8 Underrated Streaming Services to Satiate Your Viewing Appetite

6 minute read

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+: these are the streaming services that everyone knows. They’re like the modern-day equivalent of basic cable channels—they reach the biggest audience and have the most-watched shows. But just like basic cable channels don’t always have the best shows, the best streaming content isn’t necessarily on these platforms.

There are a number of underrated streaming services that punch way above their weight when it comes to the library of content they offer. You may not be familiar with the names of these platforms, but you’ll surely know some of the shows and movies they offer. You might be surprised how often you find yourself heading over to these eight hidden gems instead of platforms with more name recognition.

Apple TV+

Apple might be a big name in tech, but it’s still building its credibility in the streaming wars. A lot of people have Apple TV+ and don’t even realize it, since Apple offers free access with the purchase of new Apple devices. Whether you have a free trial you can cash in or are willing to pay $4.99 per month to give this service a try, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find. Shows like the comedy hit Ted Lasso and the stunning psychological thriller Severance live up to the hype, but it’s Apple’s extended library of content including Best Picture winner CODA that will keep you entertained.

Criterion Channel

If you’re a cinephile, you’ve certainly heard of the Criterion Collection, an effort to preserve and highlight some of the most important films in history. The Criterion Channel is your opportunity to access all the company’s great work to keep the love of cinema alive. With access to nearly 3,000 classic films, from pieces of American filmography history to modern marvels, the library is full of meaningful offerings. Plus, you’ll get curated recommendations from top filmmakers so you can see what inspires them. For $10.99/month, it’s a great option if you love the art of filmmaking and great movies.

Read More: The Best Original Shows on Disney+—And the Worst


Sometimes the best finds on streaming platforms are documentaries and educational programming. Now imagine a service with nothing but that. CuriosityStream is a streaming platform for the lifelong learners. A subscription starts at $19.99 per year, which offers access to a library of thousands of feature-length documentaries and ongoing series on any number of topics likely to pique your interest. With exclusives from big names including Stephen Hawking and David Attenborough, it’s packed with familiar voices sharing new experiences.

Sign up for More to the Story, TIME’s weekly entertainment newsletter, to get the context you need for the pop culture you love.


Love a good fright? Looking for more things that go bump in the night? Shudder has you covered. This is a streaming service for folks who don’t shy away from the creepy crawlies. While you might be able to find mainstream horror flicks on most popular streaming services, Shudder is for the deep cuts. True fans of terror-inducing content will appreciate the top-notch curation that the Shudder team offers, with genre- and theme-specific collections that help you discover old classics and new favorites. For under $6 per month, it’s a scary-good deal.


A canopy is a large covering, like a tent. It’s fitting, then, that Kanopy is the big tent of the streaming world. It offers a sizable library of more than 30,000 movies and pulls from many different sources. You’ll find award winners from the Criterion Collection, classics from movie giant Paramount, documentaries from HBO, and much more. The best part: Kanopy is completely free in many areas if you have a library card or university email address. It’s hard to go wrong for that price, and Kanopy more than lives up to expectations.

Read More: Welcome to the Era of Unapologetic Bad Taste

Tubi TV

Ads make the world go ‘round. They make Tubi TV go, too, but you might be willing to forgive this streaming platform for exposing you to the occasional advertisement considering the solid library of content you get in return. Tubi TV taps into the offerings a of number of major studios—including MGM, Paramount, and Lionsgate—to cobble together a library of more than 40,000 titles that you can watch for free. That includes classics like American History X, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Fifth Element, and plenty of others.


Do you have a hard time choosing something to watch? No one could blame you given the sheer volume of content available nowadays. Mubi makes the task much easier. The platform is built around a community of film lovers and provides curated content to spark conversation. On top of an on-demand library, Mubi ($10.99/month) offers a “Film of the Day” option that pulls from the world of independent and international cinema. Once you’ve watched the selected flick, you can talk about it with Mubi’s extensive community. It’s like having Letterboxd built right into your streaming platform.

Read More: The 10 Best TV Shows of 2022 So Far

Pluto TV

Some streaming platforms, like Hulu, have been dipping their toes into live programming, offering access to popular cable TV channels in addition to on-demand libraries. Pluto TV is a great alternative for this, and the price is right: free. The platform isn’t quite live: it taps the library of popular networks such as MTV, Food Network, and Fox Sports to create streaming content that you can jump into any time. You’ll even get specific channels dedicated to the James Bond films or Dr. Who. Jump in any time, just like you might while channel surfing. It’s what cable TV would be like if your favorite shows were always on.

Sign up for More to the Story, TIME’s weekly entertainment newsletter, to get the context you need for the pop culture you love.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com