What is Hoopla?
Many people forget their public library exists. But one streaming service is encouraging everyone to appreciate local libraries once again.
Hoopla Digital, often known as just Hoopla, is an app exclusively available to people in the US and Canada with a library card. It allows users to watch movies and TV shows, listen to music and audiobooks, and read comics and ebooks. The best part is it’s funded by libraries, meaning it’s completely free to use on mobiles, TVs, and computers.
According to Hoopla, hundreds of thousands of titles are waiting to be enjoyed with more being added every single day. Since launching in 2013, the service has grown to more than 6,000 locations. (If your local library’s not one of them, just tell the staff you’re interested.)
Hoopla plans and pricing
Free services come with no subscription plan. In fact, to access Hoopla, all you need is a valid library card. But, from offline downloading to streaming quality, there are a few things to know about the service:
|Number of titles
Note that only mobile users can download titles to their device for offline listening, reading, or watching.
Hoopla supported devices
Just like most streaming services, Hoopla can be accessed via a wide variety of devices, including phones, tablets, and TVs. Below, you’ll find a list of every device that’s currently supported:
- Amazon devices
- Android devices
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- iOS devices
- Google Chromecast
- Fire TV
- Web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari)
If using Hoopla through a web browser, you’ll also need to download the Widevine video player to watch shows and movies.
What to watch on Hoopla
Hoopla may not have the most up-to-date catalog, but it does have a pretty big one. Its library is neatly split into six categories:
Within those categories, you’ll find a number of subcategories such as featured titles, popular choices, and more genres than you can count. However, your local library can pick which content it offers. For example, it may choose to opt-out of certain age-rated movies.
Hoopla’s comic selection is one of the service’s main benefits. You’ll find plenty of titles from the Big Two — Marvel and DC — and independent publishers, and can even pick up issues on the day they’re available in stores. (Wednesday is the day for new comics.) Expect to see issues of Star Wars, The Infinity Gauntlet, and other names from Archie, Boom! Studios, and Image.
Ebooks are also an expansive category with every single genre of fiction and non-fiction on the list. There’s a mixture of classics — from esteemed authors like Jane Austen and George Orwell — and new tales to while away your days.
When it comes to music, you’ll find both modern releases and soundtracks from your favorite movies and Broadway shows. Think Hamilton, Frozen 2, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and greatest hits albums from the likes of Elton John and Queen.
The selection of TV shows and movies isn’t always the most contemporary. But you’ll still find Disney titles, Oscar-winning names, and popular shows from decades gone by. Current popular choices include Gwyneth Paltrow’s Emma, classic rom-com Legally Blonde, and numerous detective shows like Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Even kids haven’t been left out with Paw Patrol and other animated series to keep them out of mischief.
You can only check out a certain amount of content each month on Hoopla. The total depends on where you live, but it can range anywhere from 5 to 20 titles.
Movies and TV shows can be borrowed for 72 hours, music will be yours for a week, and reading material will remain in your account for 3 weeks. At the end of the lending period, your content will be automatically removed. But if you’re not finished, just check it out again to pick up exactly where you left off.
As it’s a free service, Hoopla doesn’t offer as many technical features as the likes of Netflix or Spotify. But it doesn’t come with any ads, pleasing everyone everywhere.
Comic fans also regularly praise Hoopla’s features. Particularly Action View, which allows readers to see one comic panel at any one time to avoid having to constantly zoom in and out. (There’s also the option of viewing a whole page at once.)
Lovers of ebooks also have several viewing options on web browsers. They can adjust things like text size, column layout, margins, and line heights. There’s even a dark mode to help tired eyes.
Other borrowers have slightly less freedom. Albums can only be played from start to finish as tracks can’t be shuffled, and video quality can’t be improved above the standard choice. But not having to sit through commercials is a definite bonus.
The final cut
If you’re always looking for something new to read, you can’t do much better than Hoopla Digital. With new titles added on a regular basis, both comic and traditional book enthusiasts will never run out of stories.
The same goes for other users — especially those who adore retro shows and aren’t bothered about being the first to watch films.
So if you’re not familiar with your local library, head on down and sign up for a card to take advantage of thousands of hours of free content.
Hoopla was ranked our best ad-free streaming service, check out the full list of best free streaming services here!
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