Toronto Public Library now offers free, streaming movies
It’s not quite Netflix, but it’s free (as long as you’ve got a library card). Earlier today, Toronto Public Library announced the launch of its partnership with Hoopla, a provider of streaming video and music.
Hoopla contracts with library systems all around Canada and the U.S., and in many ways—possibly too many ways—it functions like a virtual library shelf. Users accustomed to binge-watching shows like House of Cards on Netflix will be disappointed with the new service for two reasons: one, each cardholder is limited to short-term “loans” of five items per month, and two, the selection is pretty much what you’d expect for the price. There are some good titles in the mix, but the majority of what’s available seems to be at least a decade old. (Anyone interested in viewing the complete run of The Man Show will be in heaven. Anyone?) [UPDATE: A library rep points out, correctly, that Hoopla’s music selection is much broader and more current than its video selection.]
Fortunately, if the service proves unpopular, the city won’t be on the hook for a staggering subscription bill. A Toronto Public Library spokesperson says the library is paying Hoopla approximately $1 to $2 per item borrowed. Users may want to think about that hidden cost before ordering up five episodes of something truly terrible, like The Legend of Zelda: The Animated Series.
More information on how Hoopla works, and how to use it, is right here.