Streaming Services That Won’t Break the Bank
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As the pull of streaming services seem to overtake cable day by day, the sheer number of paid streaming services seems to go up in turn. I remember it felt doable at one point to have the needed streaming services. Ostensibly, you just needed Netflix and maybe Hulu (especially when you just needed a free account for Hulu), and you were good to go. Now, you need Netflix, Hulu, Paramount+ etc. to cover every bit of content that you might want. By the time you’ve loaded up on all the your streaming services, you’ve likely made it over what you might have paid in cable before. In this post, I want to talk about some free, legal streaming services I’ve used to help prevent myself from getting completely nickeled and dimed. All of the streaming services below are free, although they may be ad-supported or are limited viewing, but a couple ads are a small price to pay for getting some good, free content.
Tubi is a streaming service that I’ve been using for awhile. I did see a commercial or two on cable, and only recently I saw them aggressively advertise on TikTok. I think every other ad I’ve seen this week has been Tubi marketing “nostalgia TV” such as The Nanny, Dawson’s Creek, and Friday Night Lights. Tubi is a free, ad-supported movie and tv platform. Unlike a couple other free movie apps I’ve tried, the ad presence isn’t too bad. They’re not all that intrusive, especially compared to cable TV ad breaks. They also had a great amount of variety for movies and TV. Tubi was the way I could finally watch the Sophia Coppola movies I had always wanted to see, including The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette as well as American Ultra and Let the Right One In. Tubi is also the way I’m finally going to watch Xena: The Warrior Princess, a show I’ve been meaning to watch for a long time. One thing I would recommend, if you do decide to browse Tubi, is to check the “Leaving Soon!” category first, since often the most high profile movies are around for only about a couple weeks to a month.
There is something nostalgic and fun about channel surfing. Sometimes, I’ll spend my whole time allocated to watching TV just browsing the choices. The feeling of finding a good show on TV has a different feel to finding something on Netflix. Maybe it’s the similar feeling as finding music on the radio—that sort of spontaneous feeling of discovery. Pluto TV has hundreds of channels and an On Demand platform. Both the live and on-demand portions are ad-supported. There are plenty of television channels, some coming from Pluto (like Pluto Staff Picks or Pluto Thrillers) and some established channels such as CNN or MTV (although the channels are the “Pluto TV” versions, which isn’t the same live broadcast as cable). I’ve found myself on Pluto TV for their anime and movie channels. One gripe I do have is that it seems that you can only look so far ahead in Pluto’s TV guide, so if I don’t find something I like, I can’t really scroll ahead to see if I want to come back later.
The final streaming service I’d love to talk about is Kanopy. Kanopy is a library-supported streaming service. All you need is your library card, and you get to watch 9 movies per month completely ad-free. While the movie amount is limited, it is completely ad-free, and there is a lot of high-quality content on there. I’ve been able to watch movies like What We Do in the Shadows and The Art of Self-Defense. While it’s not an unlimited service like Tubi and Pluto, Kanopy is an awesome service for movie and documentary discovery. One thing I will warn you is that you use a play credit every time you press play, so I recommend checking out the trailers first to see if it’s a movie you want to see before pressing play.
As the number of streaming services grow and charge their own monthly fees for content, it gets increasingly difficult to keep up. Luckily, you don’t always have to pay a monthly fee to watch fun entertainment. With streaming services like Tubi, Pluto TV, and Kanopy, there are hours of content available without needing to pay a cent. While there might be ads or limited viewing, its a fun, free way to discover your newest favorite movie or TV show. Happy Streaming!
If you are interested in checking out any of these streaming services, you can find
Rose Smith is the blog editor of Twenty-two Twenty-eight. When she isn’t writing about the world around her, she is often found listening to music, watching movies, and going on walks with her dogs.