10 Streaming Services That Do Things Differently

At some point, we all thought of streaming as a pioneering answer to those seeking a midway between network TV, traditional cable, and current-release films. Services like Netflix and Amazon Prime were jam-packed with all these things and more, and their emergence ushered in a wildly new way to watch: quick and convenient, with countless to choose from.

But soon streaming had become overstuffed with more of the same thing. Before you knew it, media outlets had their own Netflixes, Primes, and Vudus going on—streamers, like cable before it, are now going through the same trajectory as every other product that was once shiny and new. 

That said, there are still streaming services that dare to do things differently, and they deserve their own list for bringing something new to the table. Be it in their features, interface, or offerings, you'll find that the services below are unique in their own ways and prove that streaming still has a few lively tricks up its sleeve. 

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Apple TV+ is an ad-free on-demand stream from Apple that costs $9.99 per month and is accessible in about 150 countries. The Apple TV+ app is accessible via Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Mac) and Apple TV. While Android phones and tablets are not supported, you can access Apple TV+ via Android-powered TV devices like Chromecast. It can be accessed via web browser and supported by PC, as well as Roku devices, Amazon Fire TV devices, PlayStation, and Xbox.

Price: $9.99/month

Free Trial: 7 days

Device availability: Airplay supported, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, iOS, Roku TV, Samsung TV, Shareplay supported

Mubi is a movie-streaming service featuring a curated selection of 30 movies on a daily rotation, as well as a large library of movies from previous rotations. The subscription costs $10.99 per month or $95.88 for an annual subscription. If you just want to browse the database before paying up front, you can sign up for a free account for access. Mubi has a Now Showing section, with the newest entries to the library on a given day (the library is updated daily), and a Library section featuring a back-catalog of other highlights and previously “showing” movies. You may see a section called 'Live' for live broadcasts once in a while. Aside from the options to stream via web browser, Mubi also has mobile apps for Android and iOS, media streaming devices (Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Roku), and you can subscribe to Mubi as a Prime Video channel. While Mubi is not available on the Xbox One, you can access the service on a PlayStation 4 console.

Price: $10.99/month

Free Trial: 30 days

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, LG TV, Roku, Samsung TV, Shareplay supported

As the name suggests, VidAngel is a media streamer that gives users the option to block profanity, violence, sex, or anything else deemed too unseemly for the screen. Once you add an existing subscription service, you can start watching and filtering your favorite titles within your VidAngel account. As of the moment, it's compatible with major services like Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, and Amazon add-ons like Showtime, Starz, and AMC. Interestingly, users also have the option to see all the content from their subscriptions in one place or categorize them per streamer. Aside from this, VidAngel also has its own line of original series.

Price: $9.99/month

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS

Trickle UP features original and exclusive content from New York City artists. Created in 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it endures now as a platform to help artists promote their work. The diverse Trickle UP catalog includes plays, spoken word, music and dance productions, performance art, funny videos, interviews, and a behind-the-scenes look at the artists' process. If you love the arts and want to support its on-ground movement in New York, then you might want to consider Trickle UP, especially since a large portion of the subscriptions goes directly to the streamer's contributors.

Price: $10/month

Device availability: Website

Shudder is an on-demand streaming service dedicated to niche horror movies. 

In the US, a monthly subscription currently runs at $5.99 per month, or  $56.99 per year. In 2020, Shudder extended its operations to Australia and New Zealand, where pricing differs. You can also sign up to Shudder via your Amazon Prime account. 

Shudder can be accessed via a full range of services including Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku, Xbox One and is compatible across Apple and PC computers, and Android and iOS phones and tablets. 

Price: $4.75/month

Free Trial: 7 days

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, iOS, Roku, Shareplay supported, Xbox

RetroCrush is a free streaming platform fully dedicated to vintage anime. If you're a hardcore fan in desperate search of a discontinued series, a 90s classic, or an obscure show that practically no one has heard of, chances are you'll find all of what you're looking for and more in this treasure trove of a platform. RetroCrush gives you access to a number of shows without charge, but if you want to stream even more titles ad-free, you can opt to sign up for a premium account that costs $4.99 a month, with a free 14-day-trial. 

Price: free for channels available

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, iOS, Roku, Website

Fandor is a paid subscription streaming service that curates independent, foreign, award-winning, and classic films, as well as documentaries from all over the world, making it a standout option for cinephiles. Depending on your location, it also offers a number of free movie titles. But Fandor doesn't only cater to fans; rookie directors also get some love as the service allows them to debut their work on the platform. It's a great option for film lovers and makers alike.

Price: $5.99/month

Free Trial: 14 days

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Roku

CuriosityStream is an American streaming services that focuses on documentary movies and shows and is available in more than 175 countries.

In the US, pricing starts at $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year for the basic plan, with an upgrade to the 4K Monthly plan available for $9.99 per month or $69.99 per year. 

CuriosityStream can be accessed via web browser as well as Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku, and has a mobile app that is compatible across Apple and PC computers, and Android and iOS phones and tablets. 

Price: $4.99/month

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, LG TV, Roku, Samsung TV, Xbox

With its curated lineup of over 100 hand-picked, top-quality independent films every month, Curia indulges viewers with seasonal and permanent film collections for only $3.99 a month. The service ensures an experience less reliant on the impersonal algorithm that has dominated the likes of Netflix, and more on the personal recommendation setup where friends and experts help you pick out the next best watch. Aside from thoughtful curations, signing up also gets you unlimited access to award-winning feature-length and short films from beloved festivals around the world, all in the comfort of your home. 

Price: $3.99/month

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, Roku, Website

Criterion Channel is a curated movie-streaming service that offers ad-free and on-demand access to films from The Criterion Collection in HD. It is currently only available in the US and Canada. The subscription costs $10.99 per month or $99.99 per year. Like Netflix, the Criterion Channel also offers a physical rental service. The number of movies you can rent each month, for a flat monthly rate, depends on how quickly you can return them. You don't need to subscribe to The Criterion Channel to buy or rent physical media on DVD and Blu-ray, but subscribers may get discounts.

Price: $10.99/month

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Apple TV, iOS, Roku, Samsung TV, Xbox

BroadwayHD is a streaming service that offers users the ability to watch live and recorded theater productions from the comfort of their own homes. The company was founded in 2015 by Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley, two Tony Award-winning producers, and is headquartered in New York City.

Price: $11.99/month

Free Trial: 7 days

Device availability: Website

Ready to cut the cord? Here are the 14 live TV streaming services that offer a free trial.

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The streaming services on this page were chosen by our editors. If you choose to subscribe to a streaming service we recommend as a result of our research, analysis, and curation, our work is sometimes (but not always) supported by an affiliate commission from the streaming service when you make a purchase.

That's all from us for the 10 Streaming Services That Do Things Differently!