57 channels and nothing on, alternative streaming in a COVID-19 world


Stream This.

As Lockdown lingers on ever longer some of us are running out of things to entertain ourselves with and there is still a need to stay indoors, Getintothis’ Andy Sunley might have the answer.

These are strange times.

We live in a world of COVID-19 social distancing measures and government-sanctioned closures of pubs, theatres and a depressingly long list of postponed and/or cancelled gigs and festivals.

Your permitted one walk a day can only last so long.

As a result, most of us are spending a greater portion of the day in front of our TV’s than we would have thought even a short time ago.

Or you know, spending our time on Continous Personal Development.

Or not, see below.

But even though we have a bewildering array of options when it comes to home entertainment it is easy to get stuck in a rut and lost in ever-decreasing menus.

Here then, are some options for streaming you may want to consider when you have finished binge-watching what the likes of Netflix, Amazon or Now TV have to offer.

Best of all, some of them are totally free!

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Association Relative à la Télévision Européenne (ARTE) is a French and German television provider that promotes a vast array of cultural and arts programming. Its programming is available online and there is an app available for most devices and Smart TV’s.

Whilst you will need to read subtitles to appreciate their documentaries (including the fantastic series of shorts entitled Tape) they have a fantastic selection of contemporary concert footage filmed at festivals and events they organise.

Currently available are sessions by The Kills, Alt-J, Anna Calvi, Johnny Marr, Iggy Pop and The Oh Sees.
Footage is refreshed every few months so it is well worth checking back regularly.

Best of all. It is 100% free!

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National Film Board Of Canada (Office national du film du Canada.)

National Film Board Of Canada

Since 1938 the NFB/ONF have been on a mission to “to produce and distribute and to promote the production and distribution of films designed to interpret Canada to Canadians and to other nations.”

Their app, available on many devices, contains gems that are well worth checking out. Highlights include Don Owen and Donald Britain’s 1965 film Ladies and Gentlemen… Mr Leonard Cohen which captures the legendary figure before he became a celebrated singer-songwriter and Michael Rubbo’s “metafilm” about Margret Atwood Once In August.

Wrestling fans will also enjoy Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows which depicts Brett “Hitman” Hearts departure from the WWF (now WWE) for its then main competitor World Championship Wrestling. A sequence of events that culminated in the now-infamous Montreal Screwjob

There is also a vast selection of feature-length and short fiction as well as award-winning animation.

All of it free.

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Not just any streaming service.

Every day a new quality movie is added and remain there for thirty days.

The idea is simple. You don’t get bewildered by a vast array of choice. Imagine your cool mate in college who could always tell you about a movie worth checking out. It’s that but as a streaming service.

Membership costs £9.99 a month or £95.88 a year.

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BFI Player.

The official app from the British Film Institute is available an Android, iOS and can also be added to your Apple TV Channels at a cost of £4.99 a month.

Currently on offer is the acclaimed Cornish drama Bait, Wim Wenders 1984 drama Paris Texas and Jean-Luc Godard’s 1968 Rolling Stones film Sympathy For The Devil.

BBC and Sight And Sound film critic Mark Kermode also handpicks and introduces a selection of works he considers important such as the 80’s gross-out body-horror Society, Derek Jarmans anarchic and controversial queer punk masterpiece Jubilee and 2008 documentary Man On Wire which chronicles Philippe Petit’s 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center.

Movies are searchable in categories and whilst there is more here than there is on Mubi the sheer volume is not overwhelming

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Arrow TV

Arrow TV.

The place to go for critically acclaimed foreign-language drama.

If you missed something on BBC Four, such as the original version of The Killing and The Bridge, Arrow TV has you covered. Also on offer is the Israeli series Prisoner Of War which influenced Homeland and the gritty French cop drama Braquo.

Arrow TV is available on various platforms for £4.99 a month.

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Arrow Video

Arrow Video.

From the same people as Arrow TV.

Arrow Video is concerned with cult, horror and sci-fi movies.

And it has quite a roster.

Many you will know of if from grainy worn-out VHS tapes such as Hellraiser, The Hills Have Eyes and House. However, there is also a library of more contemporary cult fare including Lords Of Chaos and 2018 Swedish dystopian sci-fi Aniara.

Arrow Video is available on various platforms for £4.99 a month.