Best Free Online Streaming Services for 2021

Table of Contents
  1. Long-Term Free Streaming Services
    1. 1. Pluto TV
    2. 2. IMDb TV
    3. 3. The Roku Channel
    4. 4. Crackle
    5. 5. Vudu
    6. 6. Tubi
    7. 7. Sling
    8. Additional Options for Long-Term Free Streaming Services
  2. Free Streaming Service Trials
    1. 1. Netflix
    2. 2. Hulu
    3. 3. Amazon Prime
    4. 4. Disney+
    5. 5. Quibi
    6. 6. CBS All Access
    7. 7. Showtime
    8. 8. NFL Game Pass
    9. Additional Options for Free Streaming Service Trials

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 2021. Having so many options to choose from can be a little daunting, so let's divide these free streaming services into three different categories:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

4. Crackle

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.

5. Vudu

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.

6. Tubi

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.

7. Sling

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.

Check out my full review of Sling here

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: 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.

1. Netflix

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 The Queen's Gambit, 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.

2. Hulu

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.

4. Disney+

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.

5. Quibi

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. 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 a 7-day free trial. 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.

Here's my full review of CBS All Access if you'd like to learn more

7. Showtime

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 $8.99/month.

8. NFL Game Pass

With NFL Game Pass, 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. Free 7-day trial and then 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 7-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.

Happy streaming!

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Michelle Clardie

About Michelle Clardie

Michelle Clardie is the founder of Savings and Sangria, a financial blog dedicated to #HappyMoneyManagement.

With 20 years of investment experience and an MBA in Management and Strategy from Western Governor's University, she's teaching young(ish) women how to make saving and investing more fun.

Hint: a glass of sangria helps ;)

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  1. Florie Barry says

    Thank you, Jim, wow, quite the list. I printed it out for my hubby. He’s excited about his new project on this list. He calls it “Research and Analysis” where he can do it from his La-Z-Boy chair.

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