Shudder at profanities and violence in movies? Want to host movie night and struggle to find something appropriate and appealing to everyone in the family? You’re not alone.
If you enjoy watching movies, but dislike the racy scenes, bloodshed, and foul language, movie-filtering services might be worth considering.
These services enable you to broaden the list of movies you’re comfortable streaming by automatically skipping or muting scenes and language you deem objectionable. It essentially takes a movie that’s family-unfriendly and makes it family-friendly.
Several companies provide this service, but the most well-known are VidAngel and ClearPlay.
VidAngel is a Utah-based company that enables you to filter inappropriate or offensive content based on your preferences. The filters are so detailed that you can eliminate all profanities or only specific ones. You can choose to remove graphic violence or disturbing images, or both, or none. You can eliminate specific objectionable scenes, all of them, or none of them. And so on and so forth.
VidAngel works with content on sites you already subscribe to, such as Amazon and Netflix, as well as various Amazon channels such as Prime, HBO or Movies Anywhere. Subscribers to these streaming platforms who also subscribe to VidAngel can utilize VidAngel’s platform to stream videos with movie-filtering turned on.
VidAngel doesn’t currently offer filtering services for all Netflix or Amazon titles although it’s working to grow its library.
VidAngel subscribers can watch an Amazon or Netflix movie on VidAngel’s website using VidAngel’s Chrome or Firefox extension (which are add-ons to your computer’s Chrome or Firefox browsers) or on various compatible TVs (such as Roku or Apple TV), or on VidAngel’s mobile app.
VidAngel also offers original content. This content will most probably be “clean,” but it’s important to check it for religious themes beforehand as movie-filtering sites often cater to a more religious market.
VidAngel offers a free trial, after which the service costs $9.99 per month.
The second company mentioned above – ClearPlay – uses a Google Chrome Extension. Although filtering content with streaming services is ClearPlay’s focus, it also offers filtering on special BluRay players as well.
ClearPlay also has a (computer) app that filters content rented or purchased on online streaming services – Amazon, Netflix, and, more recently, Disney Plus. It also offers filters for several channels on Amazon, such as Starz, HBO, Showtime, and Prime. While its list of movies on each of these platforms is constantly growing, it only filters certain titles as of now.
As is the case with VidAngel, you have the ability to customize your personal preferences. You can skip all undesirable content or you can select only certain words and scenes to filter out.
ClearPlay offers a free trial, after which a subscription costs $7.99 per month. ClearPlay doesn’t work on mobile devices, or on TV screens, although you can link your TV screen to your computer and watch movies that way.
Both VidAngel and ClearPlay have been plagued with lawsuits and an abundance of legal troubles while trying to navigate the tight copyright infringement laws in the entertainment industry. As such, VidAngel cannot filter movies owned by certain companies and their subsidiaries such as Disney, Warner Bros., Marvel, and 20th Century Fox.
Movie-filtering services are especially useful for parents who would ideally love to give their children movie nights, but without the inappropriate language or colorful scenes. They’re also useful, though, for adults who prefer “cleaner” entertainment.