Which Streaming Services Offer Free Trials?
“Free.” Doesn’t everyone love that word?
When it comes to free trials, that’s when heads start to really turn. Cord cutters have the freedom to get a small taste of live TV and on-demand streaming services and what they have to offer. After a week or more of obsessive binge-watching, the viewer can say, “Adios” and move on to the next. With so many streaming services offering free trials, there’s a lot to experiment with without hurting your wallet.
Each service has its pros and cons, but it’s all free, so why not check them all out? Below are some of our faves, but it’s up to you to explore and choose which one you like best!
Live TV Trials
DIRECTV STREAM is a live TV streaming service, which is essentially the streaming version of the DIRECTV service. The service is the new name of AT&T TV is available without a contract or extra fees.
All plans include local channels and at least 34 of the Top 35 Cable Channels from AMC, A+E, Discovery (Food Network, HGTV, TLC, Discovery, etc.), Disney (ESPN, Disney Channel, etc), NBCU (Bravo, MSNBC, NBCSN, etc.), WarnerMedia (TNT, TBS, CNN, etc.), ViacomCBS (MTV, Comedy Central, etc.), and Hallmark.
DIRECTV STREAM starts at $74.99 / månad for their Entertainment Plan. You can upgrade to their Choice Plan, which begins at $99.99 / månad, that includes your local RSN and HBO Max for three months. They also have have an Ultimate ($109.99) for 130 channels and Premier ($154.99) for 140 channels. In addition to not having a contract, there are no extra RSN Fee or Broadcast TV fee.
The service now includes an Unlimited DVR on all plans and Unlimited simultaneous at-home streams.
Pros: DIRECTV STREAM is the king of regional sports networks. If you love sports, this service offers far more than any other. The channel possibilities are huge. They currently offer a 5- dagars gratis provversion.
Cons: Once your free trial ends, DIRECTV STREAM can become wildly expensive. It’s sprawling channel packages may be a godsend for TV fans, but some may find the price too steep.5-dagars provversion
Fubo is a live TV streaming service with about 90 channels for $74.99/month. This plan includes local channels, 25 of the top 35 cable channels, and regional sports networks (RSNs). In total, you should expect to pay about $85.98/month, after adding in their RSN Fee. Fubo was previously known as “fuboTV.”
Due to a carriage dispute, some areas may not see their local CBS affiliate, but rather a national CBS feed.
The streaming service does not carry channels from WarnerMedia-owned (CNN, TBS, and TNT), A+E (A&E, History Channel, and Lifetime), and AMC Networks (AMC, BBC America, and WE tv).
Fubo also includes MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network, NFL RedZone , NHL Network, and beIN Sports (which is not available on most services). You can add Fox Soccer Plus as part of the International Sports Plus add-on for $6/month.
You can add the fubo Extra ($8) to add ~39 channels including Baby TV, Cooking Channel, DIY, och GSN.
Fubo is a great option for sports fans, especially those who want to stream local sports. They recently announced added Bally Sports RSNs to their channel lineup.
It is the least expensive option to get RSNs in many markets like Altitude, AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, AT&T SportsNet Southwest, Bally Sports Arizona, Bally Sports Carolinas, Bally Sports Detroit, Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports Great Lakes, Bally Sports Indiana, Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest, Bally Sports New Orleans, Bally Sports North, Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports Oklahoma, Bally Sports San Diego, Bally Sports SoCal, Bally Sports South, Bally Sports Southeast, Bally Sports Southwest, Bally Sports Sun, Bally Sports Tennessee, Bally Sports West, Bally Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Carolinas, Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports Indiana, Fox Sports Kansas City, Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports New Orleans, Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Oklahoma, Fox Sports Prime Ticket, Fox Sports San Diego, Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Southwest, Fox Sports Sun, Fox Sports Tennessee, Fox Sports West, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Marquee Sports Network, MSG, MSG Sportsnet, NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Northwest, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Philadelphia+, NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Washington+, NESN, Root Sports Northwest, och SportsNet NY.
Pros: Sports nuts will be attracted to the large helping of sports content such as professional and college sports leagues.
Cons: The one potential downside is the lack of certain regional sports networks. Due to contract issues with providers, some fans may be unable to watch their local team. There’s also no TNT, which might be a dealbreaker for NBA fans.
Philo is a live TV streaming service designed for entertainment lovers which includes 60+ channels for $25 per month.
They have a single $25 plan with major channels from A&E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery, Hallmark, and ViacomCBS. These include A&E, AMC, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery, HGTV, MTV, Nickelodeon, och Paramount Network. The service also has a Unlimited DVR, which now keeps your recordings for up to a year.
You’ll also get channels like Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, LOGO, och Nicktoons.
While it doesn’t include any local or sports channels like ESPN, FS1 or NBC Sports Network, it is the cheapest option for live entertainment-only TV.
Pros: Bargain-hunters unite! Enjoy a week of 60+ channels to choose from, and don’t worry about missing your favorite show because the unlimited DVR takes care of it for you. Once the week is up, and you decide to take the leap and subscribe, you’ll be relieved to know that Philo is super affordable.
Cons: Due to its lower cost, there are no local broadcast stations, live sports, or major cable news networks. Philo only focuses on entertainment and lifestyle channels, so if that isn’t your jam, signing up for a trial probably isn’t worth the effort.
YouTube TV is a live TV streaming service with more than 60 channels for $72.99/month. This plan includes local channels, 32 of the top 35 cable channels, and regional sports networks (RSNs) in select markets.
With the recent addition of Viacom channels (BET, MTV, Comedy Central, etc.) to the service, they are only without Hallmark and A+E Networks (Lifetime, History, A&E).
They recently added NFL Network and new Sports Plus add-on which include channels like NFL RedZone for $11 a month.
YouTube TV offers select 4K content, including some live sports and on-demand shows, as part of their 4K Plus add-on. The 4K Plus add-on is $9.99 a month and also includes offline downloads and unlimited streams on your home network.
If you want a cheaper service with many of the entertainment channels on YouTube TV, you can subscribe to Philo which includes A+E, Discovery, Viacom, Hallmark, and other channels for just $20 a month after a 7-Day Free Trial.
Pros: An unlimited DVR lets you record as much TV as you want. The channel lineup is broad and covers most popular channels. YouTube TV also has an easy and clean user interface. You can even delete or rearrange channels in your channel guide. The service free changes frequently, from 3-14 days.
Cons: Some of the commercials are extremely repetitive. You can’t really make a skinnier bundle, so it’s a pricier option.
More live TV options:
Frndly TV (7-day free trial) - A channel lineup with curated family-friendly content.
NBA League Pass (7-day free trial) - Watch any game from any NBA team (blackouts apply). Choose home or away audio streams. The most premium tier of this service provides in-arena coverage where commercials would normally air.
MLB.TV (7-day free trial) - You can see every out-of-market game live or on demand, and choose home or away TV and radio feeds. The app allows fans to watch up to four games simultaneously on the same screen through their multi-view feature.
Sling TV, Hulu Live TV, and ESPN+ do not offer free trials at this time.
On Demand Trials
Hulu is a video streaming service that gives access to thousands of full seasons of exclusive series, hit movies, kids shows, and Hulu Originals like The Handmaid's Tale.
It offers a good selection of current TV shows and its ad-supported tier is cheaper than both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. You will be able to watch most shows from networks like ABC and Fox, and cable channels like FXX, FXM, HGTV, and more.
The service has a Limited Commercials plan for $7.99 a month, or you can upgrade to their No Ads plan for $14.99 a month. For $69.99 a month, you can get Hulu Live TV from major cable channels, live locals and regional sports networks.
Pros: If you only want a trial of the on demand Hulu (minus the live channels), you get 30 days to sample the service. That makes it easier to rip through the catalog. Be sure to check out their documentary collection for some excellent titles. You’ll also find a lot of older sitcoms like “Cheers” available to stream.
Cons: The Hulu Originals slate is a little light, but it looks like that’s starting to turn around. After your 30 days, your willingness to continue may rely on whether the library of older content appeals to you, because new series are slow to arrive.
Amazon Prime Video
Pros: You’ll love the huge movie library with over 10,000 titles (three times the amount of Netflix). The selection changes monthly, including A24 indie films and originals like “The Big Sick.” So make you sign up for a free trial before your favorite movie expires.
Cons: The library is huge, but bloated with a staggering amount of low-budget crud and pseudo-documentaries with incredibly slanted political agendas. Platform navigation is less than ideal.
Pros: You’ll see high-budget, gorgeous series, including the ultra-popular “Ted Lasso.” Everything looks and sounds great. Apple TV+ tends to lean toward high-concept sci-fi series.
Cons: The library isn’t particularly deep, so you may not find a reason to return all that often.
discovery+ is a video streaming service that offers more than 70,000 episodes of 2,500+ current and classic shows from several popular TV brands including Discovery, Investigation Discovery, HGTV, TLC, Food Network, A&E, Lifetime, och History.
The service primarily focuses on non-fiction programming or “reality” TV shows.
discovery+ is available with limited ads for $4.99 / månad or ad-free for $6.99 / månad.
Pros: If you love “unscripted entertainment,” discovery+ has that in spades. It’s perfect “background TV” if you’d just like something on while you scroll on your phone or fold laundry.
Cons: You won’t find blockbuster movies or epic entertainment here. It’s aimed at its niche.
Paramount+ is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 40,000+ TV show episodes from BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and more. The lineup includes “1883,” “Tulsa King,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants,” and MTV’s “Laguna Beach.” From well-loved franchises to compelling originals, Paramount+ offers a great library worth streaming. Live NFL games are included. The service also offers the option to watch your live CBS affiliate.
Subscribers can choose between the Essentials Plan (which includes ads) for $4.99/month, or go commercial-free with the Premium Plan for $9.99/month. Subscribers can add Showtime to either plan for an additional fee.
With their Premium Plan, in addition to not having ads, you will also get access to your local CBS affiliate to stream your local news, prime-time lineup, and late-night. You will also be able to download offline and watch select shows in 4K.
With the lower cost “Essential” plan, you will still be able to watch live NFL games, Champions League, and national news – but you will no longer get your local CBS affiliate.
With their new app, enjoy advanced recommendations, curated homepages, and new content categories while still being able to stream major live sports like NFL, College Football, College Basketball. Sports fans will also appreciate the service’s inclusion of NFL on CBS, PGA Tour, along with every match of UEFA Champions League and Serie A.
The service was previously called CBS All Access.
Pros: Offers 12,000+ TV shows and a continuously growing collection of films like the “Mission: Impossible” movies. Upcoming “South Park” movies will entertain fans of that franchise. Nickelodeon content will appeal to kids.
Cons: Paramount is a little light in the movie franchise department. Aside from “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible,” there aren’t many marquee names. Seven days should be enough to help you decide if this service is right for you.30-dagars provversion
STARZ offers a subscription video streaming service that gives access to content on the STARZ channel without the need of a cable subscription. With your subscription, you’ll get access to 7,500+ films and episodes, including all of their current originals like “Outlander,” The Serpent Queen,” “BMF,” and “Power.”
The service also offers a large rotating library of older films like “Die Hard, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, 12 Monkeys,” and “A Beautiful Mind.”
You can subscribe for $8.99 a month either directly from STARZ, or through Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple TV Channels, or Roku Premium Subscriptions.
Pros: STARZ offers a quirky collection of entertainment that strays from what you’d typically find on these services. Shows like “Spartacus,” “Black Sails,” and “Ash vs. Evil Dead” join movies like “Whiplash,” “Big Fish,” and “District 9.” You’re sure to find some hidden gems.
Cons: The library is certainly unique, but this may be the kind of service where you return every few months, rather than as a weekly habit. Give it a whirl for a week and see if there’s enough here to merit the subscription.
Curiosity Stream is a subscription streaming service that offers 1,800+ documentaries and series on science, space, technology, nature, history, health, and more. The service was created by the Discovery Channel founder, John Hendricks, in 2015.
The streaming service includes both original and acquired content including those featuring Stephen Hawking, David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins, Peter Diamandis, and Richard Hammond.
The content is similar to the type of shows you may find on Discovery, The History Channel, Animal Planet, and The Science Channel.
Curiosity Stream offers a two tiers: Standard for $2.99 per month ($20 per year) for HD streaming or Premium for $9.99 per month ($70 per year) for 4K streaming of 80+ shows. A small number of their episodes are available for free and presented by their sponsors.
Subscribers also get free access to videos and exclusive original content on Nebula.
Pros: If you’re a science enthusiast, this Discovery+ lookalike is for you. Explore various original documentaries like the thought-provoking “Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places.” The best thing about this platform is that everyone in your family can stream different shows at the same time.
Cons: There are fewer titles available than Hulu or Netflix and there is no comedy, action, horror, or other genre content. It’s also unavailable to stream on PlayStation.
SHOWTIME offers a subscription video streaming service that gives access to content on Showtime without the need of a cable subscription. With your subscription, you’ll get access to all of their current originals like Yellowjackets, Billions, and American Gigolo. If you choose to bundle Showtime with Paramount+, you can get both services for $7.99/month (with ads) or $12.99/month (ad-free).
With your subscription, you’ll also get access to their critically acclaimed catalog of previous shows like Shameless, Homeland, Ray Donovan, Dexter, Weeds, Nurse Jackie, House of Lies, Californication, Queer as Folk, and The L Word.
SHOWTIME also has new-release films from CBS Films, Amblin Partners, and IFC Films, which appear on the streaming service 7-8 months after they are in theaters. Every month they also have hundreds of additional older movies from major movie studios.
You can subscribe for $10.99 a month either directly from SHOWTIME, or through Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple TV Channels, or Roku Premium Subscriptions.
Pros: All the original Showtime titles that you love are listed like “Billions,” “Shameless,” and “Homeland.” There is also a complete library of every television series that the channel has released. Some of the documentaries are top notch, including “The Comedy Store” and “The Fourth Estate.” Showtime is willing to tackle edgier topics than more mainstream services.
Cons: The movie library is more “miss” than “hit.” At the time of this writing, it only featured 30 films with a rating of 8 or higher on IMDb.30-dagars provversion
Crunchyroll is a subscription video streaming service catering to fans of anime with over 30,000 episodes. Viewers can see new episodes of shows one hour after they air in Japan, and read hundreds of chapters across dozens of manga titles. Some of their more popular titles are Dragon Ball Super, Attack on Titan, and Fire Force.
Crunchyroll offers three plans. The “Fan” ($7.99) plan allows streaming on 1 device, but no offline viewing. Their “Mega Fan” ($9.99) plan allows viewing on 4 devices along with offline viewing. And the “Ultimate Fan” ($14.99) plan offers viewing on 6 devices, offline viewing, and an annual swag bag, among other perks.
Pros: Anime buffs have access to 1,000 anime titles which include ones with Japanese voice acting and English subtitles, as well as titles with English dubs.
Cons: They only allow one profile, so users have to share the same queue. The content is also uncensored (which could be a good or bad thing depending on the type of viewer).
Shudder is a streaming video service specializing in horror, thriller and supernatural fiction titles. The service has a vast library of both classic and contemporary films as well as new, original programming such as Wolf Creek, and Slaxx. Shudder also benefits from content courtesy of AMC including Eli Roth's History of Horror and fan-favorite zombie survival series The Walking Dead. The platform is available to users in the U.S., Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and Ireland.
Shudder is available at a subscription rate of $5.99 / månad. However, a subscription of $56.99 / år upfront works out to $4.75 a month for those who are confident in their unwavering appetite for quirky slashers and genre-bending sci-fi.
We recommend adding Shudder as a channel through Amazon Prime Video for maximum flexibility.
Pros: The platform’s audience is mainly horror-lovers due to its growing selection of scary originals and international content ranging from episodic and documentary-style shows to full length features. There are also classics like “Absentia” and “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.”
Cons: The obvious one would be that they don’t exactly have entertainment comprised of sunshine and rainbows. It’s also not compatible with PlayStation or Nintendo devices.
Funimation is a streaming service focused on Japanese animation. Funimation is likely to die out in time - many of the site’s pages redirect to its sister service, Crunchyroll. While Funimation continues to add new episodes of its current series, all future anime series will stream exclusively on Crunchyroll. Funimation does still serve anime fans with shows like “My Hero Academia,” “One-Punch Man,” “Dragon Ball Z,” and “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.”
Some older content is available for free.
Pros: With two weeks of anime entertainment, dubs, and exclusive content, boredom is not an option here.
Cons: It’s a distribution platform, so there is no original content. Not necessarily a bad thing, but still worth mentioning.
More on demand options:
Acorn TV (7-day free trial) - Enjoy content from dozens of international networks in countries, from British channels to Australian, French, Italian, Irish, and other major European networks.
BET+ (7-day free trial) - Watch over 1,000 hours of Black content from the Black creators.
VRV (30-day free trial) - An over-the-top streaming service that celebrates anime, animation, video games, comics, science fiction, fantasy, and tech.
Ovid TV (7-day free trial) - An on-demand streaming platform, available in the US and Canada, that focuses heavily on independent movies.
Film Movement Plus (30-day free trial) - A video-on-demand platform centered around independent and international films.
Please consult The Streamable's full list of streaming services - most will offer at least a 7-day free trial.
Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+ do not offer free trials at this time. You can get a 7-Day Free Trial of HBO Max through Hulu.
Permanently Free Options
Tubi is a free video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 45,000+ movies and television shows - more than any other streaming service. Its ad breaks are shorter and less frequent than most free services. Fox executives have called their service “TV on steroids.”
The service includes 55+ live news channels affiliated with NBC, FOX, Cox Media Group, Hearst, and Scripps. Local affiliates provide coverage in most major media markets.
Tubi’s programming includes films and television series from Fox Entertainment, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., NBCUniversal, Disney, and more.
Pros: Offers more content than any other streaming service. Don’t be fooled by the free price, there are A-list and award-winning titles that will even impress those with a richer taste. The library’s variety is also notable and offers niche categories like anime, faith, LGBTQ, and sci-fi & fantasy.
Cons: No parental controls can be a problem as some content contains nudity. Commercial breaks play every 25 minutes.
Pluto TV is a free live TV streaming service that provides more than 350 channels of live TV and thousands of on demand movies and TV shows.
Most of what you’ll find on Pluto TV qualifies as “background television.” It’s fine to keep on while you’re scrolling on your phone or cooking something in the kitchen.
Because these aren’t traditional live TV channels, it’s not a great option for live events, news, or sports, but it’s a solid choice for cord cutters who want to supplement their other services with some “comfort food” TV. You’ll find channels dedicated to “Star Trek,” “CSI,” “Jersey Shore,” “Survivor,” and “The Amazing Race.”
Pros: 007 fans need to check out Pluto, purely for its James Bond channel. There are also a lot of older shows like “The Nanny” and “Deal or No Deal.” So if you love retro TV and old classics, you may want to cancel weekend plans for a while.
Cons: Top cable channels like CNN, Bloomberg, and NBC News are available but only as stripped-down versions of the real thing. This also goes the same for sports channels as they often are just recaps or documentaries.
The Roku Channel is a free live TV streaming service that provides 450+ live linear streaming channels and more than 80,000 free movies and TV shows. The library contains entertainment from several different decades, including some major hits.
The service also made a splash with the acquisition of the Quibi library, now presented as Roku Originals. More original content is set to follow.
Users can add premium subscriptions to services like Paramount+, Showtime, STARZ, discovery+, and AMC+ that can be accessed within the Roku Channel ecosystem.
Pros: The amount of free movies and shows is, quite frankly, overwhelming (in the best way possible). Plus, they have a Kids & Family section that is categorized by age.
Cons: Navigation can also be frustrating and seemingly endless. In addition, there are no parental controls. Not available on all platforms.
Crackle is a free video streaming service that includes on-demand access to movies and TV Shows.
Its TV collection is more notable than its film library. You’ll find old hits like “Just Shoot Me,” “NewsRadio,” “ALF,” “TJ Hooker,” and “Red Dwarf.”
Crackle also features “Crackle Original” series such as On the Ropes, Snatch, Going from Broke, Hidden Heroes, and The Oath.
Pros: There are a lot of classic television series that will transport you to the past of legendary comedy stars and sitcom actors. There are titles such as “My Two Dads” and “The Dana Carvey Show.”
Cons: The film selection is lacking, but there are some interesting documentaries. Also, the service doesn’t allow you to download titles for offline viewing.
More free options:
Documentary Plus - Has a wide variety of documentaries, including Academy Award-winning classics, box office hits, and cult classics.
Plex- Free on-demand content. It also allows you to create your own private on-demand streaming library and share them with friends.
IMDb TV- Offers a substantial library of free on-demand content.
Plex - Contains 20,000+ movies and TV shows including many throwbacks and guilty pleasures.
Xumo - Includes 180 completely free virtual channels, revolving reality TV, vintage TV, and game shows.
Related: Best Free Video Streaming Services