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7 Best Netflix Alternatives Including 2 Free Options - Pros and Cons

Ben Bowman

Netflix has something for everybody, but it’s not the perfect streaming service. Depending on your interests, there’s probably another service that might serve you better. Though there are hundreds of options, we picked some of the most popular, and we’ll break down the reasons why you might want to give them a try.

7 Best Netflix Alternatives

  • Hulu

    Hulu offers a lineup surprisingly comparable to Netflix. You’ll find blockbuster movies, compelling originals, and a ton of TV shows from yesterday and today. Their documentary selection includes some real gems. With a fantastic 30-day free trial, it’s easy to try Hulu to see if it’s right for you.

    A special treat is the FX section, with “Atlanta,” “What We Do In the Shadows,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and “Fargo.”

    That said, you may be able to find some of Hulu’s library on other services. A recent survey found that 83% of Netflix's catalog is exclusive, compared to just 40% of Hulu's.

    One unique feature is that you can upgrade your Hulu subscription to include live TV channels, so the on demand catalog and the live options are all in the same interface. It’s a big differentiator over live streaming services like YouTube TV and Sling TV. Upgrading to the live version gives you Disney+ and ESPN+ at no extra charge. If you don’t want live TV, you could also bundle Hulu with Disney+ and ESPN+ to save money on the package.

    Why Hulu is better:

    • Free trial
    • Ability to add live TV channels
    • Save money by bundling with Disney+
    • Ad-supported tier is inexpensive
    • Lots of comfort food classic sitcoms and dramas

    Why Netflix is better:

    • Superior kids’ section
    • Edgier content that sets trends
    • Huge selection of exclusives
  • HBO Max

    If you’re looking for a killer movie selection, it’s very hard to beat HBO Max. From superheroes to gangsters to anime and black-and-white classics, it’s hard to imagine a better catalog of movies and TV shows. You’ll also find classic sitcoms like “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Friends.” For children, you’ll find many episodes of “Sesame Street.”

    There’s also the unmatched greatness of the HBO brand, with titles like “The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City,” “The Wire,” “Veep,” “Game of Thrones,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” There are incredible documentaries and gripping miniseries like “Chernobyl.”

    Across nearly every genre, you’ll find some of the best entertainment ever created. Give yourself the gift of one month - you’ll have a hard time quitting if you find a show you love.

    Why HBO Max is better:

    • Blockbusters you know and love
    • All-time great exclusive shows
    • Incredible classic film options
    • 4K included in base price
    • Save with ad-supported tier

    Why Netflix is better:

    • Better UI
    • Binge model allows for faster viewing
    • More content for younger audiences

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  • Disney+

    Disney+ has some cinematic firepower that is hard to match. You’ll find the classic Disney animated films, modern Pixar masterpieces, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and all the Star Wars adventures. You’ll also find thoughtful films and series from National Geographic.

    Where Disney+ falls short of Netflix is in its offerings for adults. In line with its family-friendly image, you won’t find nudity or graphic violence. The heroes almost always win in the end. Profanity is kept to a bare minimum. In that way, the Disney+ library becomes a PG-13 blur. You’d never find a “Queen’s Gambit” or “Squid Game” on Disney+, for example.

    In international markets, Disney+ offers more mature content under its Star section. In the U.S., unfortunately, you’d need to subscribe to Hulu to gain access to Disney-owned R-rated films. To make this easier, you can bundle Disney+ with Hulu and ESPN+ at a reduced price.

    Why Disney+ is better:

    • Unmatched pop culture power
    • Save money by bundling with Hulu
    • Vastly superior children’s catalog
    • 4K included in base price

    Why Netflix is better:

    • Far more compelling content for grown-ups
    • Significantly more titles.
    • Library doesn’t get stale, thanks to a new film lineup each month
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  • Amazon Prime Video

    If you think Netflix has a ton of movies, wait until you start scrolling through Prime Video. It’s a bottomless pit of titles, for good or ill. You’ll see big Hollywood movies next to zero-budget faux documentaries that grind away with all the elegance of a political belt-sander.

    In recent years, Amazon Prime Video has made a significant push into original programming. “The Wheel of Time,” “The Boys,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Fleabag,” and “The Expanse” have dedicated fan bases. “The Underground Railroad” got love on nearly every critic’s 2021 best-of list. There are also some solid original movies like “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” “Sound of Metal,” and “One Night in Miami.” Unlike Disney+, this is not a service that shies away from R-rated material.

    Starting with the 2022 season, Prime Video will be the exclusive home for Thursday Night Football.

    Prime Video isn’t generating as much new, exclusive content as Netflix, so that can be a drag. But with a 30-day free trial, it’s easy to see if the service fits your needs.

    Why Prime Video is better:

    • Flexibility to add other services within Prime interface
    • The biggest library of all streamers
    • Free 4K content
    • Occasional perks like live NFL games or concerts

    Why Netflix is better:

    • Far easier to navigate
    • More big hits that drive the cultural conversation
    • Less random junk clogging the service
  • Paramount Plus

    It’s taken some time, but Paramount+ needs to be taken seriously. There’s a very strong library here, and the original series are starting to take flight after the rebrand from CBS All Access. Paramount+ has a powerful team member in “Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan, whose “1883” and “Mayor of Kingstown” are gaining in popularity. Paramount+ is also the home of “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible” content.

    The service also offers some classic shows from the larger ViacomCBS family. You’ll find a huge selection of TV series from Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, and CBS. It’s throwback heaven.

    If you pay for the ad-free version, you’ll also have access to your live, local CBS station.

    Why Paramount+ is better:

    • Live CBS feed including sports
    • Home to many long-running series
    • Kids’ section powered by Nickelodeon classics
    • Library features movie and TV hits stretching back decades
    • Save with ad-supported tier

    Why Netflix is better:

    • Much easier to navigate
    • Library less reliant on older films and shows
    • New, exclusive titles appear more rapidly
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  • Peacock

    To be sure, Peacock is still trying to find its feet. But there’s a lot to like about what’s coming. You’ll find some fun exclusives like live streams of the Winter Olympics, WWE events, and beloved series like “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.” Peacock is also the home for “Yellowstone” Seasons 1-3, so it’s a must-have if you want to catch up on TV’s most popular drama.

    The movie selection is strong, with a rotating selection that currently includes “Die Hard,” “Lost in Translation,” “Snowpiercer,” “The Karate Kid,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Uncle Buck,” and “Kindergarten Cop.”

    The service includes some serious content with news programming.

    Amazingly, you can also watch much of this content for free with ads. That means there’s no reason not to sign up and give it a whirl. If you like what you see, you can always upgrade to a paid plan.

    Why Peacock is better:

    • Beloved sitcoms and movies from the NBCUniversal library
    • Exclusive home to WWE events
    • Live streaming of Winter Olympics
    • Free tier still includes tons of content

    Why Netflix is better:

    • Ever-evolving library keeps everyone entertained
    • No confusion over paywalled titles
    • User interface is significantly smoother and easier to navigate
  • Tubi

    Tubi is free, and while that means you’ll have to sit through ads, the library is simply amazing. Users get on-demand access to 35,000 movies and television shows. You might assume your viewing options would be terrible, but there is some great stuff here.

    Right now, Tubi offers titles like “Schindler’s List,” “The Green Mile,” “The Usual Suspects,” “Aliens,” “The Big Lebowski,” “The Sixth Sense,” “Elf,” “Drive,” “Die Hard 2,” “Boogie Nights,” “Robocop,” “The Fly,” and “12 Angry Men.” Those are all titles Netflix would love to have, and you can see them without paying a penny.

    The TV selection is a bit more thin, but you’ll still find “Alias,” “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” “The Flintstones,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “Cowboy Bebop,” and “Mr. Show with Bob and David.”

    Mercifully, the ad breaks don’t appear too often, so it’s not like you’re being bombarded with commercials.

    Tubi’s original content is negligible at this point, but the company expects to create more new films over time.

    Why Tubi is better:

    • Totally free
    • Well curated content sections
    • Features some blockbuster content not available elsewhere

    Why Netflix is better:

    • Exclusive content
    • No commercials
    • Big hits mean near-unmatched cultural strength

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