VRV Review 2020: Plans, Prices, Channels, and More
VRV is the top streaming service for anime—but is it right for you?
Data effective 11/8/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
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?
|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.|
|Streams||Unlimited per household||Unlimited per household||2–5|
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.
VRV plans and pricing
The price of a commercial-free life
|VRV Premium||$9.99/mo.||9||Unlimited 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.
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
- 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
- Mubi—Arthouse films
- DramaFever—Korean Dramas
- Funimation—Dubbed anime
- Geek & Sundry—Gaming lifestyle
- Nerdist—Fandom lifestyle
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.
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
- Akame ga Kill!
- Attack on Titan
- Blue Exorcist
- Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
- Dr. Stone
- Dragon Ball Super
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
- Fairy Tail
- Fire Force
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Hunter x Hunter
- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
- Mob Psycho 100
- My Hero Academia
- Naruto Shippuden
- No Game No Life (also available dubbed)
- One Piece
- Parasyte: The Maxim (also available dubbed)
- Sword Art Online
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.
How many simultaneous streams does VRV have?
|Streams||Unlimited per household||Unlimited per household||2|
|Upgrades||N/A||N/A||5 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
|Amazon Fire Cube||✓||✓||✓|
|Amazon Fire TV||✓||✓||✓|
|Amazon Fire TV Stick||✓||✓||✓|
|Android phones and tablets||✓||✓||✓|
|Apple TV (4th gen.)||✓||✓||✓|
|Apple TV 4K||✓||✓||✓|
|iPhone and iPad||✓||✓||✓|
|PC and Mac web browsers||✓||✓||✓|
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.
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.
And as every nerd knows, loving weird things doesn’t come without a cost.
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.