The 10 best places to stream movies on the internet
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It’s Friday night and you’re too tired to go out (same). You know how this conversation goes. Should we watch a movie? What’s on Netflix?
But halt, dear reader, because there is so much more you could be doing to maximize your home movie viewing, and we here at Mashable can no longer bear it.
So, movie fans, if you’re serious about this whole staying-in thing and catching up on the latest releases, let us offer you a few non-Netflix and chill options for streaming movies online (although yes, Netflix is in there too).
The best if you’re looking for a wide selection: Amazon Prime
A lot of people have Amazon Prime for the free delivery and other benefits, but many likely just forget they can use their subscription for movies and TV shows.
The selection is extensive, including critical darlings like the Oscar-winning Moonlight and Amazon Studios’ own Manchester by the Sea, as well as a massive library of foreign films. And they’re downloadable.
Cons: No streaming site seems to have fully figured out a viable browsing function. The minute you click “see more” you end up on Amazon proper and primed for the type of analysis paralysis that can strike while online shopping. Also, free and paid titles are mixed together so you may end up wanting to watch something you weren’t ready to pay for. That said, it’s often only $4, so you can do it.
The best for movies you love: Hulu
For years, Hulu has amassed a formidable library of movies. If you’ve ever felt the Netflix movie selection doesn’t have what you’re looking for, it’s more than likely you’ll find it on Hulu.
Cons: Another miserable browsing platform – Hulu’s looks almost primitive. Like most sites, it works best if you search for exactly what you want.
The best for easy streaming: Netflix
In 2018, it seems like most people have some kind of access to Netflix, if not their own account. We basically think of Netflix as free even though we pay for it every month and would rather watch or download a random movie here than pay for a known one elsewhere.
Cons: The movie selection has plenty to offer, but a lot of filler to comb through and limited selection depending on what you’re looking for. Over the past couple years, Netflix has made clear that it’s prioritizing original programming – and crushing it.
Though more limited in numbers, HBO has a high-concentration of well-known and popular movies. It’s the only streaming platform ever to host the Harry Potter movies (including Fantastic Beasts) and one of your best bets for streaming nominated movies during awards season.
Cons: The smaller selection is what it is, but you can also scroll through it all alphabetically if you need to, which can’t be said for Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix.
The best for actually free movie viewing: Crackle
If you want your free streaming to actually be free, don’t sleep on Crackle. It was the only place to stream The Social Network for free during Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook testimony.
Cons: The movies are mostly unknown, but they do have a partnership with Sony (which is how The Social Network ended up there in the first place).
The best for Hollywood films: iTunes
Once you decide to pay for a movie, whether it’s renting or buying, iTunes is more than likely to have it. You just have to, you know, make that leap. And they’re not always that cheap.
Cons: These stream well enough if you have an AppleTV, but have to be downloaded on computers and mobile devices. Gimme my instant gratification!
The best for international appeal: YouTube
YouTube is like iTunes but with the benefit of immediate streaming, and a robust selection of foreign films (sometimes even for free).
Cons: It’s friendlier on desktop or mobile than with a smart TV.
The best for hidden gems: Popcornflix
Like Crackle, Popcornflix is completely free and with a somewhat eclectic movie selection (with hidden gems if you have the patience).
Cons: There’s a lot of filler to sift through, and you have to browse by genre. Why is this a thing!
The best for free (with ads): Vudu
Like the Amazon platforms, Vudu has movies available for rental or purchase as well as free streaming (look for the “movies on us”). The free ones stream with ads while the rest have pretty standard prices.
Cons: Literally how hard is it to alphabetize these libraries. Come on guys!
The best for true cinephiles: Filmstruck
Though not a household name, Filmstruck is essential for cinephiles obsessed with the classics – or those hoping to get better acquainted with the history of film.
Cons: Don’t go here looking for new releases.