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Hi everyone, as usual we hope you are doing great and have had a wonderful week. Over here in the south of Spain things have been pretty good. The weather is back to normal and sunny again. We averaged around 18 degrees which allowed us to enjoy the ministry more and even eat outside on our patio.
Earlier this week we sent out an email to those of you that subscribe to our mailing list. Every once in a while we send out emails that talk about things that we may have discovered or found interesting. The email that we sent out earlier this week talked about a new movie streaming site that we discovered called VidAngel. At that point we had just discovered the service and were signed up but we hadn’t watched any movies. That changed on Friday night. In this post we’ll give you our review of VidAngel and share with you our experience using it.
Why Watch Movies Online?
For those of you that already use services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Video you are familiar with how online movie streaming services work. In case you aren’t for some reason it goes like this. Basically you pay either a monthly, yearly or one-time fee (per movie) for the service and then you watch what you want. The three previous companies mentioned all have their pros and cons. Netflix has a great library and is super convenient. Hulu has a lot of TV series and Amazon Video has unique content as well as stuff that you can’t find elsewhere. We’ve tried all of these services both here in Spain and back in the United States.
One thing that you quickly realize when you move abroad is that the rest of the world does not get access to the same content when it comes to online movie services. For example, even though Netflix is officially available here in Spain the selection is not as great due to licensing issues. Many of the shows that we like from the States are not available. To get around this we have used VPN software to access the content that we like. The same is the case for Amazon Video which isn’t even available in Spain at all and Hulu which is notoriously difficult to access abroad. All of this takes time and is kind of annoying to be honest. The great thing about VidAngel is that there are no licensing issues. So basically no matter where you live you will be able to access the same content without using any special software. This is a big plus for us!
What Exactly is VidAngel?
OK, OK, that’s great and all but what exactly is VidAngel? It is a website that provides movies and TV shows for you to watch. But here is why VidAngel is different from all of the other companies. They let you filter or edit the content that you don’t want to see. On their About Us page they state the following: “VidAngel’s mission is to ensure families everywhere have the option to filter content as they wish.” So what does this actually mean? Well maybe you remember when you were a kid watching a movie on TV. When you watch a movie on TV the content is edited so that it is appropriate for all audiences. VidAngel works in a similar way except they don’t have commercials every two seconds like those movies on TV did. The difference is that you control what is edited instead of a big network corporation. So you can choose what to edit out and what to leave in. The four categories that you can edit are: Language; Sex/Nudity/Immodesty; Violence/Blood/Gore; and Alcohol or Drug Use. Within these categories you can get even more specific on what you filter out or you can just edit out the entire category. Pretty cool huh?
Is this service actually real? Yes, it is. I didn’t believe it either when I first stumbled upon it. But it actually exists. You might be wondering, who would even use such a service. Well, you’d be surprised at the market that exists for people looking for clean entertainment. These could be families with children or people that don’t want to be exposed to many of the negative things that are found in todays entertainment. So how does it actually work? How do they remove the content?
They use what they call filters to edit out or remove the content that you don’t want to see. The filters you choose are skipped or muted while you watch your movie just as though you were using a high-tech remote. It’s exactly like when you were watching movies on TV as a kid. The great thing about when content is skipped over is that you don’t even know that you are missing anything because you don’t see it. When language is filtered out you often aren’t aware of it because the background noise will still be present so the movie continues to play and you may not even realize that a filter was bing used.
So let’s talk about the advantages of a service like VidAngel. The first and most obvious is that you can watch your favorite movies and shows edited. It’s really frustrating when you are watching a great movie and then out of nowhere they choose to use profanity. That may be the only occurrence in the whole movie as well. Well with VidAngel you can remove that instance of profanity. This allows you to just sit back and enjoy the story and movie.
Another advantage of the service is the convenience. You can rent a movie in a few clicks and start playing it right after you add your filters. It’s super easy and fast! They have a pretty good selection of movies to choose from including many new releases. They even have all of the old Star Wars films as well as the new one that came out recently. You can even watch a version of Star Wars with Jar Jar Binks edited out! They also have a lot of movies that Netflix doesn’t have since they are not bound by the same licensing restrictions.
Another big advantage is the lack of needing to use a VPN for those who are located in different parts of the world. This is great for us as it simplifies the whole process and saves us time. Another thing that we like is that there is no recurring monthly bill but rather you only pay for what you watch. This is good if you only watch movies occasionally and then maybe go for a month or two without watching anything. Let me explain how the billing actually works. So the service advertises that you pay $1 for each movie. This is for one night. If you want high definition then it is $2. The way that they are able to apply the filters is that you have to own the movie. This allows them to modify the content since it is your property. To accomplish this you pay $20 to get your first movie. After you are done watching it you “sell it back” to VidAngel for $19. The movie ends up costing $1. The $19 that you receive from selling back the movie is now credit that you have in your VidAngel account. Now when you are ready to rent another movie you will have a $19 credit and since the movie is $20 before selling it back then you would pay $1 to get the new movie and you would just repeat the process. Just view the initial rental kind of like putting a $20 deposit down. You can have your VidAngel credit transferred back to your original form or payment whenever you want or if you close your account. In order to sell a movie back all you have to do is click on the “Sell Back” button. OK, are you still with me? Whew! It seems complicated but once you do it it’s easy to understand.
Like any service there will be some disadvantages. The one that comes to mind with VidAngel is that the selection of TV shows is not very large. There is a way for you to request specific shows and movies through your account. Once twenty people request something then they will add it to the library. Another disadvantage could be that you pay for each night of your rental. This is similar to Red Box in the States. To me though this really isn’t that big of a deal because you normally rent a movie on the night that your going to watch it. So you’ll only end up paying for one night anyways. If you want to actually purchase the movie for good then you could theoretically just pay the $20 and never sell it back and then you could keep the movie forever.
So on Friday night we rented a movie called Brooklyn. Here’s how our experience went. Throughout the week we added a bunch of movies to our watch list. On Friday we choose Brooklyn to test out the service. It’s good to remember that up until now we hadn’t needed a credit card or any billing information. We were able to sign up quickly with our Google+ login. Another cool thing about many of the movies is that you can watch trailers for them while your browsing. After selecting Brooklyn to watch we were asked for our billing information. After a few seconds our movie was then ready to watch. We were able to hit play from our laptop which was connected to our TV and we didn’t have any problems. For those of you that have Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV or want to use their Android or IoS device you can to watch the movies.
Brooklyn is the story of a young girl named Eilis who immigrates to New York from Ireland in the 1950’s. Her story is likely typical of many who immigrated in their quest to adapt to a new culture and life. The movie had some profanity from what we saw in the filters. So we choose to filter out all of it. They even have filters set up so that you can filter out people smoking cigarettes if you wanted to. It gets pretty detailed. We watched the movie on the Opera browser and this was actually a mistake. We noticed that the sound and video weren’t synced and we at first thought that it was because of the service. After finishing the movie we read through the FAQ’s and saw that they recommend using Google Chrome. We tried restarting the movie for a few minutes with Chrome to see if it would make a difference. Once the movie started playing it was clear that everything worked as it should and there was no longer any delay between the speech and video. So we were happy to see that the problem was due to our browser and not the service. We enjoyed the movie and after it was over we talked about how we liked the service. It was pretty cool to have watched the entire movie and to not have been exposed to any bad language or other undesirable material. We were able to just enjoy the plot and get into the movie without having to worry about what someone might say or some scene showing something inappropriate. It was pretty refreshing.
So what can we say about VidAngel at the end of this review? If you are someone that enjoys watching movies at home but finds it difficult to find good movies to watch without any objectionable content then VidAngel could be for you. We found it easy to sign up and even easier to start watching movies. We’ve added a bunch of movies to our watch list and we look forward to watching another one next weekend. They have a good amount of new movies as well as old classics and movies that you wouldn’t expect. Their TV series selection is not the greatest but if your willing to get over that then you’ll have plenty to watch with the movies alone. Perhaps if you must have your TV shows then VidAngel could be a good companion to Netflix. Would we recommend the service? From what we’ve experienced so far, yes we would. We hope that this company is around for a long time and continues to grow and provide alternatives for those of us who don’t want to just accept whatever this world deems as entertainment. We hope you found this review helpful and give VidAngel a try today. Maybe you just might like it as much as we do!