If you're wondering how to stream movies legally, safely, and inexpensively, then the Kanopy streaming platform just might be the perfect option for you. Kanopy allows you to stream thousands of movies for free — and all you need is your handy-dandy library card.
As The New York Times reports, more than 200 public library systems in the United States have partnered with Kanopy to bring about 30,000 free movies to library cardholders all over the country. These films can all be streamed on your own computer, or even through your smartphone app. If this sounds like a dream come true to you, then you'll be happy to know it's pretty easy to get started.
First, enter your library on the Kanopy website and confirm that your branch is included in the service. (Psst: If your branch isn't listed, it's super easy to request Kanopy for your library in the future.) Next, create an account using the info on your library card. And then, you can browse the extensive range of options available right at your fingertips. That's pretty much it! Honestly, the toughest decision you have to make from there is figuring out which movie you want to watch.
Now, for the caveats: It's worth keeping in mind that you don't have an unlimited selection of free movies on your hands. Kanopy is known for mostly emphasizing documentaries and international films. So if you're hoping to catch the latest box office hit for free, you may be out of luck. Also, each public library system has a specific limit of free movies that they allow an individual cardholder to watch per month.
As you might expect, it's probably a good idea to space these movies out so you don't watch them all in one sitting (which we all know is way too easy to do!). Luckily, Kanopy allows you to keep track of how many movies you've watched per month so that you don't run out of films before your next movie night with a friend or family member.