12/20/2016 12:21 EST | Updated 12/21/2017 00:12 EST

Video streaming alternatives you might not know about

Finding what you're looking for on Netflix, CraveTV and Amazon Prime Video isn't always so easy, despite thousands of titles spanning almost every genre.

So having a few extra alternatives certainly doesn't hurt.

Over the past few years, a number of other streaming services have quietly joined the Canadian market.

And while many have operated with little fanfare, that doesn't necessarily mean they aren't worth a look.

Here are a few lesser-known video streaming services where you might discover a hidden gem:


Name: TubiTV

What: Hosting an extensive selection of older Hollywood hits and low-budget titles — many of them from the libraries of MGM and Paramount — this service is a fond reminder of the days when you perused the aisles of your local Blockbuster Video. Updated regularly, the standouts include Robert DeNiro's action hit "Ronin," Russell Crowe's "Gladiator" and a whole bunch of old Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson flicks. Bonus points for a section labelled "Not on Netflix," and subcategories like "Chinese TV" and "So Much Korean Drama."

Price: Free with a few commercial breaks.

Where to watch: Pretty much every streaming gateway is supported, including apps for mobile devices running Apple and Google operating systems, as well as Xbox game systems, Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast.


Name: Hoopla

What: This portal for films, TV shows, music, ebooks and comic books stands apart because it's available only through your public library. Users can access a broad and diverse selection of films, including brand new titles like Woody Allen's "Cafe Society" and Barack and Michelle Obama drama "Southside With You." For the kids, most of the old live-action Disney favourites like "Flight of the Navigator" and "The Love Bug" are also available. Titles are regularly updated and can be downloaded for offline playback.

Price: Free with an active library card. Check with your local branch to see if they support the service.

Where: Mobile phones using Apple and Google operating systems, Apple TV and Chromecast.


Name: Crackle

What: Launched nearly 10 years ago to give another life to older films owned by Sony Entertainment, the streaming service has come into its own with original series like Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" and thriller "Chosen." Those play alongside seasons of "Dawson's Creek" and "Community," and Hollywood flicks like "Snakes on a Plane" and "Stand By Me." The downside is Crackle's selection is limited.

Price: Free with frequent commercial breaks.

Where: Most Sony devices support Crackle, including its PlayStation 3 and 4 consoles and many Blu-ray players. There are also apps for mobile phones using Apple and Google operating systems, some smart TVs, as well as Xbox systems, Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast.


Name: TMN Go

What: Companion to pay-TV channel The Movie Network, this is where many new Hollywood movies, fresh series from HBO Canada and older classics airing on TMN Encore can be accessed online. HBO hits like "Westworld" and "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" are exclusively posted here almost immediately after they air on television. Many new Canadian movies like Deepa Mehta's "Beeba Boys" and David Cronenberg's "Map to the Stars" also grab space on the service that's updated almost daily.

Price: Only available with a subscription to the The Movie Network TV channel, which varies in price by cable provider.

Where: Mobile phones using Apple, Google and Windows operating systems. Samsung smart TVs and Blu-ray players, Xbox consoles and Chromecast.


Names: Mubi/Shudder/

What: Niche streaming services are vying for audiences by curating selections of film and TV series often unavailable elsewhere. World cinema supporter Mubi helped pioneer the concept with its selection of 30 hand-picked films offered on a rotating basis each month. Others like horror cinema hub Shudder, British TV champion, and anime service Crunchyroll are picking up the slack from big streaming competitors that prefer to chase broader audiences.

Price: Starts as low as $4.99 a month for Shudder and Many others are similarly priced.

Where: Most services support devices on the Apple and Google platforms, Roku and Xbox consoles, as well as Apple TV and Chromecast.


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