Streaming free and legal content
Luke Bouma • October 8, 2015if( has_post_thumbnail( $post_id ) ): ?>
In previous installments of cut the cord, we’ve discussed a number of alternatives to cable, primarily, paid services that offer the television shows and movies you love.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the free legal options available for streaming media. If you’re looking for new content, original series, foreign films or even childhood favorites, there’s an increasingly large number of free services to choose from. The great thing about these services is they are not only legal, they are very easy to use.
There are so many free services available, we could never list them all. The Roku alone has several hundred free channels in their app store. This short list highlights just a few of the most popular services on the market to whet your appetite.
Crackle is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. and offers a wide range of Sony movies and TV shows. They also have a deal with NBCUniversal to bring over 140 NBCUniversal movies to Crackle each month. Crackle has several popular original shows such as a sports themed version of Jeopardy and a Jerry Seinfeld hosted talk show called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Many of the movies and TV shows on Crackle are only available for one month and new content is added weekly, so make sure to check back regularly to see what’s new.
Tubi TV has the largest free catalog of movies and TV shows legally available online. One of their main partners is Paramount Pictures who licenses new movies every month to the Tubi TV service. They also add new content weekly.
Tubi TV has all the categories you would expect like Kids, Comedy, etc, but they are known for some of their more interesting movie categories like Grindhouse and Killer King Fu. There is also a wide selection of film festival winners, along with foreign movies and TV shows from places like Great Britain and Korea.
Popcornflix was launched in March, 2011, with a focus on independent movies, theatrical releases, direct-to-video and a few classics as well as TV shows. They have secured licensed deals to bring you a large collection of content, and they’ve even made older content available, like the original Inspector Gadget, Strawberry Shortcake, and The Legend of Zelda TV show.
Popcornflix has also struck deals with some bigger channels like NAT GEO; if you want to find free full episodes of National Geographic, Popcornflix is the place to go.
Pluto TV is one of my favorite free streaming services. They roam the web for top rated content from around the world and collect it all in one convenient place. They have channels that focus on a wide range of content from technology to yoga, and gardening to sports.
The best thing about Pluto TV is that each channel is curated by experts. For instance, the MMA channel only shows content that has been handpicked by a retired MMA fighter, and the news channel is updated 24/7 by an expert in the broadcasting field.
Pluto TV’s rich variety of sources not only offers something for everyone, but is also an excellent way to find unexpected new content. We covered Pluto.TV in our App of the Week series on YouTube.
Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and other channels
One other way to get a ton of free content is straight from your favorite channel’s website or streaming app. While some channels won’t allow you to watch any of their shows without a cable subscription, most offer some content for free.
Many channels like NBC, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon have recently started to put apps on devices like the Roku that offer free shows. I love these apps because while they may not allow you to watch a show’s full season, they do give you the opportunity to watch a recent episode you may have missed. Also, watching a few episodes in order to decide if you like a show before purchasing an entire season is a big plus.
We could go on and on about the many free content services available to cord cutters, but the best way to learn about these services is to head over to your streaming media player’s app store. Many streaming media players have thousands of apps available for free. Take some time and dig around the app store and you will be amazed at all the free content you can find. If you’ve got a favorite spot to legally stream free media, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.