For anyone who has grown accustom to renting movies, CDs, and books from their local library, but wishes that the establishment would get with the times by providing a digital alternative, Hoopla just might be for you. The streaming service, which is best known for providing free e-book rentals in cooperation with local libraries, is expanding its offering: The service launched a new app for Amazon’s Fire TV and Apple TV that promises free, ad-free access to movies and TV shows.
The service offers free content through 1,600 partner library systems in the U.S.. Content partners include Paramount Pictures, Viacom, Sesame Street, Universal Music Group, Walt Disney Studios, and HarperCollins. Some of the titles coming to the service include “Titanic,” “The Hunt for Red October,” “The School of Rock,” and “Braveheart.” Similar to Netflix, certain titles will only be available for a windowed amount of time.
In order to sign up for the service a valid local library is required. And, just like a library, there are limits to the number of items available to stream, which is set by the partnering library system and does vary. For example, a library could opt to limit the number of video titles or set a maximum number of titles per month letting the user pick, for example, 30 videos and 20 music albums. Patrons will need to check with their library system for the correct policy.
Hoopla is the digital offshoot of Midwest Tape, a company that has been providing DVDs and audio books to public libraries across the country for decades. Apps for Roku and Android TV are expected to be released in the near future.