In a streaming TV marketplace flooded with costly subscription options, Amazon is trying something different with Freevee.
Freevee, which formerly was known as IMDb TV, is a free streaming service that launched in April 2022. The refreshed service contains a content mix of classic TV shows and movies with a promise of a growing original content library to come.
Sounds great, but how does it stand up against well-established free streaming services such as Pluto TV, The Roku Channel and Tubi? I decided to review this service for Team Clark to help you decide whether Freevee is worth your time.
Table of Contents
- What Is Amazon Freevee?
- How To Watch Freevee
- Content Available on Freevee
- User Experience for Freevee
- Final Thoughts
ABOUT THIS REVIEW: Team Clark loves the word “free,” especially when it involves legally streaming TV shows and movies. We decided to check out the Freevee service and see if it’s something Clark.com users might enjoy.
For the purposes of this review, I signed up for the service and downloaded the necessary components to watch it on my phone, tablet, television, streaming devices and computer. I then took a “test drive” of the service on all of those devices. I came away with some interesting notes to share.
This review is one of many we conducted as a part of our free streaming TV series. You can learn more about our strategies for getting free streaming TV below.
What Is Amazon Freevee?
Amazon Freevee is a free streaming service that offers on-demand movies and TV shows, live streaming channels and a small collection of original content. This service is ad-supported. Yes, there are commercials.
It was originally created in 2019 as a service dubbed IMDb TV before undergoing a brand refresh in 2022.
Freevee is not to be confused with Amazon’s Prime Video service. Prime Video is a video on-demand service that comes with an Amazon Prime subscription. Prime subscriptions cost $139 per year, but you can subscribe to Prime Video as a standalone product for $8.99 per month.
Instead, Freevee is Amazon’s attempt to infiltrate the growing area of the streaming market that requires no monthly subscription fee. Some popular competitors in this ad-supported space are Pluto TV and Tubi TV.
You’ll find that the content on Freevee is not as “premium” as what you’d find on Prime Video or its competitors like Netflix or Disney+, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a useful service.
How To Watch Freevee
After originally requiring that users sign up to use IMDb TV, you’ll be happy to know that signing up for a free account with Freevee is optional.
You can consume the content without giving out any personal information.
But it’s worth noting that signing up for a free account with your email address will allow you to mark favorites, track progress on shows and resume from a spot in a show if you have to leave mid-episode.
Devices and Apps
You’ll be able to watch Freevee from your phone, tablet, television, computer or most any other streaming device.
Here’s are some of the devices that should have Freevee available for free download:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Amazon Fire TV sticks
- Android phone or tablet
- Apple iOS phone or tablet
- Roku streaming devices
- Google TV devices
- Android TV devices
- PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5
- Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S
- LG smart TVs
- Samsung smart TVs
Content Available on Freevee
You can actually find a pretty broad variety of content on Freevee. I would categorize it into four different types of content: on-demand movies, on-demand TV shows, new series exclusive to Freevee and live streaming channels.
The content library is not as deep or as impressive as what you might find on a paid service such as Netflix or Hulu, but there are most likely some actors, series and movies that you’ve heard of on this service. Some of them may not be the latest editions, but that’s a trade-off for not paying a monthly subscription.
Oh, and like many other free services, the content menu changes often. So if you see something you like, you would be best served to watch it quickly.
Popular TV Shows
Popular television series available to stream in March 2023 include:
- Mad Men
- All in the Family
- Step By Step
- Deal or No Deal
- Burn Notice
- White Collar
- The X Files
- Night Court
The Middle, Schitt’s Creek, Malcolm in the Middle and Gilligan’s Island are some TV shows that previously were available on the service.
Popular movies that were available to stream at the time of this review include:
- News of the World
- Kindergarten Cop
- The King of Staten Island
- The Post
- The Invisible Man
- Fast Times At Ridgemont High
- Two for the Money
- Think like a Man
- Smokey and the Bandit
Films such as The Shining, La La Land, Diehard and Apocalypse Now have previously been featured on the service.
Amazon, which recently acquired MGM Studios, has stated that it will increase its focus on creating content for the Freevee service in the near future. This is an exciting development for budget-conscious consumers who are growing weary of the dated catalogs offered by many of the free streaming options.
“Over the past two years, we have seen tremendous growth for our AVOD [advertising-based video on demand] service and are committed to bringing our audiences premium, free-to-consumer content,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios. “We’re looking forward to building on this momentum with an increasing slate of inventive and broadly appealing Originals, and are excited to establish Freevee as the premier AVOD service with content audiences crave.”
Here’s a look at some of the original content titles already available on Freevee:
- Judy Justice (starring Judge Judy)
- Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Story
- Pretty Hard Cases
- Play-Doh Squished
- Leverage: Redemption
- Alex Rider
- Uninterrupted’s Top Class
- Bug Out
- Moment of Truth
- Bosch: Legacy
In addition to the movies, TV shows and original series available to stream on demand, Freevee also features livestreaming channels.
These are not actual networks that you might find on a live TV streaming service, like ESPN or TBS. They’re themed channels that feature certain types of programming with intermittent commercial breaks; they might remind you of watching a traditional cable service.
Here are a few examples of the themed channels you can find:
- Game Show Central
- This Old House Channel
- Hell’s Kitchen + Kitchen Nightmares
- The Design Network
- The Bob Ross Channel
- BBC Food
- True Crime Now
- Fear Factor
User Experience on Freevee
Now that you know what content you can find on the service, I want to give you a better idea of what the user experience is like. Let’s talk about the advertisements you’ll endure, the user interface and some tips for Freevee consumption.
How Bad Are the Ads?
The commercial breaks were an improvement over what I previously experienced when the service was called IMDb TV.
On IMDb TV, it wasn’t unusual to have to sit through 90-second breaks several times within one program. I’m happy to report that my usage of Freevee was a much better experience.
For the purposes of this review, I sampled the ads for a TV show episode and a full-length movie.
During the movie, I found that I was subjected to a mere 100 seconds of commercial breaks for a film that lasted one hour and 35 minutes. That’s fantastic!
Here’s a breakdown of how that played out while watching Napoleon Dynamite:
|Advertisements During Napoleon Dynamite||Length|
|Pre-movie quick hit||10 seconds|
|Commercial break #1 (Geico)||30 seconds|
|Comercial break #2 (Nationwide)||45 seconds|
|Commercial break #3 (Local commercial)||15 seconds|
And the good news is that you always knew where you stand with the ads on Freevee.
You can find them marked on the progress bar for your movie, and when it’s time for the ads, there’s a timer in the top left corner of the screen to let you know how much time is left in the break.
Here are a couple of screengrabs to show you what I mean:
Next, I tested the ads on a traditional half-hour sitcom.
The episode of Step By Step I watched ran 23 minutes. I encountered 75 seconds worth of commercials (10 seconds at the beginning and 65 seconds during one commercial break).
That’s not as easy to take as the ads during the movie I watched, but it’s still quite good compared to what you’d experience watching an old sitcom on a traditional cable network.
Tips for Enjoying Freevee
Have some of the content options caught your attention? Here are some tips for enjoying it on Freevee.
- Sign up for an account for a more immersive experience: As I mentioned earlier in the article, you don’t have to sign up for an account to enjoy Freevee, but doing so may be worth your while. You’ll have a chance to customize your experience by tagging favorites, rating shows and movies, saving your progress and receiving recommendations for new shows based on your streaming history.
- Save the password on your device: If you’re planning to use the app as your primary source of streaming for Freevee, I suggest saving your password. I tried not doing that and was then asked to log in to my account most times I re-opened the app.
- Rate movies and shows after viewing: Though the IMDb TV branding is gone, you still get access to the IMDb ratings for movies and shows as part of the streaming service’s interface. The fun part of streaming content with ties to a site known for its reviews and ratings is that you get to be an active participant in the process. There is no better time to rate a show or movie than when it’s fresh on your mind. The integration makes it easy to be a contributor.
Final Thoughts on Freevee
Are you still trying to decide whether or not you should add Freevee to your streaming portfolio? Here are some pros and cons to think over.
Freevee: Pros and Cons
|FREE!||Not many new release movies or shows|
|Award-winning movies on the menu||Live streaming channels leave something to be desired|
|More original content is in production||The original content menu is still relatively small|
If you’ve used IMDb TV before, you’ll find that the early version of Freevee is extremely similar. While the development of original content from Amazon gives Freevee the potential to become one of the top freebies on the market, I don’t think it’s quite there yet.
It reminds me of watching a non-premium, antenna-based television network — but with the luxury of being able to watch on demand and take it on the go with several devices.
If you’re looking for a Netflix substitute, you’re likely to be disappointed. If you’re looking for a free way to enjoy some quality content, I don’t think you can go wrong.
Do you have experience watching the Freevee streaming service? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the Clark.com Community!