13 Free Streaming Services to Take Advantage of Right Now
Access tons of free movies and TV shows to stay entertained through quarantine.
If you've been streaming more TV shows and movies than usual recently, you definitely aren't alone. The COVID-19 pandemic has many of us staying home, and watching something new is one of the best ways there is to pass the time. At this point, you may be feeling like you've exhausted a lot of your options but aren't in a place to subscribe to another service. To expand your binge-watching horizons, we've gathered this list of 13 free streaming services to keep you entertained.
Sure, a Netflix subscriber could pay to join Hulu, or an Amazon Prime member could add Disney Plus, but you don't actually needs to spend any more money to get a host of new content. You just have to find the right free streaming service for you. If you have a library card or are a university student or professor, there are certain services made just for you. If you are looking for shows from a specific network, there are pandemic-specific offerings. If you don't know what exactly you want to watch and don't mind ads, you're in luck.
Read on to find out about 13 different free streaming services, see some examples of the shows and movies they offer, and get information on how to use them. Your next movie night (or morning or afternoon) awaits. For more TV recommendations, check out 15 Classic TV Shows You Didn't Know You Could Stream Right Now.
What you'll get: Shows from AMC's collection of networks have moved out from behind the paywall in light of the pandemic. There's a decent sampling if you're looking for specific shows or seasons of shows, but you can't get everything AMC offers unless you sign up for AMC Premiere. It usually goes for $59.99/year, but is currently $24.99/year.
What you'll see: The first half of The Walking Dead Season 10 until May 1. A variety of nature documentaries from BBC America. IFC comedies, including Spoils of Babylon, Baroness von Sketchshow, and select episodes of Comedy Bang Bang. The first seasons of SundanceTV's Riviera, Liar, The Bureau, and more.
How to watch: Head to AMC.com, BBCAmerica.com, SundanceTV.com, or IFC.com—depending on what you're looking for. Though you don't need to be signed up with AMC, you will still need to login with your cable provider. For the perfect show to pair with work, check out 13 TV Shows That Are Perfect Background Noise While Working From Home.
What you'll get: An odd variety of TV series and films from a company owned by Sony and Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment. (Yep, the same brand that's responsible for those popular self-help books.) The service is free, but is supported by ads.
What you'll see: Crackle is particularly known for its classic film section. There's Roman Holiday, Easy Rider, Sunset Boulevard, and Dr. Strangelove, among others. As for TV, again, older series are the way to go. Charlie's Angels, Just Shoot Me, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and I Dream of Jeannie are all there, although there are some more recent but more obscure shows there too.
How to watch: Just head to Crackle's site and start scrolling. No login needed.
HBO Go/HBO Now
What you'll get: HBO's streaming services are usually accessed with a subscription fee, but because of sheltering in place, the network is offering many films and series for free.
What you'll see: Beloved HBO series like The Wire, The Sopranos, Veep, and more. Films including Blinded by the Light, Crazy, Stupid, Love, and My Dog Skip.
What you'll get: Hoopla works in conjunction with public libraries to allow library card holders to download or stream films, books, and music.
What you'll see: There's a pretty wide variety from older films (Life is Beautiful, The Importance of Being Earnest, Good Will Hunting) to newer releases (First Reformed, The Florida Project). There are also a number of TV series available, including many from PBS and the BBC.
How to watch: You'll need to make an account on the Hoopla website at which point you'll be asked for your library card information to determine whether your library participates with the service. If it doesn't, you won't be able to use the site, but if it does, you can stream and download for free. For some TV shows guaranteed to make you laugh, check out 17 Underappreciated TV Comedies That Are Available to Stream Right Now.
What you'll get: IMDb isn't just for looking up the cast of the movie you're watching. The site also has free streaming movies and TV shows, as well as original content. You'll have to watch with ads, however.
What you'll see: Movies on offer include Eat Pray Love, The Big Short, Something's Gotta Give, and Funny Girl, while TV shows include Schitt's Creek, Desperate Housewives, and Friday Night Lights.
How to watch: Make a new account on IMDb.com/tv, or sign in with Amazon, Facebook, or Google account information. Then you can browse and make your selection.
What you'll get: Like Hoopla, Kanopy partners with libraries, but you can also use the streaming service if you're a student or professor at a university.
What you'll see: Unlike many of the other services on this list, Kanopy is for movies only and specializes in indie films and classics. Some examples are Lady Bird, Tortilla Soup, Moonlight, Eighth Grade, and The Hours. There are also a number of international films and documentaries, as well as a section for children's entertainment called Kanopy Kids.
How to watch: On the Kanopy site, you'll need to "Find your library" or "Find your university" to see if it's participating. Next, login with your library card or be redirected to login through your university's site. Lastly, you'll create a Kanopy account.
What you'll get: Pluto TV, which is owned by Viacom, is set up similarly to a cable service. When you head to the website, you'll see Live TV channels with start and end times like you'll find on cable. But, the channels aren't what you'd normally expect. There are some themed channels based around Viacom properties, such MTV Teen and Comedy Central Pluto. There's also an On Demand section with a lot of movies and series that play with ads.
What you'll see: The live channels include one with VH1 reality shows, a channel that only plays The Hills, sports channels, a channel with TV Land sitcoms, and many more very specific channels. The On Demand area has movies to stream, including Clue, The First Wives Club, Troop Beverly Hills, and many James Bond films.
How to watch: Just go to Pluto.tv and start watching. No login required.
What you'll get: Popcornflix is another free streaming service that is supported by ads. It has original content as well as a variety of other films and series.
What you'll see: There is a lot to sort through on Popcornflix that isn't so well known, but some of the recognizable titles are Sabrina, An Inconvenient Truth, I'm Still Here, and His Girl Friday. Also, if you like old sci-fi movies (for example, The Wasp Woman), you'll have plenty of choice.
How to watch: Head to Popcornflix.com and click on what you like. And for more nostalgic TV, check out 20 '90s TV Shows You've Completely Forgotten About
The Roku Channel
What you'll get: Roku started as a line of devices that allow users to stream content on their TVs using their internet connection. Now, the brand has spun off The Roku Channel, with which anyone can stream shows and movies online. Ads are involved.
What you'll see: Movies include A Walk to Remember, High Fidelity, Lion, and The Shining, while some of the shows are Big Little Lies, The Nanny, and 227.
How to watch: Go to the Roku Channel website. You will be prompted to login or create an account, but for the free series and films, you do not need to and can click "I'll do it later" instead. If you do decide to create an account, this means that you can access premium subscriptions, start watching movies where you left off if you have to stop in the middle, and get recommendations. Either way, the next step is just clicking on whatever you want to watch and it'll start streaming.
What you'll get: Tubi is yet another ad-supported streaming site with free movies and TV shows. It doesn't require a login.
What you'll see: Movies include The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Memento, Barbershop 2, and Blood Diamond. There is also one season each of The Bachelor (Arie Luyendyk Jr.'s season) and The Bachelorette (Rachel Lindsay's season).
How to watch: Head to TubiTV.com and click on what you want to see.
What you'll get: On Vudu, which is owned by Walmart, you can rent or buy movies, but there is also a free section that includes ads. Even for the free section, you still have to login.
What you'll see: Movies featured include Black Hawk Down, Soul Plane, March of the Penguins, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and Charade. There is even a Not on Netflix section for those who subscribe to the streaming giant and are looking for something different.
How to watch: On the Vudu site, choose the Free section in the menu at the top. When you find the movie you want click "Watch free." Then login or create a Vudu account, or login with a Walmart or Facebook account.
What you'll get: YouTube is known for being a site where anyone can upload videos, but the platform also has movies and shows that are available to rent or buy, as well as a section with free content that is ad-supported.
What you'll see: Unsurprisingly, for the most part, the free movies aren't as top-notch or recent as the ones you have to pay for, but there are some recognizable titles. Super Size Me, Before We Go, Be Cool, and The September Issue are some of your choices.
How to watch: On YouTube.com, click on "Movies & Shows" in the sidebar, and then scroll down to the Free to Watch section where you can browse all the offerings. Just click on what you want to see. There's no login needed.
What you'll get: Apple TV+ is not a free streaming service, but we're including it because it does have a particularly lengthy free trial offer. The purchase of an Apple device comes with a year of free Apple TV+, as long as the offer is redeemed within 90 days. The usual price for Apple TV+ is $4.99/month.
What you'll see: Apple TV+ only features original content. Some of the shows and movies are The Morning Show, The Banker, Visible: Out on Television, and Dickinson.
How to watch: You can redeem your free trial by opening the Apple TV app on the device you purchased, finding the offer, and clicking "Enjoy 1 Year Free." (More info can be found here.)