The Movie Waffler The Best Free Streaming Services Available in Pennsylvania | The Movie Waffler

The Best Free Streaming Services Available in Pennsylvania

By now, Pennsylvanians are as aware of the ubiquity of streaming services as other Americans. In many households, the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime have arguably superseded traditional TV as the go-to place for the latest shows and movies, as well as providing a backlog of classic favorites. 

Netflix and Amazon, alongside a bevy of smaller contenders, have made many people comfortable with multiple monthly subscription fees. But a lot of Pennsylvanians may not know that there are also some streaming services for free, thanks to the services partnering with academic institutions and libraries. Here’s a roundup of the best ones around. 


Kanopy is an on-demand streaming video service that is available, completely free of charge, to anyone with a Pennsylvania public library membership, or an active University of Pennsylvania student card. The service offers nearly 30,000 arthouse, independent and classic films, ranging from Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal thriller Rear Window, to Spike Lee’s BlackkKlansman, and also more recent documentary hits such as RBG and Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

Discussing the service in 2017, then-Kanopy CEO Olivia Humphrey said: “Many users come to watch films that aren’t available on other platforms,” with the service instead offering an emphasis on “thoughtful entertainment,” and important topics such as immigrants, diversity and LGBT rights. 

Kanopy is arguably the most well-known of these alternative streaming services, and it justifies that reputation with a sophisticated range of films to watch. 


Hoopla is a more well-rounded service that offers thousands of options not only across film and TV, but also audiobooks, eBooks, comics, and music. It’s available to anyone with a Free Library of Philadelphia library card. 

The availability of such a service with a wide array of offerings such as Hoopla suggests that there is an equally diverse appetite for streaming live entertainment in Pennsylvania, not just for films and TV, but for other media as well, such as online gambling. Many companies are competing with the services mentioned in this article to grow PA Casino Apps, as online gambling also offers an accessible and enjoyable means of online entertainment in the comfort of one’s home.

Bear in mind that Hoopla works like a library membership – you can only borrow six items per month, and these items have different loan lengths depending on the medium. For example, films are available for 72 hours, albums for seven days, and audiobooks and eBooks for 21 days.



Swank Motion Pictures
Swank Motion Pictures is a family-run international, non-theatrical film distributor licensed to distribute both major Hollywood films and smaller independent titles. Its non-theatrical nature means it services a variety of venues, including cruise ships, museums, bars, churches, hospitals and correctional facilities.  

Most importantly for this list, Swank has been known to partner with public libraries and US colleges and universities to distribute its films. It’s not exactly clear which public libraries in Pennsylvania use the service, but it does have an active partnership with the University of Pennsylvania, meaning you can access its offerings if you are a member of the university’s student body.