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The Best Free Streaming Services To Help You Save Money

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Google TV apps on an Onn streaming player

One of the major benefits of streaming is the opportunity to save money with free streaming services. While it is no secret that the cost of streaming keeps escalating, consumers have never had more choice. Not only can they now choose which services to use, but they can also pick ones within their budget, including watching plenty of movies and shows without paying anything at all.

The best free streaming services (in alphabetical order):

Our favorite free streaming service

Tubi Networks
Tubi networks

Of the free services listed above, Tubi is currently our favorite and the one we suggest to try out first. Not only have we found Tubi to offer a good selection of content, including Tubi Originals, but we also found the ad load to be one of the lightest around. Our one complaint about Tubi is that it isn’t the best for on-demand shows.

A closer look at the best free streaming services

Crackle

Crackle home screen
Crackle Home screen

Crackle is a service packed with free movies, TV shows, and original programming. Users can watch without signing up although creating a free account does open the door to additional benefits, including access to a watchlist and the ability to continue watching.

Freevee

Freevee home screen
Freevee Home screen

Amazon’s Freevee provide access to a wide selection of movies, TV shows, documentaries, and more for free. Previously known as IMDb TV, this is an ad-supported service. Along with the catalog, the use of ads is one of the main differences between Freevee and Amazon’s other streaming service, Prime Video. Those with a Prime membership can actually watch Freevee content directly within the Prime Video app.

Plex

Plex Free movies shows
Plex free

Plex is another free streaming service that’s worth checking out. Users can either tune in to one of the various themed live channels or find something to watch from the extensive on-demand library of content. Ads are in effect with Plex, and they can be a little more frequent than with some of the other services on this list.

Pluto TV

Pluto TV On Demand
Pluto TV On Demand

Pluto TV is one of the leaders in the free streaming space, and with good reason, as it is packed with plenty of live channels and on-demand content. Pluto does include ads, and in our testing, we found the ads to be a little on the heavy side. Still, for a service that’s completely free, it’s hard to argue with the value on offer.

Popcornflix

Poprcornflix Home screen
Popcornflix Home screen

Popcornflix is yet another free option that’s worth considering. While the selection of movies and shows might not be as extensive as some of the other services on the list, you might find some titles here that you won’t find elsewhere for free.

Sling Freestream

Sling Freestream home
Sling Freestream Home screen

While Sling TV is a live TV streaming service that requires a paid subscription, it does also offer a Sling Freestream experience that’s worth checking out. Sling Freestream is stocked with a wide selection of live channels and on-demand content, making it a good option for free content. Users can choose to watch without signing up for an account, or create one for a more personalized experience.

The Roku Channel

The Roku Channel free
Roku Channel Home screen

Due to the popularity of Roku players, The Roku Channel is another hugely popular free streaming service. Similar to others, The Roku Channels offer access to a wide variety of movies, TV shows, and live channels. Best of all, you don’t actually need a Roku device to watch The Roku Channel, as the app can be downloaded on various third-party devices as well.

Tubi

Tubi TV app menu
Tubi Originals

As mentioned Tubi is one of our favorite free streaming services. Tubi offers access to a wide selection of on-demand movies and shows, as well as a good variety of live channels. We particularly like the light ad load and the ability to very quickly fall down a Tubi rabbit hole.

Vudu

Vudu free movies shows
Vudu free content

While Vudu is a popular destination for digital purchases and rentals, it also offers plenty of content that you can stream for free. In truth, the selection of free content is more limited than with some of the other services on this list, but Vudu is still one to keep in mind, and especially for those that already have the app downloaded on their devices.

Xumo Play

Xumo Play On Demand
Xumo Play live guide

Previously known as Xumo, Xumo Play can be accessed on some TVs and players as a pre-loaded streaming service. For those without one of those devices, the Xumo Play app can be downloaded on a wide range of devices, unlocking access to the library of free live channels and on-demand content.

YouTube

YouTube Free Movies Shows
YouTube Free with Ads

Many will already know and use YouTube as a source of free entertainment, but the popular video uploading service also provides access to a variety of free movies and shows as well. These can be found within the Movies & TV section under Free with Ads (or Free for YouTube Premium members).

Bonus mentions

Prime video app without subscription
Prime Video Home screen

Prime Video

Amazon’s Prime Video is not actually free, as you do need to have a Prime Membership to access the catalog. However, for anyone who is already a Prime member, the video service is essentially free, and that makes it worth pointing out as a bonus mention. Prime Video is an excellent streaming service with plenty of shows and movies to choose from, including Prime Originals, making it is a free benefit that’s worth taking advantage of.

Samsung TV Plus

Samsung TV Plus is another completely free streaming service. The reason it didn’t make our main list, it that it’s primarily designed for those with a Samsung device, be it a Galaxy phone or tablet. That said, it is also possible to watch via the Samsung TV Plus website, so even those without a Galaxy device can still check it out.

Vizio WatchFree+

Vizio WatchFree+ is very similar to Samsung TV Plus in the sense that it is designed for use by those with a Vizio smart TV. While this is also why Vizio WatchFree+ didn’t make our main list, the free streaming service is still worth checking out if you have access to a Vizio TV.

Free streaming services, explained

Free is a term that gets thrown around a lot, and in the digital age, nothing is totally free. One of the biggest costs associated with free streaming services is the use of ads.

Pretty much every free service now comes with ads, as the use of commercials is primarily how these services generate revenue in replace of a subscription model. This approach is known as ad-supported video on demand (or AVOD for short) and is different to the SVOD and TVOD streaming models. Basically, you should expect any free service to show ads before and during content. In some cases, ads could be personalized as well.

Ads on shows

The personalized ads point is another element to keep in mind, as this is often the result of data collected about the user. The more you watch, the better the service gets to know your interests and habits, and that’s all valuable information to advertisers. Data is one of the costs of doing business online, and this is particularly relevant to the free streaming service market where ads are the primary source of revenue for these companies.

Another factor to consider is how much your email address (and sometimes additional personal information) is worth, as some of the services on this list will require the user to sign up for a free account. While creating an account often results in additional features, including recommendations and a watchlist, handing over some information could be the cost.

Of course, none of these caveats should put you off using any of the free streaming services on this list, and paid services aren’t much different. Paid services not only collect some information about the user, but most also now offer ad-supported plans as well. With free and paid streaming services growing more alike, it is becoming increasingly harder to argue with the value on offer with a service you don’t have to pay for.

John Finn

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