The Best Free Streaming Services in 2021

10 Mins Read

EntertainmentThe Best Free Streaming Services in 2021

Want to reduce your entertainment budget? 

You may not know about the numerous streaming services that allow you to freely enjoy amazing TV shows, originals, movies, and whatnot. These sites include Peacock, Crackle, and Pluto TV and they may not be so popular, but they’re truly hidden gems. 

The secret’s out. If you are in research mode and looking for good quality services, then our comprehensive guide can help you. 

List of Best Free Streaming Services

  • The Roku Channel
  • Crackle
  • Peacock
  • Pluto TV
  • Vudu
  • Tubi TV
  • IMDb TV

The Roku Channel

You can enjoy hundreds of movies, shows, and 24/7 live news on Roku for free. 

What’s the best part? There are many Oscar-winning and nominated movies such as The Illusionist, True Lies, Capote, and The Impossible. You can also stream a few trashy horror movies that are not commonly available anywhere else.  

What it’s missing: The caveat is that you can’t find originals or new movies and shows. The service doesn’t offer family-friendly movies. Roku also ranks pretty low in the comedy section.  

Available on: Roku TVs, Samsung TVs, iOS and Android devices, and tablets.

Channels & on-demand content: The Roku Channel includes The Last Action Hero, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Dog the Bounty Hunter, The Beverly Hillbillies, Barbie, Bob the Builder, Memento, or The Terminator. You can watch many channels like USA Today, Reuters, WeatherNation TV, Cheddar, TMZ, Vanity Fair, MTV

With ads or without: Roku has limited ads.  

How to watch: You can search for Roku on your device and start streaming anytime. The downside is that Roku is available in the United States. However, if you happen to live outside the US and wish to enjoy Roku streamed content, then you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) app. It’s like a mobile app that gives you access to region-locked services because it connects you to those regions first. 

Bottom Line: Even though you can’t see many originals or new shows on Roku, the service has its fair share of content. There are many couch-comfy movies that can give you a mind-relaxing holiday experience. You can get a premium account to access more Roku content no matter where you live.  

Crackle

Sony’s Crackle was the first free streaming service before Netflix took over the industry. The good news is that while Netflix took the paid route, the Crackle service is still free and offers more than 200 exclusive movies.   

What the best part? Jim Carrey’s most popular movies, like Ace Ventura and Superbad, are available for free. You can enjoy a wide array of genres ranging from comedy, fantasy, animated, action, and crime. Don’t miss out on a few “Blast from the Past” movies Bewitched, VIP, U-Turn, or The Messenger.  

What it’s missing: You can’t watch live TV channels and award-winning movies. 

Available on: Online browsers, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Android and Apple devices, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Roku, LG TV, or Vizio TV.

Channels & on-demand content: You can enjoy many different sections of entertaining movies. Some of the most popular movies and shows include Zodiac, Train to Busan, Arrival, Rosemary’s Baby, Last Resort, Happy Endings, and Community. 

With ads or without: It contains ads but usually after a pre-set time interval. 

How to watch: You can stream Crackle on mobile devices, gaming consoles, smart TVs, and set-top boxes. There is no need to create a new account. Crackle is available for free in the US. But if you are outside the United States, then you can use a VPN to gain access.    

Bottom Line: Watch high-quality movies featuring Rupert Grint, Martin Freeman, or Bryan Cranston. Apart from “it’s free and you should check it out,” watching nostalgic movies during your downtime can be unusually comforting.

Peacock

The Peacock streaming service, the newest kid on the block where streaming is concerned, offers all Harry Potter movies, The Matrix movies, the Bourne Identity trilogy, and nostalgic-filled Jurassic Park. The only caveat is that you have to endure ads. But you get to see live TV, which is nice because buying a Hulu live subscription can break your bank.

What it’s best for: Watch originals, exclusive TV shows like The Office, Parks and Recreation, Shrek, Brave New World, and some of the top-rated movies that we have mentioned above. Peacock might be new, but it offers a lot of good quality content. We can’t even say that you can use the service at bargain-basement prices—because it’s free. 

What it’s missing: The Office might leave Peacock pretty soon. The user interface can be a bit hard to use for some users. If you have an Amazon device, then spoiler alert: Peacock is not available for you. 

Available on: Android TV, iPhone, Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Comcast Xfinity X1, and Apple TV 4K. 

Channels & on-demand content: Peacock has a channels section that looks like an EPG channel guide. Some of the top channels include Xumo, Starz Play, FOX, CBS, and STIRR. The service will also feature Paramount Picture films from 2021 through 2023. Additionally, Peacock will offer 175 Premier League matches every season for premium users.   

With ads or without: It does have ads (how else would a free service sustain itself anyway? C’mon guys!)

How to watch: You can stream Peacock on your web browser but the service only works in the United States. If you have read this guide from the start, then you know how valuable a VPN is. With a single VPN app, you get to unlock all these free streaming services from anywhere. That’s a promise.  

Bottom Line: Peacock can be your primary streamer at home. On top of that, you can switch to a premium subscription and gain more access anytime you want. The service is compatible with many devices so pick your favorite. 

Pluto TV

Pluto TV

What it’s best for: You can enjoy many live channels like Nickelodeon, History Channel, CBT News, Comedy Central, MTV, and Comedy Central. There are other country-specific channels such as Telemundo Telenovelas, Nickelodeon Latino, and Peliculas for Spanish-speaking individuals. 

What it’s missing: Uninterrupted entertainment! There are many annoying ads on Pluto TV. Some people don’t like ads, some hate them. We don’t judge (but I think we’re all in agreement here).  

Available on: Online browsers, Virgin Media, macOS, PlayStation 3 and 4, iPhone and iPads, Vizio Smart TV, Roku TV, Android TV, and Chromecast. 

Channels & on-demand content: Pluto offers a lot of options ranging from featured news channels, entertainment, live news, sports, lifestyle channels, (horror, comedy, and action) movies, Latino, kids entertainment, and even music videos.    

With ads or without: With ads, of course. 

How to watch: You can do a Google search for Pluto and start streaming any movie or channel. Be wary of regional limitations though. You may not have noticed but we are sharing US-based streaming services that don’t work anywhere else. What’s the solution if you are outside the US? Use a US VPN. It’s as simple as that.    

Bottom Line: Watch over 250 live channels, popular movies, and top-rated TV shows on Pluto TV. If you are cool with ads, then the service can be a treat for you. If you are someone who is into politics, sports, and a bunch of good old movies, then give Pluto a try for one weekend. It is a reliable streaming service for cable-cutters.     

Vudu

What it’s best for: Vudu won’t be running out of movies anytime soon. There are 10,000 movies and 250 TV shows from the ‘80s and ‘90s that you will endlessly scroll down the list. There is no prior registration required. All you have to do is search Vudu and enjoy various movies of your choice.  

What it’s missing: You won’t find any new movie on Vudu even if you spend a day searching for one. Most of the movies and shows are from the early 2000s. You need a premium subscription to watch some titles including The Invisible Man, The Call of the Wind, Trolls World Tour, and The Way Back.  

Available on: iOS and Android devices, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Chromecast, Vizio TV, Samsung TV, Blu-ray players, online browsers, and Amazon Fire TV.

Channels & on-demand content: Stream a few blockbuster movies like the Prestige, Troy, Hoosiers, and Lost. Vudu has on-demand movies and is planning to create originals. 

With ads or without: Yes, Vudu has ads but you’re only usually subject to a 30-second ad that runs at the start of the movie. I am sure you can handle it when you are getting a free service.  

How to watch: You have to create a new Vudu account to start watching movies and TV shows. Don’t forget, this is a US-only service and doesn’t work anywhere else. Even if you are an American citizen and have a US credit card, Vudu is not available outside the United States. 

Bottom Line: Vudu has a few big-budget movies as well as many vintage classics. The service has limited ads, unlike other free streaming services that will swarm your screen with many.  

Tubi TV

What it’s best for: Tubi TV is best-suited for horror fans who are into various types of jump-scare movies (we like creepy horror too). You may not find originals but there are many laid-back movies and shows especially if you are looking for a free streaming service.  

What it’s missing: Tubi TV is lacking new releases, which can be off-putting for some of you. Even though Tubi TV offers 54 categories of movies and shows, most of them fall into B-grade. 

Available on: Online browsers, iOS, Android devices, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Chromecast, Apple TV, Samsung Smart TVs, Sony Smart TVs, and Roku. 

Channels & on-demand content: Like we said, there are 54 categories of movies and shows, and the list goes on and on. From action, anime, crime, family-friendly, lifestyle, comedy, sci-fi, to fantasy, there are many genres. Some top-rated movies include The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Donnie Darko, Shrek Forever, Hell’s Kitchen, Hugo, All Dogs Go to Heaven, and Paddington.

With ads or without: Tubi has ads and they are annoying AF. 

How to watch: All you have to do is go to Tubi TV’s website and click on a title. It’s as simple as that. You might find it hard to connect to Tubi TV from abroad because of regional limitations. In that case, you can use a VPN app like many of our other customers. 

Bottom Line: Tubi TV has loads of good quality horror movies and this is one of the standout factors of this free service. If you are a teenager or born in the early 2000s, then you may not like some of the movies available. But let us tell you this, Tubi TV is pure nostalgia and can take you down memory lane. Do it for your parents. Heck, do it with your parents.

IMDb TV

What it’s best for: If you are a movie buff and want access to 500,000 hours of content, consider using IMDb TV. The service is home to nasty action movies, comedies, and dramas that can entertain you every night. We are guessing you already know about IMDb, a place where every movie junkie goes to check the ratings. 

What it’s missing: The ads can be a pain in your behind. Otherwise, the service is full of amazing titles. 

Available on: Online browsers, iOS and Android-running tablets or laptops, Xbox One and 360, PlayStation 3 and 4, Blu-ray players, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and set-top boxes.  

Channels & on-demand content: The content library is A-awesome. Some of the most popular titles are The Killing, Desperate Housewives, Eat Pray Love, Hitch, The Last Samurai, Zero Dark Thirty, Donnie Darko, Heroes, White Collar, or Schitt’s Creek. As an Amazon-backed free service, IMDb managed to lure quite many titles. Search and ye shall find, we’re pretty sure.  

With ads or without: With a few of them. 

How to watch: IMDb TV is only available to US customers for now. To combat this regional problem, you can use a VPN app that works like magic. All you have to do is install, connect to a US server, and you have access to the entire IMDb library. 

Bottom Line: There is a 10/10 chance that you are using IMDb TV after reading this sentence. Based on the content and titles it offers, who wouldn’t? After all, you can access a free service without breaking the bank, so this is a dream come true for streaming fans (like us).    

Which is the Best Free Streaming Service? A Quick Comparison

Free Streaming Service Best thing?  Worst thing? 
Roku TV Channel Loaded with drama and horror movies  No family-friendly or cult classics. Doesn’t work on non-Roku devices. Have ads. 
Let’s Crackle Epic TV shows and movies. Best comedy shows. Works on Fire TV.  Can’t watch live TV or news channels. No family-friendly or cult classics. Have Ads. 
Peacock (let’s flock together) Blockbuster movies and exclusive content. Premier League matches available.  Need to buy a premium subscription to get rid of ads and get more access to the content library. 
Pluto TV (not a planet) Wide range of horror movies, live TV, and documentaries.  No DVR support. Lacks good quality drama, comedy, and action movies. 
Vudu movies and shows More family-friendly movies. Plus action and horror content backed by Walmart.   Have tons of ads. Need to create a user signup account. No cult classics. 
Tubi TV movies are bone-chilling scary Engaging documentaries as well as family and drama content. Easy-to-navigate interface.  No originals. Have lots of annoying ads. 
IMDb TV Many comedy, drama, and action movies are backed by Amazon.  Can’t find good quality horror. Have ads.  

FAQs

  1. How do I access free streaming services?

Every free streaming service that we have mentioned in this article is native to the United States. This means you can access all of them if you are in the US or you can use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN can change your IP address and allow you to appear in the US while you are physically living in Canada, United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Spain, or anywhere else. By connecting to them first, you can then “fool” any website into thinking you live there. Easy as pie! 

  1. What streaming channels are free right now?

Besides the ones we have shared above, you can watch Kanopy, Hoopla, Apple TV+, Popcornflix, BBC iPlayer, or Sling TV for free. Please note that some of the streaming services might not work in your region due to licensing contracts. In that case, you can simply use a VPN app to bypass regional limitations. There are other benefits of using a VPN which includes high-grade encryption on your device and no ISP throttling.   

  1. Where can I stream live TV for free?

Watching live TV channels on a free streaming service is possible if you know the right provider. For instance, Pluto TV and Peacock offer live channels for free, but with limitations, of course. Hulu subscribers might feel happy to use the free services because Hulu basic + live TV costs $64.99 per month. That’s a lot. You can save money on your monthly cable bill and become a cord-cutter by using these free online streaming services. 

  1. Which VPNs work with free streaming services?

Premium VPNs are more reliable than free ones because they typically work hard to ensure there’s global coverage due to having more servers (the best VPNs work in 100+ countries), round the clock support, and IP address protection. Free VPNs make money out of annoying ads and are super off-putting when you are streaming movies. Plus, you can’t rely on a free VPN with your account information. We won’t force you to use PureVPN, but always go for a premium VPN that doesn’t disappoint you afterward.  

Let’s become a Cord-Cutter 

Which free streaming service do you think is the best? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. If you need help in using a VPN or setting up your device, then reach out to us via the Live Chat option.  

Sameed Ajax Sameed is a Digital Content Producer at PureVPN who covers cybersecurity, streaming, and weekly news. Besides that, he wastes time playing FIFA, eating pizza, and sending tweets.

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