How to watch
This colossal-budget show ($90 million for the first season alone) never caught a break. Somehow it didn’t make it to the big audience it deserved. It tells the grand story of Marco Polo the explorer, and the years he spent with the Mongols, going back forth in their ranks between prisoner and leader. It was during this crucial time for the empire that Kublai Khan had extended the reach of his empire even further than his more famous grandfather Genghis Khan. As you’d expect with a show featuring this many characters and such a new world, the first season is not as entertaining as could be, but the show becomes its full-self as a true epic in season 2.
Netflix is an ad-free streaming platform that operates on a monthly, or annual, subscription.
There are three pricing plans – Basic, Standard and Premium – and the one you choose will determine the number of devices that you can simultaneously use to watch Netflix, in case you want to share the account with someone else.
There are three plans, though pricing differs from region to region. First up is the Basic plan, which allows you to watch on one device at a time. Upgrading to the Standard plan allows you to watch shows and movies, and download them for offline viewing, on up to 2 different devices at a time. The top-tier Premium plan lets you watch and download on up to 4 different devices, and comes with the options to watch videos in HD and Ultra HD.
Once subscribed, you can watch movies and TV shows directly on your browser via Netflix.com.
You also have the option of downloading the app on pretty much any mobile device, including iOS, Android, or Windows. The app also works on computers using Windows XP or later and Macs with OS X Tiger or later.
You can buy nearly everything on Amazon, including movies and TV shows. Amazon’s video storefront (not to be confused with its on-demand streaming service Amazon Prime) allows you to either rent or buy thousands of titles, including new releases, blockbuster hits, niche indies, and international gems.
You’ll have to sign in using your Amazon account to start renting or purchasing, and Amazon allows you to redeem gift cards, promo codes, and points if you have them upon checkout. Like most video stores, Amazon gives you 30 days to start watching a rental and 48 hours to finish it, while unlimited access is granted to purchased titles. Lastly, you should know that a rented title is only viewable on one device, so sharing options will be limited.
Much like Tubi and Freevee, Crackle is a streaming service that offers hundreds of movies and TV shows for free. Some of the more considerable titles include network series like Shameless and Community, Hollywood hits like Mad Max: Fury Road, and small indies like Short Term 12. Granted, Crackle doesn’t nearly have as many to offer as its competitors, and the ads are relentless, but it’s still a worthy and penny-less alternative that fills in the gaps for any streaming needs you might have. It also plays on most major streaming devices, including gaming consoles PlayStation and Xbox.
FilmRise is a streaming app that’s partnered with the likes of MGM, Warner Bros., and ITV Studios to provide over 20,000 films and TV shows you can watch for free. It’s not immune to ads, but FilmRise more than makes up for those disruptions with its impressive selection of titles. On the film front, it has indie favorites, award-winning classics, and foreign gems, while on the TV front, it has murder mysteries (many imported from the UK), Gordon Ramsey-led competition shows, and oldies-but-goodies like The Dick Van Dyke Show, Roseanne, and the original 21 Jump Street. FilmRise isn’t available to stream directly on the website, but if you have a compatible device, you can download the app and start watching for free.
iTunes is one of the oldest media apps currently in use. While many people know it as a music player, iTunes has since evolved to offer digital movies and TV shows for rent or sale. The bigger and newer releases can cost up to $20 to purchase, but iTunes also has past hits, modern classics, award-winning pictures, and even local films you can rent for as low as $2. Purchased films and TV shows are available for as long as the studio allows them to be, but rentals are a different story. Once you’ve rented a particular title, you have up to 30 days to start watching it. And after you start watching it, you’ll then have 48 hours before it expires. iTunes comes pre-installed on Apple devices, but it’s also available on Windows PCs and Android Smart TVs.
Google Play Movies & TV, or simply Play, is a video-on-demand store that allows you to rent or purchase various films and TV shows online. A rental can cost as low as $1 (these are usually TV movies and old films) while purchases can cost up to $20 (these are often blockbusters that are fresh from theaters). Play lets you watch on most major streaming devices, but you have to remember to log in with the same account you used to purchase the titles. On your smartphone, you can access the titles via the Google TV or YouTube app, while on your smart TV, you can use access them via the Play, YouTube, or Movies Anywhere apps. You can also watch them via the Play website but do take note that Play doesn’t offer HD and 4k viewing on PCs.
Plex is a media management software that doubles as a free streaming service. Its main function is to organize your own library of content—that is, your own video, photo, or sound files—and make it streamable alongside Plex’s offerings of 200+ live TV channels and 50,000+ on-demand movies and shows. Plex’s basic package comes at no cost, but it also has a premium package starting at $4.99/month that boasts additional features, such as the ability to download content and watch them offline, among other things.
Vudu is an on-demand streaming service that allows users to rent or purchase more than 200,000 new releases. Founded in 2007, it’s one of the first companies to offer digital films in HD. Vudu’s main strength is its ease of access and jam-packed catalog of movies and TV shows, but it also boasts free content, which they run on ads. In 2020, media and ticketing firm Fandango acquired Vudu and merged both companies’ streamers into one. They decided to keep the Vudu name because of its large and loyal customer base.