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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 if you take advantage of many of the services that offer free movies and TV shows.
While paying does open up even more choices and a greater degree of newer content, the market as a whole is booming and the list of free streaming services is constantly growing. All of which means there’s never been a better time to check out what free streaming services are available to you, and give them a try. You just might be surprised at what you can watch for free, and how much you can stream without paying.
Of course, if you are happy to pay then get comfortable and take a look through every streaming service we could find.
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 go over this before jumping into the free streaming service list.
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 consumer payment, in favor of selling the consumer’s attention to advertisers. 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 you ads, and in some cases, 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 can get on your interests and habits, and that is 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 below do require the user to sign up for a free account and while users often benefit from signing up through additional features, such as recommendations and a watch list, it is still something you will be handing over to do business with the service.
Now that’s out of the way.
16 free streaming series worth checking out
Below you’ll find an overview of each of the main free streaming services (along with some additional options to consider) for a more detailed explanation of what each service is and what it offers. You’ll also find links in case you want to check any of the services out. However, if you just want to know the services are, below is a quick overview of what’s covered in the main section.
16 streaming services you can access for free:
- Amazon Prime Video
- Facebook Watch
- IMDb TV
- LG Channels
- Pluto TV
- Sling TV
- The Roku Channel
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, it is essentially free and that’s worth pointing out. This is absolutely a streaming service Prime members should be taking advantage of with plenty of shows and movies to choose from, including Prime Originals.
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 is 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.
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, and user-uploaded and Facebook Originals content.
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 as 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 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. Either way, it does provide access to a good selection of movies, documentaries, and TV shows. The biggest issue with the service is that it is not widely supported at the device level, outside the Amazon ecosystem. For example, while you can watch it through a Fire TV device, the other main option is via the website. Still, it is accessible and content is free.
LG Channels is another option that’s going to be limited in terms of general availability as it is designed to be an addition to the company’s WebOS platform. However, if you have a device running on WebOS then it is one to check as it does 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.
In principle, 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 you should be using to stream free videos online.
Pluto TV is one of the streaming services that has gained in popularity over the years. That’s 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 you are most familiar with, but there are plenty of them, which also means there’s plenty to watch for free.
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 to the movie side. According to Popcornflix, the streaming service is stocked with nothing but “great” movies and shows, but you can be the judge of that.
SnagFilms is another one that might not be for everyone, but plenty of users will find value in it. Essentially, the service provides access to a variety of movies and documentaries for free. However, the selection is limited and does lean heavily on the independent side of the business. If that suits your tastes, then SnagFilms should be a streaming service you use.
Sling TV is a paid-for live TV streaming service. However, over the last year or two it has looked to expand its product to appeal to those wanting free access to content. 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 will be one to that’s worth adding to your free service list.
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 is quickly becoming a great option for those looking for free movies and TV shows. The service was recently sold to Fox, but there’s no reason to assume anything is going to change anytime soon. With more than 25 million monthly users, this is one that should definitely be added to your free streaming service list.
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 and get to streaming.
Xumo is another major and popular service. In fact, it has proven so popular over the years that Comcast recently 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 packed with access to live TV channels. Again, they may not be the most well-known channels, but there’s still plenty to watch.
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 more 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 free to watch.
If you’re still stuck for free content, then here’s a few more options to consider:
- BigStar TV
- Bleacher Report Live
- Dove Channel
- GINX Esports TV
- Shout Factory TV
- The CW
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 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 worth mentioning, and might be worth checking out if you are stuck for videos to watch.
As for the others, as long as you can access them, then they are free streaming services that you should be using.