- Pay TV, Netflix, and other paid streaming services are great, but tens of millions of people have fallen on hard times due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and they’re looking for ways to cut costs and save some cash.
- Temporarily cancelling nonessential services like Netflix is a great way to save money each month, and then you can restart your subscription once you’re back on your feet.
- If you’re worried that scrapping Netflix or pay TV might leave you without any good movies and TV shows to watch, definitely check out our roundup of 10 great services that stream movies and TV series for free.
People across the country and around the world have fallen on hard times. The novel coronavirus pandemic is more contagious and more deadly than any similar outbreaks in recent history, and it’s going to be a long time before life goes back to normal. Until better treatments are available and vaccine are eventually developed, the only way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to keep people away from each other as much as possible. Even with many nonessential businesses having reopened across the country, tens of millions of people still find themselves without jobs.
So many Americans across the country are being impacted financially by the measures we needed to take in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. With new COVID-19 cases now skyrocketing in most states, even more people could soon be impacted by a second round of lockdowns. Among them, many hourly workers and other people living paycheck to paycheck are being hit the hardest. If your finances have taken a big hit because of the pandemic, you’re undoubtedly looking for ways to cut back on any and all expenses that aren’t absolutely essential. Well, here’s some unsolicited advice: Cancel pay TV, Netflix, and any other video services you currently subscribe to.
That might seem like a crazy idea to some people, but desperate times call for desperate measures. You’re undoubtedly still spending plenty of time at home even though lockdowns are over, so you’re going to need content to help keep you and your family entertained. What you might not realize, however, is that there are thousands upon thousands of hours of movies and TV shows out there just waiting to be streamed for free.
Back in February, we rounded up 10 free Netflix alternatives that let you stream TV shows, movies, documentaries, and even live TV shows for free. Now that around 40 million Americans are unemployed, that post is more important than ever. Ditching some or even all of the paid services to which you subscribe might mean missing out on some of your favorite new content as it’s released, but some people might not have a choice right now. And keep in mind that this is a temporary solution — you can always cancel Netflix and all those other services for just a few months and then subscribe again once you’re back on your feet. In the meantime, we’re republishing our list of 10 free streaming sites that will help tide you over. You can check them all out below.
IMDb TV is a new free streaming service that we told you about recently, and people have really been loving it. This emerging streamer has a bunch of popular movies and TV shows that you can stream for free without paying a dime. It works in your web browser of course, but also in IMDb’s apps, which means you can stream all this free content straight to your iOS or Android device!
Redbox Free Live TV
Another brand new service we just told you about earlier this month comes from Redbox, and it’s unlike any of the other Netflix alternatives we’re going to cover in this roundup. Whereas every other streamer we’re covering is like Netflix in that it uses an on-demand streaming model, Redbox Live Free TV uses a more traditional television model.
There are a bunch of different channels and they all stream live TV, just like the name of the service suggests. You’ll find news, web culture content, comedy shows, and even a bunch of popular TV series like America’s Funniest Home Videos, Forensic Files, Family Feud, and Unsolved Mysteries. It’s all totally free to watch even without a login, and you can stream it from the Redbox site or from within the Redbox app on any platform.
Crackle has been around for a long time and yet it’s still one of the best places to stream content for free. As is always the case with free streaming services, you’re not going to find any brand new releases. But there are plenty of movies and TV shows to choose from. The selection includes plenty of things you’ve never heard of, but you’ll also find popular favorites. You can watch every single episode of 3rd Rock From the Sun for free! How great is that?!
Kanopy is probably the greatest streaming service you’ve never heard of. And the best part is, you already have access to it without even knowing it! If you have a library card or attend college, you probably have access to Kanopy’s huge library of thousands of streaming movies. If you don’t have a library card, this is a terrific reason to go get one. You’ll be shocked at how impressive the streaming selection is, and there are Kanopy apps for every major platform including iOS, Android, Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, and more.
Hoopla is just like Kanopy in that you can access it for free as long as you have a library card and your local public library participates. What’s crazy is that you might find even more popular movies and TV shows here than you did on Kanopy. I just streamed Ex Machina on Hoopla the other day to get ready for Devs, Alex Garland’s new limited series that hits Hulu next month. Hoopla is great, it’s free, and the apps even allow downloads for offline viewing when you travel. Just remember, Kanopy and Hoopla work just like the library, so you only have a certain amount of time to stream content before you have to “return” it.
Vudu isn’t an entirely free service, but it makes the list because it has a rather large catalog of free content. In fact, there are more than 1,000 different movies you can stream for free. All of Vudu’s free content is ad-supported, but so are all the other free streaming services included in this roundup other than the ones supported by public libraries. Trust us, you’ll be shocked at how many awesome movies you can stream on Vudu without paying a single cent.
If there’s one service among the free Netflix alternatives that has almost as many high-quality movies as Vudu, it’s Tubi TV. In fact, there’s so much content to stream that you won’t believe you’re not paying for it. Studios including Paramount, Lionsgate, MGM, and Starz provide content to Tubi TV, and new movies are added all the time. I just streamed Southpaw on Tubi TV the other day, and it was surprisingly good!
The Roku Channel
The Roku Channel doesn’t license any content directly like all these other services do. Instead, it aggregates free streaming movies, shows, and even live TV channels from other services so you can find all that great content in one place. Needless to say, it’s only available on Roku devices. But since Roku devices are the most popular dedicated streaming media devices in the world, it’s probably safe to assume that many people reading this roundup have one.
A lot of people think of Plex as a media server that people use to watch movies and TV shows that they have downloaded illegally. That’s certainly one way the platform is used, but there’s plenty more than that to Plex. In addition to using it as a server to stream your own digital movies, TV shows, and music that you’ve downloaded — legally or otherwise — Plex is also home to a fairly sizeable catalog of content that you can stream for free.
Last but certainly not least, Pluto TV is a fantastic free Netflix alternative. It’s also a fantastic free pay TV alternative because it combines both consumption models into a single service. First, you’ll find a bunch of live TV channels that stream totally free, including tons of movie channels, NBC News Now, CNN, CBS News, MTV channels, Fail Army, and more. There are hundreds of them. Then on top of that, you’ll also find on-demand movies and TV series that you can stream whenever you want. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go stream The Professional.