14 boutique streamers to try if your current subscriptions aren't to your taste

Illustration showing horror mask, bloodied knife, film reel, microphone, magnifying glass and fingerprint, anime headband
(Patrick Hruby / Los Angeles Times)

There is only one thing that distinguishes a boutique streaming service from all the others: the audience. Boutique streamers target those with specific interests or affiliations. For some it's cultural (BritBox, BET+), for others educational (Curiosity Stream, MagellanTV). The niche can be the medium (Crunchyroll), the genre (Shudder) or even the message (Ecoflix). Each of the streamers below has geared its content and catalog to meet the needs and interests of a specific audience. Find out below if any of the streamers in our extensive (but not necessarily exhaustive) guide are right for you to add to your viewing diet.

Acorn TV

Who's it for? Fans of television from Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand

Price: $6.99 monthly; $69.99 annually

Notable originals: "Detectorists"; "My Life Is Murder"; "Queens of Mystery"

Library titles: "The Field of Blood"; "Foyle's War"; "Happy Valley"; "Line of Duty"; "Mystery Road"

Acorn TV is designed for fans of British television and film, with a focus on programming mostly from BBC and ITV networks. Acorn, part of AMC's extended family, also offers a curated selection of series and movies from other countries, including Australia, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand, along with a few original productions. That means there are plenty of British murder mysteries in the mix — and much else besides.


Who's it for? Viewers who want programming that spotlights Black culture

Price: $9.99 monthly; $94.99 annually

Notable originals: "All the Queen's Men"; "First Wives Club"; "Love Marry Kill"

Library titles: "Basketball Wives"; "Love & Hip Hop"; Tyler Perry movies and TV series

BET+ is a premium streaming service in the Viacom/CBS family that provides subscribers access to a diverse selection of movies, TV shows and specials with a Black cultural perspective in mind. BET+ content includes original productions along with exclusive content from Viacom/CBS networks including BET, Comedy Central and VH1.


Who's it for? Fans of British murder mysteries and other U.K. programming

Price: $7.99 monthly; $79.99 annually

Notable originals: "Grace"; "Make It at Market"; "Suspect"; "The Tower"

Library titles: "The Coroner"; "EastEnders"; "The Office"; "Scott & Bailey"; "Suspect"; "Vera"

BritBox is designed for fans of British television and film with a focus on programming mostly from British TV networks BBC and ITV. Did that sentence give you a little déjà vu? There's a lot of overlap between the programming and audiences for Acorn TV and BritBox. More than just murder mysteries, though, BritBox also has a growing library of high-quality original productions. It also offers same-day or live coverage of news and major events and a "Now" feature that allows users to watch select programs shortly after they air in the U.K.

The Criterion Channel

Who's it for? Connoisseurs of art films, international films and classic movies

Price: $10.99 monthly; $99.99 annually.

Notable titles: "Breathless"; "Days of Heaven"; "The Elephant Man"; "Tampopo"

Collections: Starring Isabelle Huppert; Buster Keaton; Austin Film Society; David Lynch

The Criterion Channel is the streaming-service version of the familiar Criterion Collection of Blu-rays and DVDs. The company specializes in high-quality versions of classic movies, non-English-language films and cult favorites. Subscribers also may stream documentaries and TV shows related to Criterion's curated content.


Who's it for? Fans of anime and manga

Price: Free, with ads; $7.99 to $14.99 monthly

Notable titles: "Attack on Titan"; "Chainsaw Man"; "Dragon Ball"; "My Hero Academia"; "Naruto"

Crunchyroll was founded in 2006 and has since become one of the largest platforms for anime content worldwide. Its anime collection includes current shows and classics, covering the full range of the animation style's genres: action, romance, fantasy, comedy. There are even a few live-action dramas in the mix. Membership allows access to the Crunchyroll website for internet streaming and offers manga (a form of Japanese comic book). Crunchyroll premium subscribers also can stream episodes shortly after they air in Japan, often with subtitles in multiple languages. The free plan includes ad-supported streaming and limited access to additional programs. Crunchyroll is available in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and parts of Latin America and, via social media, has a global community for anime fans.

Curiosity Stream

A man with a long white beard and glasses sits in a chair onstage.
The documentary "An Honest Liar" profiles James "the Amazing" Randi. (Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP)

Who's it for? Viewers who want to be educated and entertained

Price: $4.99 to $9.99 monthly; $39.99 to $69.99 annually

Notable originals: "Becoming Martian"; "King Cruise"; "Maestro"; "Planet Insect"

Library titles: "An Honest Liar"; "Supersize Me"

Do you miss the early days of cable television, when networks like the History Channel, the Learning Channel, the Discovery Channel and even Bravo were dedicated to educational nonfiction programming, and less reliant on reality TV? The promise of those platforms is realized anew for the streaming era in Curiosity Stream, a service launched in 2015 by Discovery Channel founder John S. Hendricks. The platform specializes in documentary content across various genres and disciplines, including science, technology, history, nature and more.


Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg stands amid a crowd, scowling.
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is featured prominently in numerous Ecoflix productions. (Melissa Renwick / AP)

Who's it for? Viewers concerned about nature and the environment

Price: $6.99 monthly; $47.99 annually

Notable originals: "Ecoflix: Live"; "It's Up to Us"; "Leopard: Impossible Rescues"

Library titles: "Ecstasies & Heartbreak on California's Coast"; "Koko — The Nature Documentary"

Probably the greenest channel of all, Ecoflix has a large collection of documentary films and TV series related to all aspects of protecting the environment. Climate change activist Greta Thunberg is featured in more than a few of the programs. A small part of the library is free to watch for nonsubscribers.


Who's it for? Viewers who want to be educated and entertained

Price: $5.99 monthly; $59.88 annually

Notable originals: "Exploring Venus"; "Secrets of the Universe"; "Journey to the Sea of Cortez"

Collections: Life of the Great Cities; Living in the Middle Ages; Breaking Barriers: Women of History

MagellanTV offers educational documentaries and TV series covering a wide range of topics in a breadth of disciplines. One clever feature of the service is that as a guest you can see the first few minutes of any documentary or series for free.


Who's it for? Serious film buffs

Price: $12.99 monthly

Notable titles: "Decision to Leave"; "Howards End"; "Melancholia"

Collections: And the Oscar Goes to; Cannes Takeover; Film of the Day; Mubi Spotlight

Mubi is a multiplatform streaming service with a large, carefully curated collection of high-quality independent and foreign films.


Two astronauts in spacesuits on a space walk, the Earth visible behind them
Astronauts Jim Voss, left, on robot arm, and Jeffrey Williams wave to the television camera as they work on the Russian boom on the International Space Station. (AP Photo / NASA TV)

Who's it for? Viewers with a deep interest in the science of space exploration

Price: Free

Notable originals: "This Week @NASA"; "The Beautiful Universe"

The streaming version of the NASA TV web page, this rare free and ad-free service offers hours and hours of raw footage, livestreams, movies and TV programs celebrating and documenting U.S. and international space programs past and present. There are rocket launches, some explosions, and countless beautiful images of Earth from space, plus plenty of footage of astronauts working in the micro-gravity of low-earth orbit. Here's a party tip: Turn your TV to the NASA streaming service and launch the images slideshow to keep guests entertained.


Sean "Diddy" Combs, dressed in a white shirt and blazer, looking serious
Sean "Diddy" Combs, the founder of Revolt. ( Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP)

Who's it for? Fans of hip-hop and urban music culture

Price: Free, with ads

Notable originals: "Black Girl Stuff"; "The Jason Lee Show"; "Revolt Black News"

Revolt is the streaming arm of Revolt TV, a multiplatform media company launched by Sean "Diddy" Combs in 2013 that focuses on content centered around hip-hop and urban music culture. The streaming service offers a a wide selection of music videos, live performances, news and original programming. Revolt also showcases and promotes emerging artists and trends in hip-hop and urban music.


Who's it for? LGBTQ+ viewers and allies

Price: Free, with ads

Notable originals: "House of Pride"; "The Millennial Experience"

Library titles: "Before Stonewall"; "The Grove"; "Margaret Cho Psycho"; "Queer Youth Animated"

Revry is a streaming service that provides content geared toward the LGBTQ+ community. This includes a wide range of LGBTQ+-themed movies, TV shows, music, podcasts and original programming.


Who's it for? Fans of horror, thrillers and suspense

Price: $5.99 monthly; $56.99 annually

Notable titles: "Creepshow"; "The Last Drive-in With Joe Bob Briggs: The Walking Dead"; "The 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time"

Collections: Comedy of Terror; Horror 101; Human Monsters & Serial Killers; Tales of the Supernatural

Shudder is a streaming service dedicated to horror, thrillers and suspense-filled movies and TV series including independent films, cult favorites and classic films and TV series, with lots of original productions as part of its catalog. Users can find programs in numerous curated collections. One mainstay of the service is anthology TV series spanning decades, from "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone" up to original production "Creepshow."


Who's it for? Fans of television from Nordic and Baltic countries

Price: $5.99 monthly; $49.99 annually

Notable titles: "Margrete — Queen of the North"; "Wallander"; "Detective Maria Kallio"

Viaplay is a subscription-based streaming service that has expanded from its base in Nordic and Baltic countries, including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Estonia, and is now available in the U.S. and other countries. Viaplay offers a wide range of movies, TV series and live sports content, much of it in the original language with English subtitles and/or dubbing.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.