RokuGuide Review: (UPDATE: Films are still free and ad-supported, but you also have the option to rent each film for 99 cents and watch it ad-free.) Vanguard Cinema is an independent "release studio". According to its website, Vanguard represents "the best films of independent filmmakers from the US and around the world, films with exemplary creative talent and skills, with critical acclaim and festival awards, featuring up and coming stars and directors." Several dozen of Vanguard's independent films are available for free viewing on the Vanguard Cinema Roku channel.
Vanguard's Roku channel offers only a fraction of their full library of nearly 500 films, but I've found plenty of good titles to make this channel a good addition to my Roku lineup. Following are some selections in each category that I've either watched or have previewed and plan to finish.
This channel is free, but it is ad-supported. The films I watched started with two commercials, and there was a minute-long commercial interruption every 10 minutes throughout the films. The commercial breaks sometimes extended somewhat longer as the AdRise ad server sometimes stalled for a minute or two. All in all, I found the commercials to be less of an intrusion than when watching some over-the-air stations.
Aside from the occasional AdRise delays, the films loaded quickly for me, and pauses for buffering were rare. Video quality is generally good, but not HD-quality, as pixelation is some pixelation is often noticible.
The channel is also fairly basic. There isn't any queue management, but you can resume playing movies mid-film even after fully exiting the channel. I don't know if this channel will receive regular updates, as there isn't a "new" category, but even if the collection is static, there are plenty of movies here to keep me entertained for quite some time.
Developer's Channel Description: Watch the best films of independent filmmakers from the US and around world for free.
CHANNEL STORE CATEGORY: Movies & TV