Screenshot: Jordan Calhoun
Crackle is a revolving door for TV and movie content that doesn’t cost you anything, but of course that means it needs to generate ad-based revenue, and its library is relatively thin compared to what you get from paid services. You might find great episodes of a show that you forgot, but you also run the risk of that show’s availability being limited to a small number of episodes or seasons. Crackle also has some original programs such as the documentaries Going from Broke and the horror comedy film Office Uprising. Given its ever-changing cast, Crackle is best for trying new shows or looking for forgotten entertainment from the past.
Costs: $ 0
Tube has a surprisingly large library considering it’s completely free. You will come across ads, of course, but you may also find many shows or movies that you cannot find elsewhere. (For one, I’m grateful for recently getting to re-watch Transformer’s Beast Wars, which I couldn’t find on any of my many paid streaming services at the time.) Don’t expect a ton of new or trending titles, but the free catalog does tubi to something that might even be worth paying for. You know, if it wasn’t for free. (The FAQs understandably contain the questions “Is Tubi really free?” And “Is Tubi legal?” And luckily it is both.)
Costs: $ 0
Vudu isn’t entirely free – there are plenty of titles you can pay for – but given the number of free titles available, it’s worth adding to the list. There are over 10,000 of them, and you can easily filter to find the free content, including lots of B-rate movies, old sitcoms, and endless horror movies (if you’re looking for something random in October). Vudu is great when you have no idea what to watch. Browse around and discover an obscure old movie or random old series that you can watch for free – and when you see something newer that you want to buy, it’s just a click away.
Costs: $ 0 (more or less)