The 5 best free streaming alternatives to Netflix and Hulu
The recent lockdowns and self-isolation have forced people to seek alternatives to social interaction, with most looking towards the internet for entertainment. Everyone is well aware of the big video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, but there are also a lot of smaller, free sites.
Just like big casino sites have sister casino sites, many big streaming sites also have similar smaller versions with a lot of free content. Here we look at five alternatives to the mainstream providers.
NBCUniversal launched Peacock in July 2020 with a free tier system offering various streaming options depending on your needs and budget. Up to 13,000 hours of viewing time is free but ad-supported, with the option to upgrade to Premium or Premium Plus for a monthly fee, entitling you up to 20,000 hours on-demand with no ads. There is also a 7-day free trial and ComcastXfinity members with X1 or a Flex 4K streaming device gain automatic access.
While Peacock lacks some popular series such as ‘Friends’, there is no shortage of worthwhile movies, documentaries, series, reality shows, and live sports. A few example titles include WWE, Modern Family, Battlestar Galactica, Notting Hill, and Psycho.
Tubi is free, provided you can put up with the fairly brief spate of ads every 15 minutes, or if you aren’t overly concerned by the picture quality. Available in the US since 2014 and Australia since 2019, Tubi is compatible with all brands of Smart TVs and games consoles. There are various free trials to determine your viewing preferences, with weekly and monthly options plus special options like horror movies only.
Tubi is easy to access and no sign-up is required. There are plans to expand the selection to 20,000 titles but the current 7000 titles include some classic gems like Midsomer Murders and other crime series to satisfy the sleuth in you, loads of popular B-movies like Hitchcock, westerns with John Wayne and Charles Bronson, and lesser-known movies such as Titanic 2 and Triassic World. Definitely worth a look!
Crackle is another legal, free service, but unlike Tubi, is only available in the US. The web-site has a minimal interface and is very easy to access through your PC, smart TV, tablet, phone, or games console. The home page lists feature films and series which are rotated on a regular basis with new shows added and older ones removed. It also has a find feature where you can search by genre, A-Z, and recently added titles.
There are hundreds of movies to choose from and over 170 series, with old favorites like Archie Bunker and Bewitched. It also boasts some originals which can only be found on Crackle, including drama, comedy, horror, documentaries, and feature movies of historical interest.
Whilst it can’t compete for content with other larger streaming services like Netflix, it’s worth taking a look and won’t cost you anything!
Kanopy originally started in 2008 as a supplier of coursework video material to academics, who accessed programs using their university or college email address. Since then it has developed, with its big-name partners like A24, Bleecker Street, HBO, and Paramount, into the ideal viewing solution for the whole family. Both educational and entertaining, its 30,000 movies cover cultural and historical topics, comedy, drama, documentaries, biopics, and television series for all ages.
All you need to access this service for free (and without ads), is a library card that gives you 10 credits a month for any regular Kanopy content. This restriction however doesn’t apply to kids who have unlimited access to documentaries, animation, storybook series, and educational films all with age-appropriate control. It’s accessible on all devices, with the exception of game consoles, and allows for multiple streaming from a single account. For something a little different, this is worthwhile considering.
Vudu was initiated by Walmart in the US in 2010 and unlike most services, it’s neither totally free nor is there a monthly subscription. The free content comprises ad-supported TV series, shows, and movies which tend to be somewhat dated so the quality isn’t perfect. However, if you’re unconcerned by this, there are still many worth watching and it costs you nothing.
The other option is to rent or buy a movie, show, episodes of series, or the whole season. Rental or purchase costs vary from about $2 depending on the age, condition, and popularity of your choice. Special features include Parental Control, Family Play which allows you to skip content such as violence or nudity, and Kids Mode which enables age-related viewing. Only one profile for each account means that if you want to share, you must provide each viewer with your user name and password.