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Amazon’s IMDb Freedive is already one of the best way to watch free movies online

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If you own a Fire device, you should check this out.

If you’ve booted up an Amazon Fire device recently, you might have noticed a curious new addition to your main menu, one using a still from Ryan Gosling’s Drive to advertise a service for free movies and TV shows. IMDb Freedive is Amazon’s ad-supported streaming service, and if you’re a prime subscriber, it’s worth a closer look. Here’s everything you need to know about IMDb Freedrive before getting started.

what is imdb freedive Photo via IMDB

What is IMDb Freedive?

IMDb is short for the Internet Movie Database, a glorious online encyclopedia for TV shows and movies that offers everything from cast breakdowns to ratings, fan reviews, and production details for pretty much every title you might want to Google. The site has more than 5 million titles in its database. While it originally operated as a fan-operated site, not unlike Wikipedia, it’s been an Amazon subsidiary since 1998.

Launched in early January 2019, IMDb Freedive is a free ad-supported service for streaming movies and TV shows in the U.S. It operates as a channel on Fire devices—Fire Stick, Fire TV Cube, Fire tablets, etc.—or if you’re a laptop or personal computer, you can stream directly from the IMDb step.

How does IMdb Freedive work?

If you already have Amazon Prime and a Fire device, all you have to do is download the IMDb Freedive channel. Your Prime account will serve as your login. (If you don’t already have Amazon Prime, you can learn more here.) If you want to watch in a browser on IMDb’s website, you’ll need to create an IMDb account, but it’s free to do so, and you can join using your Amazon account. Once you’re ready to watch you just select a title, hit play, and sit back. Users watching on Prime can even use Amazon’s X-Ray feature to track songs, actors, and trivia from titles during viewings. 

IMDb users can save content to a personal watchlist to save for later on the site, but sadly, your saved programs don’t transfer over to Prime. This wouldn’t be a massive problem if Freedive were easier to search in the Prime app, but that’s sorely lacking at the moment. Instead, Prime app users will need to scroll down through channel and genre listings to find the Freedrive channel section, then scroll through a limited selection of what it offers. Freedive content can be found by searching for it by name in Prime, but that requires knowing what to look for. Hopefully, this issue gets fixed soon, because otherwise, Freedive is the best ad-supported streaming service around.

imdb-freedive-movies-features-titles Photo via IMDB

That’s thanks in large part to the restraint with which Freedive handles ads. While watching movies, I experienced on average only five ad-breaks and a total of under five minutes of ads. There were exceptions; some movies, specifically The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, had far more ads, with 12 ads during its two-hour runtime, which is a lot. Still, those ads added up to less than 11 minutes. 

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Hour-long TV shows feature four ads per episode while half hours shows only feature two. Just like with the movies, the ad breaks during TV shows are still 30 to 60 seconds apiece. More importantly, the ads never repeated. Best of all, these ads are volume matched to what you’re watching, unlike the ugly loud surprises some free services offer. 

Another selling point: The picture quality on Freedive is incredible. While I was watching Drive for this review, there were times I wondered if Prime was delivering an unannounced 4K picture. My Roku TV doesn’t state what your picture quality is, but Freedive provided breathtaking clarity. Similarly Fringe and Gilligan’s Island each looked better than ever. Often free streaming picture quality is lacking, but Freedive’s crisp images kept me coming back, even after this finishing this review.

IMDb Freedive TV shows

The TV selection on IMDb Freedive is small yet mighty, offering Heroes, Fringe, The Bachelor, Kitchen Nightmares, and more. The TV focus is mostly on reality shows, police procedurals, and sci-fi series at the moment, but every option has multiple seasons to enjoy. Freedive also includes a few original series, often focused on behind-the-scenes movie trivia. Casting Calls, for example, tells the stories behind actors who were almost cast in films like Batman or Jurassic Park.

imdb-freedive-movies-features-original-shows Photo via IMDB

IMDb Freedive movies

IMDb Freedive’s movie selectioncan give some paid services a run for their money. Everything from classic dramas like A Raisin in the Sun, violent romances like True Romance, or hard-boiled crime like Drive await. Looking to laugh? Try So I Married an Axe Murderer, the surreal Adaptation, or the heartbreaking Southern magic of Junebug. Drama fans can dig into Legends of the Fall, Foxcatcher, and The Fisher King.

Drawing from decades of classic titles, Freedive never stops surprising with new movies to watch. Often Netflix’s myopic focus on original content leaves its movie listings feeling like a cutout DVD bin. Freedive has a refreshing amount of stuff you’d actually want to watch, especially for classic movie buffs looking to fill in blanks. You should see John Candy’s Who is Harry Crumb? Ever see Glory, St. Elmo’s Fire, or The Adventures of Baron Munchausen? You can correct that right now for free.

Documentaries, horror, sci-fi, comedy, action: Every genre is waiting. There’s even a nice chunk of family films from Monster House to Stuart Little to enjoy for kids of all ages. It’s honestly a joy to see a movie service this focused on classics instead of today’s latest direct-to-video content.

Is Freedive worth trying?

Freedive has quickly found a place in my streaming rotation. Even with its occasionally frustrating navigation problems, any grievances will be overshadowed by the quality of options and well-behaved ads. Freedive’s ads are less annoying than Hulu, and I pay to watch Hulu.

As pay services become more focused on owning the content they stream, catalog titles have taken a backseat. That leaves a massive opening for other services to fill in that gap, and its an opportunity Freedive is running with. At launch, Freedive is impressive for a free service. Hopefully, Amazon gives IMDb Freedive a special section within the Prime app, opening up its full potential. Either way, I can’t wait to check in next month and see what new content gets added.

Still not sure what to watch on Amazon? Here are the best Amazon originals, the best documentaries on Amazon Prime, what’s new on Amazon, the best 4K movies, thrillers on Amazon Prime, alien movies, and the sexiest movies you can stream right now.  

Looking for something more specific? Here are the best comedies on Amazon Prime when you need a laugh, sad movies to make you cry, kids movies for the whole family, the best thrillers to get your heart racing, and the classic movies on Amazon Prime everyone should see. If that’s not enough, here are the best Amazon Prime channels.

John-Michael Bond

John-Michael Bond

John-Michael Bond is a tech reporter and culture writer for Daily Dot. A longtime cord-cutter and early adapter, he's an expert on streaming services (Hulu with Live TV), devices (Roku, Amazon Fire), and anime. A former staff writer for TUAW, he's knowledgeable on all things Apple and Android. You can also also find him regularly performing standup comedy in Los Angeles.