6 Best Streaming Services Without Algorithms

For some viewers, the joy of watching on a streaming service like Netflix is that it does the difficult work of deciding what to watch for you. Powered by an algorithm, the service typically suggests TV shows and movies you can queue next based on your expressed preference and previous watches, saving you time and effort along the way. Convenient, right? 

Sure. But on the other hand, there are just as many viewers who prefer making that decision all on their own, regardless of how time-consuming it can get. Renowned director Martin Scorsese famously denounced algorithm-based recommendations, claiming that "they take away from your creative viewing." A friend's good-natured suggestion can likewise be obsolete if we're just to trust the tech a hundred percent. 

On a more simplistic level, an algorithm can also mess up your homepage once another person uses your account or you accidentally give a thumbs-up to a title you don't like; it can mistake others' actions for yours, offering you stuff you don't actually care for. 

If you're looking to be more proactive about what you watch, or would rather your recommendations have the human touch, here are some of the best streaming services without algorithms you need to check out. These services are known to have carefully selected their picks, making sure you get an intentional and tasteful curation experience.

Our recommended five best streaming services without algorithms:
Max $9.99 Watch
Mubi $10.99 Watch
Arrow Player $4.99 Watch
Night Flight Plus $4.99 Watch
Curia $3.99 Watch
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Formerly HBO Max, Max is a subscription-based on-demand platform that is only available in the US. New subscribers can choose from three monthly tiers ranging from $10 (with ads) to $15 (no ads) to $20 (no ads, plus more concurrent streams, downloads, and 4K streaming). An annual subscription option is also available.

When you subscribe, you'll get HBO’s world-class exclusives, such as The Wire and Game of Thrones but Max also functions as a bundle: you'll get content from Discovery, DC, Criterion Collection, Looney Tunes, Studio Ghibli, Turner Classic Movies, and Crunchyroll. And as of September 2023, you will also get a live stream of CNN.

Most mobile devices that can stream video support Max, although there is yet no app for Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices.

Price: $9.99/month

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, PlayStation, Roku, Samsung TV, Xbox

Features: 4k-compatible, ad-supported option, annual subscription, Dolby Atmos, kid profiles, likely to work with a VPN, multiple profiles, offline downloads, on-demand content, parental controls, picture in picture, spatial audio, up to three concurrent streams

Mubi is a movie-streaming service featuring a curated selection of 30 movies on a daily rotation, as well as a large library of movies from previous rotations. The subscription costs $10.99 per month or $95.88 for an annual subscription. If you just want to browse the database before paying up front, you can sign up for a free account for access. Mubi has a Now Showing section, with the newest entries to the library on a given day (the library is updated daily), and a Library section featuring a back-catalog of other highlights and previously “showing” movies. You may see a section called 'Live' for live broadcasts once in a while. Aside from the options to stream via web browser, Mubi also has mobile apps for Android and iOS, media streaming devices (Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Roku), and you can subscribe to Mubi as a Prime Video channel. While Mubi is not available on the Xbox One, you can access the service on a PlayStation 4 console.

Price: $10.99/month

Free Trial: 30 days

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, LG TV, Roku, Samsung TV

Features: 5 device log-ins, annual subscription, likely to work with a VPN, on-demand content, up to two concurrent streams

If you lived through the '80s, you may have heard of Night Flight, the nighttime cable channel that aired punk rock music videos, low-budget monster flicks, psychedelic documentaries, and adult cartoons, among many others. It went under at the turn of the '90s but has recently returned to join the streaming wars, seemingly bigger and better than ever. As a subscription-based streaming service, Night Flight Plus gives you access to classic gems, plus new content from partner studio companies. It's basically a time capsule with extra room for all the new niche movies it could've aired during its prime. If you're looking for carefully curated nostalgic picks, Night Flight Plus is a great choice to consider.

Price: $4.99/month

Free Trial: 7 days

Device availability: Amazon FireTV, Apple TV, Roku, Website

Features: annual subscription, on-demand content, unlimited simultaneous streams

With its curated lineup of over 100 hand-picked, top-quality independent films every month, Curia indulges viewers with seasonal and permanent film collections for only $3.99 a month. The service ensures an experience less reliant on the impersonal algorithm that has dominated the likes of Netflix, and more on the personal recommendation setup where friends and experts help you pick out the next best watch. Aside from thoughtful curations, signing up also gets you unlimited access to award-winning feature-length and short films from beloved festivals around the world, all in the comfort of your home. 

Price: $3.99/month

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, Roku, Website

Features: on-demand content, trial

Criterion Channel is a curated movie-streaming service that offers ad-free and on-demand access to films from The Criterion Collection in HD. It is currently only available in the US and Canada. The subscription costs $10.99 per month or $99.99 per year. Like Netflix, the Criterion Channel also offers a physical rental service. The number of movies you can rent each month, for a flat monthly rate, depends on how quickly you can return them. You don't need to subscribe to The Criterion Channel to buy or rent physical media on DVD and Blu-ray, but subscribers may get discounts.

Price: $10.99/month

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Apple TV, iOS, Roku, Samsung TV, Xbox

Features: annual subscription, likely to work with a VPN, on-demand content, up to three concurrent streams

Arrow is a streaming service for cult cinema, with a particular focus on horror and classics. If you love niche films and hidden gems, then this is for you. You'll also appreciate Arrow Player if you're into hand-picked content as it boasts a highly curated and carefully refined selection of titles. 

Quentin Tarantino has recommended the service a few times!

Price: $4.99/month

Free Trial: 30 days

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Samsung Smart TV, Xbox One

Features: 4k-compatible, annual subscription, likely to work with a VPN, offline downloads, on-demand content, up to three concurrent streams

Ready to cut the cord? Here are the 14 live TV streaming services that offer a free trial.

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The streaming services on this page were chosen by our editors. If you choose to subscribe to a streaming service we recommend as a result of our research, analysis, and curation, our work is sometimes (but not always) supported by an affiliate commission from the streaming service when you make a purchase.

That's all from us for the 9 Best Streaming Services Without Algorithms!