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When the Stream Runs Dry: Some Family-Friendly Alternatives to Major Streaming Services

You’re getting fed up with streaming services. Netflix is looking at increasing its prices and adding advertisements after its subscription numbers fell. Disney+ continues to push in directions that make many families uncomfortable. Perhaps you simply can’t afford to keep paying for all the different subscription services and are looking for some cheaper alternatives, or you just want to see what other options are out there.

Well, you’re in luck. Though the names HBO Max, Paramount+, Apple TV+ and Prime Video may dominate the screen along with the previously mentioned streaming services, plenty of other lesser-known streaming services cater to parents, families and biblically minded adults. We can’t catalog all of these streaming services in this space, but we’ve compiled a list of some of them below, each with their own distinct focus:

Name: Pure Flix

Price: $5.84 per month (billed yearly) or $7.99 per month (billed monthly)

Estimated Catalogue Size: 1,200+ movies and TV shows (as of early 2021)

Catalogue Content: Primarily movies rated PG-13 and below

General Focus: Christians, Families, Education

You may or may not have first heard of Pure Flix for distributing the 2014 movie God’s Not Dead, and it is arguably the most well-known streamer on this list. Within its library, parents won’t find any movies that sport ratings harsher than PG-13, and the company notes that it takes “great care in previewing and selecting content so that … it is free of violence, sex, and language surprises.” (Still, if you see something in the Pure Flix catalog that interests you, never hurts to check the Plugged In review.) In addition, the streamer’s more mature flicks have helpful cautions and parental controls for viewers to use and heed. Though Pure Flix, like many on this list, likely won’t have too many blockbuster movies in its repertoire, it does contain all types of categorical content—including romance, action, comedy, documentaries and musicals. In addition, Pure Flix provides many educational and biographical movies for both children and adults—including a homeschool curriculum.

Name: Minno

Price: $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually

Estimated Catalogue Size: Over 2,200 episodes from more than 120 shows

Catalogue Content: Primarily Bible-centric children’s shows

General Focus: Christian Children

For those looking for a streaming service specifically for children, Minno provides a good option. The site offers Christian-themed shows for children to enjoy, including Angel Wars, What’s in the Bible and “the largest selection of” VeggieTales. Minno’s name is based on the Greek verb “to abide,” and the company references John 15:4 as its foundational point. Each title on the streaming service must pass a “32-point checklist.” To Minno, it’s not enough to be just “Christian content”: It wants to ensure that their content is also “theologically appropriate” as well (as Minno CEO Erick Goss told The Baptist Messenger). In addition, the company has a blog and store that provide resources for parents to use to help their children grow in and better understand their faith.

Name: Crackle

Price: Free (with advertisements)

Estimated Catalogue Size: Over 80 shows and 500 movies

Catalogue Content: Classics, Christian, Action and more

General Focus: Viewers on a budget

For those interested in new streaming services but aren’t quite ready to switch to a service that has few-to-no blockbuster flicks, Crackle may be an option to consider. Many of its options, both classic and modern, will be immediately recognizable, such as Bonanza, Sherlock and Snowpiercer. Granted, of all of the streaming services on this list, Crackle has the most content concerns, and parents will want to make sure they queue up the selection rather than allowing young children to sift through the website: (Many of the service’s movies and shows have potential content concerns, such as All Quiet on the Western Front, American Conjuring and Dunkirk.) However, if parents sign up for a free account, they’ll gain access to parental controls that’ll allow them to set a PIN code for the service. However, what makes Crackle particularly unique from other streaming services that have free options (such as Hulu) is its healthy amount of Christian movies and TV shows within its dedicated Christian menu bar, including The Chosen, the Bible Collection series and The Case for Christ (2001). While not all of the options available on Crackle will be appropriate for the family, many of its choices will fit right into family movie night.

Name: RedeemTV

Price: Free (no advertisements, supported by donations)

Estimated Catalogue Size: Over 1,500 movies and shows

Catalogue Content: Christian, Documentaries, History and more

General Focus: Christians of all ages

RedeemTV focuses on providing a large quantity of Christian or otherwise clean content for people of all ages. In particular, the site has a large quantity of documentaries and historical dives related to Biblical people and themes. The service also has a small section of its films available in Spanish. Furthermore, because RedeemTV is funded via donations, viewers won’t need to wait through any advertisements. Donors who give either $25 or sign up for monthly donations of $5 or more will gain special access to new releases before non-donors. RedeemTV also provides two interesting features for its users: Forums and Bible Studies. Forums allow users to chat about RedeemTV content or related thoughts with moderators who oversee the forum posts. Bible Studies provides episodic selections on a large variety of topics for small groups to watch, including series on books of the Bible, the Reformation and even a documentary on the differences between Mormonism and biblical Christianity.

Name: Sight & Sound TV

Price: Pay-what-you want special events, Pay-per-view at $10, Season Pass at $89.99

Estimated Catalogue Size: Eight full-length musicals, various behind-the-scenes clips

Catalogue Content: Bible stories made into musicals

General Focus: Christians of all ages, Musical theatre lovers

With physical locations in Branson, Missouri, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Sight & Sound Theatre brings the stories of many people in the Bible to musical life using large set pieces, special effects and even live animals. So far, these massive productions have focused on the stories of Ruth, Jonah, Noah, Samson, Moses, Joseph, Queen Esther and, of course, Jesus (and David will soon join this collection as well). The Theatre’s TV counterpart contains these performances as well as additional clips of the animal actors and behind-the-scenes work. For those interested by the premise but daunted by the price tag, Sight & Sound TV also offers “First Friday Special Events,” in which, on the first Friday of each month, viewers may pay whatever they want to watch a streamed showing of one of its selected musicals (for instance, Sight & Sound’s “Queen Esther” will be available for this special event on Friday, June 3rd).

As stated above, this list is not extensive. Plenty of other streaming options exist for those looking for helpful alternatives, including UP Faith & Family, Yippee and Gazebo TV, among others. What streaming service would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

Kennedy Unthank

Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics. He thinks the ending of Lost “wasn’t that bad.”

7 Responses

  1. -One streaming service that I’m a little surprised you didn’t mention is Yippee. It’s a Christian streaming service that houses brand new VeggieTales, original VeggieTales, Superbook, as well as their original movie and series Hero Academy. I think it’s about 7.99 a month, (when you pay for it monthly,) and $49 a year.

  2. -Another free service that I occasionally use is called Tubi TV. It’s ad-supported and has a number of genres to choose from, though their Christian content is low.

  3. -I had no idea Sight and Sound had their own TV. We own several of their dvd’s. The shows hey put on are amazing!

    1. -According to a google search it’s Queen Ester at Sight and Sound Theatre 2020. I wondered too. 😉