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The Criterion Channel: price, free trial, how to watch and everything you need to know about the streaming service

The Criterion Channel
(Image credit: Criterion)

In a sea of streaming services, The Criterion Channel attempts to be the must-have platform for movie lovers, not just by the titles they offer but additional exclusive content that deepens subscribers ability to learn about a filmmaker/actor, a genre or an era throughout all of film history. 

While Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Max and Paramount Plus have some of the most popular titles from recent years, The Criterion Channel has many harder-to-find titles that are must-watch for aspiring cinephiles.

If you’re trying to figure out if The Criterion Channel is a streaming service to add to your monthly budget, here is everything that you need to know about it.

What is The Criterion Channel?

Many movie fans are likely familiar with The Criterion Collection of Blu-rays and DVDs, well The Criterion Channel is the streaming offshoot of Criterion. The streaming service has more than 1,000 classic and contemporary movies that hail from Hollywood, international, art-houses and independent distributors.

In addition to the movies themselves, The Criterion Channel has an archive of special features that can provide additional content for movies that the service claims no other platform can match.

The Criterion Channel doesn’t just offer the movies, it also curates selections that spotlight directors, stars, genres and themes. These include things like "15-Minute-a-Month Film School," "Observations on Film Art," "Tuesday Short + Feature" and a "Friday Double Bill."

The streaming service also has guest curators hand-pick movies that are given a spotlight on the service. Past guest curators have included directors Barry Jenkins, Guillermo del Toro and Mira Nair.

What is The Criterion Channel price?

The Criterion Channel costs $10.99 per month. Subscribers can sign up for a full year for $99.99. 

Is there a Criterion Channel free trial?

Before you start paying a monthly fee, The Criterion Channel offers a 14-day free trial for you to watch all that it has to offer and see if it is a service you want to keep as part of your streaming lineup. 

Where is The Criterion Channel available?

As of right now, The Criterion Channel is only available for consumers in the US and Canada.

What’s on The Criterion Channel?

The Criterion Channel homepage

(Image credit: Criterion)

Here's a sampling of what’s available on The Criterion Channel:

  • Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
  • The Before Trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight)
  • The Champ (1931)
  • Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
  • Destry Rides Again (1939)
  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
  • Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
  • Mississippi Masala (1991)
  • Raging Bull (1980)
  • Shaft (1971)
  • Tokyo Story (1953)
  • Twelve O’Clock High (1949)
  • Victor/Victoria (1982)
  • Walker (1987)
  • When We Were Kings (1996)

You can browse everything available to stream on The Criterion Channel website (opens in new tab)

How to watch The Criterion Channel

Once you’re signed up for The Criterion Channel, you can watch its slate of movies on your TV, mobile device or computer.

The Criterion Channel app is available for download on Apple TVs (fourth generation or newer) Roku (third generation or newer), Android TV (first generation or newer), Amazon Fire TV (first generation or newer), Xbox One and select Samsung Smart TV models from 2018-2021. Anyone with either an iPhone/iPad with iOS 12.0 (or newer) or an Android mobile device with Android 5.0 (or newer) can also download the app. 

On your computer, The Criterion Channel plays on Microsoft Edge, Safari, Firefox and Google Chrome browsers. There is also the option to AirPlay The Criterion Channel to a TV, as well as for Android users to connect to a Google Chromecast device using the Chromecast feature.

You can find specific instructions on how to watch The Criterion Channel on each device/platform on the streaming service's website (opens in new tab). We've also put together a guide on how to use subtitles to watch movies on The Criterion Channel.

How to cancel The Criterion Channel

There are a few specific steps on how to cancel your The Criterion Channel depending on the service you signed up through, but here are the basic steps that you need to know:

  • In the Settings menu in the top right hand corner of the screen, select "Manage Subscription"
  • Then select "Cancel Subscription" (there is an option to "Pause Subscription" as well)
  • A pop-up will appear asking if you would like to pause for one, two or three months, with a fourth option to simply cancel. Select the fourth option and hit "Continue"
  • Fill out a survey on why you're cancelling your subscription, then select "Cancel Subscription"
  • A new window will appear confirming your cancelled subscription
Michael Balderston
Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.