8 Free Streaming Services to Enjoy While You're Staying Inside
The deluge of streaming services out there can be pretty stressful on the wallet. Sure, there's Netflix, but there's also HBO, Disney+, Apple+, Hulu, and a whole lot more. All things considered, you might even be paying more than before you cut the cord! Now that we're trying to safely social distance at home, we could all use a little distraction to foster peace of mind. But the reality is that not everyone can afford one or two streaming services every month, let alone all of the major ones out there.
Good news: if you have access to decent internet, there's a ton of free streaming options out there. And no, that doesn't mean that you have to watch obscure content or diligently cancel free trials. Granted that you have a library card or are willing to watch a few ads, there's a whole world of high-quality and totally legal streaming sites that won't cost you a penny, from Kanopy to IMDb TV — scroll ahead to learn all about them!
Kanopy is paradise for film buffs, home to many quirky indies and cinematic classics. In addition to picks such as Rashomon and Charade, you'll be able to check out a bunch of A24 films such as Midsommar and Moonlight. Instead of having to watch a bunch of ads, you'll likely have access to Kanopy through your college or local library. Just be sure to check if your connection only allows you a certain amount of credits per month — basically, you use one credit whenever you click play on a movie. There is, however, credit-free content, including all of the kid material, which encompasses select seasons of Arthur and other beloved childhood shows!
While the selection on Kanopy is a tad niche, Hoopla has a pretty robust collection of blockbusters. You'll be able to watch newer films such as The Rewrite and The Killing of a Sacred Deer as well as classics such as Emma and The Sting. Plus, there's a fairly extensive selection of TV shows from PBS, BBC, Nickelodeon, and other major networks. In terms of access, check your local library if they're a partner with Hoopla, which also offers audiobooks, music, and ebooks as well! As with Kanopy, Hoopla also has monthly checkout limits depending on your library.
Tubi's collection isn't as permanent as Hoopla or Kanopy's, but you'll always find good stuff on it. Some of its current spotlit movies include The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Big Short, and The Conjuring. Its TV selection is nothing to sniff at either, with classics such as 3rd Rock From the Sun and The Dick Van Dyke Show. If you don't mind watching a few ads, Tubi's definitely a solid go-to for a healthy distraction.
IMDb TV offers a rotating selection of free TV and movies, from Schitt's Creek to Paddington! No, you can't pay to make the ads go away, and the content library is fairly modest. Still, the featured collection is solid and won't leave the indecisive with choice paralysis.
Crunchyroll allows you to watch a ton of Asian animes and dramas for free, granted you view a few ads per episode. You'll be able to watch everything from classic anime series such as Fruits Basket and One Piece to newer ones such as My Hero Academia and One-Punch Man. The paid service upgrades your viewing experience to no ads and HD quality, plus you'll be able to see newer additions.
Vudu is a VOD service owned by Walmart, but you don't always have to pay. It offers thousands of TV and movie titles for free, such as Ella Enchanted, March of the Penguins, Dead Poets Society, and more. Plus, if you are signed up for their service, you can watch last chance free movies to get redeemable credit towards paid films and shows.
Again, watching a few commercials can help you spare a couple of bucks. If you want to switch up from your regularly scheduled content to a full-length feature, you'll be able to do so without buying or renting a movie. YouTube has a fairly generous rotating selection of films that are free with ads, from Child's Play to Rabbit Hole.
At least in April 2020, HBO is releasing over 500 hours of free content to encourage folks to stay at home during the global pandemic. Now you can finally understand what the hype was all about around Succession and The Wire. Viewers can also tune in to new documentaries such as McMillions and The Inventor or watch family-friendly flicks such as Pokémon Detective Pikachu and Happy Feet Two.