The 8 Best Ways to Stream TV and Movies for Free

By Kyle James on 25 August 2015 1 comment

"Cutting the cord" to cable and satellite TV seems to be everyone's dream these days. However, getting rid of your cable bill often only makes sense if you can find cheap (or free) replacements for your viewing habits. Fortunately, cord-cutters have some pretty amazing free — and totally legal — streaming options available to them. While many of these are still fairly unknown services, they can provide some terrific options for your viewing needs. Here are eight streaming services worth checking out.

1. Crackle

Owned by Sony, Crackle has an excellent selection of free streaming movies, TV shows, and original content. If you have a smartphone, tablet, smart TV, PlayStation 3 or 4, or current Xbox, you can stream Crackle content for free. Current top movies include Joe Dirt, Click, and Underworld, while popular TV shows include Seinfeld, The Shield, and Damages. The original content available on Crackle is what gets it on my list; popular programs include Sports Jeopardy with Dan Patrick, and the highly acclaimed series The Ropes produced and directed by Vin Diesel.

2. Hulu

Hulu is by far the most recognizable service on my list, and for good reason. While they have a premium service that will cost you $7.99 per month, their free content is pretty darn amazing as well, and worth a look. As I type this, I'm watching last night's The Daily Show for free, without commercials. Other network programming that you can watch for free (eight days after they air), includes Once Upon a Time, Modern Family, Nashville, and The Mindy Project. It's also worth noting that they offer a free 30-day trial.

3. PopcornFlix.com

While PopcornFlix.com has hundreds of movies and TV series available for free streaming (most of which you'd never heard of), they make my list simply for their awesome selection of kids' titles and "general family" viewing. A few that immediately caught my eye include Jim Henson's Mee-Shee, Jack and the Beanstalk, Benii, and School of Life starring Ryan Reynolds. Supported devices include Android phones, Apple devices, Roku players, Samsung Smart TV's, and Xbox consoles.

4. MoviesFoundOnline.com

The movies tend to be indie classics along with some cult favorites, but it's the variety of TV shows available for streaming that makes MoviesFoundOnline.com stand out from the crowd. A few examples include The Lucy Show, Mr. Bean, BattleBots, and stand-up comedy acts from Robin Williams and Zach Galifianakis. Watch shows on their website, as they do not have an app available for mobile viewing yet.

5. RetroVision

If you're a big fan of classic TV shows like Bonanza, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Star Trek, or Dragnet, you'll want to give RetroVision a solid look. Many of these classic shows are hard to find on DVD, or regular cable, making RetroVision a pretty cool and valuable service. Supported devices are limited, and thus requires you to view via your computer or with their free Google Chrome app.

6. Watch Documentary

The name Watch Documentary pretty much sums up what's offered. They stream over 9,000 free high-quality documentaries for your viewing pleasure. A few of their currently popular documentaries include Planet Earth, Roger & Me by Michael Moore, From the Earth to the Moon by Tom Hanks, and The U by ESPN. While they allow viewing from any computer or Android device, they currently do not have an app for Apple products.

7. SnagFilms

The folks at SnagFilms differentiate themselves by specializing in over 5,000 indie films and what they term "hidden movie treasures." A few of their current favorites include cult classics like Heavy Metal Parking Lot, Murder on Flight 502, and The Boogey Man. You can stream content via their iOS or Android app, Kindle, smart TV, computer, or Xbox 360.

8. Yidio

Yidio is a popular streaming service that allows you to search and watch TV shows and movies "across Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and hundreds of other providers in one place." While they do have free stand-alone content available, the power of Yidio is shown when you pair it with a Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime subscription. Essentially they pull all content available into one handy interface to make searching and viewing a breeze. Yidio is compatible with iOS, Android, and smart TVs.

The amount of free content available online for free streaming is truly remarkable. If you're on the fence about removing cable or satellite from your monthly bills, these resources are definitely worth a look. It's easy to make an argument that a combination of several of these free services can easily satisfy your family's TV and movie needs.

Have you used any of these streaming services after cutting the cord to cable? If so, what's your favorite?

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Guest

Another great one is Hoopla Digital. The catch is that you need to have a library card AND your local library or library system has to set up an agreement with Hoopla.