After cutting the cable cord a few years ago, I opted to go with Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts to stream movies and TV shows.
But the monthly and yearly membership fees keep creeping upward. I pay $119 a year for Amazon, which offers many benefits including Prime Video. I also fork over $155 a year for Netflix. The company recently increased monthly subscription fees to $12.99 a month for the two-screen plan. I don’t subscribe to Hulu, but it answered Netflix’s price increase by shaving off a few bucks from its monthly fee with a new ad-supported subscription plan for $5.99 per month.
If you don’t want to pay nearly $300+ a year to be entertained, there are many excellent free streaming services that offer an alternative to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. Most have ads embedded, which is the price of admission.
Here are some of the best free streaming services that can be watched online and through free apps downloaded on smart TVs and media streaming devices such as Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV Sticks.
Grab some popcorn and enjoy.
The country’s most popular streaming platform offers its 41 million users free access to 10,000 movies, TV shows and ABC News. Search the “Featured Free” option on the home screen and you’ll find everything from movies to the sitcom “The Facts of Life” to “The Apollo Chronicles,” which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing on July 20. Go to TheRokuChannel.com.
In January, IMDb launched Freedive, an ad-supported free alternative to Amazon Prime Video. The Amazon-owned service has since rebranded to IMDb TV. It offers documentaries, sci-fi, family fare, original content and more. I was happy to see Tom Cruise’s “Jerry Maguire” and Kevin Costner’s epic “Dances With Wolves” on the roster. Go to IMDB.com.
Offerings on Sony’s free streaming service rotate monthly. Tune in old episodes of “All in the Family” and “Charlie’s Angels,” or films such as “3000 Miles to Graceland” and “The Big Chill.” Go to SonyCrackle.com.
This nonprofit library, which archives 366 billion web pages with Way Back Machine, also catalogs millions of free books, movies, music and software. It’s an absolute treasure trove of free content. Watch more than 6 million movie titles listed under the “Feature Film” section, from sci-fi flicks “Plan 9 From Outer Space” to the noir classic “Suddenly.” There also are 4,000 classic TV shows (“Leave It to Beaver,” anyone?) Actually, there is so much content, it’s overwhelming. Try searching by title to get an alphabetical list. Go to InternetArchive.org.
Use your library card to borrow movies, TV shows, music, audiobooks and ebooks. Movies include the biography “RGB” and “Indecent Proposal.” Best part: Download titles to your devices to watch at your leisure. Content is automatically returned at the end of the lending period. Go to Kanopy.com, which offers more than 30,000 titles.
Walmart’s free streaming service offers thousands of premium movies and TV shows airing with some commercials. Titles include “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” “The Unforgiven” and “Shakespeare in Love.” Go to Vudu.com and click on the “Free” tab.
This site has more than 1,100 free movies, along with free audio books, college courses, language lessons and other cultural media. Discover such gems as the original 1937 “A Star Is Born,” or the 1963 Hitchcock film “Charade” starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Go to Openculture.com/freemoviesonline.
Find thousands of terrific things to watch here, including reality TV shows “The Bachelor.” Check out the “Not on Netflix” section from the menu to stream the always entertaining Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares,” trip on “Quantum Leap” or Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ.” Go to TubiTV.com.
This Viacom-owned free service delivers more than 100 live TV shows and movies from networks and movie studios. It also just launched Pluto TV Latino offering free movies, comedy, music, sports and telenovelas from 11 Spanish- and Portuguese-language channels. Go to PlutoTV.com.
Not all of these apps are compatible with all brands of streaming players and smart TVs, since some content is proprietary. Check websites to see which devices are supported and to find download instructions, usually found under “support.”