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What is Stremio? Well, according to the official website, Stremio is “the only video streaming hub you’ll ever need.” It’s obviously a play on the word ‘stream,” but it sounds Italian. So I’ve been mentally pronouncing “Stremio” similar to how a legendary video game plumber says, “It’s-a me, Mario!”

Anyway, Stremio is a free streaming service that aggregates material from other sources via open-source software. It doesn’t create original content. Instead, you stream outside content through the Stremio app on your laptop or computer. Sounds good so far, right? Let’s take a closer look with the Cordcutting.com Stremio review.

User Experience

Using the Stremio app is simple enough. It’s well, streamlined. You can get content from other sources, but you watch it all within the Stremio app. The main page displays new content in any channels you’ve subscribed to. For this review, I picked some pretty standard channels from the likes of Netflix and the NFL.

The home page also displays a list of top movies and TV shows, plus the top movies and TV shows based on rating. If YouTube channels are more your thing, you can scroll through a list of top channels from the likes of Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran.

Adding movies, shows, or channels to your library is easy, assuming there’s an available stream. There won’t always be one. Let’s say you want to watch Aquaman but don’t want to visit your local movie theater to do so. You can click on Aquaman in the Stremio app, but in my case, I got a notification that there were no streams available. Below it was an invitation to “view all available add-ons.” In other words, none of the add-ons I had installed offered this title, but I could certainly view other options to see if they had it.

Stremio comes with official add-ons that are part of the basic download. YouTube and WatchHub are part of the official package. Then there are “community” downloads, including Pirate Bay and similar apps. According to Stremio’s FAQ page, “We don't control community add-ons, some of them provides torrent-based sources therefore, before using them you should make sure that this is legal in your country.”

Statements like that probably allow Stremio to stay on the right side of the law. It does not allow them to stay on the right side of my Windows Firewall, though. When I was installing Stremio, I got the dreaded “Windows Firewall has blocked some features of this app” pop-up. I had to bypass it, because duty waits for no firewall.

I also took a quick look at the terms and conditions before installing Stremio. There’s additional information about the community add-ons there, including this: “The Provider is not liable for hosting, storing, developing, maintaining or monitoring the content available for the Users through the Community Add-ons.” It also re-stresses its point that such apps are made by “independent developers.”

Possibly fun fact: I learned that the service is “existing under the laws of Bulgaria.” Make of that what you will.

Content

Stremio may prefer to dance around the legalities, but I’ll just say it: The top content on the service seems to exist in, at best, a gray area of legality. The YouTube channels seem fine, because I can legally watch reposted NFL content in a lot of places. The same is true of reposted Netflix content.

But if I want to watch movies like Aquaman right now, I have to do one of two things: Go to the movies and pay $12, or get an unauthorized torrent from a service like Pirate Bay. Obviously, some people download peer-to-peer torrents every day without any legal problems. But that doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea.

As a video player and content aggregator, Stremio is fine. But I suspect its main appeal lies with people who want to watch movies and TV shows without paying for it. If you want another way to watch YouTube channels, you can also do that through Stremio. Or you could just go to YouTube.

Speaking of YouTube, the Stremio NFL channel has its limits. I’m a Cowboys fan, unfortunately. I also live in the Pacific Northwest, which made watching the Cowboys vs. Seahawks wild card game stressful. Watching the highlights after I knew they won was a lot more fun. Stremio’s NFL channel let me do that. Searching for “Cowboys” also pulled up a lot of content relevant to my misguided interests.

However, there was a limit to that content. I could not watch highlights of the Cowboys’ overtime win versus the Eagles in early December, at least not through Stremio. I wrote this review in late January. At that time, the earliest available videos I could find were from late December. The Netflix channel’s videos dated back to November, but it’s also possible they just didn’t post as much as the NFL.

Streaming Quality

I only used content available through the official add-ons. For those at least, the streaming quality is comparable to what you’ll find on YouTube. Some of the videos seemed to take a bit longer to load, and one or two wouldn’t load at all, but at least for me, that’s preferable to sitting around and constantly waiting for videos to buffer.

Platform

If you’re a Linux fan, you’re in luck: Stremio offers downloads for computers running Linux as well as those using Windows and MacOS. You can also download it to either an Android or iOS phone.

After that, things get a little weird. It’s theoretically compatible with Smart TVs running Android TV 5.0 or later. My Roku TV doesn’t qualify, unfortunately. But even if you have a Smart TV, Stremio offers the following warning: “We haven't tested it yet in 100% so it might happen that there will be some problems with it.”

What about Chromecasting? Stremio Support says that should work better than DLNA casting, but even then, you might have issues because once again, Stremio isn’t providing the content. That means you’re going to be viewing movies and TV shows in a variety of formats. Some of those formats aren’t going to jibe with Chromecast.

Price

Stremio is completely free. There’s no need to hand over your credit card information to use the service.

Verdict

How useful you’ll find Stremio depends on what, exactly, you plan to watch with it. If you want to watch videos from YouTube channels, you’re not going to get a lot out of it. If you want to sit on your couch and watch movies that are still in theaters, you can do that too, but it’s riskier. I’m not comfortable recommending you do that, so I’m also not comfortable recommending Stremio.