Criterion Channel Streaming Service Launch Date: How To Get Discounted Access to the Collection for Life

The Criterion Channel launches April 8. Criterion announced the launch date of their streaming service on Wednesday, which will be available for Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, iOS and Android. Here’s the best part: sign up before the launch date and you’ll get discounted streaming of the Criterion Collection for life.

Anyone who signs up for the Criterion Channel before April 8 will pay a reduced rate for the streaming service for the life of their subscription. Sign up at to become a charter subscriber and pay $9.99 per month instead of the standard streaming rate of $10.99 per month (or $89.99 vs. $99.99 annually).

Charter subscribers will also have access to pre-launch movies—one per week, released each Wednesday—and an extended 30-day free trial, beginning on the April 8 launch date. The first Criterion Channel Movie of the Week will be director Elaine May’s 1976 crime drama Mikey and Nicky (starring Peter Falk and John Cassavetes!), which was also just released on Blu-ray and DVD.

For those unfamiliar, the Criterion Collection is the gold standard for repertory movie releases and restorations, plus a pioneer of now-standard home entertainment features like commentary tracks and letterboxed movies that retain the original theatrical aspect ratio. There are more than 1,000 movies in the Collection (though not all will be available to stream), including classics like Grand Illusion, Seven Samurai, In the Heat of the Night, 3 Women, Ace in the Hole, Night of the Living Dead, the Zatoichi series, Arabian Nights and, uh, Armageddon. Criterion Blu-ray and DVD releases are also quite expensive; the Criterion Channel is an incredible bargain by comparison.

criterion-channel-collection-streaming-service *Pounding table harder and harder* Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Criterion

The Criterion Channel looks to fill the void left by the death of FilmStruck, which combined the Criterion Collection library and the Turner Classic Movies library to form the best streaming service for classic and arthouse movies the world is ever likely to see. Warner Bros. shut it down.

A press release describes the Criterion Channel as “a movie lover’s dream highlighting new thematic programming every night of the week, the Criterion Channel will feature a constantly refreshed selection of Hollywood, international, art-house, and independent movies, plus continuous access to Criterion’s own streaming library of more than 1,000 important classic and contemporary films from around the world.”

Unlike most other streaming services, the Criterion Channel will offer more than just the movies. It will also feature the rich supplemental features that have made Criterion Blu-rays so essential for movie lovers. Each Sunday, the Criterion Channel will host a Sunday Spotlight marathon, highlighting the movies of a specific director, actor, genre or theme. The Channel will also feature guest programmers (past programmers series have been hosted by Mira Nair, Bill Hader, Barry Jenkins and Guillermo del Toro).

The Criterion Channel launches April 8, but it pays to sign up now!

Join the Discussion