The Criterion Channel launches 24/7 live stream of their catalogue

The Criterion Channel is testing out a 24/7 live stream of films from their catalogue, although it is missing one key feature…

Criterion Channel

When a streaming service has so much to offer it can be overwhelming, and instead of hunkering down with your popcorn for a movie night in, you end up scrolling in every direction, ultimately giving up in favor of another comfort episode of The Office. But now, The Criterion Channel is going to decide what you watch. No, it’s not some sort of spin-the-wheel-and-make-a-deal but rather a continuously running stream of movies from their catalog. That’s right, they’re making good on the “channel” part.

The streaming service, which launched in April 2019, sent an email to coincide with their fifth anniversary, which read: “Don’t know what to watch? Let us choose! Over on the Criterion Channel, we’re trying something new: Click on Criterion24/7 and drop into a steady stream of must-see movies, any time you want.”

But Criterion’s live stream isn’t your average “channel”. There is one unique catch here. Unlike, say, Turner Classic Movies or any other broadcaster of essential films where you can see what is on and coming up in any given time frame, The Criterion Channel purposely doesn’t tell you which movie is on or what’s on deck. Kind of fun, but that can be a bit frustrating since if you’re really digging the film but don’t know the name it will be all that much harder to locate on the service.

Even if some of the features may feel off-putting at first, the entire thing is actually pretty damn cool. There are zero details or distractions, and you can be sucked into something you’ve never experienced. It also calls to mind the days of old when you could walk into the middle of an in-progress film at the cinema and just see where it takes you without knowing anything about it. The new 24/7 stream also allows you to backtrack up to four hours, giving you a chance to see what else The Criterion Channel had streaming.

It also lets serious film buffs play a sort of trivia game with themselves to see how quickly they can ID a movie. Here’s an example: not long before this article was posted, I jumped around on a block of The Seventh Seal, Hopscotch and a slew of others (but sadly not Freddy Got Fingered). And then there was something with a guy feeding his feline, which took about five minutes of detective work to figure out it was The Cassandra Cat…OK, yeah, Criterion, maybe you could tell us which movie is currently on…

Such a feature should absolutely be something that other services give a shot. Of course, it might work better with more niche ones (Shudder has a similar setup), as going from Taxi Driver to Love Is Blind on Netflix could be quite jarring…

Source: The Criterion Channel

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.