What is Kanopy?
If you’re a student or a member of your local library, you may have heard of Kanopy. With thousands of libraries and universities signed up to the free streaming service, it’s grown in numbers over the years.
And it’s no wonder. Major companies like Paramount, PBS, and HBO Documentaries have made a number of their movies, shows, and documentaries available for free on Kanopy, giving people a chance to soak up some culture without having to spend a thing.
While you’ll find plenty of blockbusters in the service’s catalog, you’ll also find a substantial number of independent productions. In fact, smaller names are what Kanopy prefers to focus on. From insightful real-life stories to foreign titles and classic cinema, there are literally thousands of titles to choose from.
To access everything, all you need is a library card from an eligible library and the relevant password. Students and staff at participating universities can also access the service.
Keep reading for a full Kanopy review, including recommendations of what to watch and important features.
Kanopy plans and pricing
Kanopy is 100% free to all users, so you don’t need to worry about monthly fees. Here are a few other things the service has to offer:
|Number of titles||30,000+|
Kanopy supported devices
Thankfully, watching Kanopy content is easy. It’s available on a wide range of phones, tablets, and web browsers, including Android and iOS devices and smart TVs. Here’s the full list:
- Amazon Fire tablets
- Amazon Fire TVs
- Android devices
- Android TVs
- Apple TVs
- Google Chromecast
- iOS devices
- Samsung TVs
- Web browsers
Note that some features are only accessible via the Kanopy website.
What to watch on Kanopy
The home page of Kanopy’s catalog is split into four easy-to-understand categories:
- Popular Movies
- Popular Documentaries
- Popular World Cinema
- New to Kanopy
Mainstream shows and movies don’t make up a huge part of Kanopy’s library. But you can catch award-winning dramas and gripping thrillers such as Lady Bird, Get Out, BlacKkKlansman, and Boyhood. Documentary-wise, expect to find plenty of classic hits, like Titicut Follies, The Red Pill, and The Great White Hoax.
The ability to learn something new is central to Kanopy’s appeal. So when you’ve exhausted the documentary section, head straight to the World Cinema line-up. There, you’ll find foreign masterpieces that’ll not only teach you about the world, but will also put you on the path to learning a new language.
Kanopy even has an entire section dedicated to inspiring and informing kids. The wide range of animated shows, storybooks, and movies teach young ones about topics like history and science. But they also help kids pick up social and emotional skills to use in the real world. Much of the content is designed for children aged two to eight with several big names, such as Sesame Street and Arthur.
Most of Kanopy’s dashboard features are only available on web browsers. There, you can take a look at your viewing history, your playlists, and comments you’ve left. But all platforms support the watchlist feature, so no one will have to spend hours searching for that one movie they really wanted to see.
Again, education plays a big part. Titles offer closed captions and full transcripts, along with the option to create clips. Ideal for students, the clips feature lets users make annotations to show off to the rest of the class. Plus, you can put together playlists of clips or entire movies and share them with friends, family, or colleagues.
You can also leave comments about Kanopy movies for other users to read. The service even lets you help others decide if a movie is worth watching by leaving star ratings. Right now, this feature is only available via the website. (But Kanopy has promised that mobile support is on the way.)
When it comes to kids and Kanopy, parents are in luck. They can quickly set up parental controls to keep children in the Kanopy Kids space and stop them from wandering into more mature content.
Arguably though, one of Kanopy’s best features is the fact it has no ads. So you can kick back and relax without having to sit through a single commercial.
The final cut
Whether you’re a parent looking to provide your child with some wholesome educational content or a person thinking about exploring foreign cinema, Kanopy probably has something you’ll enjoy.
Of course, how much you’re able to watch each month depends on your local library’s limits. And best of all — it’s totally free.
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