Free Movie Streaming Sites

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Dec 11, 2020, 8:15:18 PM12/11/20
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Free Movie Streaming Sites

The best free streaming services aren’t meant to compete with the likes of Netflix. They don’t have the latest TV series, blockbuster movies or high-quality originals. You’re not going to get next-day episodes of popular shows or watch award winners with Hollywood’s biggest stars. And that’s fine since, well, they’re free.

All of the best free streaming services are ad-supported. They play 30-second to 60-second commercials, generally at the same rate as a cable network. Yes, watching commercials is annoying but again, that’s what enables these platforms to be free. 

Some free streaming services offer live channels, others offer on-demand content. A few have both. Our top choice, Peacock Free, boasts 13,000 hours of content drawn from the NBC Universal stable of brands. That includes TV shows from NBC, Syfy, and USA as well as movies from Universal, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation.

Our second pick is Crackle, which has on-demand movies, TV shows and originals. Its movie selection is particularly good, with several recognizable titles from recent years. IMDBtv and Tubi are also great on-demand services with extensive lineups of movies and TV shows, plus easy-to-use interfaces that allow you to browse genres and curated collections. Vudu features many newer movies, since it’s got the might of Walmart behind it. Plus, it’s also a digital marketplace, so you can rent or purchase the latest hits.

Amazon Prime Video

There’s a lot going for Amazon Prime Video. First, it’s an add-on for Amazon Prime, so you get free one or two day shipping on tons of items with Amazon as well as the streaming video options in Prime Video.

And there’s a ton to watch on Amazon Prime Video. IT has a constant stream of movies coming onto the service as well as original content like Jack Ryan and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for subscribers. It’s also edging into the TV subscription realm, allowing you to add services like HBO onto your Prime Video membership. 

YouTube

YouTube has a paid tier, but it’s quite expensive and a lot more like traditional TV service than a streaming media option. At $40 per month or more, it’s something only those looking to supplant their cable subscription should consider.

Elsewhere, YouTube has excellent options when it comes to user generated content. You can often find older content housed on YouTube as well, or snippets of shows and movies uploaded to the service. A great example is the show “How IT’s Made,” which uploads content to YouTube while entire shows live on services like Hulu.

Most of the content is not professionally made, but it’s an avenue for streaming content. It’s an especially good option if you love documentaries, as many unheralded – but excellent – documentaries find their way to YouTube.

You can also use YouTube a bit like 123movies. Apps like Elmedia Player and Downie have excellent options to download content from sites like YouTube. All you need is the URL of the content you’re looking to download, and the apps do the rest. 

Netflix

How can we have this list and leave Netflix out?! The most recognized and ubiquitous streaming service there is, Netflix is a class leader in most regards. It’s one of the most cost effective options around, has a ton of excellent content, a seemingly endless supply of original shows and movies – and you can watch Netflix offline legally on Mac. 

Netflix has a deep catalog of older shows and movies beloved by many, but makes its name on original content like Stranger Things, Tiger King, and Umbrella Academy. The service can be shared with multiple people having access, and lets you watch shows anywhere you like.

You can download shows via an app named Capto, an excellent screen recording tool for your Mac. You can record and download entire shows, or clips, and watch them anytime you want. So long as you keep the content for yourself and don’t distribute it, Capto is a great option for downloading and watching Netflix offline. 

Hulu

When you’re ready, we’ve got a great ‘how to get started with Hulu’ guide that will get you up and running with the service in no time.

Hulu is an awesome option for those looking to stream older TV shows as well as original content. It’s got award winning shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, and older TV shows like The Simpsons. It’s also part of the Disney Plus streaming package, which includes Disney Plus (of course) and ESPN (including ESPN Plus). 

The most basic Hulu package is only $6 per month, though it does have commercials. Happily, those commercial breaks are limited, and there’s typically only one commercial rather than the 5-6 you’d get with traditional TV service. If you want the full Disney Plus package, it’s $12.99 per month. 

Roku

Roku is a bit more platform than streaming service, though it checks all the boxes. It has both free and paid options, tons of content, and a mix of older and newer shows. If it’s lacking in any way, it’s the service’s dearth of originals.

It’s a bit like Prime Video in that you can add premium channels like HBO. It’s Roku Channel is a solid stream of older TV shows and b-grade movies, but it’s all entirely free to stream. Unfortunately, Roku is dependent on apps from studios or networks for content, making it difficult to pin down where free and paid content lines are. Each service has its own options. 

All of these services are available on the web. If you want to cast the content to a smart TV or Apple TV, we think JustStream is an excellent option. It lets you quickly cast content from your Mac onto a smart device, so you don’t have to re-discover content in an app; just stream on your Mac and send it to your TV!

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