Making the Most of the Streaming Services.

Film Now that the country is entering lock down and London is starting to resemble the opening episode of Doctor Who's Invasion of the Dinosaurs, it's becoming mighty clear that we're all going to be clinging to our usual comfortainment which probably includes films. 

Plenty of us are subscribed to one or two streaming services and I've been wondering just how widespread some of the "hacks" I've picked up over the years are.  So I thought I'd put them up here just in case.  Note the following is with the UK in mind but there tend to be versions of these things abroad too.

Here's everything off the top of my head right now.  If there's anything else, expect a series of follow-up posts.

Just Watch

Just Watch is a search engine for streaming services so that you can find out where a film is available and at what price or if it's on a subscription service. 

The site is available worldwide and covers all of the major and some of the minor services including Netflix, Amazon, NowTV, iPlayer (and the other terrestrials), Disney+ and Mubi.  Here's the page for When Harry Met Sally.

But you can also filter by service which means you can get a preview of what's available before signing up.  Here's Disney+.  Here's Shudder.  There are similar services available, but I've found Just Watch to be the most user friendly.

New On ...

Streaming services are tragically bobbins at letting its users know what films have been added to their catalogue each day.  Netflix has added a preview area but that doesn't over everything.

Thanks be to @maft who has worked some magic on various API and produced websites and Twitter feeds which update daily with the whatever has been added to Amazon Prime, Netflix and NowTV.

Here's a link to the Netflix page.

Here is a link to NowTV.

Amazon Prime's a different basin of sea monkeys.  Unlike other services as well as licensed material it also allows some user uploads, so a lot of rubbish is added each day.  Maft has coded around that to get rid of most of the shite, but has created two pages just in case.

The gold should be here.

The junk should be here.

But as you can see, depending on how the material is added to Amazon's database it could end up on either of them.  Of the three, Amazon's is always the more interesting with some really oddball documentaries and archival material.

Finally, you can also look at the various services by year.  The 1993 page on Netflix is incredible.

Vodzilla

Vodzilla's coming soon pages offer a preview of what's due to be uploaded the following month on the main services.  Sometimes its a bit threadbare and doesn't cover everything, but it's a useful indicator in case there's something which you have on your dvd-by-post list and would prefer to stream instead.

MUBI

When it's working, MUBI has a live stream page which runs the films which are currently in their catalogue randomly throughout the day, if you're in the mood to experiment.  There isn't a schedule so you may end up watching something which is half way through though.

If you're staff or student at a university or college, you can also get MUBI for free.

Visit https://mubi.com/filmstudent or https://mubi.com/filmteacher, enter your details and you should get an account with a four or five year expiry date.

Film Films From Reputable Sources

Bookmark those genre pages, guys.  All of these also have apps on most if not all streaming sticks and smart TVs.

BBC iPlayer - this page sorts the items with latest broadcasts first, most of which are available for between a week or month.  Scroll further down and there's a few Sony Pictures films from the turn of the century which have a much longer expiry period, should you want to revisit the AJ Tomb Raiders.

All4 - generally stuff which has been recently broadcast which can include material which hasn't received a UK theatrical release.

My5 - an unmitigated shitshow to be honest with, thanks to tie-up with PlutoTV some full blooded theatrical releases mixed with TV movies and other dross.  Incredibly this currently include's Hal Hartley's Fay Grimm, which is so rare, it's barely seen the outside of the film festival circuit.

Google Play - A bit empty at the moment, but worth keeping an eye on.

BFI Player - a massive collection of archival material from the BFI, far too much to even consider describing here, from silents, shorts to feature films.  Most of it has to be searched but you could keep an eye on the collection pages.  Here's one for musicals.  This Google search provides a haphazard list of the others.

National Film Board of Canada - see above but from the Canadian film industry.  The website has recently updated and is much more user friendly.  Does include plenty of feature films, but some are only available in Canada.

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