Seattle Public Library Introduces Free Video Streaming Service

No, it's not exactly Netflix grade. But then again, you're not paying for it either.
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Want streaming video on your computer but don’t love paying for services like Netflix or Hulu? Well good news, skinflint — if you live in Seattle that is. Seattle Public Library just announced a new service that allows patrons to stream videos and music through a service known as Hoopla for free.

While the service doesn’t have the vast selection of Netflix, the price is certainly right. The Hoopla service is a pretty versatile one, too — not only can library patrons watch streaming videos over their home computers, they’ll also be able to download content to their Apple of Android mobile devices and watch on the go, even in places they might not have an Internet connection. And in addition to 10,000 video selections, users will also have more than 250,000 songs to choose from as well. All patrons have to do is go to Hoopla’s website, create an account, and then enter their SPL library card information. Once that’s done, users are off to the races, with access to Hoopla’s entertainment library at the push of a button.

While the system is up and running now, it remains a work in progress. With no filtering option available yet, parents will have to keep an eye on content to make sure that kids aren’t watching inappropriate films — like some of the Asian horror movies pictured in the sample above. The team behind the project is also working on making the service compatible with smart TVs and devices like Apple TV.

While patrons won’t pay for the service, the library still will. The Seattle Times reports that rentals through Hoopla — which are limited to 20 a month per library card — will cost the library an average of $1.70 each, meaning that depending on the popularity of the service, the library may have to throttle its availability in the future. Otherwise, expenses could run high enough that it would make more sense just to pay for everyone’s Netflix account. Which I doubt anyone would complain about, but isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.

(via The Seattle Times, image via Hoopla)

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