. There is even a CAT channel. YouTube watch out.
What: Independent feature films
– I believe this site has around 1,500 + independent feature films. You won’t see any current blockbusters here however it’s worth a look. It’s free to use and perfectly legal. The site makes money from ads.
What: New Music Videos, Reality TV Shows, Celebrity News, Pop Culture ..
Plenty of RuPaul here. This site focuses on lifestyle programming aimed primarily at LGBT.
What: cult TV shows, movies, comedy, original specials
Here is an excellent alternative to major streaming services. The ShoutFactoryTV library has a fairly large curated library full of cult TV shows, movies, comedy, original specials and more. Think Godzilla, Elvira and Mystery Science theatre.
Watch most of your favourite channels on Amazon
Amazon is special and deserves a little explanation. It has 2 models. The pay as you go model, Amazon Instant Video where you can rent or buy movies on demand. It also has a subscription model which gives you access to thousands of movies and TV shows through Amazon Prime Video. Plus you get all the benefits of being a member of amazon prime. I’ve listed all the benefit below.
You can also add on certain channels to your prime video account like starz, shudder, Smithsonian Earth, Comic con and many more. I listed 48 addons but there are more. You get the convenience of watching all your movies, TV shows and various channels through Amazon rather than surfing to the individual sites. Pretty slick.
What: Rent or buy the latest big-name movie releases and TV shows.
Cost: Pay $3 to $20 for each movie or TV show depending on if you buy or rent the videos.
Amazon Prime members get Video plus + + + +
Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial to switch from pay as you go to a monthly membership which gives you access to all of the following
- Amazon Prime Video: Watch unlimited streaming of thousands of movies & TV Shows Anytime with Amazon Prime. The selection is not as good as Amazon Instant but it’s still pretty good.
- Amazon Prime Music: Unlimited streaming of millions of songs with Amazon Prime.
- Access to borrow over 500,000 eBooks. You can borrow one book per month and never pay any late fees.
- If you own a Kindle E-Reader, Fire tablet, or Fire phone, you can rent eBooks for free
- Unlimited photo storage on Amazon drive (this alone is worth the annual membership fee).
- Free 2 day shipping (on eligible purchases in the US only).
Cost: Amazon Prime is $99 per year which turns out to be $8.25 per month.
Subscription Channels you can add to your Amazon Prime Subscriptions
Pretty close to a la carte TV if you ask me. Sign up for a basic Amazon prime membership- $99 per year which gives you all the benefits listed above. Then choose an add-on subscription for a very reasonable monthly fee of 2.99 to 8.99 depending on which add-on you choose. You can subscribe through the website or through a mobile app.
Each individual subscription comes with a free trial, that ranges from 7 to 30 days. I have listed 48 channel add-ons below.
Monsters and Nightmares – $2.9 9/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
The creepiest, most terrifying horror films of the last decade.
Full Moon -$6.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Horror, fantasy, sci-fi, comedy, cult, and decades of bizarre genre films.
Fear Factory – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
eerie, fun flicks that bring the bump in the night.
Shudder – $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Curated by horror aficionados devoted to all varieties of horror.
Starz – $8.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Captivating original series and hit movies.
Showtime – $8.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Award-winning Original Series, hit movies, sports, and more.
Cinefest – $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free
A uniquely curated collection of films for the movie buff in everyone.
Tribeca Shortlist $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Movies worth watching. a diverse selection of films and features handpicked by actors, directors and more.
UMC- Urban Movie Channel $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Quality urban content showcasing feature films, documentaries, original series, stand-up comedy and more.
History Vault – $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Hundreds of hours of curated historical videos.
CurisosityStream -$5.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Nonfiction programs exploring science, technology, history, and nature.
Smithsonian Earth – $3.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Captivating nature & wildlife documentaries, stunning Nature Scenes, and fascinating shorts.
Nature Vision – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free
Hours of uninterrupted footage of the world’s most beautiful and pristine places.
Spacerip – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Breathtaking collections of space and astronomy videos.
The Great Courses – $7.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Video learning in science, art, and more.
Xive TV – $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Exploring history, science, nature, adventure and mystery.
Docurama – $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Daring Docs – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Thoughtful and provoking documentaries on hot topics and social issues.
Dox – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Award-winning documentaries from cutting edge filmmakers around the world.
Sundance now Doc Club – $6.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
A handpicked curation of award-winning documentaries.
Quello Concerts – $7.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Thousands of full-length concerts and award-winning music documentaries on demand.
AcaciaTV -$6.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Hundreds of fun and effective workouts for every fitness level.
BeFit -$5.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
The best workout solutions for every body. Transform Yourself.
Gaia – $9.95/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Yoga, meditation, documentaries, and original programming to expand your horizons
Video Game Comic Con Genre
Comic Con – $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free
Everything you love about Comic-Con, on demand and streaming online-anytime.
Contv – $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free
TV shows and coverage from Comic Con events nationwide.
Machinima – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Get Machinima – original series, gameplay videos, animation, gaming news, and more.
Humor & Comedy
Comedy Central Stand-up plus – $3.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Original stand-up specials and series from your favorite comics.
Seeso – $3.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Original and Classic Comedy: Series, Stand-Up Specials and more.
Hooplakidz Plus – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free
Nursery rhymes, yummy recipes, arts and crafts, educational videos, and lots more for parents and kids.
Ameba – $3.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Kids shows, movies, music, and much more.
Dove Channel – $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Trusted and safe family entertainment.
Up Faith And Family $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
High-quality movies and TV shows for the whole family.
Lifetime Movie Club – $3.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Featuring a great selection of new and classic Lifetime movies.
Indie or Cult
IndiFlix Shorts – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Award winning short films from 50+ countries and 1200+ film festivals
Acorn TV – $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
World-class TV from Britain and beyond.
Drama Fever Instant – $3.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Hit dramas from around the world.
Warriors and Gangsters – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
High octane action and adventure flicks that kick things into high gear.
All Warrior Network – $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Military themed entertainment for Warriors, by Warriors.
Cheddar – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Tech, media, and business news and exclusives daily from the NYSE floor.
Ring Tv – $2.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free
Your all-access pass to world-class boxing.
Tastemade – $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Food, travel, and lifestyle for the connected generation.
Paula Dean Network – $4.99/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Paula’s award-winning cooking shows, new lifestyle shows, vintage series, and more.
Motorland – $2.9 9/ Mo – 7 Day Free Trial
Automotive anywhere anytime. The ultimate destination for gear-heads.
Between the free trials and the free streaming sites, you should be good to go for a couple of months for free.