Even if you don't subscribe to many, the monthly costs of TV and movie streaming services can quickly add up and take their toll on your wallet. But even if you can afford it, there's no downside in supplementing your paid streaming platforms with ones that don't cost anything.
These days, there are more free options for streaming movies and TV shows than you have time for. Maybe you don't want to check them all out. In which case, which free services are worth your time?
Here are our picks for the best free TV and movie streaming services this year, including what makes each one worthwhile and which type of viewer is best-suited for each streaming platform.
7. Best Free Streaming Service for Sports: Xumo
One of a few services that consolidate multiple live-streaming sources into one, Xumo is a live TV streaming service that offers everything from kid's programming to R-rated movies.
It's also one of the few free online streaming services worth looking into if you mainly watch TV for sports.
Xumo features programming from Fox Sports, PGA Tour, Stadium, BEIN Sports Xtra, and more, granting you access to everything from W Series racing to NFL Football.
Granted, you won't be able to catch every live game on Xumo, but supplement it with an antenna and you can easily get your sports fix.
6. Best Free Action Sports Streaming Service: Red Bull TV
If you're a sports fan but the types of sports you like go beyond traditional team sports, then Red Bull TV probably has something for you.
And on the plus side, since the entire streaming service is one giant advertisement for Red Bull, you'll rarely encounter commercials on Red Bull TV—only for other shows and movies on the service.
Red Bull TV has a lot to offer with various live channels catering to lesser-watched areas like snow sports, mountain biking, motor racing, and others. You also get access to a library of adventure and action sports documentaries, like Valley Uprising and Return to Earth.
5. Best Free Streaming Service for Classic TV: Sling Free
If you combined Sling TV and Xumo, you'd get Sling Free. This is essentially Sling's attempt at capitalizing on the free live TV streaming market by offering one of its own—and it's surprisingly good.
You'll find plenty of classic TV streams. And if you ever decide to opt for a paid Sling TV subscription, you still get all of these shows as part of your subscription with no need to bother with another service.
4. Best Free Streaming Service for Movies: Vudu
Vudu started out as a storefront for digital movie rentals and purchases. And while that's still a major part of its business, Vudu has increasingly pushed into offering free content—meaning a sizable portion of the Vudu library is available to stream, free of charge.
Granted, you won't find many blockbuster flicks available for free, but you'll find a fair selection of critically acclaimed movies as well as movies that are... well, less critically acclaimed. The service also has a solid offering of free TV shows available on demand!
3. Best Free Streaming Service for TV Shows: Peacock
Have you ever enjoyed an NBC TV sitcom or prime-time drama? If the answer is anywhere close to yes, be sure to check out NBC's Peacock.
If you're wondering whether the service's paid subscription tier is worth paying for, take a look at our rundown of everything you need to know about Peacock. But if you're only thinking of it as a free streaming option, it's absolutely worth trying.
You won't get every season of every show with the free plan, but there's still plenty to watch without paying a dime.
2. Best Free Live TV Streaming Service: Pluto TV
Ever since I discovered Pluto TV, I've stopped paying much attention to paid live TV streaming services.
Why? Because regardless of who you are or what time of day it may be, you can always find something worth streaming on Pluto, even if you need to do a little channel surfing to find it.
The main downside to Pluto TV is that it isn't exactly "live TV"—the channels stream old content in a way that feels like you're watching live TV. Meaning, if you watch a lot of it, you'll notice some channels tend to repeat the same episodes of a show.
However, that's not true for all the channels on Pluto TV. Indeed, there are many channels where you'll never see the same thing twice.
And Pluto TV also features a lot of sports programming. We still think Xumo is the best free streaming service for sports, but Pluto TV is a strong runner-up in that area.
1. Best Free Netflix Alternative: Tubi
If you're looking for a free streaming service that's as close to what Netflix used to be, then Tubi is your best bet.
Tubi is a free streaming service that offers a wide variety of movies and TV shows, balancing popular options with all kinds of stranger shows and movies that you probably haven't heard of before—you know, the kind you'd see on Netflix before Netflix lost most of its library.
As with all of these free services, the trade-off for Tubi is that you're going to see ads from time to time. But hey, if you're searching for a free service where you can always count on finding something new to watch, it's difficult to do better than you can with Tubi.