The year 2020 is the year of free streaming services! Between the ad-sponsored, always-free services; the paid streaming services offering free trial periods; and the special offers prompted by COVID-19, there is more free streaming than you could ever possibly need.
If you've already cut your cable, congratulations on taking advantage of big savings provided by free streaming services! If you haven't…here's how! With so much free streaming, there's never been a better time.
We found over 30 free streaming options for 2020. Having so many options to choose from can be a little daunting, so let's divide these free streaming services into three different categories:
- Long-term free streaming services: We can't guarantee these will always be free, but there don't appear to be any current plans to charge for these streaming services.
- Free streaming service trials: Enjoy a week or a month free, but cancel before your trial period ends to avoid being charged the normal subscription fee.
- Other special streaming offers: With the outbreak of COVID-19, several streaming services are offering free programming to help combat our collective cabin fever.
Let's start listing!
Long-Term Free Streaming Services
You may be surprised by the many options available for long-term free streaming. Here are our top picks.
1. Pluto TV
Pluto TV boasts 250+ channels and thousands of movies, totally free. You can even get news and sports. The Pluto TV app is available on all your favorite devices: smart TVs, game consoles, tablets, and phones, and it is a no-brainer if you're looking for long-term free streaming.
2. IMDb TV
IMDb TV promotes free “Hollywood hits and TV favorites,” and the selection doesn't disappoint. You won't find the latest releases on IMDb TV, but you'll find lots of popular movies from the ‘90s and ‘00s, well-reviewed TV series, and even some IMDb original content!
3. The Roku Channel
If you have a Roku device, the Roku Channel offers an “always-changing selection of free movies, shows, live news, kid’s TV, and more” (of course you can also stream from any ol' web browser as well). You also have the option of adding premium subscriptions to popular channels like Starz and HBO.
Crackle offers some of the same ‘90s comedies and action films as many of the other free streaming services on our list, but it shines with a documentary channel, reality channel, and some original content. Going from Broke, from producer Ashton Kutcher, is an especially interesting original series featuring real-world stories of people getting their finances in order after years of drowning in debt.
While Vudu is largely known for offering streaming rentals (at around $5.99 per rental). This service also offers thousands of movies and TV shows, with limited ads, completely free of charge. The free options may not contain current blockbusters, but you're sure to find something for everyone in this selection.
Tubi may not offer a comprehensive cord-cutting streaming package like some of the other services on our list, but you'll find some gems on this supplemental streaming service. There are lots of cult classics from the ‘90s and ‘00s, a wide range of horror flicks, and even some popular reality TV shows.
Most people think of Sling as the cord-cutting solution to live TV; you get live news channels and popular cable channels like HGTV and Food Network; but, of course, you pay a monthly subscription fee for that service. Most people don't realize Sling offers over 5,000 movies and TV shows totally free of charge! Just visit Sling on any browser and click “watch free now” to browse the selection and enjoy free entertainment.
Additional Options for Long-Term Free Streaming Services
You would think seven free streaming services might be enough, but nope, there are still more options available! Check out these services to round out your free streaming:
- NBC's Peacock: Coming in April of 2020, NBC's Peacock will offer ad-supported TV, movies, and news for free (or you can go ad-free for $4.99/month).
- Kanopy: You just need a public library card to access this “thoughtful entertainment.”
- Popcornflix: No need to create an account or sign in. Anyone can start watching anytime.
- XUMO: Over 160 channels including news and sports.
- Hoopla: With your library card, you can “check out” digital media including ebooks, music, audiobooks, movies, and TV shows.
- Plex: Originally a content management system for digital media you own, Plex has started offering free movie streaming.
Free Streaming Service Trials
As great as our long-term free streaming services are, sometimes you need a subscription to a specific streaming service for their exclusive content. Why not get your fix during a free trial period?
Here are the best streaming services currently offering free trials.
If you don't already have Netflix, here's your chance to get a free 30-day trial. Catch up on original pop culture hits like Tiger King, Stranger Things, and The Crown. If you choose to keep your subscription after the free trial, plans range from $8.99 to $15.99/month.
Hulu is another streaming giant offering a free 30-day trial. In addition to popular network TV shows, Hulu offers originals like The Handmaid's Tale, Little Fires Everywhere, and High Fidelity. If you choose to keep your subscription after the free trial, plans range from $5.99 to $11.99/month. You can also add on popular channels like HBO and Showtime.
3. Amazon Prime
Yes, Amazon Prime membership comes with free two-day shipping, but it also gives you access to Amazon Prime streaming. You can get a free 30-day trial to everything Amazon Prime has to offer. Among the notable original series are The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, and Good Omens. After the 30-day trial, Amazon Prime membership costs $12.99/month or $119/year. You can subscribe to the Prime Video service, only, for $8.99/month.
We also took a look at the Amazon TV Firestick to see if it was worth getting.
Disney+ launched just in time to save the sanity of the many parents working from home with young children during the COVID-19 crisis. You can, currently, get a 7-day free trial of Disney+; perfect for catching up on The Mandalorian, checking out the latest Marvel movies, and re-watching some of your favorite Disney cartoons. After the free trial, you can subscribe for $6.99/month.
Quibi is among the first streaming services designed specifically for mobile viewing. The original programming is bite-sized with episodes lasting under 10 minutes; perfect for quick consumption, and the lineup is full of A-list celebrities. If you sign up by April 30, 2020, you can get a whopping 90 days of Quibi free of charge. After your free trial, plans start at just $4.99/month.
6. CBS All Access
Popular CBS network shows are all available on CBS All Access, and now you can get an extended 30-day free trial (up from the standard 7-day period). This is the only streaming service where you can find CBS hits like Survivor, NCIS, and Young Sheldon. After the trial period, you can subscribe for $5.99/month or go commercial-free for $9.99/month.
Enjoy Showtime originals like Homeland, Shameless, and Billions, as well as popular, current movies, with a free 30-day trial. After the trial period, you can continue streaming for $10.99/month.
8. NFL Game Pass
For the true NFL fan, NFL Game Pass is currently free through May 31, 2020. You can watch NFL originals like Hard Knocks and A Football Life, replay games from the past ten years, and even watch coach's film. Normal rates are $18/month or $199/year.
Additional Options for Free Streaming Service Trials
For those with more niche interests, here are a few other options for free streaming service trials:
- Hallmark Movies Now: When need some feel-good flicks. Free 30-day trial; $4.99/month (with an annual plan) after.
- Sundance Now: Good for indie films and documentaries. Free 7-day trial; $4.99/month after.
- Broadway HD: Check them out for classic musicals. Free 7-day trial; $8.99/month or $99.99/year after.
- Shudder: For horror films. Free 7-day trial; $4.75/month after.
- Acorn TV: To get your fix forBritish shows. Free 7-day trial; $5.99/month after.
- Criterion Channel: They specialize in curated film collections. Free 14-day trial; $10.99/month or $99.99/year after.
- EPIX Now: This is your answer for current hit movies. Free 7-day trial; $5.99/month after.
- Apple TV+: New Apple originals. Free 7-day trial; $4.99/month after.
- NBA League Pass: For when you are in the mood for basketball archives. Free through April 22, 2019. $18/month or $199/year after.
Other Special Free Streaming Offers
In case all that free content still isn't enough (or isn't exactly what you want), here are a few additional special free streaming offers.
With HBO Max preparing to launch in May of 2020, HBO is offering free streaming on HBO Now and HBO Go for popular hit shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, VEEP, True Blood, and Barry. You can take advantage of this special streaming offer without a subscription. Just browse the “Stream for Free” section and enjoy!
2. The Metropolitan Opera
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced The Metropolitan Opera to cancel the remainder of its season, but this presents a unique opportunity for Opera fans. The Met is treating fans to nightly performance streams free of charge. You also have the option of subscribing to the entire library of recorded operas for $4.99/month.
3. MLB TV Free for T-Mobile Customers
When the Major League Baseball season resumes following the COVID-19 pandemic, MLB TV will, again, be free for T-Mobile customers. For non-T-Mobile users, the subscription is $121.99/year.
With all these free streaming services, you're going to enjoy quality programming long after the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders are lifted.