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Streaming Services

16 Free Streaming Services You Should Be Using (& Bonus Mentions)

With so many free streaming services available, there’s no need to pay for so many subscriptions each month just to watch shows and movies.

One of the major benefits of streaming services is the money that can be saved when done right. In fact, besides the cost of the internet, you don’t actually have to pay anything to watch show episodes and movies, as long as you take advantage of the many services that offer free movies and TV shows.

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While paying does open up the door to even more choices and likely access to newer shows and movies, the streaming market is growing at an incredible rate with new services launching all the time. All of which means there’s never been a better time to check out which free streaming services are available.

In fact, many consumers might be surprised at just what’s on offer with a service that doesn’t cost anything, with many of the services listed below offering access to a wide variety of shows and movies for free.

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16 free streaming series worth checking out

Below you’ll find an overview of each of the main free streaming services (along with some bonus mentions to consider). However, if you just want to know what the services are, below is a quick overview of what’s covered in the main section.

16 streaming services you can watch for free:

  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Crackle
  • Facebook Watch
  • Hoopla
  • IMDb TV
  • LG Channels
  • Kanopy
  • Peacock
  • Pluto TV
  • Popcornflix
  • Sling TV
  • The Roku Channel
  • Tubi
  • Vudu
  • Xumo
  • YouTube

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon’s Prime Video is technically not free, as you do need to have a Prime Membership to access the main catalog. However, for anyone who already has Prime for shopping, the video service is essentially free and that makes it worth pointing out. Prime Video is an excellent streaming service with plenty of shows and movies to choose from, including Prime Originals.

Crackle

Crackle is a service that often gets forgotten about. While it is far from being the best streaming service (or the best app experience), it is free and loaded with a selection of movies, TV shows, and original programming. Again, this might not become a go-to option, but it is free and available on a number of platforms, making it one worth adding to your free streaming services list.

Facebook Watch

Unsurprisingly, Facebook Watch is a Facebook service. In fact, it is not majorly dissimilar to YouTube in the sense that it is made up of a mixture of long and short videos, as well as both user-uploaded and Facebook Originals content.

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Hoopla

Hoopla is not your typical streaming service and this means it won’t be for everyone. Specifically, not everyone will be eligible to access the service, considering it is tied to public libraries. Essentially, if you have a library card, and the library in question is part of the program, then you’ll be able to stream videos for free.

IMDb TV

IMDb TV is an offshoot of the popular movie and TV database, which itself is a service owned by Amazon. However, IMDb TV largely operates on its own – although you can also access some of the content through Prime Video as well. Either way, it does provide access to a good selection of movies, documentaries, and TV shows. Although the service was originally limited in terms of device support, it is now available on many of the most popular platforms.

LG Channels

LG Channels is another option that’s not going to be for everyone, as it is designed to be accessed through the company’s WebOS platform. However, if you have a device running on WebOS, then it is one to check out, considering it offer access to a wide selection of live TV channels. Generally they are the same channels as Xumo and that’s because it’s powered by Xumo.

Kanopy

Basically, Kanopy is an alternative to Hoopla. Again, it is tied to public libraries and therefore access will be limited to those with a library card, and even all library card holders might not be able to access the service. However, if you can, then it will be another service that can be used to stream free videos online.

Peacock TV

Peaock is yet another free service that’s worth checking out. Technically, Peacock also offers two paid tiers that provide access to all of the content the service has to offer. However, the Peacock Premium plans are optional. Anyone can sign up for a free Peacock account and immediately start streaming a wide selection of NBCUniversal shows and movies.

Pluto TV

Pluto TV is one of the streaming services that has gained in popularity over the years. Which is not surprising considering the amount of free live TV channels that are on offer. While the service is owned by ViacomCBS, it continues to operate as a standalone service. The channels on offer might not be ones consumers are familiar with, but there are plenty of them, which also means there’s plenty to watch for free.

Popcornflix

Popcornflix is yet another option you might want to consider. While the service offers access to a selection of movies and TV shows, it is heavily weighted towards movies. According to Popcornflix, the streaming service is stocked with nothing but “great” movies and shows, but you can be the judge of that.

Sling TV

Sling TV is a paid-for live TV streaming service. However, it has been expanding in recent years to appeal to more users. As a result, Sling TV now offers a ‘Sling Free’ experience with access to a mixture of live TV and on-demand content. Again, this is a limited service compared to some of the others, but it is expanding and one that’s worth checking out.

The Roku Channel

The Roku Channel is quickly becoming a major player in the free streaming service sector, even though it is newer than a lot of the other services. With it being a Roku service, it was originally only available on Roku players and TVs, but that’s changed with the The Roku Channel now integrated in the Roku app. This not only opened the service up to many more platforms and users, but also the wide selection of movies and TV shows that are available.

Tubi

Tubi is quickly becoming a great option for those looking for free movies and TV shows. The service is now owned by Fox, and with tens of millions of monthly users, this is one that should definitely be added to your free streaming service list.

Vudu

Vudu will need little introduction as it is a popular destination for digital purchases and rentals. However, Vudu does also offer plenty of content to stream for free. While the free titles are ultimately bundled in with the rest of the paid content, the site and apps do have specific sections designed to make it easier to find the free content.

Xumo

Xumo is another major and popular service. In fact, it has proven so popular over the years that Comcast stepped in and purchased the service. Comcast says it plans to continue operating Xumo as a standalone business and it is one worth checking out. Essentially, it is a lot like Pluto TV, as Xumo is also packed with live TV channels. Again, they may not be the most well-known channels, but there’s still plenty to watch.

YouTube

If you’re not already using YouTube, then why? While it is primarily a user-uploaded site, there’s few, if any, resources that are padded out with so much free content. Not to mention, besides the swarms of user videos that are uploaded each day, YouTube does officially offer plenty of mainstream movies that are available to watch for free.

Bonus free mentions

The services mentioned above are all worth checking out. However, if none of them are proving appealing enough, then here are a few bonus mentions that might be worth considering.

  • Bleacher Report Live
  • Dove Channel
  • GINX Esports TV
  • Kocowa
  • Pantaflix
  • Shout Factory TV
  • The CW
  • Revry
  • Viki
  • VRV

These services have been left out of the main list for various reasons. The most common ones being they are limited in the amount of content, or are geared towards getting the user to upgrade to a paid subscription. In some cases, both of these reasons will apply to the same service.

That said, they all do offer access to some content for free and therefore are still worth mentioning and may even be worth checking out, if stuck for videos to watch.

A note about free streaming services

Free is a term that gets thrown around a lot and usually in direct reference to how much actual money something costs. However, in the digital age, nothing is totally free and so it is worth taking a moment to address this.

Firstly, almost no free service comes without ads. The use of commercials is primarily how these services generate revenue. After all, they are not charities, but services that make use of a business model which looks to reduce the cost to the consumer by selling ad space. This business model is actually known as ad-supported video on demand (or AVOD for short) and is totally different to the SVOD and TVOD streaming models. Therefore, you should expect all of the services on this list to show ads. In some cases, the ads might be personalized ads.

The personalized ads point is another element to focus on as this is often the result of data collected about the user. The more you watch, the more of an idea a service gets on your interests and habits. That’s all valuable information to advertisers. For example, if all you ever watch is car shows and movies, then don’t be surprised if commercials tend to try and sell you a car, insurance, or anything else related to the automobile industry. Data is a cost of doing business online, and is especially relevant to the free streaming service market where ads are the primary source of revenue for these companies.

Another factor to consider is how much your email address (and sometimes additional personal information) is worth? Some of the services mentioned on this list will require the user to sign up for a free account. While users often benefit by additional features when signing up, such as recommendations and a watch list, personal details is still something you might be handing over.

Read more: Is Free Local Live TV Available in Your Area With Locast

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By John Finn

John started Streaming Clarity to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingclarity.com or on Twitter

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