Hoopla and Kanopy are video-on-demand (VOD) streaming platforms similar to popular services like Hulu and Disney+. They both have large catalogs of on-demand content. But, don’t expect a simulated traditional TV experience a la fuboTV or Philo. What sets Hoopla and Kanopy apart from the rest is they are available with your public library card. They don’t cost a thing, and you won’t have to sit through any commercials.
Hoopla not only functions as a VOD streaming service, but also includes various media such as audiobooks, comics, ebooks, and music as part of its expansive platform. It caters to those looking for a well-rounded entertainment and educational experience. Most of Hoopla’s content is geared towards popular media, including series and movies such as Keye & Peele, The Jim Gaffigan Show, Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway, and No Country for Old Men. The service also has tons of digital books, comics, and music.
Kanopy is more like a traditional streaming service. Its catalog includes several popular and award-winning movies, documentaries, foreign films, and old classics. With films ranging from Chinatown to Captain Fantastic, you’ll stay entertained for hours with its deep well of content.
Plans and pricing for Kanopy vs. Hoopla
Both services are available for free through your local public library.
|Number of TV shows and films
|Original content available?
|Other content types
|Audiobooks, comics, ebooks, music, TV
|Award-winning, indie, and foreign films
Comparing the Hoopla vs. Kanopy experience
Kanopy’s app is not consistent across platforms, which can make it tricky to navigate. Managing your account controls can also be a challenge. On desktops, the menu is located at the top right of the screen, whereas on Android devices, it’s at the top left. And when using Roku, you need to first access the side menu and then scroll to find the settings menu.
Hoopla gives users access to a vast content library. After signing up and creating an account, you can control the titles you want to see in your My Hoopla section. This makes it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for in the service’s vast content library.
Switching between your mobile and desktop app isn’t a problem with Hoopla. The service works cohesively with a variety of devices. The same goes for Kanopy. Both services have apps that are compatible with several devices.
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android devices
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Chrome Web browsers
- Google Chromecast
- iOS devices
- Lightning Digital AV Adapter
- Smart TVs
Parents who let their kids use Kanopy can take advantage of parental settings, ensuring young viewers only interact with Kanopy Kids content. Hoopla offers a similar option with Hooplakidz.
There are no DVR storage options for Kanopy. In fact, Kanopy doesn’t have any offline viewing options and can only be streamed through an internet connection. With Hoopla, it’s no problem if you want to download content to watch offline later. This is a great feature for those who experience spotty internet connectivity or travel frequently. Hoopla sets “lending period” limits, and videos will automatically leave your device when the period is over.
Since Hoopla and Kanopy are free through your public library, everyone in your household can sign up with their library card. Best of all, anyone can stream whatever content they please, simultaneously, with no problem.
Hoopla content vs. Kanopy content
Hoopla reports having titles numbering in the hundreds of thousands, and as a library of media sources, this makes sense. We noted a few of its best titles above. In addition to those, you get a pretty interesting variety of movies from The Sting to Loving Vincent. Its TV selection is even more diverse, with children’s shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender, iCarly, and SpongeBob Squarepants. There are also, strangely enough, several BBC series like Death in Paradise, Father Brown, and Silent Witness, among others. Hoopla offers audiobooks like Jack London’s Call of the Wild, ebooks like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, comics that feature heroes like Captain America, and music. You can even find selections such as the full soundtrack of The Greatest Showman.
Kanopy has a wider, more impressive list of movies than Hoopla. Its film library includes popular hits like Lady Bird, Moonlight, and What We Do In the Shadows. There are classics such as Amy, Embrace of the Serpent, La Haine, and The Seventh Seal. You can also take a deep dive into alluring documentaries with exciting choices like American Dharma, Park Avenue, and We Are Legion.
The final cut
Of these two services, Kanopy takes the prize when it comes to films — it features a variety of popular and classic movies, documentaries, and foreign films. That having been said, Hoopla has more titles and also provides access to audiobooks, ebooks, TV shows, music, and more. All you need is your library card to sign up for either of these services. The number of rentals you get per month depends on your local library.