So I have a confession to make: My wife and I have watched dozens of R-rated movies and TV shows with TV-Mature rating. (All with zero profanity and zero nudity.)
When we were dating, like most couples, we enjoyed going to see movies. One conversation that came up early on was about the boundaries for our entertainment.
As a guy who was trying to avoid unhealthy visual images, I needed to stay away from movies with nude scenes. And my wife, well, she didn’t care much for profanity. Obviously, this limited our options at the box office, but somehow we survived.
Well, until American Sniper came out. I really wanted to see it, for obvious reasons, but it kinda blew past the F-word boundary my wife and I had agreed on. There are 115 F-words in American Sniper.
VidAngel is a streaming service where we paid $1 to watch American Sniper, and it muted all 115 F-words for us automatically. That’s cheaper than Redbox and has the bonuses of filtering content and not having to put on pants to run to Walgreens.
So what exactly is VidAngel and how does it work?
Basically, VidAngel will stream a movie or TV show for you (think Netflix), but it gives you the option to mute words you don’t want to hear and skip past scenes you don’t want to see. You are in full control of the content you consume. It’s free to use the service; you just pay for the content. More on price later.
You start at VidAngel.com and set up an account. There are two things you need to do in the account area to get started.
- Put your credit card on file (to later buy your movies/TV shows).
- Set up your content filters.
Once you get your credit card entered, go to Menu > Default Filters.
This is where the magic happens, and you get to decide what you want your family to see and hear—and what you don’t.
You can turn filters on and off for every area of objectionable content. In essence, you can decide what you want the rating of your movie to be. You have the power to take an R-Rated movie to PG-13 or even down to PG rated if you want. You decide.
So what’s it like to watch a filtered movie or TV show with VidAngel?
Well, if it’s language you filtered, it will simply mute the words you chose to filter.
If it’s nudity, violence, or some other act you filtered, it will cut the scene as you’re watching. For example, if a scene shows nudity for 2.5 seconds, it’ll just cut those 2.5 seconds, so you don’t miss any of the plot.
Often, we’ll be watching a movie or TV show and a couple will start making out, and then it’ll immediately cut to the next morning, and we’ll look at each other and say, “Well, we know what they did last night.”
How much does VidAngel cost?
$1 for SD (standard definition)
$2 for HD (high definition)
We’ve actually found that watching everything in Standard Definition (SD) works for us. It’s not perfect quality, but we really don’t notice a big difference and we like paying half the price.
The pricing is a bit tricky to explain, but it’s how they have to structure it to be legal. You know, Hollywood doesn’t like people to mess with their works of “artistic expression,” so VidAngel does have to jump through some legal hoops to make this work.
So for VidAngel to filter legally, you must technically own the movie. So they “sell” it to you for $20 (virtually), you have 24 hours to watch it, and then they have an auto sellback feature where they give you $19 credit for SD movies and $18 credit for HD movies. So you always pay $1 or $2 per movie/TV show.
They make it super easy to do.
For more explanation on the pricing, you can go here.
How do you watch VidAngel?
It’s a streaming service similar to Netflix. Just like Netflix is an app, so is VidAngel, so you can watch it just about anywhere you can watch Netflix.
- Apple TV
- Smart TV
Get help for each device here.
Here’s an extremely unprofessional video of me selecting a movie to watch on my Roku through the VidAngel app. In less than 45 seconds, my movie is playing with my custom filters running it. It’s a thing of beauty. (And speaking of beauty, you can see my bald head in the reflection of the TV in this video. I know, unprofessional.)
So what’s the VidAngel selection like?
You can only watch movies and TV shows that they have built filters for. They have thousands of movies in their catalog, and they do a good job keeping up with all of the popular new releases.
You can browse their movie catalog here.
** You might see their movie list, and notice there are new releases that are rated PG or even G, and wonder why they have these since they don’t really need filters. Remember, if you want to watch the newest Pixar movie or newest Christian release like WarRoom or Woodlawn, it will still cost you $1.50 at Redbox or $4.99 at iTunes to rent, or you can immediately stream on VidAngel for only $1.
Their list of available TV shows isn’t extensive yet but they do have the most popular shows, and they are adding more all the time. Honestly, we use VidAngel for watching TV shows more than we do movies. Here’s all the TV shows they currently have:
Try VidAngel out. It will literally cost you a dollar to try.