I have a confession to make: I love movies. Unfortunately many of the movies I’m interested in seeing have questionable or downright unacceptable content from a Christian perspective. While I probably won’t be accused of being a prude, I have become more conscientious about what I allow into my (and my kids’) brain. That’s where VidAngel comes in with a handy solution: low cost filtered movies and TV shows. VidAngel‘s cost is so low, in fact, you may want to use their service even if you’re not interested in filtering.
VidAngel allows you to stream movies and TV with custom filters on several different platforms (Roku, AppleTV, Chromecast, Android, Smart TVs, and via the web). The custom filters allow you to remove language (cursing/profanity), sex/nudity/immodesty, violence/blood/gore, alcohol and drug use, and even the remove opening and closing credits.
Filters can be extensive and remove all levels of objectionable content, only remove the most extreme elements, somewhere in between, or apply no filtering at all. What is filtered is up to you. Here are the filter options for sex/nudity/immodesty, for instance:
Each of the lines in the image above is a filter which can be left on or turned off. The lines with a strike through (like “Implied Nudity”) are turned on, so that content will not be seen when the video is streamed. Turning a filter on or off is a simple as a mouse click. Filter settings can be saved as an account default which then filters all the movies you stream, or you can apply filters on a movie-by-movie basis.
Movies and TV episodes are $1.00 for SD or $2.00 for HD if watched within 24 hours. Admittedly VidAngel‘s purchase system felt a little fishy to me initially, but having done it many times now I’m completely comfortable with it. Apparently it isn’t legal for VidAngel to rent you a filtered movie. But there’s a loophole: once you own a movie you can do whatever you like with it, including having VidAngel stream a filtered version of the movie to you.
A “rental” from VidAngel consists of you buying the movie from them for $20.00, streaming your filtered movie within 24 hours, then selling back the movie to VidAngel for $19.00 if you watched the movie in SD or $18.00 if you watched it in HD. So streaming the filtered movie cost you either $1.00 for SD or $2.00 for HD. VidAngel includes the option to auto-sellback once you’ve finished the video which makes the sellback extremely easy. You can also skip the sellback altogether, keep the movie permanently in your account, and stream the filtered version whenever you like with no further charge (though I’ve never done this myself).
My family has streamed over 20 different movies from VidAngel over several months with virtually no issues. We primarily purchase and stream movies via Roku, though I’ve purchased and streamed them from web browser and beamed them to Chromecast as well. I can’t speak to their customer support as I’ve had no need to contact them about anything so far. Billing and sellback have always gone off without a hitch.
As for the edits made based on your filter settings, I’d rate them as quite good. They’re easily as good as edited for TV versions of movies, maybe better. When entire scenes are removed (for, say, sexual content)I’m typically not even aware it has happened. Language edits are not bleeps, but simply cut the sound so there is a moment of silence which is minimally intrusive.
Overall I can heartily recommend VidAngel to anyone who is interested in filtering language, sexual content, or other potentially objectionable material. And at $1.00 per movie for 24 hours VidAngel may be the most cost effective way to watch a movie you aren’t able to watch elsewhere (like Netflix) even if you don’t do any filtering at all.
Try out your first movie or TV show on VidAngel here.