VRV is like a nerd-centric version of Netflix. It rolls 9 different streaming sites (Crunchyroll, Funimation, Rooster Teeth, Cartoon Hangover, Mondo, Tested, Shudder, Geek & Sundry and Nerdist) into a glorious burrito of geeky video content.
Continue on to learn how VRV compares to Netflix, how to access VRV from outside the US and Canada and how much VRV costs.
VRV Vs. Netflix
Aside from the fact that VRV has more of a focus on geek culture compared to Netflix, the main difference between the two streaming platforms is the fact that only VRV offers free content. Unlike Netflix, VRV offers an abundance of ad-supported free videos to go with the premium videos that only paid subscribers can access.
On VRV you can surf through free anime, horror flicks, oddball animated comedies for adults and science shows. What you won’t find, however, is mainstream content like soap operas, rom-coms, documentaries, police procedurals and blockbuster movies.
VRV’s freemium plan makes trying VRV a risk-free proposition. If and when you decide you want to unlock more VRV titles, you can upgrade to a Combo Pack subscription and dig into everything VRV has on the menu.
VRV Subscription Plans
The best subscription offer by far on VRV is the $9.99-per-month Combo Pack. The Combo Pack plan removes all ads and gives you full access to all 9 VRV channels.
When get the Combo Pack, you automatically get a free Premium Crunchyroll account. This allows you to hop over to Crunchyroll and enjoy the latest digital manga comic books if you get bored of watching VRV videos.
If you’re only interested in a few of VRV’s channels, you can subscribe to any of them individually. Prices for single channels start at $2.49 and go up to $6.95.
- Crunchyroll – $6.95
- Funimation – $5.99
- Rooster Teeth – $4.99
- Cartoon Hangover – $2.99
- Mondo – $2.99
- Tested – $3.99
- Shudder – $4.99
- Geek & Sundry – $2.49
- Nerdist – $2.49
Each channel offers free videos, but you have to pay to unlock “premium only” movies and shows.
VRV works on just about any platform. In addition to the VRV website, you can access VRV content via its Roku channel, Android and iOS apps.
How to Find the Free Stuff
If you’re strapped for cash or not sure you want to commit to a paid VRV plan yet, click the “close panel” button after you click a VRV channel to continue on for free videos.
Though it is somewhat annoying that VRV pushes you to upgrade to a paid plan at nearly every step of the way when you use the freemium version of VRV, the generous amount of little-known indie content contained on the site makes it well worth the hassle.
If you’re willing to put in the clicks, you can find plenty of free shows and movies.
Be forewarned: some of VRV’s free movies involve stories that are quite “whacked.”
Take, for example, Aachi and Ssipak – a movie about “two hoodlums who steal and resell addictive popsicles in a post-apocalyptic wasteland”.
Some movies on VRV are earmarked as “premium” and you can’t access them without paying for a subscription.
A number of VRV series are totally free and you can watch every single episode without subscribing to anything. Other series, however, try to reel you in with one free episode and then hit you with a paywall.
Exploring VRV’s Channels
VRV is 9 different streaming sites rolled into one platform. Each site has its own individual channel on VRV. The “VRV Select” channel contains curated picks from each of the 9 sites that provide content for VRV.
Let’s take an in-depth look at each VRV channel to find out what kind of videos you can expect to find in each one.
The Crunchyroll VRV channel is more beginner-friendly compared to the Crunchyroll website. For example, the Crunchyroll VRV channel has a section called “Starter Kit,” which contains anime classics like Naruto and Attack on Titan.
If you already have a subscription to Crunchyroll, you can link it to VRV via the settings menu. Just select LINK CRUNCHYROLL from the drop-down menu:
Then, click LINK and enter in your Crunchyroll credentials to import your Crunchyroll account data.
When I checked out the Nerdist channel on VRV, the featured show was a podcast called The Alpha Book Club.
There are several full Alpha Book Club shows available via Nerdist’s YouTube channel – but you presumably get more content if you subscribe via VRV.
The Alpha Book Club is just one of many Alpha Project titles available via the Nerdist channel. Alpha is a collaborative effort between Nerdist and Geek & Sundry.
Other Alpha titles include a board game show that’s hosted by Wil Wheaton of Star Trek called Tabletop and an escape room game reality show called Escape. To find out more about the Alpha Project, watch the video clip embedded below.
Yet another Alpha Project show featured on the Nerdist channel is a video podcast called Talkin’ Toons. Talkin’ Toons is hosted by Rob Paulsen – the cartoon actor that voiced Raphael and Donatello of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The Mondo channel appears to be a potpourri of imported animated shows and oddball animated comedies.
Via Mondo, you can find an animated show called Lastman. Lastman is about a down-on-his-luck boxer named Richard Aldana who gets drawn into a hidden world that’s full of magic and demons.
Lastman is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Fans of the French comic book version of Lastman pledged over €180,000 to turn Lastman into an animated series.
In addition to newly minted titles, there’s a world of older toons to explore on Mondo as well. After scrolling down a bit, I found a hilarious and weird cartoon variety show called Night Sweats.
According to its Wikipedia page, Night Sweats originally came out on the Canadian version of Adult Swim back in 2015.
Geek & Sundry
Geek & Sundry was originally a YouTube channel started by actress Felicia Day. Day gained geek cred for her work on cult shows like Buffy the Vampire and Supernatural. If you’ve ever played any of the Dragon Age games you may recognize Day because she played the character Tallis in the game.
Day appears as a guest in many Geek & Sundry shows, but doesn’t host any of them.
Like Nerdist, Geek & Sundry is heavy on podcasts and news shows. The main difference between the two seems to be that Geek & Sundry puts more of an emphasis on video games. Shows on Nerdist also discuss games, but they also cover comic books, TV shows and movies.
At the moment, the featured show on Geek & Sundry is Starter Kit – “your gateway to the world of roleplaying games.”
There are bunch of other video game news shows and podcasts to explore on Geek & Sundry as well, including Game Engine, Ask Your Black Geek Friend and others.
Funimation is very similar to Crunchyroll, only Funimation is geared toward casual anime fans. Both channels contain a massive supply of anime. However, Funimation is slightly cheaper if you subscribe to it individually – and it focuses more on dubbed content compared to Crunchyroll. Most Crunchyroll shows and movies are subtitled. Additionally, Funimation’s channel offers more themed content lists compared to Crunchyroll’s.
Examples of lists you’ll find on the Funimation channel include:
- Girls Who Could Beat You Up
- Let’s Fall In Love!!
- Super Stylized
- School of Hard Knocks
- Fairy Tale
- Anime Classics
- Most Popular
Like its name suggests, Shudder is all about horror. However, you won’t find mainstream horror classics lurking in its catalog. Instead, you’ll find a collection of lesser-known terror titles and subtitled horror imports from indie filmmakers around the world.
If you’re feeling adventurous, just pick a movie at random and brace yourself for either a truly frightening experience or a low budget direct-to-DVD horror flick that’s so bad, it’s good.
If you’re a casual horror fan, there are plenty of free-to-watch tiles available – and helpful content lists like “Curator’s Choice” help separate the wheat from the chaff.
The Tested channel is all about animator, graphic designer, carpenter, projectionist, film developer, television presenter, set designer, toy designer and gallery owner Adam Savage.
Savage initially made a name for himself in behind-the-scenes world of special effects, but after co-hosting the Discovery Channel television series MythBusters and Unchained Reaction he’s transitioned into more of a “cable TV science guy” role.
If you’ve seen all of Tested’s lengthy YouTube videos and still can’t get enough Savage, subscribing to Tested on VRV for $3.99 a month will unlock even more content.
Both Mondo and Cartoon Hangover are adult-oriented channels in the vein of Adult Swim. However, Cartoon Hangover seems a bit more “out there” compared to Mondo.
A good example of the wacky toons you can find via Cartoon Hangover is an animated show called Ape Escape. The plot of Ape Escape revolves around an evil genius named Specter. Specter’s plot to take over the world involves manipulating monkey brain waves via insidious “Pipo helmets.”
If you’re an Adventure Time fan, you may want to check out Bee and Puppycat – a series about a girl named Bee and her journeys through a hidden dimension called “Fishbowl Space.”
Bee and Puppycat is the brainchild of Natasha Allegri, the cartoonist best known for her storyboard work on Adventure Time.
Rooster Teeth is the web video production company responsible for the breakout web video hit Red vs. Blue. Red vs. Blue parodies the absurd nature of military life – and the absurd nature of life in general. Rooster Teeth co-founder Geoffrey Ramsey drew from his experience serving in the United States Army to create the dialog and storylines of Red vs. Blue.
According to a Wall Street Journal news story referenced on the Red vs. Blue Wikipedia page, San Francisco Film Society Director Graham Leggat once described Red vs. Blue as “truly as sophisticated as Samuel Beckett.”
In addition to Red vs. Blue, Rooster Teeth offers a variety of video content including gaming guides, talk shows, podcasts and behind-the-scenes clips featuring the Rooster Teeth production team.
VRV Select promotes the best content that VRV has to offer across each of its 9 channels.
The top spot on the channel when I checked it out was a show called HarmonQuest. In each episode of HarmonQuest, a group of comedians get together to play a tabletop RPG game. Portions of the game are animated in the style of The Ricky Gervais Show.
Guests players on the HarmonQuest have included former Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation and stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt.
VRV Pros and Cons
Whether you buy a paid subscription or not, VRV is an excellent deal. Despite the fact that the freemium version of VRV is filled with messages that try to get you to subscribe at every turn, the wealth of free content available on the site makes it well worth exploring. If you do end up subscribing, you get a tremendous bang for your buck.
Why I’ll Stay With VRV After My Trial Is Up
One of the things I liked best about VRV is that it’s a platform that gives an opportunity for lesser-known content makers to earn a few bucks. When you pay for other streaming services, a significant portion of your subscription fee goes straight into the pockets of lawyers and studio executives – but if you subscribe to VRV, most of the cash you spend goes directly to independent content creators.
- Excellent value.
- Lots of rare and hard-to-find content.
- Content lists help you sort through the videos.
- Plenty of free content to explore.
- Customizable subscription plans.
- Good video quality.
- Roku, iOS and Android apps are available.
- Crunchyroll subscribers can import their account.
- By subscribing, you help support indie content creators.
- The free version of VRV blasts you with constant messages to sign up for a paid account.
- The VRV catalog contains an overwhelming number of podcasts.
If you ever find yourself staring at your computer screen with no idea of what to watch next, you way want to give VRV a spin.
VRV splits the difference between YouTube content and Netflix. Netflix has high quality shows, but the lacks alternative and free content that makes VRV appealing. YouTube’s democratic video rating system sometimes allows quality videos to get lost in the shuffle. VRV’s content curation team does a pretty good job of making sure the best videos appear where people can easily discover them.
Though the majority of VRV’s catalog is marketed as a geek-centric video hub, the range of content that’s actually available on VRV might surprise you. If you have an off-beat sense of humor, appreciate odd low-budget scary movies or have even one nerdy bone in your body, you’ll likely find more than a few titles on VRV to enjoy.