With Popcornflix, the promise is that “no movie is more than two clicks away.”
For an on-demand streaming service that does not charge a subscription fee, that might be enough to get your attention. But in a market that has retail giants like Amazon (IMDb TV) and Walmart (Vudu) competing for market space, does the promise of free movies just a couple of clicks away do enough to attract users?
It certainly is worth finding out.
Table of Contents
- What Is Popcornflix?
- How to Watch Popcornflix
- Content Available on Popcornflix
- User Experience With Popcornflix
- Final Thoughts
Team Clark loves saving money, and free streaming services are a great way to get your entertainment fix on a budget. But not all free streaming services are created equal. In an effort to help you understand your options in the space, we are reviewing many of the popular options. Popcornflix is the next in that series.
For the purposes of this review, I installed the Popcornflix on my Android phone, iOS tablet and Roku streaming player. I also consumed the content through my laptop’s web browser. I have tested out each of these means of using Popcornflix, with the hope that my experience will help you decide if it is worth a try in your streaming life.
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 here:
What Is Popcornflix?
Popcornflix is a free on-demand streaming service that offers movies and TV episodes without the hassle of a monthly subscription. In exchange for the free content, Popcornflix inserts advertisements into the viewing experience.
It is a subsidiary of Screen Media Ventures, which is one of the “largest independent distributors of motion pictures to the world wide television market.”
How to Watch Popcornflix
Since there is no charge to watch the content on Popcornflix, the signup process is extremely simple (and even optional). The service is also available on a wide variety of platforms, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a way to consume it.
Sign Up Is Optional
You do not have to sign up for an account with Popcornflix in order to enjoy the free content. That means there is no need to share personal information like home address or a credit card number.
However, Popcornflix does offer the ability to create a personalized account on their platform. On the phone app you may be prompted to sign up for an account, but the option to skip the process is located in the top right corner of your screen.
Signing up for a free account requires providing an email address, but that’s pretty much it. You aren’t even prompted for your name. Signing up allows you to fine-tune your streaming experience, rate content and do some interactive things like creating GIFs based on what you’re viewing.
Devices and Apps
Streaming of Popcornflix is available on the following devices:
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android phones and tablets
- iOS phones and tablets
You can see the complete list of devices here.
Content Available to Stream on Popcornflix
If you’re looking for big-name new releases and original content that will be talked about over the water cooler at work, you’re likely to be disappointed by Popcornflix. It is not a realistic Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video or Disney+ alternative or replacement in that regard.
On the bright side, there is plenty of recognizable content that comes without the monthly bill of the aforementioned streaming services.
There are recognizable names attached to the content available on Popcornflix. From movies created by the likes of Martin Scorsese and Stephen King to films featuring Hollywood stars like Matt Damon, Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio, there is no shortage of A-list celebrities. However, the options are not necessarily the top performances from some of those stars and the content is a bit dated. This is a common give-and-take in the free streaming market.
Here’s a look at some of the movies available for free through Popcornflix at the time of this writing:
- What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
- Rules of Engagement
- Major League
- The Bad News Bears
- The Rainmaker
- Primal Fear
- Sweeney Todd
- The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Popular TV Series
I found the selection of television series to be a little underwhelming. Some of the top titles available — like Roseanne and Hell’s Kitchen — are also available on competing free streaming services. The catalog is dated and not very deep.
Here’s a sampling of the TV series available for streaming:
- 3rd Rock from the Sun
- Hell’s Kitchen
- Kitchen Nightmares
- Queer as Folk
- 21 Jump Street
- Inspector Gadget
- The Man Show
While Popcornflix does not offer a content category that is specifically produced for its platform, it does showcase a good number of independent films. It’s worth noting that the term “indie film” doesn’t necessary mean you won’t recognize some Hollywood actors in this category. Popcornflix is airing independent films that star Kristen Bell (The Lifeguard) and Maggie Gyllenhaal (Sherrybaby), for example.
In 2015, Popcornflix made a move to put an emphasis on streaming independent films when it acquired content from major foreign independent films producer Film Movement.
“The streaming revolution isn’t just about providing greater access to mega box office hits and standard Hollywood fare,” Popcornflix EVP David Fannon said at the time. “Viewers are also looking for new ways to view outstanding international cinema – wherever and whenever they want to watch. Popcornflix meets that demand, providing free access to intelligent, compelling titles online, on mobile or via gaming consoles, streaming devices and Smart TVs.”
Some independent projects you can find on Popcornflix today include:
- Silver Bullets
- The Lifeguard
- Buffalo Girls
- Silver Tongues
There is also an entire section of content dedicated to “Chicken Soup for the Soul” productions.
User Experience With Popcornflix
Now that you have a better idea of the type of free content that is available on Popcornflix, I want to go over the user experience.
How Bad Are the Ads?
Since the platform is free, expect Popcornflix to make up for it with frequent commercial breaks to generate advertising revenue.
I watched Major League, which is one of the service’s more popular movies and just shy of two hours long, via the Popcornflix Roku app to better understand the user’s advertisement experience. It was a mixed bag.
After a single introductory advertisement before the movie began, I was able to watch more than 20 minutes of the film without interruption. That was nice. However, as you can see from the screenshot above, I was then fed a steady diet of commercial breaks for the duration of the film. All total, I faced 10 ad breaks watching the movie.
On the Roku device, it took the app several seconds to load a commercial break. I counted roughly 15 seconds of delay in a few instances. While that may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, it is an added annoyance and time-waster during the mandatory commercial experience.
There were usually five ads to a break, with total time away from the show ranging between two and three minutes.
I encountered some interactive ads along the way, including this one from Beats by Dre that included a photo of a Roku-specific remote with options to scroll to view different colors in the company’s headphones collection.
Overall, the advertisement process for Popcornflix felt a little more cumbersome than that of competitors like Tubi TV.
Part of Popcornflix’s pitch to users is that they are never more than two clicks away from content, and they deliver on that promise. The phone and streaming device apps offer a “straight to the content” approach upon loading the home screen.
The web browser version of Popcornflix is also very straightforward.
At the top of the screen, you’re able to toggle between movies, TV shows and viral videos. From there, content is broken down into categories like “New Arrivals,” “Most Popular,” “Action,” “Drama,” etc. Through it all, there is a search bar in the top right corner of the screen that will allow a quick check to see if your desired content is offered by the service.
Tips for Enjoying Popcornflix
Has some of the available content caught your attention? Here are some tips for enjoying it on Popcornflix:
- Get your Indie on: Popcornflix makes a concerted effort to feature independent films and that may be the best thing about it. You can take advantage of that and try something you’ve never seen (or heard of) before.
- Download the app: While you’re able to watch content on your computer or TV with Popcornflix, I found that the phone app watching experience was clean, clear and efficient. It definitely can be an on-the-go option for travel entertainment.
Final Thoughts on Popcornflix
Still trying to decide whether or not you should add Popcornflix to your streaming portfolio? Here are some pros and cons to think over:
Popcornflix: Pros and Cons
|FREE!||Dated movies and TV catalog|
|Signup process is optional||Selection of TV series is weak|
|Healthy independent film category||Commercial interruptions|
Bottom Line: Though clearly an on-demand streaming service, Popcornflix is likely to remind you of a more traditional television viewing experience. With frequent commercials and somewhat dated content, it does not stand out against peers like Tubi TV or Vudu. That said, when the price is free and the catalog is extensive, there is really no downside to adding this product to the mix if your goal is to eliminate a cable or streaming bill altogether.
Do you have experience watching the Popcornflix streaming service? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!