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In the wild world of video streaming, not all websites are created equal. FMovies is one of the best streaming sites I’ve ever come across on the web.
Created in 2016, FMovies has been a destination for cinema freaks and the attracted bitterness from the film industry and governments. In their short time on the internet, FMovies has been banned in Sweden, Australia, and India. Lucky for me, the US has only called the site notorious and one of the top piracy sites – but they have not ban FMovies.
And assuming nothing changes, it will be one of my favorite streaming sites for movies and TV shows.
A Simple Design with Useful Features
The design of the site is simple. When you land on the homepage, you can search for a video or navigate the menu bar. You can check out videos by genre, country, type (movie or show), new release, and most-watched.
If you’re just browsing, you’ll likely pick Movies or TV-Series from the menu to browse a library. What you’ll immediately notice is the highest available video quality is displayed right on the video’s image. This is extremely helpful in picking through the library.
Just yesterday, I was looking for a movie to watch. On the first page, there is a major Hollywood movie that was released in theaters five days ago. To be fair, it is the poorest quality on the site (‘cam’), but it shows you how quickly FMovies puts up new content.
Personally, I wait until big Hollywood productions are released in HD before I’ll stream them. But if I want to watch the latest episode of Rick and Morty, I don’t mind 720p. It’s all personal preference.
Thankfully, FMovies has an excellent filter. You can search by video type, quality, subtitles, release dates, and even by country. Check out what others are watching with most viewed or check out IMDB recommendations. I’ve used sites in the past that generate random lists that do not reflect the most-watched videos or IMDB recommendations – but FMovies seems to have this figured out.
If you search by IMDB score in the ‘Movies’ section, you’ll get a list full of classics that are some of the best movies rated by IMDB. A feat that sounds simple, but enough other streaming sites mess this up, so it’s worth mentioning that FMovies does this well.
Another fantastic design feature is the description box that pops up when you hover over a title. This is another small design choice that seems simple but is very useful. If you mouse over a title FMovies will show you the release date, IMDB score, run time, video quality, a short synopsis, and cast info.
Overall the user experience of FMovies is seamless on desktop and mobile devices. If you’ve navigated any other library on the internet, this one will feel familiar and easy to use.
Keeping the Lights On
Advertising is the backbone of free content on the internet. If you’re not paying to keep the servers running, someone else is. So anytime I use a streaming site, I take advertisements with a grain of salt.
On my desktop, I have AdBlock, so I rarely ever see an ad. However, some streaming sites embed advertisements on videos themselves. FMovies is not one of those sites.
In fact, if you’re using either of their main servers, there are no advertainments on the videos themselves at all. This is a bold move for such a massive website. I imagine their light bill is expensive, but they’ve found a way to keep the doors open with minimal interruptions for their visitors.
However, on mobile, there are advertisements.
Again, my tolerance for advertisements is higher on free streaming sites. But the ads on FMovies doesn’t hit the threshold for me to care. On my desktop, I don’t even have a ‘blocked-popup’ notice. And on mobile, the ads are unobtrusive and easily avoidable.
When I was checking out TV-Shows on the site, I had two small advertisements that took up 1/3 of my screen, and I was able to scroll right past. When I found a show to watch, I clicked the episode and got one popup that I was able to click out of before it was able to load, and I was right back to the video player.
It’s not often that websites strike a balance between advertisements and value-provided. But FMovies nailed it.
Play on, Player
Ok, I’m done with pun-y section names. But FMovies has one seriously impressive video player.
Not only do videos load quickly, but FMovies’ player lets you choose how to watch.
Personally, I have a Chromecast for the living room TV – which is where I prefer to watch movies. Chromecast has an awesome feature that lets you connect a chrome browser window to the TV.
There are two ways this can work. Either it can transmit data from your computer to the TV, or it can sync the TV to the source of the video for faster loading. FMovies has built-in Chromecast functionality so your load times are faster, and there is little to no buffering.
They also have a built-in autoplay feature that will play the next video in the series’ library. So, if for some crazy reason Netflix doesn’t carry The Office, you can still binge-watch it for the 67th time without hitting ‘next’ after every episode.
And that’s not all. FMovies put two cherries on top.
The first awesome little feature for their player is the ability to ‘turn lights on/off.’ This darkens everything on the website except for the video player. I love this feature when I’m watching a movie from my laptop late at night.
The second awesome feature is the watchlist. If you make a free account with FMovies, you can build a watchlist. This isn’t unique to FMovies. Watchlists are usually found on premium sites, not free streaming sites.
A Website That Listens
Ok, not literally. But just like a wedding DJ, FMovies takes requests.
The form is simple enough. If you searched the FMovies library and couldn’t find what you’re looking for, just click ‘Request’ on the menu bar. A popup will appear that asks for your email, the movie name, and any details to help them find it (a link to IMDB is what they want, not your vague memory of a movie you can’t find).
Personally, I haven’t tried to use this feature, so I’m not sure how quickly they respond to requests. But I don’t know of any other streaming site that has this option.
Dorm Inspection by Sgt. TooPicky (Site Suggestions)
There isn’t much to fault this site for. They have a huge library with a wide range of titles in HD. All for free.
But since I’m trying to bite the hand that feeds my movie-nights, here are two suggestions I have for the site.
First, the menu has an ‘A-Z List’ that gave me a 503 error. This doesn’t affect the quality of the site since you can view the entire Movies or TV-Shows directory that have a collective 1078 pages of videos.
Second, the homepage does not have a full filter option. Instead, you can see suggestions like recommended, hot this week, hot this month, and most favorited. But, you’re unable to filter by the video quality. This is the only page I’ve found on the website that doesn’t take advantage of the fill set of filters. Implementing this would be a quick boost to the site’s ease-of-use.
Other than that, I haven’t run into anything on the site that would scare me off.
All in All
FMovies is one of the best free streaming sites I’ve used.
It’s rare to have a free website that really pays attention to small details. Usually, you get the feeling these streaming sites are preoccupied putting out fires. But FMovies feels like the high-end boutique of free streaming sites.
The user experience is intuitive and thoughtful; the design is natural, and the technology is quick.
I haven’t run into a movie or show that needed to buffer for more than 20 seconds. And I haven’t been interrupted in the middle of a film to continue loading (so far).
Best of all, FMovies is a brand, not a website. Governments have tried to get FMovies taken down. But just like Pirate Bay, you can take down one address, but a clone of the site pops up the next day. All you need to do is Google the latest web address.
And the most important criteria of them all is the friend test.
Would I recommend this site to a friend if they needed to find a movie to watch?
Yes, I would. And I would do it confidently.