Back in 2018, Crunchyroll updated its video player to HTML5 and began offering HD video to all users, including free users. However, the availability of high quality video regardless of subscription status might be unknown to some of the company’s 45 million registered users. The company’s subscription plan comparison page still lists 480p as the only video quality available for free but viewers actually have 720p and 1080p at their fingertips.
Note: the above page can only be viewed in the U.S. by logged-in subscribers, otherwise it automatically redirects to the free trial page. The page does not automatically redirect for users outside the U.S.Crunchyroll does state that free users can view episodes in 1080p on its new player FAQ page, but otherwise the feature doesn’t appear to be advertised on the streaming website. Anime News Network was able to confirm that 1080p video is available in the U.K., U.S., and Sweden for free. Please note that video quality can vary by series and episode based on availability.
Anime News Network reached out to Crunchyroll about the advertised video quality and availability but the company declined to comment at this time.
If you’re wondering how you can watch Crunchyroll‘s streams in high definition without a subscription, it’s easy. Simply choose the anime episode of your choice, select the gear that appears when hovering over the video and change the video quality to 1080p. You’ll want to consider your internet speeds for faster loading time.
While HD video is free on Crunchyroll, viewers won’t be able to get away from advertisements without dropping cash on a subscription. Access to same-day simulcast episodes is also limited to premium users; free users will need to wait a week to catch-up.