Over the past year-plus, the world has fallen on hard times. The coronavirus pandemic is more contagious and more deadly than any similar outbreak in recent history, and life will never be the same again. Since vaccines have been rolled out earlier this year, the overall cases have fluctuated over the past nine months. Now that colder weather is here and it’s nearly winter, you’re going to be spending more time at home in the upcoming months. It would be great to get Netflix for free, but that’s not an option. What we do have is a great overview of the best apps to stream free movies and shows.
Since people will likely be spending more time at home as the chillier weather comes upon us, cozying up on a cold night is a quintessential activity. You need to find new things to watch and do to occupy your time. If you haven’t started Squid Game yet, you’re way late and you’re paying for it. If you’re sick of being behind on all of the shows that you may be missing, you don’t need to be paying for live TV. For looking to save money and enjoy free entertainment, you’ve come to the right place. Well, here’s some unsolicited advice: Cancel paid 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. So these apps to watch shows for free are definitely worth your time to check out.
Apps to stream free movies
Last year, we rounded up some free Netflix alternatives that let you stream TV shows, movies, documentaries, and even live TV shows for free. With unemployment rates still high, it’s a good time to revisit some of the best options out there.
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. Then, subscribe again once you’re back on your feet. In the meantime, let’s take a look at 10 free streaming sites that will help tide you over. You can check them all out below.
IMDb TV is a free streaming service that 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! Plus, while you’re using IMDb, you can see who is in your film or TV show and what projects they have coming up!
Redbox Free Live TV
Another service we told you about a while ago 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 Barney Miller for free! How great is that?!
Kanopy is probably the greatest streaming service you’ve never used. 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 (not to mention you can be reading more). 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. Hoopla is great because it’s free, and the app even allows 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. You can watch the content that you’ve downloaded on your laptop, computer, or phone.
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. Sit down and enjoy both of the Ace Ventura films for probably the 1,000th time.
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 finally got around to watching Paddington 2 and it was even better than the first one! Son of the Mask is on the list to watch next.
The Roku Channel
The Roku Channel doesn’t license any content directly as 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. Roku is the most popular streaming device out there. So there is a good chance anyone reading this has one.
Plex is one of the free streaming apps better than Netflix
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. Use 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. They 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.
We added a bonus option in case you don’t want to give up your paid subscriptions. You can link them to find the best deals to watch movies you want with Movies Anywhere. You can sign up for a free account and then link your streaming and cable accounts. Participating retailers are Apple TV, Prime Video, Vudu, Xfinity, Google Play/YouTube, Microsoft Movies & TV, FandangoNOW, Verizon Fios TV, and DIRECTV. This will show you the lowest price for a specific movie as you search through the “Deals” page.