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IMDb TV (US)

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imdb.com/tv

For those of us who do not want to (or simply cannot) pay for premium quality streaming services, I have some good news: there are many more options out there for us to choose from than you may initially think. When you hear the phrase ‘free movie streaming site,’ what do you picture? Maybe some sketchy website that looks like it is infested with malware and is certainly riddled with invasive advertisements? Am I close? Well, today, I hope to broaden your list of free streaming options, thanks to a relatively newer free streaming service from 2 trusted and recognizable brands.

The first trusted brand name behind today’s free movie and TV streaming site is, of course, IMDb. For years now, IMDb has become one of the primary authorities when it comes to movie and TV series ratings. In fact, a movie or show’s IMDb rating is frequently used to signal whether a movie or show is even worth watching at all. Maybe you have heard or said something like this before, ‘Nah, let’s not watch that one … it has a 4.5 on IMDb, can you believe it?’

Having become such an authority in the world of film and television, then, it only makes sense that IMDb would want a piece of the streaming service pie. When your company is as successful as IMDb has been over the last 2 decades, why stop at simply offering movie reviews and trailers? Why not begin making your own content and licensing some of the movies that you already have in your nearly comprehensive database of movies and TV shows? IMDb TV feels almost like an inevitability, if you ask me, one that. I am happy to say, has resulted in one of the best free streaming sites on the web.

The other key player behind IMDb TV is none other than the parent company, Amazon. Of course, Amazon is no stranger to the media game either, with its massive and critically acclaimed Prime Video service catering both to premium streaming fans and Amazon users who prefer to rent and purchase titles individually. Amazon, too, has become renowned for its original content creation – a skill that is has begun feeding into IMDb TV, expanding Amazon’s grip over the film and TV industry.

IMDb TV, though, is still a relatively young streaming service. So, even though there are a few high-quality IMDb original shows in its library, the site still has plenty of room to grow. Nonetheless, this is an excellent free TV and movie streaming site that everybody should know about – I have a feeling that it will become a much bigger player in the streaming space over the next few years.

History

As I just said, IMDb TV is almost a brand-new streaming imprint. Launched as a free and ad-supported streaming channel on IMDb in January of 2019. When it first dropped, it was known as IMDb Freedive. Not only could users access this Video On Demand service via IMDb’s official website, but the channel also became available for Amazon Prime Video subscribers as well (at no additional cost). It also became available on Amazon Fire devices immediately upon launch.

It wasn’t until June 17th, 2019 that IMDb announced that it would be rebranding its Freedive service to the much more simplified moniker, IMDb TV. Along with this pivotal rebrand, however, the streaming service also announced that it would be tripling its library. Upon signing impressive content licensing deals with Warner Brothers, MGM Studios, and Sony Pictures Entertainment, viewers would have access to hundreds of new classic and popular movie choices.

In February of 2020, Amazon made an announcement that signaled that it was prepared to further invest in IMDb TV’s original content. The IMDb TV content team was official to be integrated into Amazon Studios. The goal was to develop new content alongside new IMDb TV content creation leadership. Critics of IMDb TV’s lack of original content should begin to see this concern become lifted soon.

Design

Frankly, I think that IMDb TV could do a significantly better job with their site design. I mean, it isn’t unusable … not by any means. But does it come off as a streaming service that, ultimately, is backed by the richest man in the history of the world (Jeff Bezos). No, it does not.

The layout is simple. It emulates the classic Netflix and Hulu design, sections that are separated by genre or category, each with its own side-scrolling browsing mechanism. Where I take issue with IMDb TV’s design, though, is in its lack of immersion. I don’t feel as if I am browsing movies and TV shows on a legitimate streaming site. It feels more as if the streaming site is something of a popup on the IMDb site. This could be due to its highly centralized layout. The site does not take advantage of the full page, instead of consolidating everything into a centered box – a decision that I certainly do not understand.

Furthermore, I would have liked to have seen more streamlined integration between IMDb and IMDb TV. Sure, you can see the IMDb ratings of each title and some basic credit info. However, why not utilize Amazon’s own patented X-Ray feature, taking advantage of this rich database that can be viewed while you watch a free movie or TV show? This seems, to me, like a missed opportunity.

If you do want to see the full page of IMDb info, you have to basically jump ship and redirect to the usual IMDb website. IMDb TV feels too much like it is a separate website while not taking full advantage of IMDb’s other strengths, I don’t think. I would like to see more streamlining and integration as IMDb TV grows and evolves over the coming years.

Content and Features

IMDb TV offers both original and syndicated programming. Although the free streaming site hasn’t made quite as big of a splash with its original content as of yet, much of its focus seems to be on providing some harder to find and highly sought-after licensed movies and TV shows.

As far as the original content is concerned, a notable reboot came to IMDb TV: the 2008 crime drama show, Leverage was IMDb TV’s first original series. Another big move for the service was when it announced that it would be releasing the popular Canadian cartoon, Corner Gas Animated as its own branded series. IMDb TV has also acquired the rights to Sony’s YA espionage series, Alex Rider, which premiered in November of 2020. There has also been a rumor that Amazon Studios and IMDb TV would handle that successor to Judge Judy once the court show ends production in 2021.

As far as popular third-party shows and movies go, fans of NBC’s Chicago Fire will be happy to know that IMDb TV has begun streaming the show. Also, all 5 seasons of Friday Night Lights are available to stream for free. In February of 2020, IMDb TV also announced that it would be gaining the rights to 20+ Disney movies (through its Direct to Consumer and International divisions).

Some of the bigger titles that you can stream for free on IMDb TV include several Star Trek movies and the entirety of the wildly popular AMC series Mad Men. There are, of course, hundreds of other free movies and TV shows streaming here as well. I recommend heading over to IMDbtv.com and checking out the full list for yourself!

Mobile and Desktop Experience

Unfortunately, IMDb TV does not have its own mobile app as of yet. You can, of course, access all content via the Prime Video apps, which exist for just about every device there is. As long as you don’t mind accessing IMDb TV’s content as a Prime Video channel, you won’t have any mobile issues with this free streaming site. However, it is a bit of a letdown that there isn’t a dedicated IMDb TV app of its own (or an IMDb TV component to the original IMDb app).

Suggestions that I have for IMDb TV

I would like to see IMDb TV leave the nest of its parent company, so to speak. I would like to see IMDb TV become more independent, offering users its own app for example. Secondly, IMDb TV should seriously consider ways in which it can become more integrated with the IMDb database. I expect a streamlined and unprecedentedly information-driven viewing experience from a streaming site run by none other than IMDb.

Likes & Hates:
Hundreds of free movies and TV shows
Free HD streaming
Ads are fair and not too invasive
No app
Not integrated with IMDb movie database as much as it could be
Would like a premium option to get rid of ads