Sundance TV is a bit of a mixed bag these days. But it’s still a good place to go to see interesting independent films from around the world. And it’s easy to get without cable.
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Table Of Contents
Sundance TV is yet another victim of channel drift, the wandering away of a once-niche TV network from its original wheelhouse. In this case, indie documentaries, short films, and world cinema.
But while Sundance these days does carry NCIS reruns, it also still has some international independent films. Read on for a closer look.
What Is Sundance TV
Sundance TV is indeed named for the famed Sundance Film Festival founded by Robert Redford. Of course, the festival was named for his breakout role in the classic 1969 George Roy Hill western, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
It was first launched as The Sundance Channel in 1996 by Redford, Showtime (which would become part of Paramount Global), and PolyGram (which ended up part of NBCUniversal). In 2008, it was purchased by what is now AMC Networks, which also owned Sundance’s main rival, the Independent Film Channel (IFC).
Sundance TV is joined by its AMC sister-channels IFC in showcasing independent film, AMC for prestige drama series, ShortsTV for exclusively short-form productions, BBC American and BBC World News for Anglophiles, and WE tv for women-centered family and lifestyle reality.
AMC also offers the subscription-based streaming services Shudder (horror movies), Allblk (targeting viewers of color), Acorn TV (British and other English-speaking, non-American film and TV), AMC+, WE tv+, Sundance Now (more on this below), IFC Films Unlimited, and AMC Premiere.
Other non-AMC channels that cover international or independent films or film festivals are Fandor, Cinefest, Magnolia Selects, and Warriors & Gangsters.
Sundance TV Shows
Sundance TV still has some stuff to interest fans of films from the festival circuit, more artistic or avant-garde fare, British film and TV, and high(er)-brow reality shows. Its independent films from around the world include some that appeared at the Sundance Film Festival.
But you won’t find those on the schedule most weeks. Instead, there are classic TV shows from just about every decade going back to the fifties and sixties.
And there are a few movies on the weekends like Young Guns starring Emilio Estevez, Man on Fire and Training Day with Denzel Washington, and Casino and Heat with Robert de Niro. These are all more what you would expect on AMC.
Featured shows on the Sundance TV website (available on-demand with TV provider credentials):
- State of the Union†
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent
- This Close†
- Back (British)
- Green Porno
- Seduce Me
† Sundance TV Original
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Stream Sundance TV
Sundance TV isn’t hard to find. Most streaming services carry it. Channel lineups, prices, and additional features vary widely. But that means you can find a package that fits your viewing style and not pay for extras you don’t want (like with cable or satellite).
Let’s get down to some details.
You also get unlimited cloud DVR and you can stream on up to 3 devices. The trade-off is no NBCUniversal (Bravo, Syfy, USA), WarnerMedia (TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network), Disney (Disney Channel, ESPN, Freeform), local stations (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox), or any sports or news channels (except BBC World News).
For everything you need to know, see our Philo review.
Sling TV is a smorgasbord of channel options. You pick a base package ($40.00/mo), and then customize it with extras and add-ons. The result is a custom package that’s cheaper if you like a few niche channels, but can get more expensive if you really enjoy the options of flipping through 80-140 networks.
Sundance TV fans will have to make a few choices: go for Sundance TV in the Hollywood Extra ($6/mo) or get AMC+ Extra ($7/mo), which includes on-demand access to content from AMC, BBC America, IFC, and Sundance TV as well as full access to IFC Films Unlimited, Shudder, and Sundance Now.
Sling also contains the most robust selection of premium add-on channels, and many feature indie and international movies and TV: Acorn TV, Cinefest, IFC Films Unlimited, Magnolia Selects, Shudder, and Warriors & Gangsters.
All Sling plans come with 50 hours of cloud DVR. The Sling Blue plan comes with streaming on up to 3 devices but the Sling Orange is limited to one. See our Sling TV review.
DIRECTV STREAM is the closest you get to traditional cable. If you liked everything about cable except the bill, the contract, and installation appointment, sign up! But it’s better than even that.
Its Entertainment Package ($74.99/mo) has the biggest percentage of the most popular cable channels, including Sundance TV, AMC, BBC America, and WE tv. If you want ShortsTV and IFC, you’ll have to upgrade to the Choice Package ($99.99/mo).
YouTubeTV offers over 85 channels for $72.99/mo, including Sundance TV, AMC, BBC America, BBC World News, IFC, and WE tv. They also have an expansive collection of a la carte premium channels (not as good as Sling TV, however) to choose from: Acorn TV, AMC+, Fandor, IFC Films Unlimited, Shudder, Sundance Now, and WE tv+ are just a few.
Sundance Now is Sundance’s subscription-based on-demand streaming service. It’s got all the independent, international, original stuff that used to be the focus of Sundance TV.
New content is added every week. Current popular items are Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle (a Sundance Now Exclusive), season 2 of The Split, The Little Drummer Girl, and A Discovery of Witches (a Sundance Now/Shudder Original).
Membership starts at $6.99/mo, or $59.99/yr, and you can subscribe through Sling TV or YouTubeTV or just go to the Sundance Now website and sign up through them.
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TVs and Devices to Watch Sundance TV
Pretty much any smart TV or other streaming device that you’ve purchased in the last few years should be supported by the streaming services we’ve discussed above. These include:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Android mobile
- iOS devices
- Web browsers
Philo doesn’t support Samsung smart TVs, but the others do. And DIRECTV STREAM doesn’t support Android TV-based devices but the others do. Sling and YouTube both support LG and VIZIO smart TVs as well as Xbox gaming systems.
Don’t see your device listed here? See our streaming service reviews for complete details.
Where can you tune in to see Isabella Rossallini dressing up as a male snail to show mollusk mating habits in a 2 minute short? You know the answer!
Just sign up for one of the services listed above and you can join Colman Domingo and guests for Bottomless Brunch at Colman’s every Sunday morning — and the cable company isn’t invited.
We recommend Sling TV for fans of Sundance TV.
Can I watch Sundance TV with AMC+?
The Sundance TV channel is not included with AMC+. Sundance TV is a linear channel — that’s a traditional live TV channel with a schedule. AMC+ is AMC Network’s uber-streaming service, which combines all their other single-channel niche streaming services’ content and adds the best of AMC itself and the entire Walking Dead Universe.
In many ways, AMC+ (or Sundance Now described above) may be much more what you’re looking for. It has the prestige drama series, international selections, and psychological thrillers that used to be on Sundance TV, AMC, and the other channels.
And you can watch episodes a full week before they air on their live channel to everyone else. Subscriptions start at $8.99/mo. It’s cheaper to get it with Sling TV.
Why don’t Hulu + Live TV or FuboTV offer Sundance TV?
Neither Hulu + Live TV nor FuboTV carry any channels from AMC Networks, which owns Sundance TV and AMC among others. Content providers charge a carriage fee per channel per subscriber. Even the larger TV providers have to make hard choices about which channels to carry in order to keep subscription costs down for customers. Fubo also doesn’t carry WarnerMedia or A&E, YouTube TV doesn’t carry A&E, and Fubo and Hulu, for whatever reason, decided not to go for AMC.
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