Let’s face it, paying for Netflix and Hulu is expensive. Add ever-increasing prices for just about everything, and at some point you need to draw a line in the sand and says”No more.” If you’re looking to save money and pare down to a few streaming services that offer the best value — and you’re willing to tolerate some ads — why not explore the cheapest options available? There are plenty of free, legal streaming platforms out there; most of them are good, but only a handful are exceptional. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you and have selected our 10 favorite free moving streaming sites.
You probably already know that YouTube has all manner of independently made vlogs and shows — some of it is even good. You may not already know that YouTube also has a large collection of free movies and TV shows — these are not limited to just public domain pieces from the 1950s (which are also available if you use search filters to find what you’re looking for).
YouTube’s movie selection is limited, but it tends to change often. Some well known films like Happily Ever After make appearances, as well as aclaimed indie films like Adrift in Soho. YouTube has not made its free Movies and TV service available outside the USA, but hopefully, that will come.
Crackle is an ad-supported streaming service previously owned by Sony Entertainment. While it has since changed hands, it still features over 1000 movies including the likes of The Aristocrats and Bernie, as well as nearly 100 television shows. We’re going to be honest here and say Crackle is sort of like a shoping in a thrift store: you’re going to have to dig a little to find something good, but it is definitely worth the effort.
Crakcle also has a healthy helping of animated shows, reality TV, action, and thrillers. Ads on Crackle are reasonably frequent, appearing every 10 to 15 minutes during a movie or show.
3. Pluto TV
Paramount Streaming owns and runs Pluto TV as an ad-supported, free streaming platform, meaning that a lot of the content available on Pluto is directly from Paramount itself. Although it is often b-tier or older content, there is a lot to choose from, and Pluto is expanding its roster with exclusives as well. The recent addition of a search button also streamlines the viewing experience significantly.
You can access Pluto TV from just about anything that has a web browser, and there are Pluto TV apps for just about every device under the sun, including the PlayStation 4.
4. Freevee (formerly IMDb TV)
Freevee’s catalog is not nearly as plump as even some other free services out there, but there are some worthwhile shows and films, including Mad Men, the Fifty Shades series, and Schitt’s Creek. There are also some older titles available that were quite popular in their day.
Freevee is only available in the US and the UK for now, but there are plans to expand the service to Germany by the end of 2022. You will need at least a free Amazon account to access Freevee content, which makes getting around any geo-blocking a little more challenging. Amazon Prime members have access to Prime Video, with hundreds of ad-free films and series to stream.
While Fawesome is available globally, you do need to download a pretty clunky app — available on LG TVs, Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Android, iOS, and Windows — to view content. Fawesome has everything from reality TV, docu-series, and kids shows, to a wide variety of action, comedy, drama, and even a handful of popular anime series.
6. Tubi TV
While the content on FOX’s Tubi TV is hit or miss, you’re certain to find something worth watching. With over 20,000 shows and movies to choose from, you’re likely to find something to keep you busy on a Friday night. If you’re looking for something specific, you might want to look somewhere else, but Tubi has a healthy helping of action, comedy, drama, documentaries, as well as a handful of animation and anime classics.
Tubi, unfortunately, had to pull out of the UK and EU because of GDPR laws, so for now, US viewers have access to Tubi’s entire catalog of content, whereas international viewers from Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand have access to a limited range of free content.
Anime fans are probably aware of this one already, but Crunchyroll has the most extensive library of both anime and manga. Not everything is available for free, and you have to create a free account to watch anything at all, but it’s a great way to watch anime without going to unscrupulous websites.
The cherry on top of Crunchyroll’s offering is the updated user interface, which is in beta at the time of writing but is a huge step in the right direction.
8. Peacock TV
NBC Universal’s Peacock TV features two ad-supported tiers — Free and Premium — and one ad-free tier in the form of Premium Plus. Peacock TV differentiates its free offering from the paid versions by offering a limited selection of content on the free tier. Still, Peacock TV’s 40,000 hours of content is nothing to scoff at, especially considering the shows and movies available are generally of a slightly higher caliber than what’s available on many other free alternatives.
The ads on Peacock are not too overwhelming, topping out at 5 minutes per hour of content, but you will need to make an account to watch. Peacock TV is available in the US, UK, Ireland, Germany, and Italy, with limited availability to customers outside the US.
9. Plex TV
If you like a combination of independent films, documentaries, b-movies, and vintage productions, Plex TV should be on your radar. Along with a comprehensive catalog of on-demand shows and films, Plex also has a host of live TV channels spanning a variety of genres, from news to fitness, and even live sports.
Plex does not force you to create an account to watch, but if you do decide to create an account, you can use Plex to access your other subscriptions or upload content, so everything is in one place. Plex is available outside the US, but the quality and amount of content take a dip when you leave the US.
10. The CW
Yes, the CW isn’t a movie streaming service, but its full of trashy shows that are perfect for mindless binges. Have an afternoon and want to watch something absolutely ridiculous? Every episode of Riverdale is an absloute train wreck. Want to watch a historical drama where all the facts are wrong and everyone has an American accent? You’re going to love Salem.
The CW has a solid assortment of some of the network’s newest offerings, but there are some notable movies missing from the mix.
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