You can watch movies and TV at home, on a plane, in line at the grocery store — virtually anywhere you like. But it will cost you. Big-name video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime require monthly subscriptions. Luckily, they aren’t your only options. The following top online streaming services are free, completely legal, and don’t require a paid subscription.
Most of these services are free because they are supported by ads, meaning you can expect to see commercials like on YouTube. But with the federal government’s social-distancing guidance extended to April 30, many people have more time and less money lately.
Comet is a new television channel dedicated to science fiction shows like “Battlestar Galactica” and “Wild World.” It also offers a selection of free movies, including thrillers, horror films and science fiction classics.
You can stream Comet’s content online free of charge at comettv.com, on cable, on a Roku device or on Apple TV.
2. Court TV
Do you miss the real-life trials and dramas of Court TV? Katz Networks has revived Court TV.
Hoopla says its passion is the “public library patron.” It provides libraries across North America with movies, TV shows, music, audiobooks, ebooks and comics through their site and mobile app.
With a library card, you can instantly watch free Hoopla content on your desktop browser or Hoopla’s mobile app. The collection includes a great number of movie titles and television shows.
5. IMDb TV
This popular movie website has launched a free streaming video channel. Find it at imdb.com/tv or with Amazon Fire TV devices.
Recently added movies include “Spiderman,” “My Girl” and “Elf.” If you’re missing older TV shows, catch “Bewitched,” “Kitchen Nightmares,” “Columbo” and other classic hit series.
By partnering with public libraries and universities, Kanopy aims to provide thought-provoking entertainment like documentaries, foreign films, classic cinema, independent films and educational videos — without ads. That’s also why you need a library card to view Kanopy’s collection.
You can search for your local library or university on Kanopy’s site to find out if it partners with Kanopy.
The not-for-profit service streams live local broadcast TV for free in 18 markets across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. All you need is an internet connection and a Locast login. Find local stations at locast.org.
“All you have to do is sign up online, provide your name and email address, and certify that you live in, and are logging on from, one of the select US cities. Then, you can select among local broadcasters and stream your favorite local station.”
8. Pluto TV
You do not need to create a username and password to get free content on Pluto TV. Simply search for Pluto TV on a smart TV or through your streaming device.
Pluto has more than 250 channels and thousands of on-demand movies. Get it with Pluto TV’s mobile app, internet browser or Windows desktop app.
On-demand movies include the James Bond 007 series and other classics. You can also view episodes of “3rd Rock From the Sun” and “Roseanne,” to name a couple, in addition to live TV access. View the daily lineup at pluto.tv/live-tv.
The free service is owned by a motion picture distributor, Screen Media Ventures, and specializes in movies. As Popcornflix explains it:
“Popcornflix was created for people like us who want to watch ‘Great Movies. Free.’ Popcornflix has full-length movies that will make you laugh, make you cry, scare the heck out of you, or inspire you to hug the person you love. We have compelling documentaries, foreign films, unique original web series, and a place that showcases the brightest film makers of tomorrow.”
10. Redbox Free Live TV
Redbox, the movie-rental kiosk company, has a free streaming TV service with about 30 channels of movies and television plus three channels of exclusive content. Redbox Free Live TV is available at Redbox.com or through the Redbox app.
Channels such as American Classics, USA Today and Unsolved Mysteries offer movies, TV, news and more. Exclusive channels include:
- Redbox Comedy — humorous films and stand-up comedy
- Redbox Rush — action and adventure content
- Redbox Spotlight — a curated channel that offers featured and recommended titles
11. Sling Free
Sling TV, the internet television service owned by Dish Network, recently announced it has made some of its content free on mobile devices and internet browsers. No subscription is required to watch some 1,000 movies and 4,000 TV episodes this way.
Sling TV also is making its Sling Blue package available for free from 5 p.m. to midnight every night for a limited time during the coronavirus pandemic. For more, check out “Sling Offering 50 Channels of Free TV Every Night — No Strings Attached.”
Select U.S. cities can receive live local news and sports on Stirr, a streaming service from Sinclair Broadcast Group. Movies and on-demand TV shows are available, too. Advertising is also part of the mix.
Tubi reported seeing record growth in 2019, with 25 million monthly active users.
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