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What is Mubi? Everything you need to know about the cinephile-centric streamer

Find out if the home of streaming indie film is right for you.
By
December 21, 2021
what is mubi
Mubi

The streaming space is getting more crowded, and it’s hard to pick a single service that covers all the bases. Netflix isn’t alone out there anymore. Of course, some of the most exciting players in the game don’t even try. Instead, they carve out a specific niche and cater to it hard. Mubi is one of the best streaming services among these more targeted options. So, what is Mubi? Why should you subscribe to it? How does it compare to the competition?

Read on for a complete breakdown of Mubi, the cinephile-centric streaming service that might be exactly what you’ve been looking for.

What is Mubi?

Swallow
Mubi

Mubi is a global streaming service that offers curated film collections, focusing on independent and classic films. Launched in 2007 as The Auteurs, when founder Efe Cakarel was frustrated he couldn’t find anywhere to watch Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood For Love in Japan, the site has been growing ever since.

The service offers a huge assortment of international films in various genres and all across film history.

How does Mubi work?

It mostly works like any other subscription streaming service, with a library of titles organized into different categories, available to watch on-demand to anyone with a subscription. There are no tiers. Members get access to the same content, much of it in HD.

The big differentiating factor is Mubi’s “Film of the Day” structure. Each day, one title is added, though it remains available after that for varying periods of time. A team of curators chooses new films to add, and these are often organized thematically, like mini digital festivals. You may get films from the same country dropping back to back, or double features from a single filmmaker or film movement.

If you’ve ever found yourself wasting an evening scrolling through movie or TV options on Netflix, you may understand the appeal of clicking on the current film of the day and letting yourself be surprised.

How do I sign up?

Mubi is available as a standalone streaming service or Amazon Prime channel. You can sign up on the service’s official website, or via Amazon if you prefer it as an add-on channel.

How much does Mubi cost?

Mubi costs $10.99 per month, with a seven-day free trial period. You’ll save a lot of money with a yearly membership for $83.88 — that works out to $6.99 per month and 36% in savings.

Students can get the cheaper rate of $6.99 per month without committing to a year. They get an extended trial period of 30 days too. A student subscription includes everything found in a standard subscription.

As an Amazon channel, Mubi is available for the lower rate of $5.99 per month, but it’s an add-on to your Amazon Prime Video subscription, which comes with a price tag of $12.99 per month. If you’re already an Amazon subscriber, it’s a great way to save some money.

How do I get Mubi for free?

When you sign up for Mubi, you get a seven-day free trial. If you cancel before the seven days are up, you won’t be charged. If you’re a student, the free trial period is extended to 30 days, giving you about a month of the service for free.

Those are the only ways to get the service for free without stealing it. You can theoretically share an account, as Mubi allows two simultaneous streams, but it’s not meant to be shared between different households.

What devices does Mubi support?

what is Mubi
Mubi

You can use your subscription pretty much any way you want. You have many ways to watch how you like, on the device of your choosing.

The complete list of supported devices is as follows:

Streaming media players

  • Apple TV HD/4K
  • Chromecast
  • Amazon FireTV
  • Roku

Smart TVs

  • Samsung (2017 TVs or newer)
  • LG (2016 TVs or newer)
  • Sony (Android)
  • Android TV

Smartphones and tablets

  • Android
  • Apple

Web browsers

  • Safari (13 and above)
  • Chrome (95 and above)
  • Firefox (82 and above)
  • Edge (80 and above)

Gaming consoles

  • Playstation 4

Can I download Mubi content?

All Mubi content can be downloaded in HD to watch on the go when you can’t rely on a stable internet connection.

Where is Mubi available?

Mubi is available in over 190 countries worldwide. These include the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Japan, New Zealand, and many more. The availability of titles varies from country to country.

What can I watch on Mubi?

Dead Pigs Cathy Yan
Mubi

Movies

There’s no shortage of things to watch on the platform. You can follow along daily, watching the films as they’re released. There’s also a huge back-catalog of films, as Mubi licenses them for more than the one day when they’re featured.

Available titles vary from country to country and change over time. They include works by auteurs like Jean-Luc Godard, Xavier Dolan, Claire Denis, George Romero, Jia Zhangke, and many more.

Mubi “originals”

The company produces or co-produces and distributes indie films. That means its library includes its own titles, sometimes streaming exclusively on the service. Because of various distribution deals, they sometimes only hold streaming rights in limited markets.

One example is Annette, which Mubi co-produced. The film is an Amazon Prime Video original film in the US, but viewers in Ireland, India, Latin America, and the US can watch it included in their subscriptions.

Plenty of Mubi-produced or distributed films are available on the platform worldwide, though. The streamer acquired the rights to Birds of Prey director Cathy Yan’s Dead Pigs in 2021, and the film is available exclusively on Mubi worldwide, excluding China.

Notebook

Mubi isn’t limited to films. You can also read film journalism in Notebook, the service’s daily film publication, which recently expanded from exclusively online to a recurring print publication.

How does it hold up against the competition?

First Cow
Mubi

Mubi is relatively unique in the streaming space, so it’s hard to compare to other services. Its closest competitor is the Criterion Channel, which similarly curates a selection of classics and contemporary films from Hollywood and around the world.

Other niche services have some overlap, including Shudder, which often features classic and independent horror films from around the world.

Check out: What is BET Plus?

For a one-stop streamer that offers a mix of original and third-party content, services like Netflix and HBO Max continue to dominate the field, with massive libraries. But of course, they’ll charge accordingly. HBO Max’s ad-free service will set you back $14.99 per month, and a premium Netflix account costs almost $20. Those prices are a fair bit higher than Mubi’s $10.99 price tag. And if you want to mix and match, you can go with Amazon Prime Video and get the even cheaper Mubi add-on at $5.99.

Mubi isn’t really trying to measure up to the big guys, so in that sense, it’s a pretty solid niche streamer.

Is Mubi worth it?

Mubi
Mubi

With a crowded field that includes the above streaming services as well as Disney PlusApple TV Plus, Peacock, Britbox, and seemingly more new options every day, Mubi is a very respectable option, but one with a very niche appeal.

Your final choice will likely come down to the individual titles you’re looking for. Mubi does host films that you won’t find anywhere else. Some of these movies only play festivals before finding a home exclusively at Mubi — no wide theatrical release, no home media options. If the blend of classic, indie, and arthouse films on the platform is what you want, then Mubi is more than worth it.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a one-stop-shop to catch the latest new releases all your friends are talking about, Mubi will probably leave you feeling left out of the loop. It has a fairly specific, niche appeal, even if the films cover a pretty wide range of genres and time periods.

If you’re like me and want to make sure your subscriptions cover a few bases, Mubi will certainly add huge value and give you access to some great stuff you won’t find anywhere else.

Other FAQs

Q: Who owns Mubi?
A: The London-based streaming service is independently owned by founder and CEO Efe Cakarel. It receives funding from the European Union via Creative Europe Media.

Q: Is Mubi available in 4K?
A: No, Mubi does not host 4K streams. The service does offer films in HD (1080p resolution) whenever they’re available in that format. Some older films are not available in HD.

Q: Can I download Mubi content for offline viewing?
A: Yes, all Mubi titles can be downloaded (including in HD) for offline viewing.

Q: Does Mubi have ads?
A: Mubi is entirely supported by subscribers and does not run any ads when you stream.

Q: Can I watch Mubi on a Roku device?
A: Yes, Mubi is available on various streaming platforms, including Roku. See our system requirements section for more details.

Q: How many screens can I use at the same time?
A: Mubi allows you to use the service on up to five devices, with two simultaneous streams at any given time.