Netflix no longer offers a 30-day free trial in the USA, but it’s not the only option. Many competing services still offer free trials, and there are many ways to stream free with ads. Here are your best options.
Hulu (30 days)
Hulu offers a 30-day free trial of its service. You don’t have to watch ads, either—Hulu offers a plan without ads, and your free 30-day trial can be ad-free.
Like Netflix, Hulu offers a library of original series and movies. It also has a lot of TV shows, and some TV shows make their episodes available on Hulu the day after they air on traditional TV.
If you like Hulu, you can stick with it for $5.99 a month (with ads) or $11.99 per month (without ads.)
Amazon Prime Video (30 days)
Amazon offers a library of free streaming content with Amazon Prime. It’s one of the many features included with Prime, from the promise of two-day delivery to a streaming library of millions of songs and free PC games.
if you don’t already have Prime, you can get a free 30-day trial from Amazon and stream all you want from Prime’s free streaming library. Just be sure to cancel if you don’t want to stick with Prime afterward.
Amazon Prime normally costs $119 per year or $12.99 per month, although you can get a streaming-only Prime Video subscription for $8.99 per month. Here’s how you can get an even cheaper Prime subscription.
HBO Max (7 days)
HBO Max offers a 7-day free trial. HBO Max combines HBO’s library of shows like Game of Thrones and The Sopranos with other TV shows like Friends, South Park, Doctor Who, and Rick and Morty. And, of course, you’ll find a lot of movies on HBO Max as well.
If you already pay for HBO, you may already have access to HBO Max.
If you like HBO Max, you can stick with it for $14.99 per month.
Peacock (7 days / free with ads)
NBCUniversal’s Peacock service offers a variety of TV shows and movies for free—with advertisements, of course. For example, you’ll find popular comedy series like Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock on Peacock.
The Peacock Premium service unlocks access to more content, and you can also get a 7-day free trial of Peacock Premium if you’re interested.
CBS All Access (7 days)
CBSUniversal’s CBS All Access streaming service, which will reportedly be renamed “Paramount Plus” in early 2021, also offers a free 7-day trial. You can watch a variety of shows from networks like CBS and Comedy Central, including Star Trek: Discovery.
After the first week, CBS All Access costs $5.99 per month with ads or $9.99 per month without ads.
Live TV Streaming Services (varies)
Many services are designed to provide a live TV-style experience over the internet. For example, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, and Sling all provide similar services, although they offer different bundles with different live TV channels.
These services often offer free trials, too. As of October 2020, YouTube TV offers a two-week free trial, Hulu + Live TV offers a one-week free trial, and Sling offers a three-day free trial. Sling offers some free channels, too.
Explore lists of web-based live TV streaming services and you’ll find even more options.
Free Streaming Services (free with ads)
Some services are just plain-old free. They offer all the TV and movies you can watch—with advertisements, of course.
In addition to the free version of NBC’s Peacock, you can also check out Crackle. Crackle rotates a selection of free TV shows and movies for you to watch on-demand.
For a more traditional TV experience, try Pluto TV. Rather than forcing you to pick from a library of thousands of things to watch, Pluto TV offers hundreds of channels you can tune into.
These are just a few options. There are many other awesome places to stream TV shows and movies for free.
OTA TV With an Antenna (free)
If you have an antenna, you can likely pick up a lot of free over-the-air (OTA) TV channels in your area. They have great picture quality, too. Believe it or not, the picture quality is better than cable.
If you have a cable TV subscription, you can often log into a TV channel’s website with your cable subscription credentials to access on-demand streaming content, too.