Cinema and TV series

How and where to watch movies and TV shows in Russia legally: a great guide to streaming services

We compare online cinemas by subscription cost, convenience, library, exclusives and free periods.

Presentation of Apple TV service Photo Reuters

One gets the feeling that new streaming services and online cinemas appear almost every day. In September, NBC and Universal announced the Peacock online cinema, which will have Office and Friends, on October 29th there was a HBO Max presentation with South Park and the prequel Game of Thrones, Apple TV + with high-budget exclusives was launched on November 1 , and already On November 12, Disney + launched with dozens of franchises like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinema Universe.

There are so many services that you can’t just subscribe to everything anymore – this threatens a hole in the budget. Therefore, you have to choose. Netflix or Amazon Video? Or maybe the Russian Amediateka and Okko?

To answer these questions, the editors of studied 13 legal streaming movie and TV show services available in Russia. The amount of content, available platforms, the cost of a subscription – all this can be viewed in one place. Some parameters are subjective, but, hopefully, the material will help to make a choice in favor of a particular service.

For convenience, you can use the table of contents.

Netflix

How much is a subscription: 7.99, 9.99 or 11.99 euros – depending on the maximum image resolution and the number of devices on which you can simultaneously watch content from one account.

Free period: 30 days for new users.

What is included in the subscription: It is much easier to find what is not included there – the very word “Netflix” has become a synonym for any online cinema. There are exclusives (“House of Cards”, “Very Strange Things”, “Sex Education”) and acquired licenses (“Mad Men”, “The Big Bang Theory.” There is a large movie library, there are specials from stand-ups (Dave Chapell, Ricky Gervais, Bill Burr, Joe Rogan) and documentaries (a documentary about Bill Gates are advised in almost every selection).

Plus – interactive content: a Bandersnatch episode from the Black Mirror series is heard, but here you can also play Minecraft: Story Mode. Not all content is available in Russia due to regional restrictions: for example, we do not have DreamWorks Dragons and many Marvel films.

Video quality and subtitles : Netflix selects the quality based on the platform and Internet connection. Subtitles and voice acting can be changed on the fly, but Russian is far from everywhere. However, the latest flagship projects get localization.

Platforms: You can watch it on the site, in iOS and Android mobile applications, in Smart TVs, in Apple TV consoles and game consoles.

Overall impression: Netflix has staggered my opinion that personalizing data does more harm than good. Here a lot depends on the tastes of the viewer – a selection of various content or an echo camera with approximately the same shows will be released. I also felt what bingewatching is. Entire seasons of TV shows that don’t need to be downloaded, and the series go one after another, are a dangerous thing, so for now I have mainly tried stand-ups and films so as not to get stuck.

It’s cool that Netflix is ​​trying in film production. There, the quality is not very even, but when the service is just starting to leave the distribution of content into production, I think that releasing masterpieces entirely will not work. Waiting for the “Irish”.

Amediateka

How much is a subscription: Month – 599 rubles, 3 months – 1499, half a year – 2699 and a year – 4999 rubles. Subscription gives access to almost all content except for a few TVOD-titles.

Free period: Yes, 7 days for new users. Plus, the service conducts marketing campaigns, within which you can get a promotional code.

What is included in the subscription: The service features hundreds of TV shows, as well as films, most of which are exclusive documentaries, which you can’t watch anywhere else. For example, on November 13, a documentary about Ralph Lauren, the first film about a fashion pioneer, will appear on the service.

The flagship projects of Amediateki are premiere series of major foreign studios that are released simultaneously with the whole world: hits by HBO, Showtime / CBS, Starz / Lionsgate, BBC, Sky and so on. “Keepers”, “Dark Beginnings”, “Why Women Kill”, “Catherine the Great” – all this came out on the service in the autumn. Plus, proven hits are available: “Game of Thrones”, “Sex and the City”, “wiretap”, “Chernobyl”.

Video quality and subtitles: You can choose the video quality yourself – from SD to Full HD. You can also select subtitles and adjust their size.

Platforms: You can watch on the site from any device, in iOS and Android mobile applications, in Smart TVs (Samsung and LG), in Apple TV and Android TV consoles.

Overall impression: Great choice, many high-profile premieres – from the last I looked at Amediateek Chernobyl, Why Women Kill, and Euphoria. Conveniently, efficiently – I have enough of everything, I have never had any complaints. The only time there were questions about the service was the last season of Game of Thrones, when the site could not cope with the load, but this was when it was.

Apple TV +

How much is a subscription: 199 rubles per month.

Free period: Yes, 7 days at registration. For those who bought any new Apple device with support for the latest iOS, iPadOS, macOS or tvOS and activated it until January, the year is free .

What’s included in the subscription: Only Apple Exclusives. At the start – 7 series and a documentary film, a total of about 60 films and series are planned. A series of flagship shows are released once a week, the rest are released immediately for a whole season.

Video quality and subtitles: The service supports resolutions up to 4K, but you cannot choose it yourself – the system will automatically select it depending on the Internet. All content, with the exception of one children’s series, is in English, but there are both Russian and original subtitles.

Platforms: TV application on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac and some Samsung smart TVs, as well as Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices (in some regions). Owners of TVs with AirPlay 2 support can broadcast content to them from iPhones, iPads or poppies. For everyone else, a browser version of tv.apple.com is available.

General impression: In applications on the iPad and iPhone, Apple TV + almost always works fine and lightning fast. In the web version, the service resets browsing every 10-15 minutes and produces not very good quality. In general, TV + still looks raw, and I would not recommend it to those who have a constant thirst for content – you can watch everything in one weekend. But if you have enough time for a couple of episodes a week and want something of high quality and expensive, TV + is an excellent outlet.

“Movie Search HD”

How much is a subscription: “KinoPoisk HD” – 269 rubles per month, “KinoPoisk + Amediateka” – 649 rubles (325 by the end of 2019), “Yandex.Plus”, giving access to “KinoPoisk” – 169 rubles.

Free period: Yes, “KinoPoisk HD” – 30 days, “KinoPoisk + Amediateka” – 7 days.

What is included in the subscription: The number of available films differs from the package: “KinoPoisk HD” – over 6.8 thousand films and TV shows, “Yandex.Plus” – 6 thousand, “KinoPoisk + Amediateka” – 7.2 thousand. Among the exclusives: “Yield”, “Watchman”, series of the DC universe, including “Swamp critter”, “Fatal Patrol”, “Batumen” and “Pennyworth”, “Miracle Workers”, “Castle Rock”, “Shameless”, “ Nancy Drew ”,“ Extreme Space ”,“ South Park ”. The subscription includes the Nat Geo + catalogs (documentaries and programs), Fox Now and ViP Play, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Doctor House. You can also watch cult TV shows: Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Office, and Clinic.

Video quality and subtitles: Everything is available in Full HD. On the web and on Android, you can choose the quality in the player, on iOS and on TVs – automatically in high quality. In the original language, you can watch if the copyright holder has provided such an opportunity. You can select subtitles and voice acting from different studios, including 18+.

Platforms: Website, mobile applications on iOS and Android, Yandex.Station, Apple TV, website, Smart TV (Samsung, LG, Android TV).

General impression: For me, KinoPoisk has long become a home theater – there is a large collection of films and TV shows, and what is not included in the subscription can be bought or rented. Those who do not want to buy films at full cost can find promotional codes (there are quite a lot of them) and purchase several films for a ruble. The DeepDive function (recognition of actors and characters in the frame) is useful when you start watching series like “Game of Thrones”.

The choice of voice acting and the availability of subtitles is a definite plus. “KinoPoisk” also collaborates with the studios “Cube in Cube”, “Courage Bambey” and with Syenduk. Thanks to the service, not so long ago I completely switched to watching films in the original language, if there is such an opportunity. I like the application for Smart TV – on the main page there is a list of what you are watching, a lot of details and a news feed. I have no complaints about the service, except for the absence of “Harry Potter” in the subscription.

Amazon prime video

How much is a subscription: 3 euros (212 rubles) per month for six months, then the cost will increase to 6 euros (424 rubles).

Free period: Yes, 7 days for new users.

What is included in the subscription: Exclusive flagship projects – “The Man in the High Castle”, “The Amazing Mrs. Maisel”, “Guys”, “Good Signs”, “American Gods”, “Carnival Row”, “Rubbish”, “Romanovs”, “ Grand Tour ”,“ Mr. Robot ”,“ Jack Ryan ”,“ Cancel ”. Many exclusive sports documentaries.

Among the popular series of other studios are available “Office”, “Seinfeld”, “Parks and recreation areas”, “Two and a half people”, “Heroes”, “Preacher”, “Fear the Walking Dead.” A good selection of classic comedies (“Airplane”, “Groundhog Day”) and dramas (“Fight Club”, “The Godfather”). The library is regularly updated.

Video quality and subtitles: All Amazon’s exclusive projects are in 4K, the rest of the content is not always, but almost everything is available in Full HD. On all platforms, you can select the quality manually and enable subtitles with a single click. In some of the projects there is Russian dubbing, in some – Russian subtitles. Exclusive series usually have at least subtitles.

Platforms: You can watch on the site, in applications on iOS and Android, SmartTVs and game consoles.

Overall Impression: Amazon has a small, compared to Netflix, collection of exclusive content, but a wider selection of iconic films and TV shows. And the subscription is half the price. If you want to revisit old movies of the 90s, then Amazon is your choice. Exclusives are worse off, but there’s still something to see. I signed up for the Office and Seinfeld, but I plan to watch a couple of the original series too.

The application is a little crooked and not as intuitive as that of Netflix, the interface in Russian often moves out. But overall it works quickly – there are no complaints about the speed. For me, the big plus is that the service does not have automatic playback, which is annoying and intrusive offers to look further. Of the unpleasant moments – a regional block: for example, the first episodes of the fourth season of “Mr. Robot” appeared in the service, but were not available for viewing.

Okko

How much is a subscription: Okko has 11 different subscriptions depending on the type of content, such as “Movies and TV shows”, “Best cartoons”, “Amediateka”. They cost from 99 to 599 rubles a month. But it is better to pay attention to subscription packages: Optium costs 399 rubles a month, Premium – 799 rubles.

Free period: Yes, 7 days Optium subscription for new users.

What is included in the subscription: Optium includes eight separate subscriptions – 20 thousand films and TV shows, but without the Amediateka. Flagship series of HBO and some other studios, perpetual series like LOST and “Clinics”, high-quality films (though not the latest ones) – all this can be obtained from one of the subscriptions. Perhaps the main plus is that all content is conveniently divided into various collections. In October, Okko announced that he would be releasing original series.

Unfortunately, even the Premium package does not give access to the entire library. Okko is quickly launching digital releases, but you have to pay for them. Some “Avengers: Final” – for extra money, “Madmen” – a few hundred more from above. Movies and TV shows can not be bought, but rented.

Video quality and subtitles: You can adjust the video quality and select subtitles or audio tracks. True, there are not very many English-language content in the service.

Platforms: Okko is available on most smart TVs, on game consoles (PlayStation 4), and on mobile devices (Android and iOS). You can also watch content on the site.

Overall impression: Okko provides a lot of interesting content, and I liked the division into thematic collections. Since the task of choosing a series for the evening seems to be facilitated. Yes, new items need to be purchased, but over time, they still fall into the subscription. Netflix, you know, also doesn’t have movies right after movie theaters. But the service has one tangible minus: if you do not subscribe to the Amediateki package, then a large layer of high-quality TV shows disappears. Okko has a lot of films, but it seems that Amediateka is responsible for the series. Which is not included in the Optium subscription.

Start

How much is a subscription: 349 rubles per month in an iOS application, 299 rubles if a subscription is issued on the site and in the Android application.

Free period: Yes, seven days for new users.

What is included in the subscription: Exclusive Start projects, including “Storm” by Boris Khlebnikov and “Container” by Konstantin Bogomolov. Series and films, the online premieres of which are held at Start, for example, “Arrhythmia”, “Watchman”, “The Man Who Surprised Everyone”; relatively old feature films and documentaries. Cartoons and children’s programs. The collection has foreign paintings, but in general the service is more focused on domestic cinema, the subscription includes all the major premieres of recent years: “Tesnota”, “Dislike”, “Pupil”, “Acid”, “Collector”, “Geographer drank the globe”, “Dovlatov”, “The Fool”, “How Vitka Garlic brought Lehu Pin to the house of the disabled”, “What Men Talk About” and others.

Video quality and subtitles: Films and TV shows are available on all platforms in Full HD and 4K quality. All of them are presented in Russian without subtitles.

Platforms: Website, applications for iOS and Android and Smart TV. The subscription is single, on any device you can continue viewing from the moment where you left off. The account can be used on five devices at the same time.

General impression: You can subscribe to Start for the sake of specific platform exclusives, it seems that there is no need to use it constantly, at least because of the meager collection of world cinema, but there are a lot of dubious series. A subjective claim is some vulgar collection names: “Broken hearts”, “Girls with character”, “High relations”. On the cover of the latter there is a priest in a golden mini-yuk and gold chains, inside, Zvyagintsev, Balagov and Vera Glagoleva unexpectedly appear.

Premier

How much is a subscription: 129 rubles per month.

Free period: Three days for new users.

What is included in the subscription: Exclusive Premier series like “Home Arrest”, as well as licensed content, including many foreign films and series, as well as Russian cinema. Previously, the service was called TNT-Premier – so there, of course, you can watch most of the channel’s shows.

Video quality and subtitles: You can choose from “low” to “high” quality, but they don’t write what resolution is meant by this. Judging by the picture, the service can definitely give up to Full HD. There are no subtitles, the original English track of foreign TV shows – too.

Platforms: Website, applications on iOS, Android, SmartTV, Apple TV, Android TV and the web version.

General impression: I’m not sure that at least someone other than me used the web version. Premier has a very confusing and incomprehensible interface: for example, the column with the “progress” of viewing is located in the settings, and the management of the subscription is hidden so that it is difficult to understand where to unsubscribe the first time. At the same time, the service captivates with a large number of available content – there are not only Russian TV shows, but also foreign fighters. Premier is more like a digital library of Russian television channels TNT and TV3: you can even watch them live.

ivi.ru

How much is a subscription: Month – 399 rubles, 3 months – 999, half a year – 1790, year – 2990. The first 14 days for new users – 1 ruble.

Free period: Some of the Ivi content can be watched for free – with maximum HD quality and several commercials.

What is included in the subscription: On ivi.ru they write that more than 10 thousand films and series are available by subscription. This is not to say that there are some notable exclusives among them, but you can watch notable TV shows of the last couple of years (Patrick Melrose, The Handmaid’s Tale), as well as proven classics (Friends, The Big Bang Theory, LOST ) The situation is similar with films: you won’t find the latest hits there, but Harry Potter, Taxi, or not the newest parts of the Marvel franchise are calm. And if you like Russian shows, then ivi.ru is for you.

What is the main catch – all flagship shows and cinema need to be bought separately. They simply are not included in the subscription. It comes to the ridiculous: I can watch the first two seasons of “The Handmaid’s Tale” by subscription, and the third – no longer.

Well, and where without free content: there is a lot of it, and even without a subscription you can watch decent things on Ivi. But for this you need to “dig” into the depths of the service. By the way, there is a whole collection of free NTV series

Video quality and subtitles: With a subscription, you can change the voice acting and subtitles, but not everywhere. By default, the content is Russian-language. Video quality can also be adjusted by yourself.

Platforms: You can watch on the site, in applications on iOS and Android, SmartTVs, Apple TV and Android TV consoles, Xbox consoles.

General impression: With Netflix and Spotify music, I’m somehow used to the fact that the subscription gives me access to all the content right away. Therefore, using ivi.ru for free, I was ready for some compromises – for example, for four advertisements in a row. But he was not ready for the compromises that he faced, having already paid for the subscription. When you watch a series and understand that one season is available to you, and the other needs to be purchased – this only causes the internal “AAAAAA”.

Otherwise, ivi.ru is a convenient service with a large library. But one should not go there for flagships and new products, but rather for hits of the past.

More.TV

How much is a subscription: 299 rubles per month.

Free period: It’s not there, but the service with restrictions is available without a subscription.

What is included in the subscription: More.TV in a limited format works without a subscription. Free of charge, in exchange for displaying advertisements, television series STS, Domashny, Che, CTC Love, REN TV, Fifth, Discovery, Viasat and Russia are available. That is, even without registration, you can watch, for example, the TV series “Catherine”, “Ivanov-Ivanov” and “Female Doctor”. There is no need to guess: under the posters of such shows it is written “for free.”

More.TV says that Russian TV shows appear on air before TV, but I did not check it. When you sign up, ads in movies and TV shows are turned off. Another subscription gives you access to live broadcasting, and not just to recorded TV programs. For some series, such as Alphabetically Killing, only the first episodes are available for free.

Despite the fact that the slogan More.TV reads “Watch your own”, the service gives you access to many foreign projects. There are several world-famous series – “How I Met Your Mother”, “Friends”, “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Walking Dead”. There are no foreign film premieres, but there is still a lot of content. Typical examples are 1 + 1, Melancholy, The World’s Most Drunken County, and Wall Street Wolf.

Video quality and subtitles: You can choose between automatic quality setting, medium (SD) and high (HD), but in some projects there is no HD. There is no content with 4K resolution in the service. All foreign series and films are available only in dubbing. No original track, no subtitles.

Platforms: Viewing is available on the site more.tv , in applications for iOS and Android, as well as on Smart TV and consoles through the “Showcase TV”.

General impression: More TV is a service of STS Media and NMG for viewers of their TV channels. And also for those who turn on the TV in the background and don’t really worry about what’s going on there. On the platform there is indeed a range of films and TV shows that usually go on big TV – no more, no less.

This is clearly not my option. Firstly, it’s impossible to call me a spectator of STS, “Russia” or “Home”. Their series are usually limited to self-censorship and conservative ideas about the audience. Secondly, all foreign projects are presented only in Russian dubbing, which also does not suit me: I would be happy to watch The Walking Dead, but without the voices of the heroes destroyed – let only the plot of this series be killed.

Megogo

How much is a subscription: “Easy” subscription – 197 rubles per month, “Maximum” – 397 rubles per month, “Premium” – 597 rubles per month.

Free period: New users can take the “Maximum” subscription for 30 days for a symbolic 1 ruble. Some content is free.

What is included in the subscription: The platform focuses on channels (250 pieces, of which 30 are their own), TV shows and news broadcasts. A lot of the library is of Russian production, some kind of “Deadly Power” can be seen for free. The main base of foreign series is made by the Amedia and Fox channels: Atlanta, What We Do in the Shadow, Legion, Game of Thrones.

Traditionally for Russian services, part of the content will have to be purchased. But Megogo says that more than 10 thousand films and series are available by subscription.

Video quality and subtitles: In the player you can choose the video quality, but with audio tracks and subtitles an interesting situation: in addition to Russian and English, you can choose Ukrainian, Georgian, Romanian, Azerbaijani, Latvian and Lithuanian. There is a whole section of sign language films.

Platforms: Megogo can be viewed on the site, in applications for iOS and Android, on smart TVs and game consoles.

General impression: Megogo, unlike many services, does not reinvent TV on the Internet, but rather simply transfers TV to the Internet. It seems that all the components of a modern online cinema are in place: watch movies by subscription, watch TV shows by subscription. But the emphasis on TV shows and channels makes Megogo noticeably stand out from the competition, even if they also have some kind of TV content.

YouTube Premium

How much is a subscription: 199 rubles per month. There is a family subscription – 299 rubles per month. Student subscription – 125 rubles per month: it can be issued for a maximum of four years and will have to be confirmed annually. Important: do not confuse YouTube Premium with a separate subscription to YouTube Music – only for music and for 169 rubles per month.

Free period: Yes, 30 days for new users.

What is included in the subscription: YouTube Premium is a whole set of features, including YouTube Music (music without ads), offline playback of clips and background playback. And, of course, YouTube Originals is a collection of films and TV shows that are only available on video hosting. Now there are only 94, including documentaries, children’s and family series, as well as sequels. Some can be viewed for free.

The service boasts a futuristic series “Weird City” from the creator of “We” and “Away” Jordan Peel, a drama about rap battles “Bodied” under the supervision of Eminem, a good science fiction “Origin”, and also an explanation about the world around us – “Glad you asked” (Glad You Asked) from Vox. There are documentaries about musicians, such as violinist Lindsay Stirling, Ariana Grande and BTS.

Subscription does not include aftermarket films and shows. They can be bought separately or rented. For example, “Home Alone” on YouTube costs from 129 rubles (HD rental), and “Avengers: Infinity War” – from 99 rubles (in SD-quality for rent) to 449 rubles (in HD forever).

Video quality and subtitles: YouTube Originals projects come out in 4K. The interface is similar to regular YouTube, so there should be no problem setting the right quality. There is no dubbing, but there are Russian subtitles in many projects.

Platforms: YouTube Premium can be used on any device where there is also regular YouTube.

Overall impression: I’ve been subscribed to YouTube Premium since the beginning of the year and I’m not going to refuse, but primarily not because of the original films and TV shows, but because of the lack of advertising. When you watch something daily, you can’t take out ads at the beginning and middle of videos, as well as third-party banners. So I’m the typical client YouTube was hoping for – the subscription allows me not to get annoyed.

All that I liked most on YouTube Originals – “Strange City” and “Busy” – I looked hard after subscribing. There really is nowhere to rush: nothing super-curious or widely debated has yet appeared in the service. And I do not recommend hoping for the opposite, so I consider subscription to be a payment solely for disabling advertising. Perhaps I would pay more when including non-original films in the subscription, but there is simply no such option.

Facebook Watch

How much is a subscription: Facebook Watch is free. The service provides revenue through advertising, which is why at first it looks a bit like pirated sites. No special registration is required – the section is accessible to all Facebook users.

What is included in the subscription: Facebook Watch includes not only TV shows and movies, but also all the videos of those public pages that you are subscribed to (there are no videos from ordinary users). For example, if you are subscribed to a TV channel and missed an interesting story during the day, then by going to Facebook Watch you can easily find it.

The service, launched in 2017, has not yet managed to build up a large database of its own shows, but some of them have already become famous. In the fall of 2018, the series “I’m sorry for your loss” was released with Elizabeth Olsen, and the adaptation of the famous Norwegian “Shame” was also released on Facebook Watch. In the summer of 2019, the premiere of the animated Discoveries of Humanity took place.

Video quality and subtitles: Facebook Watch image quality can be adjusted. By default, the series are in the original language, some shows have subtitles, you can turn them off. Russian-language videos are not enough.

Platforms: You can watch on the site, on mobile devices and in the application for TV.

Overall impression: In fact, the service is such an internal YouTube, but for Facebook, which is convenient: each series is automatically linked to its official page. You can immediately go to it, and, without stopping viewing, read the latest news. It’s easy to read comments and quickly understand what the audience thinks.

Tags
Back to top button
Close
Close