From big-budget movies to the buzziest new shows, streaming offers tons of content you want—but often at a steep cost. Here are four options to save money and get watching online fast.
1. Try No-Cost Services
Many free, ad-supported streaming services have movies and shows that rival the content of cable networks. Crackle’s huge library (crackle.com) has TV classics like Benson and 3rd Rock From the Sun plus films like Bel Canto with Julianne Moore. Vudu (vudu.com) lets you buy or rent hot new movies, but you can also use it to enjoy free content like Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Prime Video’s free streaming service, IMDb TV (imdbtv.com), has original series like Leverage: Redemption plus big movies (The Wolf of Wall Street and the Cary Grant classic His Girl Friday, for two). Other platforms to check out: Tubi (tubitv.com), Pluto TV (pluto.tv), Xumo (xumo.tv) and the Roku Channel (therokuchannel.roku.com). Note: All these services have free apps to download too and for Roku, no Roku device is needed.
2. Use Your Library Card
Your local library is a great resource for free books and CDs—and it may provide access to the Kanopy streaming channel. Visit kanopy.com to check whether your library is a participant (for students, some universities offer it too). If so, you’ll be able to log on and enjoy thousands of old and new movies, plus a host of children’s programming and more.
3. Sign Up for Free Trials
Netflix doesn’t offer a promotion period, but many other services do, ranging from seven days (Acorn TV, BritBox, Paramount+, Apple TV+) to 30 days free (Prime Video and Hulu). NBC’s Peacock has a free tier that lets you sample shows like the Kevin Costner Western Yellowstone (above). And HBO Max recently announced it’s streaming the first episodes of several popular series (Game of Thrones, Perry Mason and more) for free on its app.
4. Go Through Your Cable
If you’re already paying for cable, check to see if your bundle includes access to streamers. For instance, some HBO subscribers get HBO Max included (visit hbomax.com/do-i-already-have-access to check). Similarly, some Cox and Xfinity cable customers may get Peacock’s $5-per-month tier included (check at peacocktv.com). Ready, set, binge!
This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s 2021 Fall Preview issue. For more inside scoop on the new fall TV season, pick up the issue, on newsstands now.