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Gone are the simple days of Netflix and chill thanks to new players like Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock — we’ve never had so many streaming platforms to keep track of. But while you’re figuring out which premium subscription services are worth your time, you might be overlooking the wide range of streaming services that are also out there for the low, low price of $0. And while you’ll need to be okay with ads to enjoy many of these budget-friendly options, there are also some innovative platforms partnering with libraries and schools to offer movies that are not only free, but ad-free. Doesn’t get better than that!
Below, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best free streaming services out there, where you can find everything from recent blockbusters, to indie favorites, to classic movies you’ve been meaning to tick off your list.
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This movie-centric platforms offers an impressive range of recent indie and world cinema hits, including Moonlight, Eighth Grade, Girlhood, Lady Bird, Timbuktu, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and The Disaster Artist. If you’re looking to tick some classics off your To Watch list, Kanopy can help there too, with offerings like Solaris, The Italian Job, and His Girl Friday, while the Kanopy Kids section will keep the whole family happy.
How to watch: Kanopy partners with libraries and educational institutions, so you’ll need either a library card or an affiliation with a university to use the service. Once you’ve logged in on Kanopy.com using your library card or eligible university credentials, you’ll create an account, and then you can start browsing.
2 Pluto TV
This Viacom-owned platform offers more than 200 traditional TV channels for free live viewing, including MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and even Court TV, if that’s your jam. Pluto also offers an ad-supported On Demand selection of small and big screen classics – movie highlights right now include Grease, Clue, Young Adult, and Shaft, while on the TV side, there are nostalgic faves like Degrassi and Third Rock From the Sun.
How to watch: You can download the Pluto TV app on your Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, or Android device, or just go right to the site in your browser. You’ll be prompted to sign up for an account, but you can start watching without one.
If you can look past the deeply un-catchy title, Popcornflix makes a valuable addition to your streaming arsenal. This ad-supported service offers movies like the Gregory Peck/Audrey Hepburn classic Roman Holiday and Warren Beatty-starring drama Reds, along with more recent releases like the stellar 2011 adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s novel We Need To Talk About Kevin. Popcornflix also offers its own original content, though it’s a safe bet you won’t be familiar with most of their offerings.
How to watch: Head over to Popcornflix.com in your browser to check out their selection.
Tubi is a service that brings together content from several Hollywood giants including Paramount Pictures, MGM, Lionsgate, Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures. As you might imagine, that translates to an impressive selection of blockbusters, from The Terminator to Top Five to Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. For action fans who don’t mind watching with ads, Tubi is hard to beat.
How to watch: You can download the Tubi app on a range of devices like the Roku, Playstation, Xbox, or Amazon Fire Stick, or just click over to tubitv.com in your browser.
Along with offering audiobooks and e-books, Hoopla is a great choice for catching up on classic movies – their rotating monthly selection offers a range of genres, and currently includes the Gwyneth Paltrow-starring adaptation of Emma and the original West Side Story. On the more recent side, there’s the unmissable vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows, which has since become a TV show on FX.
How to watch: Like Kanopy, Hoopla works with libraries in order to make its content available for free. You can go to hoopladigital.com and enter your library card information to see if your library is eligible.
Sony launched this little-known streaming service many years ago, but rebooted it last year as a joint venture with Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment. The ad-supported service offers plenty of classic movies like Sunset Boulevard and Girl, Interrupted, plus recent blockbusters like 10 Cloverfield Lane. There are also nostalgic TV offerings like Bewitched and the original Charlie’s Angels.
How to watch: You can head right to Crackle.com and start browsing – you don’t even need an account.
7 The Roku Channel
You may well already be familiar with Roku, which is one of the most popular devices for at-home streaming. But even many Roku users aren’t aware of The Roku Channel, which makes ad-supported streaming content available to everyone, even if you don’t have the device itself. Signing up for the premium subscription will get you more content, but on the free side there are some stellar movies like The Shining, Dirty Harry, and Ordinary People.
How to watch: Go to The Roku Channel site, or open the app using your Roku if you have one. You’ll be asked to sign up for an account, but if you just want to watch the free content, you don’t need to do so.
8 IMDb TV
The Internet Movie Database is getting into the streaming video game, offering some of its own original content as well as ad-supported streaming of movies and shows. The current movie selection includes a whole host of must-watches like Eat Pray Love, Spotlight, Donnie Darko and Memento, and on the TV side, you can catch up on binge-worthy recent shows like Schitt’s Creek, White Collar, and Desperate Housewives.
How to watch: If you don’t have an IMDb account yet, you can make one at IMDb.com/tv, or just sign in with your Amazon credentials. From there, go ahead and browse at your leisure.
This platform is owned by Walmart (because yup, even Walmart wants a piece of the streaming pie) and is mainly designed to offer paid movie rentals. But they also offer a selection of free movies to stream with ads, including The Prestige, Thelma & Louise, Buried, and The Insider.
How to watch: Even for the free content, you’ll need to create a Vudu account. Go to vudu.com to sign up – if you have a Walmart account, that’ll work here too – and then click on the “Free” tab to see the full selection.
10 Apple TV+
Although Apple’s relatively new streaming service is not free, they offer an unusually generous trial period – so long as you’re an Apple loyalist. If you’ve purchased any Apple device recently, or plan on doing so soon, you’re eligible for a year of free Apple TV+, which normally costs $4.99/month (you can read the full terms & conditions for the offer here). Apple TV+ offers a range of high-profile original content including The Morning Show and Oprah’s Book Club.
How to watch: You’ll need to purchase either a new iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, or Mac in order to be eligible for the free trial, and you also need to redeem the offer within 90 days of purchase. The easiest way to redeem the offer is to open the Apple TV app using your new device, and click on the “1 Year Free” offer.
Emma Dibdin Contributor Emma Dibdin writes about television, movies, and podcasts, with coverage including opinion essays, news posts, episodic reviews and in-depth interviews with creatives.
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