You know, one of the things I’ve been hearing after my article about free alternatives to Verizon TV box and Cable TV in general is : “Rit, you garrulous scoundrel. I’d be interested to hear your take on something like Netflix but free“. Well, never let it be said that I don’t give people what they want, so today, I’m here to talk about 10 Free Streaming Websites Just Like Netflix But Free.
This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional costs to you
Chances are you’re spending a fair amount of your time indoors, and based on the fact that even YouTube had to cut their stream quality to keep up with demand, it seems like a lot of that time is being spent watching videos online.
It´s no secret, I like free stuff, especially if it is entirely legal. Sometimes, a lot of times, actually, people are paying for things that they can get for free. TV Shows and Movies are among those things.
These days there are many websites like Netflix that are not charging a monthly subscription fee. Instead, they display some ads, just like your local TV station. Some of these free Netflix alternatives produce their own original content. You might think that for free, you will get cheap second-tier television flix, but that’s not true. Recently Roten Tomatoes published an updated list of 200 great movies that you can watch for free right now. It includes such gems as 21 Grams, Amores Perros and Fair Game.
How to watch movies online for free?
You don’t need a special streaming device to play free TV shows and movies. All free streaming platforms are accessible via a browser, and almost all of them have mobile apps, so you can start to watch on your smartphone or tablet and then cast the content to your smart TV.
However, in my opinion, the most convenient way to watch web content on your TV is with the help of streaming devices such as NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV 4K HDR Streaming Media Player.
Probably you have your 4K TV. Since most of the content from free streaming sites are in lower 1080p resolution, this device is practically interesting. According to NVIDIA, SHIELD Android TV 4K HDR Streaming Media Player has an awesome feature called AI upscaling, which NVIDIA claims, can take lower-quality content, let’s say 1080p and with the power of machine learning upscale that content to look like native 4K.
Is it illegal to watch movies online for free?
Suppose the streaming platform has been approved by the copyright holders and has the authority to broadcast the movies that are available on their platforms. In that case, it is completely legal to watch them, just like you watch Netflix.
Free streaming websites similar to Netflix
Although there are literally thousands of websites and apps that allow you to watch movies online for free, for this article, I choose ten standout platforms that look and feels like Netflix but free. In my opinion, these are the best of the best free alternatives to Netflix currently available.
Tubi is my absolute favorite. It is a completely free Netflix alternative that has been around since 2014 and has accumulated millions of downloads from both Android and iOS users. The platform is actually so popular that it was acquired by Fox in early 2020.
Even though Tubi is 100% ad-supported, there aren’t quite as many ads as you might expect. Based on my personal experience, their commercial breaks are short (two to three minutes long) and only disrupt your viewing every 15 minutes or so. Realistically, you’d catch more commercial breaks watching public television.
Content on Tubi
The platform is packed with thousands of TV shows and movies, all of which are entirely free to watch. You’ll find plenty of recognizable movies from major studios like Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate.
Here’s just a short list of the variety of movies available:
- Brooklyn’s Finest
- Get the Gringo
- The Call
- Kung Fu Panda
- Bad Company
- Roman J. Israel, Esq.
- The 5th Wave
There are also plenty of TV shows and reality TV. You’ll find something for every taste with access to the Fox, Lifetime, and A&E television libraries. From Masked singer to Hells Kitchen, from Let’s Be Real to I Can See Your Voice.
In addition, Tubi has a dedicated kids section with a vide selection from BabyFirst TV and some big-name animation movies such as Kungfu Panda, Tarzan or A Turtle’s Tale.
How to watch Tubi?
The platform is available on a number of devices and services. Tubi has app for Android and iOS devices to watch this streaming service on phones and tablets. Those devices also can cast content from the app to a television.
Besides, Tubi has applications for Samsung, Sony, and Hisense Smart TV. Also, several Roku Devices, Amazon Firestick and PlayStation are supported.
Here is the Full list of supported devices.
Crackle is another well-established online movie streaming platform, just like Netflix but free. This free streaming platform is owned by Sony. It offers access to not only several television shows and movies but also some original content that is exclusive to the platform.
Since Crackle doesn’t cost anything, there’s no financial reason to avoid it. As with other free services, Crackle is supported by ads, and there’s no way to get rid of them. I would prefer an option to pay to remove ads and add other features.
It is a totally free streaming platform supported by video ads that run before and in the middle of content. However, the number of commercials you’ll see on the service is much less than what you’d typically expect to see while watching a similar piece of content on public television. For example, the movie with a total length of 1:43:33 has only 8 commercial brakes.
Content on Crackle
Also, Crackle has a stunning library of movies and some recognizable TV series as well as original projects. It looks like on Crackle, the content tends to rotate based on agreements with content producers. Even though there are plenty of movies and TV shows to choose from.
Here’s a short list of the variety of movies available right now:
- 10 Cloverfield Lane
- The Bad News Bears
- The Adventures of Tintin
- Along Came A Spider
- Almost Famous
- Always Shine
- American Conjuring
- The Bank Job
Crackle’s library of TV shows and reality TV series is not so ample as the movie’s selection. However, there are still some popular shows like Dr. Ken, Wilfred, The Mob Doctor, or reality Tv programs such as Bear Grylls: Survival School, Hell’s Kitchen, or Kitchen Nightmares.
Unlike other free Netflix alternatives, Crackle also has its own original content. Surprisingly at least some of it is definitely in the same league as Netflix productions. Just take “In the Cloud”
or “Startup” for example.
At the moment of writing these lines, there are 11 original motion pictures, 11 TV shows, and 5 reality TV projects, and several documentaries, including Ashton’s Kutcher produced “Going from broke”.
How to watch Crackle?
Finally, this free streaming service is also available on Amazon Fire TV + Fire TV Stick, PlayStation 4, Roku, and Xbox One. Full, updated list of supported devices can be found here.
Popcornflix is another free on-demand streaming service that offers movies and TV episodes, just like Netflix. Although this one feels a bit like a discounted version of it.
The same as Crackle or Tubi, Popcornflix is an ad-based streaming service that offers movies and TV shows. It also has a section of viral videos, mostly containing a collection of content from the famous YouTube channel Fail army.
In my tests, comparing to Tubi or Crackle, it seems that Popcornflix has slightly more commercial breaks. Although it is a small price to pay for free content, and my users’ experience was by no means worse than watching public television.
Content on Popcornflix
Overall, Popcornflix’s content library seemed to be a little worse than Crackle’s or Tubi’s. Although for fans of horror films or cult comedies, there’s some reasonably decent but rather retro (a lot of the content dates back to the 80s and 90s) stuff on offer.
There are also dedicated sections to foreign films and movies in Spanish.
Here’s a look at some of the movies available right now:
- The messenger
- Star Trek
- Cold Blood
- Dinner for Schmucks
- Escape from Alcatraz
- The Running man
- Night of the living dead
Unfortunately, the selection of a television series is a little disappointing. It is much much thinner than the one found on Tubi or Crackle. It contains mostly TV Shows from the 80′ and 90′ like 21 Jump Street and 3rd Rock from the Sun.
How to watch Popcornflix?
Popcornflix is accessible directly from the browser. There are also apps available in the Google Play Store (Android) and Apple App Store (iOS). Besides that, the streaming of Popcornflix is possible on the following devices:
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android phones and tablets
- iOS phones and tablets
Check the complete list of devices here.
Pluto TV is a fantastic free Netflix alternative. Actually, it is one of the most popular free streaming platforms of today, with about 22 million average monthly viewers.
The platform was launched in 2014 and was acquired by Viacom in 2019, which then went on to merge with CNET’s parent company, CBS.
While it seems to be expanding more into the Cable TV space, with an increasing number of news and sports channels, Pluto TV is also a home of thousands free on-demand movies, including many popular titles.
Since Pluto TV is completely free, you should expect commercial ads. In terms of publicity breaks, watching Pluto TV’s content is very similar to the experience you get from any over-the-air television channel.
Content on Pluto TV
Pluto TV movie library is one of the best on this “services like Netflix” segment. Platform’s libraries contain many recognizable mainstream movie titles that include major stars like Leonardo Dicaprio, Tom Hanks, and Morgan Freeman.
Here are some movie titles available on Pluto TV at the moment:
- The Contract
- Catch me if you can
- Empire State
- The Ides of march
- Secret Window
- Out of Time
- The Trust
- The Eye
Pluto Tv also has an excellent selection of TV shows, reality Tv, and documentaries from the Discovery Channel and National geographic.
Besides, there are also a considerable amount of Live TV channels at your disposal.
So, the offer is really fantastic, and usually, you should not expect something like this from the free service.
How to watch Pluto TV?
Pluto TV has a streaming web player that is accessible through any browser. The platform has phone and tablet apps available for Android and iOS devices. There are also apps for some Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku Streaming devices. Here is a full list of compatible devices.
Peacock is a video streaming platform from NBCUniversal that launched for all users in July 2020. This platform is one of the only video streaming services to offer both a free tier and premium subscription options. Peacock TV starts as a freebie and works its way up to a premium service, so it is very much like Netflix, but with a free option included.
However, in this review, I will focus on Peacock’s free plan. As expected, it is add supported and according to the company, about two-thirds of this video library is available with the free plan.
On average, with a free version of Peacock TV, you should expect about 6 add blocs per one 2h long movie.
Content on Peacock TV
Surprisingly even with free tier Peacock TV easily competes with paid streaming services like Netflix. Its movie library contains top-rated TV shows like Office, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock and movies like American Gangster, Ted, or Shrek.
Overall there is a wide specter of films available through Peacock. Here is the list of most prominent titles:
- Reservoir Dogs
- Children of men
- Crazy, Stupid love
- It´s Complicated
- American gangster
- Fast & Furious
- Fair game
- Bad Lieutenant
With the extensive library of NBC television programming under the belt, Peacock TV has an exciting list of popular TV Shows, including some original content.
How to watch Peacock TV?
You can watch Peacock TV on the web browser at peacocktv.com. It is also supported on Apple and Google devices, Xbox and Sony PlayStation consoles, and there are also apps for Vizio and LG Smart TVs and Roku streaming devices. Check out the full list here.
Maybe this one comes as a surprise to many! YouTube is the most popular streaming platform globally, but did you know that YouTube also has its own free Movies & TV shows section where you can watch thousands of movies and TV Shows for free?
To see the available free movies, visit this YouTube page.
You’ll find plenty of classic favorites, popular kids’ titles and documentaries. Although you must not have to create an account in order to browse or watch select free movies, you might have to be asked to sign in to verify your age if the title is rated R.
This service is free, but it is also add supported. The ads work just like they would on any other YouTube video.
This platform might not be exactly like Netflix, but it is still a free alternative to paid streaming services. Hoopla is a web and mobile library media streaming platform for movies, TV Shows, music, audiobooks, comics, and e-books. Basically, Hoopla is a virtual extension of the local library system.
Signing up for Hoopla is easy, but you must have a valid library card from your local library. Not all libraries offer Hoopla, but many of them do. Click here to check if your local library offers Hoopla as a service.
Content on Hoopla
Think of Hoopla like pay-per-view or Netflix, except your public libraries are treating you.
According to the platform, there are more than 10,000 movies and TV shows in the Hoopla library, which is growing. Here is the sample list of movies available right now:
- Dark Places
- A small act
- 10 things we should do before we break up
- In the woods
- Opposite day
- The librarian
- Safe Haven
- The Forger
The selection of TV shows isn’t always the most contemporary, but you’ll still find some decent titles.
How to watch Hoopla?
Like almost all free streaming platforms, you can access Hoopla in a web browser. Hoopla also supports most Android, iOS, and Fire tablets. For viewing on TV, Hoopla Digital supports the following platforms:
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Fire TV
For more information about device compatibility, see “Supported Devices” on the Hoopla Digital help page.
Kanopy is very similar to Hoopla. It is also a free streaming platform accessible with your library card.
Kanopy is available as a resource to members of more than 4,000 libraries around the world. Additionally, Kanopy also supports many universities.
With add free content from big-name production companies like Paramount and HBO Documentaries, Kanopy is a unique free streaming service.
The best part is, if you have a library card or attend college, you probably have access to Kanopy’s enormous library of thousands of streaming movies.
On the other side, if you don’t have a library card, this is a formidable reason to get one. You’ll be shocked at how spectacular the streaming selection is.
Content on Kanopy
Kanopy stands out in the free streaming content world by offering a variety of non-mainstream content. Here’s a shortlist of some of the thousands of titles available right now:
- Lady Bird
- Super Size Me 2
- What we do in the shadows
- Man who invented Chrismas
You can browse the available content on Kanopy here.
How to watch Kanopy?
Kanopy has apps for every major platform, including iOS, Android, Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, and more. It is also available through the web player.
Here is the full list of supported devices.
Launched at the beginning of 2019, STIRR is another ad-supported streaming service just like Netflix, only free. Despite its relatively recent origins, Stirr is gaining popularity. Sinclair Broadcast Group, the company behind the platform, has reported more than 1.6 million app downloads at the beginning of 2020.
Although its prime focus is on live TV broadcasting, Alongside the live TV channels, Stirr also provides thousands of hours of video on demand.
Content on Stirr
As with many of the free streaming platforms, the library of on-demand movies is a little bit dated. You’re not going to find a popular new release for free on this service. Still, several well-known titles were box office hits not so far in the past. Here are some of the more recognizable titles available right now:
- The Vault
- 2 days in New York
- To the wonder
- George and the dragon
- No way back
- The big white
- Living wake
- Mountain men
Stirr also offers a selection of TV shows and some reality TV. However, it is considerably smaller compared with other free Netflix alternatives from this list.
How to watch Stirr?
Stirr is giving viewers an endless lineup of content on several platforms, including Roku, Fire TV, tvOS, iOS, Android, and the web. Here is the full list of supported devices.
The Roku Channel
The Roku Channel offers free streaming options for both movies and television series. Although originally aimed at users of Roku streaming devices, it is accessible through smartphones, tablets and computers.
The platform offers free streaming options for both movies and television series, and it also has live TV options.
Similar to other legal free movie platforms, The Roku channel displays commercial ads on their free content. On average, you should expect about 9 commercial breaks per movie of 2h and 13 minutes in length.
Content on The Roku Channel
Similar to other free streaming platforms from this list, The Roku Channel has a mixed content that includes live streaming television, on-demand movies and TV series, as well as access to premium subscription options.
To the purpose of this review, I will focus on the free content, which includes big names like The Dark Knight and The Terminator. Here is a short sample list of movies available right now:
- Primal fear
- The Pursuit of Happyness
- Dead like me
- The Imitation game
- Legends of the fall
- Krampus 2
- The kingdom of heaven
- The Passion of the Christ
The Roku Channel also provides access to several popular television series like Cold Case, Who’s The Boss? and Without a Trace.
How to watch The Roku Channel
The Roku channel is available on all Roku streaming devices as well as on the web browser. You can also watch it via the Roku app on your phone or tablet. The app is available on the Google Play Store (for Android users) and the Apple App Store (for iOS users). Besides, it is also preinstalled on Samsung smart TVs. The full list is available here.
So, there you have it. That was my take on ten free streaming services like Netflix, just free. What can I say?! There’s a plethora of free streaming content available online if you know where to look. I have spent more than 20 hours watching movies and TV shows from these free Netflix alternatives.
The broad majority of these free legal streaming platforms feature ad-supported content, but for the most part it does not spoil the user experience. Basically, you get the same average dose of commercial breaks as watching public television. So, if you are ok with that, you’ve got a lot of freely available videos to watch at your fingertips.
Armed with an arsenal of completely free streaming platforms for movies and TV shows, you can easily ditch Netflix and other paid services alike.
Similar to their paid counterparts, also on free streaming platforms the content of streaming movies and television will vary from month to month, and often you’ll find categories such as “Leaving Soon” or “added recently” to give you a heads up. As such, it’s worth popping in regularly to see what’s been added.
Yes, you might not get the latest releases of TV Shows or reality TV with these free add supported services, but in combination with free Digital Terrestrial Television, you will be able to cover all your home entertainment needs, guaranteed!