SVG Icons

VRV Review 2020: Plans, Prices, Channels, and More

VRV is the top streaming service for anime—but is it right for you?

Subtitled anime and indie cartoons

Price: $9.99/mo.
Editorial star rating: 4.00/5.00

What is VRV?

VRV is a streaming service that specializes in anime and animation, but it also touches on gaming and technology. It collects a variety of on-demand libraries from other services and calls them “channels”—no live TV here, but at least the jargon is familiar.

Bottom line: Is VRV good?

VRV is an awesome service for fans of animation who want to keep up on the newest anime. In addition to offering a lot of shows you won’t find on Hulu or Netflix, VRV also has simulcast anime, with new episodes uploaded the same day they air in Japan.

But if you don’t like change, VRV might be stressful for you. New channels come and go all the time, drastically changing the shows offered. VRV used to provide e-sport coverage, comedy, and even horror.

Who knows what VRV will look like this time next year? We bet VRV doesn’t even have a clue.

VRV free trials and deals

VRV offers a ton of free episodes from all sorts of series—we’re talking 20,000 hours here. Without handing over a penny, you can even watch the cool new shows, like Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba.

All VRV’s simulcast anime have the entire current season minus the latest episode.

And that’s where VRV tries to get you. Holding out one week longer to watch Tanjiro’s visually stunning adventures is more intense than a demon resisting human flesh.

. . . It’s a Demon Slayer reference. But! You’ll get it if you check out the first couple of episodes.

If you find yourself wanting a series that hides behind a paywall, yearning for the latest anime episodes, or just getting sick of commercials, you can try VRV Premium free for one month.

VRV vs. the competition

How does VRV compare to the competition?

Swipe Left to See All →
VRVCrunchyroll
FunimationNow
Price$9.99/mo.$7.99–$11.95/mo., $22.99–$34.95/3 mos., or $79.99–$99.95/yr.$5.99–$7.99/mo.
or $99.99/yr.
Channels911
StreamsUnlimited per householdUnlimited per household2–5
Compatible devices141616

VRV, Crunchyroll, and FunimationNow are the big players for anime streaming. You can find some cool stuff on Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video, but those three kinda play in a league of their own.

Comparing VRV to Hulu would be like forcing your local grocer to fight Costco. It’s not very sportsmanlike, and the cage match would only last 42 seconds.

But against Crunchyroll and FunimationNow, VRV has a fair fight. VRV is more expensive than its competition, but it comes with a lot more shows and movies through its different channels, which includes Crunchyroll’s content, FYI.

If you’re interested in American and indie cartoons or you want it to be easier to find new shows, VRV beats Crunchyroll in both regards. It’s definitely worth the $2 more per month.

But VRV can’t compete with the amount of dubbed anime FunimationNow offers. So if you want your shows in English, FunimationNow is the right choice for you.

Find your waifu

You might, like this writer, choose to switch your anime streaming service from time to time, based on show availability. To see which services are streaming the new hot stuff, check because.moe, an anime streaming search database.

VRV plans and pricing

The price of a commercial-free life

Swipe Left to See All →
PriceChannelsStreams
VRV Premium$9.99/mo.9Unlimited per household

You can spend as long as you like basking in the free shows VRV has to offer. With a free account, you can keep track of your favorite shows and your progress in them.

But if you want to watch everything on VRV or if you’re getting tired of commercials, VRV Premium is what you want.

Imagine watching all three seasons of HarmonQuest without any interruptions to the epic journey—just as Dan Harmon intended. Now that’s top-tier geek culture.

So even though you can watch plenty of VRV shows without a premium membership, your viewing experience will be so much better if you pony up for a paid account. We say do it.

VRV channels

If you’re searching for a veritable potpourri of cartoons, VRV’s current lineup will serve you well. You’ll find some other nerdy delights here, too, especially old-school favorites.

Just don’t get too attached to anything. VRV’s channel lineup is far from set in stone.

VRV’s current channels:

  • Crunchyroll—Subbed anime
  • Boomerang—Old Warner Bros. cartoons
  • Cartoon Hangover—Original cartoons
  • CuriosityStream—Documentaries
  • HIDIVE—Subbed and dubbed anime
  • Mondo—Adult cartoons
  • NickSplat—Old Nickelodeon shows
  • Rooster Teeth—Web series
  • VRV Select—Special collection of shows and movies

Crunchyroll is the star of the show here. Both Crunchyroll and VRV call Otter Media “daddy,” so nepotism may play a role in how much VRV hypes this channel up.

But of all VRV’s channels, Crunchyroll has the most robust collection of shows—including anime and dramas launched with subtitles the same day they come out in Japan.

Honestly, you could rename VRV “Crunchyroll and Friends,” and you wouldn’t be far off from the truth. But that title’s a mouthful for a streaming service.

Plus, VRV says sayonara to said “friends” on the regular.

Former channels, fondly remembered:

  • RiffTrax—Commentary from former stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000
  • Ginx TV—E-sports
  • Machinima—Gaming
  • Seeso—Comedy
  • Tested—Technology
  • Mubi—Arthouse films
  • DramaFever—Korean Dramas
  • Funimation—Dubbed anime
  • Geek & Sundry—Gaming lifestyle
  • Nerdist—Fandom lifestyle
  • Shudder—Horror

Historically, VRV goes through channels faster than an adventure anime goes through two-bit villains. Some of the channels above died out, and VRV collected many of their hits—like Seeso’s My Brother, My Brother, and Me—into the VRV Select channel.

Others dramatically walked off into the sunset, seeking new horizons. These mavericks have links in the list above so you can see where they are now.

VRV: This year, I lost my dear Geek & Sundry, Nerdist, and Shudder.

All three: Quit telling everyone we’re dead!

VRV: Sometimes, I can still hear their voices.

It’s stressful not knowing which channels you can count on month to month. This writer left VRV soon after Funimation did (though, to be honest, it was Critical Role leaving Geek & Sundry that pushed me over the edge).

But if you’re a Crunchyroll fan who wants more bang for your buck, VRV Premium is only $2 per month more than Crunchyroll. Some irregularity is a small price to pay for all the extra stuff you’ll get.

The best anime on VRV

While VRV offers more than just anime, Japanese animation is the big pull—everything else is just extra.

VRV recently added HIDIVE to its lineup, which brings in a few more dubbed titles. Still—not to be a hater—HIDIVE’s shows tend to be fluff. But, hey, a little pervy ecchi series in English can hit the spot sometimes. And Food Wars! is a surprisingly prime cut.

But the best stuff still comes from Crunchyroll. It doesn’t call itself “the world’s largest destination for anime” for nothing.

Most popular anime

Or maybe you’re not interested in the most popular anime—or you’ve already watched them all. Well, you’re in luck because we watch a lot of anime here at CableTV.com, and VRV has a bunch of our favorites.

Our anime recommendations

VRV specs and features

In addition to VRV’s curated suggestions, VRV’s technical features set it apart from the competition.

Multiple streams

How many simultaneous streams does VRV have?

Swipe Left to See All →
VRVCrunchyrollFunimationNow
Price$9.99/mo.$7.99/mo.$5.99/mo.
StreamsUnlimited per householdUnlimited per household2
UpgradesN/AN/A5 streams at $7.99/mo. plan

Rather than giving you an exact number of streams, VRV and Crunchyroll play by the honor code. Everyone in your home can use one account, as long as you’re comfortable sharing the password.

But that can cause problems for on-the-go viewing. If you travel across the country and want to unwind with some cartoons, the new IP address might send up red flags for VRV.

Its customer service team seems chill, so you could contact them and explain the situation. But having your account temporarily suspended due to a vacation sounds like a hassle.

FunimationNow’s two and five stream options offer some more peace of mind for travel or splitting an account with a friend in another town.

But as long as you’re mostly watching VRV at home, unlimited is a really good number.

Compatible streaming devices

Swipe Left to See All →
VRVCrunchyrollFunimationNow
AirTV Player
Amazon Fire Cube
Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Android phones and tablets
Android TV
Apple TV (4th gen.)
Apple TV 4K
Chromecast
Echo Show
iPhone and iPad
LG TVs
Nintendo Switch
NVIDIA SHIELD
PC and Mac web browsers
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Roku
Roku Express
Samsung TVs
Wii U
Xbox 360
Xbox One

If you’re into niche technology, VRV isn’t the most versatile. But it works on all the big name brands, so most people won’t have a problem streaming where they want.

This writer watches on a TCL Roku TV at home, and the VRV app works great. There are a lot of layers to it, with all the different channels and lists to choose from, but once you get used to navigating it, you’ll be happy you have such detailed sections to choose from.

Video quality

VRV makes the bold assumption that you want to watch TV in its highest possible quality without buffering, so it adjusts your video resolution based on your internet connection.

If you want to take control, you can make it play at any quality between 240p and 1080p. A lower quality won’t look as good (as you might imagine), but it will take less bandwidth so there’s less buffering. And if you notice the quality of your stream degrading past what you consider acceptable, you can switch from Auto to 1080p and endure the buffer.

But as long as you’ve got a strong internet connection, VRV will look great on all your devices. We watched a few episodes on a 55″ screen, and even at that size, the image never looked anything less than gorgeous.

The video player is very pretty to look at too. But it doesn’t give previews when you’re fast-forwarding or rewinding, so that can be a hassle if you want to skip over the intro.

But we’re sure that once you’re 100 episodes into Hunter x Hunter, you’ll intuitively know how long the theme songs take. (Not that this writer knows from experience or anything. Haha! Ha. Ha . . .)

A VRV show streaming on a desktop computer.

Interface and channel guide

VRV’s interface has one colossal leg up on Crunchyroll: recommendations.

You’ll get top picks based on shows you’ve watched recently, as you can see in the image below. (We really like cats, okay?)

VRV also puts together lists with names like “Sports is good actually” and “It’s 2019! Where’s my Gundam?!” These clever curations include shows from all of its channels, so you’ll never get stumped by “What do I watch now?” after you finish an amazing series.

VRV’s main page on a desktop computer.

Final take: Is VRV worth it?

If you want more cartoons in your life, VRV is an excellent choice. Its access to Crunchyroll’s library means you can watch the coolest new anime as soon as they’re released. And as a plus, you get classic cartoons like Rocko’s Modern Life.

The price is a little high when you consider Netflix’s standard package is $12.99 per month. But VRV’s the only place to catch great shows like HarmonQuest, Bravest Warriors, and Lastman.

And as every nerd knows, loving weird things doesn’t come without a cost.

Pros

  • Wide selection of cartoons and anime
  • Cool curation for suggested shows
  • Lots of free-to-watch episodes

Cons

  • Frequent channel changes
  • Vague rules about multiple streams
  • Not a lot of dubbed anime

VRV FAQ

How is VRV pronounced?

It’s pronounced “verve,” which means vigor and enthusiasm. Despite looking like an initialism, VRV doesn’t stand for anything else. But if you wanna say it “vee are vee,” we won’t judge you.

How much is VRV Premium?

VRV Premium costs $9.99 per month. But even without a premium membership, you can watch select shows with ads slapped on them.

How do you link Crunchyroll to VRV?

To link your Crunchyroll Premium account to VRV, first make a free VRV account. Then click on your user icon, and go to Link Crunchyroll. After clicking the Link button, follow the prompt to log in to your Crunchyroll account. Click Allow to link the accounts.

Linking Crunchyroll Premium to VRV lets you use VRV’s app to watch Crunchyroll shows without commercials.

If you decide to upgrade to VRV Premium after linking the accounts, be sure to cancel your Crunchyroll Premium membership so you don’t get charged twice for the same content.

How do you turn on subtitles?

When you’re watching a show on VRV, select the settings gear. Then select Subtitles and choose your language option.

Rachel has spent the past two years at CableTV.com writing articles that demystify hidden fees, DVRs, sound systems, and more. She makes door-to-door DISH and DIRECTV salespeople uncomfortable with her in-depth questions—but if that’s what it takes to get you the best TV experience, she’s happy to do it. In addition to writing for CableTV.com, Rachel’s work has been featured on Roku.com, TechGuySmartBuy.com, HowtoWatch.com, and SatelliteInternet.com.

Related Posts

Don't miss an update

Stay updated on the latest products and services anytime anywhere.

This site is a U.S. Consumer site. You can learn more about our site and privacy policy here.