The best free streaming TV services right now

Even though the world is beginning to return to normal, with movie theaters starting to reopen and the summer coaxing us with outside activities, for many of us, money still might be tighter than usual. That creates quite a conundrum: How can we stay entertained on the cheap?

The good news is that you don’t have to do it cheaply — you can do it for free. Many streaming services are offering quality content free of charge these days, as long as you’re fine with watching an ad or two. As with paid content, some streaming services are objectively better than others, and we’ve collected the best of the best.

The Roku Channel

The Roku Channel.

Supported devices: Roku streaming devices and TVs with built-in Roku.

Who it’s for: Roku users who want to access additional live streaming options.

The Roku Channel offers more than 150 available channels in the United States. The upgrade launched on June 2, 2020, and included a new Live TV Channel Guide designed to make browsing through the substantial catalog simple. In fact, it looks a whole lot like your ordinary Xfinity channel menu. The Roku Channel offers some high-quality channels, including ABC News Live, Fubo Sports Network, Redbox Free Movies, and Kidz Bop TV for the kids. It also offers a range of good lifestyle options, including Glamour, GQ, Vanity Fair, and Vogue.

Plex Live TV

Plex Live TV.
Plex

Supported devices: Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, gaming consoles, www.plex.tv.

Who it’s for: People looking for a wide range of live streaming options who don’t mind the ads.

Plex is on a mission to become the most inclusive free movie streaming site on the planet and its addition of more than 80 free, ad-supporting live streaming TV channels is a step in the right direction.

Plex Live TV is available under the “Live TV” label on all of Plex’s client apps and doesn’t require an account. The channel lineup includes Reuters, Yahoo Finance, Toon Goggles, Tastemade, Fubo Sports Network, IGN1, The Bob Ross Channel, Comedy Dynamics, and entertainment and news LGBTQ+ channels from Revry. There are also 19 channels dedicated to different genres of music videos. Most channels are available globally but some, like Fubo Sports Network, are U.S.-only.

This is not to be confused with Plex’s Ultimate Live TV + DVR option, which gives you more channels and a DVR option for $5/month.

Redbox Live TV

Redbox Free Live TV.

Supported devices: iOS and Android devices.

Who it’s for: People looking for a wide range of live streaming options who don’t mind the ads.

You know Redbox? The red movie rental kiosks at groceries and convenience stores? Well, they have a free, ad-supported live TV streaming service, too! Redbox Free Live TV is more like an on-demand service than a real live streaming service as you join streams in progress instead of starting them from the beginning. The service offers a wide range of movies and live TV channels as you might expect, but it also features news, sports, and entertainment channels like the Family Feud Channel, Bob Ross Channel, and much more.

DistroTV

DistroTV, the best free streaming services.

Supported devices: Web browser as well as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and iOS and Android devices.

Who it’s for: Cord-cutters who still appreciate the aimless browsing aspect of cable.

DistroTV offers more than 100 channels of news, entertainment, sports, lifestyle, music, and more. These aren’t your ESPNs and CNNs, mind you, but with an easily browsable live TV channel menu, you may find some content that suits you. Channels like MagellanTV offer cool escapes to nature, while movie channels like Reelz and culture channels like PeopleTV keep you connected with the world. If you’ve ever wondered, DistroTV also is where alternative news platforms like Newsmax and OANN thrive.

Pluto TV

Pluto TV Free Movies and TV.

Supported devices: Apple TV, Roku devices, Amazon Fire TV and TV Stick, Google Chromecast, Android TV, iOS devices, Android devices.

Who it’s for: Those interested in Comedy Central content, children’s programming, food channels, nature, and travel content.

Pluto TV is a free TV streaming service that offers a couple of popular networks in addition to more specialized live and on-demand content. In all, the ad-supported platform has more than 250 channels filled with movies and TV shows. Or, in other words, it’s a hodgepodge of content you’re familiar with and content you’ve never heard of before. Since it’s free, it’s worth diving into.

Speaking of Pluto TV, if you own a Vizio SmartCast TV, you’ve already got Pluto TV, but it goes by the name WatchFree. That’s what Vizio calls its free streaming TV service, which is powered by Pluto TV. Vizio has also supplemented the 150-plus Pluto TV channels with an additional 30 free streaming channels that can be found in a new Free Channels row on the SmartCast home screen.

Crackle

Supported devices: Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Android devices, Apple TV, iOS devices, Chromecast, LG TV, Playstation 4, Roku, Samsung TV, Vizio TV, Xbox One.

Who it’s for: Those who aren’t afraid to dig through a few old and forgotten productions to find some gems.

Crackle operates in a similar fashion to Pluto TV, and to most free streaming services. You’ll get ads, but you’ll also get access to thousands of hours of free streaming content. By browsing their library, it’s not hard to find some fun things to watch (the Ace Ventura movies are available to stream). But it’s almost more fun to find all the B-level movies featuring today’s A-list actors. Remember 1997’s The Devil’s Own? Neither do we, but it starred Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt.

Tubi TV

Supported devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and TV Stick, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Chromecast, TiVo, Android TV, Xfinity X1, Cox Contour.

Who it’s for: Anyone hoping to stream episodes of Hell’s Kitchen or movies like Minority Report and Be Cool.

There isn’t any exclusive content on Tubi TV. But, since it’s a free streaming service, that’s basically expected. What there is on Tubi TV is a wealth of older TV shows and movies. It’s not necessarily enough to make your primary streaming service, but it’s worth keeping it in the lineup whenever you’re looking for something a little more retro to watch.

IMDB TV

IMDB TV

Supported devices: Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick, Android devices, iOS devices, Apple TV, Roku.

Who it’s for: Streamers after an interesting array of content, including Blade Runner 2049 and Chappie.

A fairly new free streaming service, IMDB TV launched in 2019 with a modest collection of titles. It’s recently featured some solid movies and TV, including Salt and Schitt’s Creek in addition to more classic options like The Boondock Saints and Donnie Darko. The service includes commercials, of course, and is a little tricky since it’s found inside the IMDB app. But for as new as it is, it has a nice selection of content for free.

Vudu

Supported devices: Vizio TV, Samsung TV, LG TV, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Roku, Chromecast, TiVO, iOS devices, Android devices.

Who it’s for: Anyone who’s looking for a total package of streaming content, with both free and renting/purchasing options available.

Vudu is best known for having the latest movies available to rent or purchase, oftentimes in 4K quality. But look a little further into the streaming service, and you’ll discover a great deal more. Vudu offers thousands of movies and TV shows free to stream. The inclusion of free titles makes Vudu an intriguing one-stop-shop for streaming.

Sling TV

SlingTV

Supported devices: Apple TV, Roku, iOS devices, Amazon Fire TV and TV Stick, Chromecast, Xbox One, Android TV, Android devices, LG TV, Samsung TV.

Who it’s for: Those hoping to try out a cord-cutting service for free, for the time being.

Sling TV is one of many streaming services offering free trials during this social distancing movement, which includes Netflix, fuboTV, YouTube Premium, Showtime, Starz, and Hulu. Sling’s offer included more than 45 live channels, over 50,000 on-demand movies and shows, 10 hours of free Cloud DVR, and the ability to watch on three different screens. It’s currently only a 14-day free trial, but that’s a lot of free streaming options for two weeks.

Fawesome

Fawesome.

Supported devices: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku.

Who it’s for: Anyone with a diverse, capricious interest in movies and shows.

Fawesome TV is a free streaming site where you can find a free package of personalized channels to meet your interests. It is a newer ad-supported streaming service offering more than 10,000 movies and series. You will find HD-quality across various genres that include action, comedy, family and kids, lifestyle, horror, and thriller.

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