Best Free and Cheap Streaming Services
Had it with rising subscription fees? We’ve collected 11 inexpensive and no-cost streaming services you can enjoy right now.
We’re all about the bang for your buck here at CableTV.com, but how about bang for no bucks? Expensive premium streaming services are cool and all, but discovering free and cheap entertainment is a small victory that’s (mostly) priceless.
We’ve rounded up 11 of those small victories for your streaming enjoyment, a mix of inexpensive and totally free services to help take the edge off your subscription fatigue.
NBCUniversal-owned Peacock features a limited, but free, basic tier with over 7,500 hours of TV shows and movies. For a few more bucks, its Premium paid tiers ($4.99 a month with ads, or $9.99 a month without) give you over 15,000 hours of content. Xfinity customers can even get Peacock Premium for free or discounted.
Apple TV+ ($4.99/mo.)
For five bucks, Apple TV+ delivers a monthly array of exclusive TV series and movies of near-HBO (or at least near-SHOWTIME) quality. The multi-award-winning Ted Lasso, as well as The Morning Show, Mythic Quest, The Problem with Jon Stewart, Foundation, Physical, and more make up Apple TV+’s roster of over 70 originals. If you’ve recently bought an Apple Device, you can get three months of Apple TV+ for free.
Pluto TV (Free)
ViacomCBS-owned Pluto TV features hundreds of looping “channels” loaded with TV shows and movies from MTV, SHOWTIME, Comedy Central, Animal Planet, AMC, Investigation Discovery, and many others, all free (with ads, of course). Most of the content is also available on demand, and some of the news and weather channels are live—but not the sports channels, unfortunately.
Like Pluto TV, Tubi (owned by FOX) features some “live” channels of looping content, but it’s really all about on-demand entertainment—over 50,000 hours of it. Tubi’s towering movie selection features older titles from Paramount, Lionsgate, MGM, and 20th Century Fox, as well as full seasons of TV shows from FOX, A&E, Syfy, and others. It’s like a Blockbuster Video in an app (for those who remember Blockbuster).
Xfinity’s Xumo is another free, ad-supported service that features nearly 200 looping channels of content, an on-demand library of TV shows and movies, and a smattering of live news and sports. Channels and content hubs include NBC News, Funny or Die, TMZ, Billboard, FOX Sports, Shout! Factory, Hallmark Movies, and even a 24/7 Nashville channel.
Sling Free (Free)
Live TV streaming service Sling TV’s offshoot Sling Free is similar to Pluto TV and Xumo, with ad-supported looping channels and an on-demand library of movies and TV shows (check out the perpetual Bob Ross Channel). Also, like Pluto TV and Xumo, Sling Free requires no signup or login. You can also rent current and classic TV shows and movies through Sling Free.
The Roku Channel (Free)
The Roku Channel isn’t just for Roku users; it can be accessed through Android and iOS devices, Amazon Fire TV devices, Samsung TVs, and web browsers. The service features over 150 channels of looping content, an on-demand section, and dozens of original series (including several acquired from Quibi, like the Reno 911! Reboot). You can also manage premium subscriptions to SHOWTIME, STARZ, EPIX, and others through The Roku Channel.
Longtime on-demand streaming service Crackle, co-owned by Sony, features over 800 movies and TV shows, a decent mix of older blockbusters, cult flicks, and originals like StartUp, The Oath, and Rob Riggle’s Ski Master Academy. Crackle also produced an Extraction action movie years before Netflix did (minus Chris Hemsworth). Like the other services listed here, Crackle is ad-supported and doesn’t require a login.
The CW and CW Seed (Free)
The CW isn’t available on all cable, satellite, or live TV streaming services—but its shows are free to anyone. The CW app and website serve up current network series, like In the Dark and Superman & Lois, 24 hours or less after broadcast. They also feature full seasons of some recent shows.
If you’re looking for classics from The CW and other related networks, the separate CW Seed app/site has full seasons of older shows and some originals.
IMDb TV (Free)
Amazon-owned IMDb TV is a free service with thousands of TV episodes (including all seven seasons of Mad Men) and movies, including releases you’ve actually heard of (like the Hunger Games franchise). The ad-supported IMDb TV also produces original series, like the Leverage: Redemption reboot, and is available through Prime Video or as a standalone app.
Featuring thousands of movies and live TV loops of content, Plex also collects web series, podcasts, music, and can even be used to collect your own digital media. The channels and content hubs are similar to those of Pluto TV and Xumo, but the on-demand movies section is an impressively eclectic blend of hits, classics, and obscurities laid out in a sleek and simple interface.
Plex is the under-the-radar service of this list—check it out.