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Best Free Streaming Services to Watch Your Favorite Content

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Free streaming services let you watch your favorite movies and shows and save money. Here are the 12 best free streaming apps to watch content online.

Cable isn’t the only way to watch your favorite movies and TV shows. Free streaming services make it possible to cut the cord and save a ton of money each month.

I remember when we had cable. We were spending over $100 each month for content we really only watched on half a dozen channels. We ditched cable and instantly put that $100 toward better use.

Especially now, when so many of us are stuck inside because of the coronavirus pandemic, free movie websites can help us pass the time. If you’ve had to trim back your budget, but still want entertainment, give some of these live TV streaming services a shot.

Best Free Streaming Services

 

The first thing you need to know about the best live streaming services is that they’re not all alike. Some are completely free, while others offer free trials and then begin charging you.

If you don’t want to pay for streaming TV services, or can’t afford them right now, pay attention to the trial terms and cancel before you’re charged.

Many of the free streaming sites are ad-supported, which means you’ll see plenty of commercials interrupting your content.

If you don’t want commercials, check out Netflix and Hulu, which are some of the best TV streaming services and deliver a lot of great content for a reasonable monthly fee.

With that covered, let’s dive into some of the best free TV streaming and movie streaming sites.

1. Pluto TV

 

Pluto TV has over 250 channels of free content. That’s what makes it a top free streaming service. You can watch news, sports, and shows on Pluto TV.

It’s easy to watch on your mobile device, tablet, computer, or TV. You can even use your phone as a remote to browse channels as you watch on your television.

I’ve found a lot of good content on Pluto TV, but my personal favorite is the surfing channel, which broadcasts hours of free video of surfers riding majestic wave sets.

One thing to know about Pluto TV is that it does have a lot of commercials. If ads bother you, just remember that’s how you’re able to watch Pluto TV for free.

Read our Pluto TV review to learn more about the platform.

2. Crackle

 

While Pluto TV shows a wide variety of sports, entertainment, and news content, Crackle specializes in comedy and entertainment.

There are many documentaries, 90s comedy shows, reality series and even some original content on Crackle.

The action films make Crackle one of the best free movie sites out there.

3. IMDb TV

 

Every time I turn on my TV, I see an ad on my Amazon Fire TV home screen for free movies on IMDb TV. Lately, it’s been for Goonies, which is one of my favorite movies.

IMDb’s large selection of Hollywood hits and popular TV shows makes it one of the top free movie sites out there.

They even produce original content, so check them out.

4. Vudu

 

Vudu is mostly known for inexpensive movie rentals, but it also offers free movie streaming along with thousands of TV shows.

While many of the movies are older and contain limited commercials, much of the content on Vudu is completely free.

Scroll through its many free titles to find TV shows and movies you enjoy.

Once and awhile, if you want to splurge, you can rent a recent hit for $5.99. It’s a good way to keep your entertainment costs low.

5. Tubi TV

 

Do you like horror movies? I don’t because they give me nightmares, but if you do, you’ll like Tubi TV.

Specializing in cult classics from the past 30 years, Tubi has a lot of free horror and thriller content.

There are even a few reality show episodes on there (which can sometimes feel like a horror show depending on how ugly the contestants act), so give Tubi a try.

Since it’s completely free, you have nothing to lose.

6. Roku Channel

 

You might have heard of Roku, as it’s a popular streaming service. It’s devices provide an affordable, easy way to access the world of streaming content available today.

Did you know that Roku also has its own channel? Similar to the way Amazon Fire TV also offers Amazon Prime original content, TV, and movies, the Roku Channel also offers free movies, shows, news, and more.

It even has family-friendly content for kids, which makes it one of the best free streaming services.

7. Redbox

 

Every now and then, my kids talk me into renting a movie through Redbox. I say ‘talk me into’ not because I’m against Redbox, but because I’m not usually interested in watching whatever cartoon sequel they’re pining away for.

What I didn’t realize until recently is that Redbox also offers free streaming content on its website. I think this makes it one of the best free movie websites out there.

Heck, it might even be the best movie streaming service period, since you can also rent new releases through its site. If you love movies, check out Redbox online.

8. Hoopla

 

Hoopla means commotion, and that’s exactly what this free streaming service is creating.

We’ve talked before about how your local library is one of the best places to rent free TV series and movies.

Hoopla brings your library’s audiobook, movie, and TV collection to your home, without you having to physically go to your library.

All you need to start browsing and renting from its strong content offering is your library card.

9. Kanopy

 

Kanopy is similar to Hoopla in that it also uses your library card to rent movies and TV shows. On Kanopy, you’ll find thousands of free movies to watch.

Recent titles available on Kanopy include Ladybird, Moonlight, and Captain Fantastic.

Diverse titles and a large collection make Kanopy one of the best streaming services to try. In addition to Hollywood hits, it also offers international, artsy and educational videos.

If you enjoy learning while being entertained, check out Kanopy.

Other Ways to Watch Free Movies and Shows

 

The above are our favorite sites to stream free content. However, there are countless other options. Here are a few other suitable choices to watch movies and TV shows.

1. Popcornflix

You might be wondering why Popcornflix wasn’t in our list of the best free streaming services. It’s decent and does offer free content, but its movies and shows are a little obscure.

Still, if you’re looking for free movies and don’t mind them not being Hollywood’s recent or more well-known titles, you can find plenty of interesting shows to watch on Popcornflix.

2. Xumo

Xumo specializes in free live TV, but it also has a nice selection of on-demand content. That just means many of its titles are available to watch whenever you want to sit down and enjoy them.

Xumo offers over 160 channels of free TV. You can pause, rewind, and fast forward through all content. It also has breaking news, viral videos, and cartoons.

With so much content to choose from, you’ll have a hard time NOT finding something to watch on Xumo. Oh, and did we mention it’s free?

3. The Metropolitan Opera

COVID-19 forced the Metropolitan Opera to close its doors and delay the opening of its 2020-2021 season.

Until it can begin hosting live performances again, it is offering free nightly performances that it streams live on its website.

Shows are free to watch. If you love opera and want access to the Metropolitan Opera’s entire collection of recorded performances, you can get it for just $4.99 per month.

Free Trials To Take Advantage of

 

While there are many excellent streaming services that are always free, there are many more that charge low monthly fees, but do offer free trials.

If you don’t want to sign up long-term, but are looking for free content to tide you over for the next few months, try the below streaming services.

Each offers a free trial that usually lasts seven days or more.

Just remember to mark your calendar to cancel your subscription before the free trial ends so that you don’t get charged.

1. Hulu

Hulu offers two services – regular Hulu and Hulu Live. Try either free for seven days. After that, Hulu costs just $5.99 per month.

Hulu Live includes live TV and includes channels like CNN and ESPN. After the free trial, Hulu Live costs $54.99 per month.

Try Hulu free for seven days and watch all the cable TV you want. Check out its original content as well, which is excellent.

If you decide you like it, keep your subscription. If not, move on to our next streaming service, Disney Plus.

2. Disney+

I love Disney+ . Admittedly, I’m a huge Disney nerd, but I find myself watching it more than any other streaming service.

Every Disney movie and Star Wars series or movie is on Disney Plus.

Some content from Fox is making its way to Disney+ as well, along with loads of National Geographic content. It’s definitely one of our family’s favorite streaming choices.

Disney+ no longer offers a free trial, but it’s still an excellent value. The service just $6.99 per month. Or, sign up for the Disney+ Hulu ESPN+ bundle for just $12.99 per month.

3. Philo

Philo is a terrific choice for entertainment and lifestyle content. The service offers 60 popular channels including MTV and HGTV. The one thing it doesn’t have is sports.

Still, you can find plenty to watch on Philo TV. All of its content is live, so you’ll be able to watch current, on-air episodes of your favorite shows.

Try Philo free for a week. After that, you’ll have to cancel it or pay $20 per month.

4. Sling TV

Want to watch ESPN free for a week? Try Sling TV. This streaming giant offers a free seven-day trial. It’s a great way to watch Live TV for free.

CNN, A&E, HGTV, Fox Sports, and the ESPN family of networks are just a few of the many channels you’ll enjoy watching on Sling TV.

It’s menu makes it very easy to find something good to watch.

As with the other streaming services mentioned, just remember to cancel before the free trial ends.

If you forget, you’ll have to pay either $25 or $40 per month, depending on which channel package you tried for free.

5. fuboTV

FuboTV is another full-service, live TV streaming option. Like Hulu Live and Sling TV, it offers dozens of live TV from popular networks.

Try fuboTV free for seven days, then cancel or pay either $59.99 or $74.99 per month. With tons of sports channels to choose from, you may want to save your free trial for the fall, to take full advantage of whatever games are on.

6. Netflix

There’s another way to get Netflix for free besides using a friend’s login credentials. Did you know you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Netflix?

That’s right, you can get Netflix free for a month. After that, plans range from $8.99 to $15.99 per month.

If you’re thinking about keeping one streaming service subscription, Netflix might be it.

Its large selection of titles and original content really can’t be beat.

7. YouTube TV

YouTube has a ton of free content, but did you also know it has a paid, live TV service?

Like the others mentioned, you can watch a full range of sports, news and entertainment networks on YouTube TV.

YouTube TV offers 80+ channels of live TV content and you can get it free for 14 days. Just remember to cancel before the free trial is up, or you’ll be on the hook for $65, which is YouTube TV’s monthly cost.

8. Quibi

Do you watch TV and movies mostly on your phone? If so, you may want to try Quibi.

While it used to be completely free, Quibi recently upgraded its service and content offerings. Those upgrades come at a cost, albeit a reasonable one.

You can try Quibi free for 14 days to see if you like its selection of movie-quality original shows featuring big names and top talent.

After the free trial ends, it costs just $4.99 per month to keep watching Quibi.

Free streaming services let you watch your favorite movies and shows and save money. Here are the 12 best free streaming apps to watch content online.Bottom Line

 

In an age where ‘free’ often comes with strings attached, the streaming services mentioned here really are free. No strings attached.

This is particularly true for the first nine options mentioned here.

The others offer free trials that cost you nothing, as long as you remember to cancel before the trial ends.

Get yourself through the next few months a little easier by trying all of these alternatives to cable TV one after the other.

Give the totally free platforms a shot as well. Figure out which one or ones you enjoy most and make them your go-to entertainment option.

You’ll have something to do when you’re stuck inside that’s completely free, or in the case of some like Hulu or Disney+ , is very reasonably-priced.

 

How much do you spend each month for cable? What’s your favorite streaming platform? What are other platforms you use to watch free content?

 

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Nicole Schmoll is an experienced professional copywriter who writes regularly for clients in the finance, IT, healthcare, trades and retail industries. Check out samples of her work and services at Ink Harmony.

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2 Comments

  • Amy says:

    This list is so amazing–thank you for the article! I am sad to report that I cannot use Hoopla or Kanopy because my local library does not participate with either of them, but I will submit a request that they be added. Wish me luck!

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