Review: VidAngel

I saw an ad the other day for VidAngel, and we gave them a whirl last night. VidAngel is the latest in a long line of clean video shops, and I think they’ve finally hit the nail on the head. I was really impressed for a multitude of reasons:

  1. The problem other clean movie companies have run into has to do with legal issues. Legally, you cannot rent edited movies. However, you can edit movies that you yourself own. VidAngel gets around the rental/ownership issue by selling you the film for $20. After watching it, you can sell it back to VidAngel for $18 or $19, depending on the quality of video you chose. Essentially, you “rent” the film for $2 (HD) or $1 (SD), but because you own it during the rental period, you are legally entitled to apply edits.
  2. Unlike past rentals, VidAngel puts the control of what is edited in your hands. When you register, you create a profile that allows you to edit out certain words, types of content, and so forth. You can also adjust those settings on the fly.
  3. Content! Because VidAngel is not restricted by rental agreements, they can get their hands on pretty much anything, including new releases. Where Netflix, Redbox, and other services are delayed or limited, VidAngel can get something immediately. Granted, the content is limited by their ability to work through the review process, but still…. I was very impressed with the films available, including TV shows.
  4. Editing quality. If you’ve ever done CleanFlicks or some of the other options, you will certainly remember the truly awkward jumps to avoid certain things. VidAngel does a great job of avoiding those and leaving the story line intact. Audio content is tastefully muted, and sexual/violent content is removed cleanly. More than that, because you have full control, you can allow a level of that content without the full, blanket removal some services do. The control, again, is in your hands.
    One more thing here, but they also allow you to edit the captions. Pretty cool.
  5. Price. It’s a buck. Two dollars if you decide on HD, but SD was plenty high enough quality for us. We immediately sold the film back (which was a click of a button), and we already have $19 credit in our account for the sale. The next time we rent, it’ll be another dollar. It’s cheaper than Redbox, better options that Netflix, and clean.

If you know me well enough, you’ll know I’m not a movie person. It’s not that I don’t enjoy movies; it’s that I get really tired of being bombarded with sex and language. It’s frustrating to try to enjoy a movie when those things are throw in seemingly randomly and without any real drive to push the story forward. VidAngel, however, leaves me eager to get back into films. There’s a huge number of films I’ve really wanted to see but haven’t due to content. I love feeling like those are available to me now.

We have our filter set up to cut out all nudity, all blasphemies, and the biggest swear words (F-word, S-word). Last night we watched Spectre, the newest James Bond. It had no language, the nudity in the opening credits was cut out (standard James Bond stuff), and we never worried about the guaranteed sex scene interrupting the film. It was fantastic! We hardly even recognized it was edited.

If you haven’t given them a try, go check it out. I see this being a pretty regular thing in our house.

Negatives: I forgot to mention the one negative…. We play ours through the Roku app on our TV. It’s pretty slick except one thing; you can’t access your watchlist from the app. You can see it online, but not in Roku. There isn’t enough content yet (several hundred movies) to make it too hard to scan through them, but I like going through and flagging films I want to watch later but haven’t done yet.

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