You can’t stream Seinfeld, and here’s why

It’s one of the most popular and beloved shows of the last 30 years. And yet, you can’t find it streaming on any service right now. How could that possibly be?

The streaming history of Seinfeld

Seinfeld aired on NBC way back when, but it was produced by Sony Pictures. For a long time, the show was available on several services, but most commonly on Sony’s own Crackle platform. Sony no longer owns that app, which is now owned by Chicken Soup for the Soul. (yeah, I don’t get it either.)

Back in 2019, Hulu negotiated the streaming rights for Seinfeld. If you wanted your daily dose of yada, yada, yada, you had to go to Hulu. But those were different days. You have to presume that the Seinfeld negotiations started while NBC still had some control of Hulu. By the summer of 2019, Disney had taken control of Fox, which also gave them control of Hulu. (Long story, that.)

For whatever reason, Disney didn’t care about Seinfeld. They let the rights expire at the end of June, 2021.

Why can’t you stream Seinfeld now?

Netflix currently has the streaming rights to Seinfeld but they aren’t streaming the show. No one really knows why, but it’s a fair bet that they’re waiting until the fall. Broadcast TV tends to surge up in the fall along with live football. This means Netflix will want to make a splashy announcement. Remember, the streamer has lost Friends and The Office in the past 18 months, and this doesn’t give them a lot of 90s/00s TV to crow about. Mostly, Netflix has been about their originals of late, but it would be nice to have some comfort food TV to fall back on.

It seems to me that they’re keeping the show off streaming to build demand so they can make a splashy debut with it in the fall when they need the exposure.

So how can you watch the show now?

All of a sudden, those of us who bought the show on DVD aren’t looking so foolish. Those discs sat neglected on the shelf ever since the remastered HD version hit about a decade ago. But now those old DVDs, and the long-forgotten DVD player are getting some action.

Surprisingly, the standard-definition DVDs look quite good. If I had to guess, they were produced concurrently with the HD masters. Although the DVDs are in a 4:3 ratio, they look particularly crisp, leading me to think they were remastered from the original film and re-edited to match the original. This would make sense if there was a plan to do this for the HD versions anyway.

If you didn’t happen to have the presence of mind to save your old discs, there’s another option. You can always turn back to your old friend pay-TV, or even your older friend the TV antenna. Seinfeld is still airing on local channels all across the country in high definition. You may not be able to choose your episode, but you can certainly feed your addiction.

It’s just a reminder…

…the streaming ecosystem is still pretty fragmented. There’s no guarantee the show you want will be available on the app you have. Often times you can rent a movie or show, but that gets expensive. On the other hand, putting up an antenna means nothing more to buy and years of free TV. Pay TV is still an incredible value with hundreds of channels and tons of on-demand content. I find myself spending more and more time with my old friend live TV during the summer. I bet you do too.

If you need a TV antenna or want to jump back into the world of live TV, be sure to shop now!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.