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VidAngel Review: Good for Filtering Questionable Content or Just a Questionable Streaming Service?

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VidAngel is a filtering service that helps you make sure the TV you watch is appropriate for your family. Their technology gives you fine-tuned control over what is seen and heard. Read on to learn all the details.

In a hurry? VidAngel provides great control over a number of platforms. Another option is to use a streaming service that provides you control over what others see. Hulu + Live TV provides excellent parental control. Vidgo is well-known for its family-friendly channel lineup. In terms of on-demand streaming, Disney+ is another to consider.

Standards on what is and is not appropriate for public consumption are incredibly subjective and individual. They also change, constantly, both on a personal and societal level.

One person’s art is another person’s trigger; one person’s blasphemy is another person’s giggle. But mass media is, as the name implies, created for the masses. Some folks just avoid all mainstream TV and media. Some watch anyway, constantly cringing. Is there a better way?

Enter VidAngel, the brainstorm of four enterprising brothers from Idaho. It’s changed how it works over the years, but the core premise is the same: you should be able to have control over how you — and your children — watch great movies and TV shows in your own home. Intrigued? Read on.

What is VidAngel

How VidAngel Works

VidAngel is a subscription-based service that enables you to set and operate a network of filters to customize the viewing experience for you and your family. It only works alongside certain on-demand streaming video services (see below). And it only works on videos that have filters available.

As of earlier this year, they could offer filters for over 2,500 movies and 10,000 TV episodes. The service costs $9.99/mo.

There are three filtering options:

  1. Default (will apply to all new shows you start)
  2. Show-specific (will apply to the specific movie or episode for which they are set)
  3. Parental controls (will override any other filter and require a special passcode to access)

Filters are arranged first by broad categories (language, sex/nudity/immodesty, violence/blood/gore, alcohol or drug use, and other elements). Then by sub-categories within the larger ones. For instance, under “language,” there are sub-categories such as profanity, blasphemy, and sexual reference/innuendo.

If you are using show-specific filters, next to each list item is a notation of how many filters there are for that item, and a video or audio icon to indicate whether a scene will be skipped (video) or just muted (audio). You can get even more granular by expanding each sub-category and reviewing each individual occurrence.

Let’s get one thing straight: VidAngel is not just for conservative Christians (though reviews from them are certainly positive and appreciative). VidAngel includes filters for objectionable content that all parents would care about. They include filters for sexual violence and exploitation as well as an entire section under “language” for racial and ethnic slurs. The service consistently strives to be as granular, modular, and customizable as possible.

VidAngel Supported Services

VidAngel supports three of the largest streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) services: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV+. Amazon, in turn, allows you to subscribe to a number of other services through the Prime Video or Movies Anywhere platforms, such as iTunes, Google Play, Paramount+, Showtime, or Starz. VidAngel will work with a number of these as long as they are subscribed through Amazon.

Unfortunately, there is a huge mouse-sized hole in VidAngel’s titles. Due to some legal conflicts, VidAngel is prohibited from streaming any content owned by Disney, Pixar, Lucas Films, Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, New Line Cinemas, Turner Pictures, and their subsidiaries.

That means no Mickey Mouse, Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic, Simpsons, Bugs Bunny, Hanna Barbera, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, HBO, Cinemax, FX, Hulu, VUDU, or ESPN. If it helps, though, it doesn’t cover USA (NBCUniversal) or Nickelodeon (ViacomCBS). And we suspect there wouldn’t be much left of Rick & Morty after filtering anyway.

Angel Studios

Neal Harmon
VidAngel co-founder Neal Harmon.

Angel Studios, formerly VidAngel Inc, was formed after the restructuring prompted by the aforementioned court battles. It is a separate and distinct company from VidAngel Entertainment, which provides the filters and is the distributor for content from Angel Studios. Angel Studios’ stated mission is to reshape Hollywood by committing to producing positive content.

Angel Studios’ flagship show is The Chosen, a series about the life and times of Jesus Christ. Now into its second season, filters for the already-family-friendly drama are available through VidAngel. It also features Dry Bar Comedy, Utah-based “clean” comedy performances from stand-up comedians from across the US.

Supported Devices

VidAngel apps are available for most standard streaming platforms in their app stores.

  • Amazon Fire TV or Fire Stick
  • Android mobile
  • Apple TV
  • iOS (iPhone, iPad)
  • Roku
  • Web Browser (Chrome or Firefox with extensions).

An alternative way to watch is to cast from the mobile app to a Chromecast-enabled device or smart TV.

Setting up VidAngel is a bit more involved than just signing in. The VidAngel website has step-by-step instructions for each of the devices and methods above.

Alternatives

VidAngel is the best method — currently, the only method — to watch a clean version of shows like Orange Is the New Black. But if you’re just looking for family-friendly entertainment that won’t offend, there are other options.

  • Pure Flix: Pure Flix — maker of the 2014 hit God’s Not Dead — specializes in faith-based and clean, uplifting entertainment and family movies for all ages for $12.99/mo after a seven-day free trial. Featured titles include Miracle on Christmas, AD: The Bible Continues, and Underdog Kids.
  • Frndly: Frndly is a true skinny bundle, but it’s a fantastic deal if it has what you want. Over 30 channels starting at $6.99, including all three Hallmark channels plus A&E, Lifetime, and History.
  • Vidgo: Vidgo is a mid-level streaming service that starts at $55/mo for over 85 channels. It has a solid lineup of family viewing, as well as college sports and conservative news. See our Vidgo review for more information.

Another option is TV Guardian. It is a set-top device that filters language only. So it is far less versatile than VidAngel. It only works with certain tuners. On the upside, there’s no month-to-month subscription. The lowest-priced model starts at $69.99.

Summary

VidAngel can create a safe space in your home for you to see what the buzz around a new show is all about, and give you peace of mind to let your kids watch what their friends are watching. According to its users, it’s well worth the price.

Alanna Baker

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