Going to the theatres and watching movies on the silver screen will perhaps never become antiquated by virtue of its unmatchable experience. That said, convenience is now more of a necessity and less of a boon. Not every movie is worth watching at the cinemas and most of us lead exceedingly busy lives to even find time to do so. For this reason, hordes of companies such as Netflix and Hulu have made it possible for us to stream and even download movies/TV series from the comfort of our homes. Few of them have also invested in producing their own shows and have achieved staggering levels of popularity and acclamation from viewers.
However, majority of these services cater to the general mass featuring highly-rated movies, latest flicks, and syndicated shows in their library. What about the niche audience who expect a little uniqueness in terms of content? What about those who love a little treat entailing documentaries or independent films every once in a while? Well, here’s presenting SnagFilms!
A Brief Background –
Founded in 2008 by Ted Leonsis, SnagFilms was created with the motive of ruling the independent movie and docudrama industry into the spotlight. Basically, it is an ad-supported service where users can stream all of the content free of cost, over a number of devices as long as they are connected to a steady internet.
The platform encourages filmmakers to submit their work (whether documentaries or independent films) while also featuring tons of top rated content sourced from networks like National Geographic. SnagFilms has collaborated with IMDB and YouTube to serve as exhibitors of their content.
You maybe surprised to know that the company has achieved several awards including the “Best iPad App” by Gizmodo, “Top Site” by OVGuide, and “50 Best Websites for Moviemakers” by Moviemaker Magazine. It has also been declared as one of the most rapidly growing tech enterprises in Washington DC.
What Can You Watch on Snagfilms?
SnagFilms has a relatively small library of movies and shows compared to its contenders. As of today, there are about 5,000 titles available for your viewing. However, majority of the content is of great quality with barely any fillers. Furthermore, SnagFilms adds new content on a monthly basis.
Aside from the mind-boggling documentaries and rarely found movies, you’ll also find other content such as foreign films, anime, classics, biographies, cult movies, and comedy specials. These movies and shows are thoughtfully curated under interesting genres such as “Politics”, “Sports”, “Art and Culture”, “Faith and Spirituality”, “Drama”, “Classic Movies”, “Kids & Family”, “Award Winning”, “Festival Favorites”, “LGBT”, “Latino”, “African movies”, “Thrillers”, and “History”. Some of the most recommended titles on SnagFilms are “Nanking”, “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”, “Jesus Camp”, “Crazy Love”, “We’re Not Broke”, and “Underground”.
One thing that you may notice on the platform is that there’s no category hinging on popularity. SnagFilms recommends content based on your viewing history and preferences as opposed to pushing titles that have been liked by others whose taste may differ from your own.
Where Can You Watch?
In spite of being a free service, the company has made strides to develop an app for a broad range of gadgets including iOS and Android devices, Roku, Windows 8, select Sony and Panasonic Smart TVs, Amazon Kindle, Apple TV, and Xbox 360. You can also enjoy SnagFilms on the web using your laptops or desktops. However, there’s a catch. Sadly, the content may vary from one platform to another. Meaning, a title that’s available on your iOS phone may not be seen on another platform and vice-versa.
How is the Interface?
In our experience, the SnagFilms interface and design is one of the best amongst the free streaming services. There was absolutely no problem accessing the app on any of the devices mentioned above. Also, the layout and user interface was almost uniform throughout. Even their website is quite snappy to use with little to no buffering problems. But here’s a heads up: if you try to fast-forward a movie while watching them in the highest quality, you might get an error after which you’ll need to refresh the page and watch the movie from the beginning. This can be a tad bit annoying for some!
On the home-page, you’ll see large-sized sliders of the latest additions with an option to play them from there itself. On the top, there are two main tabs namely “Movies” and “Shows”. As you scroll down, there are thumbnails of movies arranged under categories like “Human Rights”, “Youth and Education”, “Justice”, “Finally Summertime”, Climate Change”, etc. When you click on a certain genre/category, you’ll see that the titles are further divided into useful sub-genres like “Teenagers”, “Road Trips”, and “Family Friendly” under Comedy for example. There’s also a search bar located on the top right corner so if you already know what to watch, you can simply skip the browsing process and key in the title. Overall, the interface is clutter-free and extremely simple to use.
You can register yourself using either your Twitter, Google, or Facebook account. Although it’s not mandatory, we’d advise you to do it since SnagFilms suggests movies and shows based on your viewing history. Moreover, it also enables users to add titles to the queue in order to watch them later.
Streaming Player and Video Quality:
The streaming player for SnagFilms’ website is different from that on the app. Therefore, there could be slight differences in terms of function. On the web, you can change the video quality manually, increase/decrease the volume, fast-forward or rewind, and enter/exit the full-screen mode. On the app, you cannot change the video quality and it will adjust automatically depending upon your Internet speed which is quite fair to be honest.
Speaking of video quality, SnagFilms offers majority of the titles in either 720p or 1080p, that’s very good quality. Other free services don’t even come close with regards to this aspect. However, if your internet connection is poor, it might pull the quality down to 480p (lowest resolution on SnagFilms), which is still watchable.
The only drawback in our opinion is that slow internet speeds may cause buffering issues if the video quality is set to HD. However, this can be resolved by setting the quality to 480p (still not bad). Honestly, a weak internet connection is our problem more than a glitch in their service.
SnagFilms is a brilliant service for people who love to stream unique content without paying a dime. The platform is a pleasure to use and is compatible with most of the devices. As long as you’re okay with being interrupted by short commercials (and mind you, SnagFilms plays very few ads compared to other services), you’re good. Love documentaries and indie movies? Look no further!