If you consider yourself an independent film buff, IFC Films Unlimited is the channel for you. This video streaming service is a destination for films that have been released in theaters and won awards. IFC Films Unlimited serves its content without ads and allows you to download movies for offline viewing on mobile platforms, too. Its main drawback is that it does not offer a dedicated app for nearly as many platforms as competitors.
What Can You Watch on IFC Films Unlimited?
IFC Films Unlimited is home to hundreds of independent films, some with blockbuster budgets, but most with smaller casts and bankrolls. Films in the library come from IFC’s three distribution labels: IFC Films, Sundance Selects, and IFC Midnight. What results is a broad and eclectic selection of films. You are free to browse the channel without subscribing, which is a nice touch.
IFC Unlimited does not have as massive a library as other services such as The Criterion Channel or Mubi, both of which curate their lineups. Ovid.tv is similar to IFC Films Unlimited in that it includes titles from several film distribution companies.
Critically acclaimed dramatic films like Y Tu Mamá También are mixed in with family-friendly fare like First Position, a documentary about young dancers in New York City. You’ll find movies with major stars like The Other Woman, starring Natalie Portman. There are also a lot of movies featuring familiar faces who aren’t yet household names.
For the spooky Halloween season, the service currently features some of rather unsettling films, like 2014 Sundance darling The Babadook and 2010’s Human Centipede. There’s no shortage of thrillers to watch on IFC Films Unlimited, including Lindsay Lohan’s 2013 movie The Canyons. Dedicated horror streaming services, Shudder and Screambox, are additional options for fans of that genre, and Peacock has a huge collection of Universal’s Classic Monsters (think Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man).
IFC Films Unlimited does not offer any original shows or exclusive TV series at this time, though most dedicated movie streaming services do not offer that type of content, either.
Pricing and Platforms
The ad-free IFC Films Unlimited costs $5.99 per month and does not offer a discounted annual plan. Hulu‘s and CBS All Access’ ad-supported plans cost the same as IFC Films Unlimited, but both also offer a more mainstream range of content-including orginal series, in the case of CBS—Star Trek: Discovery and Picard among them. Netflix’s Standard plan and HBO Max are pricier, at $12.99 and $14.99 per month, respectively.
You don’t need to pay for streaming entertainment; check out our roundup of the best free video streaming services for our top picks. Peacock is our Editors’ Choice winner for the category because of its mainstream library of TV shows and movies. Particularly if you are an independent film fan, however, IFC Films Unlimited is still an inexpensive way to watch hundreds of the best specialty films from the last two decades without ads.
IFC Films Unlimited is available as an Amazon Prime Video Channels. You can access Prime Video on the web, mobile platforms (Android and iOS), media streaming devices (Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Roku), game consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, and Wii), smart TVs, or via the dedicated Microsoft Store app. In terms of media streaming devices, you can download a dedicated app on Apple TV (US and Canada) and Roku (US). Other video streaming services offer dedicated apps for far more platforms.
IFC’s Web Interface
Signing up for IFC Unlimited was a bit tricky in that I had to first determine how I wanted to watch it. For this review, I subscribed through Amazon Prime Video. Since Amazon already had all of my information and payment details, all I had to do was click to start my seven-day free trial.
IFC Films Unlimited on Amazon Prime Video Channels has the same layout as Amazon Prime Video. It’s not particularly clean or minimalist like Netflix or HBO Max, but it does arrange movies according to genre, and has separate sections for Popular Movies and Recently Added Movies.
Searching for a movie specifically on IFC Films Unlimited using Amazon’s interface is a bit of a chore. You can type in whatever you want to search for, but you will get results from the entire Amazon site, including from other add-on channels. Once you find something to watch on IFC Films Unlimited, hover over a movie’s thumbnail to see a brief description, a helpful user rating, or add it to your watchlist.
IFC’s Mobile Experience
To test the mobile experience, I downloaded the Amazon Prime Video app on my iPhone XS running iOS 13. The IFC Films Unlimited channel is prominently displayed on the app, so I didn’t have trouble finding it.
The mobile interface looks just like the website, with its dark background and brightly colored thumbnails. In a future update, I would like to see a Continue Watching section, such as the one Netflix offers, solely for those films I haven’t finished yet. As it is, the films you haven’t completed are organized in a section that includes films you have already watched in their entirety.
On a movie’s details page, you can see various facts about the film, related movies, credits, customer reviews, and even some fun facts about each independent film. Since it is part of Amazon Prime Video, you can download movies from its details page and watch them offline whenever you can’t connect to a Wi-Fi network.
Streaming movies from the app was quick and easy. Using my home Wi-Fi connection (450Mpbs download), I downloaded a one-hour-and-51-minute movie at the highest quality in about seven minutes. Remember to make sure you are using a Wi-Fi connection or have an unlimited data plan before you start streaming or downloading movies on a mobile device.
The Playback Experience With IFC
IFC Films Unlimited’s playback interface shines. For instance, when you pause the video, the IMDb-powered X-Ray overlay appears in the top left corner. It displays key info about all of the main stars of the film you’re watching as well as some fun trivia. Besides the usual playback controls, you also get 10-second rewind and fast-forward buttons. You can also select the playback resolution on this screen.
Many of these independent films were simply not shot in HD to begin with, but if they were, you can watch them at up to 1080p resolution. Apple TV+, Disney+, and Netflix all offer 4K on-demand content. Since you get IFC Films Unlimited through Prime Video, you can watch content from it on up to three devices simultaneously. That’s about average, but BritBox notably supports five concurrent streams per account.
For reference, I tested the streaming performance over a Gigabit Ethernet connection on my PC and a Wi-Fi connection (450Mbps download) on my mobile test device. I watched a documentary called Finding Vivian Maier without any problems and resumed playback on my phone partway through the film without any disruptions.
Accessibility and Parental Controls
IFC Films Unlimited channel has the same accessibility features as the other movies offered by Amazon Prime. You can adjust the closed captioning settings (including the font size and color) directly from the video player, which is convenient. Audio Descriptions are not enabled for any of the movies I watched. This accessibility feature provides an audible narration of on-screen events that would otherwise not be discernible through dialog alone. Although it’s not specific to IFC Films Unlimited, you can search for Amazon’s Movies and TV Shows with Audio Descriptions.
IFC Films Unlimited work with Amazon Prime Video’s parental control options, so you can restrict what each profile can watch by rating as well as designate certain accounts as Kids profiles. Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max have similar parental control capabilities.
IFC Films Unlimited and VPN
A VPN can help keep you safe online, but their ability to spoof your location can cause problems for some video streaming services with region-specific streaming content. Amazon Prime Video is one of those platforms that does not work well with a VPN, and since IFC Films Unlimited is a channel on Prime Video, you will likely run into trouble.
I tried streaming some content after connecting my device to a US-based Proton VPN server and received the following message: “Your device is connected to the Internet using a VPN or proxy service. Please disable it and try again.” While you could try to find a VPN that works with the video streaming services you use, there is no guarantee that everything will work together in the future. Many streaming platforms are closing loopholes that allow VPN users to connect. Some VPNs do offer dedicated streaming servers, but we recommend choosing a VPN based on its security and privacy features instead.
Indie Films for All
The IFC Films Unlimited offers a ton of great movies at a reasonable price and integrates with Amazon Prime Video’s accessibility and parental control features (should you choose to subscribe through that option). The main drawback of the service is that it isn’t an independent platform so you need to have a Roku, an Apple TV, or an Amazon Prime Video subscription just to watch its movies. We like that the service does not serve ads and enables you to download videos for offline viewing on mobile platforms.
Netflix remains our Editor’s Choice winner for on-demand video streaming with its robust library of originals and movies. Hulu is also a great option for its combination of immense on-demand library and live TV offerings. YouTube TV continues to impress with an intuitive interface and excellent range of channels.
IFC Films Unlimited Specs
|Starting Price||$5.99 per month|
|On-Demand Movies and TV Shows||Yes|
|Offline Downloads on Mobile||Yes|