The Criterion Channel review: Product, price and features

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An exclusive collection of Hollywood blockbusters and Indie shorts at your fingertips — but you can forget about catching any live TV.

The Criterion Channel offers a collection of classic and contemporary movies that most other streaming services don’t. While the Criterion Channel offers an extensive collection of movies, you won’t be able to watch TV shows or live events.


Service typeOn-demand streaming
Free trial14 days
Pricing starts at$10.99
Lock-in contractNo

Pros and cons


  • Exclusive collections. Curated selections specifically designed for the Criterion brand.
  • Longer free-trial period. You get to enjoy 14-days of free streaming rather than the usual 7-days.
  • 1,000+ films. With a streaming library filled with obscure titles, waiting to be filtered through.


  • Limited content. No TV shows or live content is available for you to watch.

What features does the Criterion Channel offer?

The Criterion Channel offers insights and underground information that big-time streaming services like Hulu and Netflix don’t because their access is restricted.

Director profiles

Among the gems that the Criterion Channel offers, director profiles, commentary and behind-the-scenes footage is included. Enjoy tidbits from big-name directors like Guillermo del Toro, Mira Nair and Barry Jenkins as they discuss their experiences in the film industry.

Paused subscriptions

The Criterion Channel allows you to pause your subscription at any time. Keep in mind that when you resume your subscription, you’ll be charged once the pause period ends.

Monthly film school

In addition to exclusive offerings of the most prized movies in the industry, the Criterion Channel offers a 15-minute-a-month film school. Although the Criterion Channel website doesn’t specify what the school includes, the film collections alone have proven helpful to a lot of Redditors who currently subscribe.


While the Criterion Channel does its best to provide English subtitles for every foreign film it adds to its collection, it doesn’t provide subtitles in any other language. When it obtains the rights to a film, it’s specific to the original language or the English version.

What devices are compatible with Criterion Channel?

Despite the Criterion Channel being compatible with various mobile devices and desktops, it currently supports only a handful of smart TV browsers.

How much does the Criterion Channel cost?

Monthly$10.99 a month
  • Streaming library of 1,000+ films
  • Special features
  • Access to the newsletter
Annual$99.99 a year
  • Streaming library of 1,000+ films
  • Special features
  • Access to the newsletter

Sign up for an annual subscription and you will receive a discount of around 30%.

Free trial
Before you commit to a subscription with the Criterion Channel, you get a 14-day free trial to test it out, which you can cancel at any time without penalty.
Once you agree to a 14-day free trial, a $1 authorization hold will be placed on the bank account you sign up with. After a few days, the $1 will be credited back to you.

What can I watch with the Criterion Channel?

With the Criterion Channel, you have the ability to dive into a treasure chest of the most eclectic movie collections, director spotlights and shorts, including:

  • That Obscure Object of Desire
  • Westworld
  • Zazie dans le Métro
  • Directed by Maren Ade
  • Tunes of Glory

If some of these titles don’t sound familiar, that’s half of the point — the Criterion Channel is made up of little-known gems from the film industry.

What Internet speeds does the Criterion Channel recommend?

The Criterion Channel recommends an Internet speed of at least 5Mbps. It also recommends a wired-connection as opposed to Wi-Fi to ensure uninterrupted viewing.

Compare streaming services

Name Product Service type Pricing starts at Free trial 4K or UHD Number of devices Simultaneous streams
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7 days
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If you’re looking to learn more about other streaming services, you can check out our Internet TV page and find the right service for you.

Frequently asked questions


Review by

Alex Shea was a tech and telco writer for Finder.

Expert review

Based on the raves from current subscribers on Reddit, the Criterion Channel is a movie lover’s fantasy. For $10.99 a month, you have access to an exclusive repertoire of movies, archived footage and spotlights specifically curated for this streaming service.

Those who will most benefit from the broad film selection and unique special features that Criterion Channel offers are die-hard movie fans with eclectic tastes. Otherwise, check out other streaming options that better fit your viewing preferences.

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