Top 10 Best Paid and Free TV Streaming Services
Summary: There are many free TV streaming services as well which offer both legal and illegal broadcasts of famous shows and movies. If you don’t want to spend all day or even more searching for the best paid and free TV streaming sites, read our article and explore all the options that you have to watch TV live streaming for free.
Table of Contents
- Section 1. Top Ten Best TV Streaming Services
Streaming services have started a new era in online entertainment. Stealing the crowd and revenue from the traditional TV broadcast services, the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime are offering their customers a much more vast televerse. The market is filled with paid TV Streaming services. But if you look properly, there are many free TV streaming services as well which offer both legal and illegal broadcasts of famous shows and movies.
If you don’t want to spend all day or even more searching for the best paid and free TV streaming sites, read our article and explore all the options that you have to watch TV live streaming for free.
1.1 Netflix (Paid)
- Availability of multiple platforms
- Award-winning content
- Offers much more worth for money than cable
- Humongous amount of content available across genres.
- Consumes a lot of bandwidth
- Subscription costs are rising
- Separate cost involved for 4k content
Netflix is by far the best streaming service available for all major platforms like Android, Apple, Windows, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Smart TVs. It comes with a 1-month free internet TV streaming subscription and then you can subscribe to monthly plans. It comes with a variety of plans for different screen sizes. Many countries now have smart set-top boxes with Netflix app installed in them along with smart TVs coming with the app in them.
The reason why so many people prefer Netflix is the original content that you get access to on this platform. You are spoilt for choice on Netflix for the content of the genre you watch. You will get early access to the latest movies, exclusive Netflix only releases, famous TV series and much more original content that makes sure you stay entertained as long as possible. Many of the original series have gone on to win awards
You need a good internet connection for using Netflix. The streaming content quality adjusts automatically after detecting the speed of your internet connection. There is 4k content too available on Netflix but there is separate payment for that.
Subscription costs are going up for Netflix with each passing year but it still costs less than cable cost if you compare the amount of content and ease of use you get. It is definitely worth using while it is light on the pocket.
- 4K and HDR content streaming available
- Good collection of latest movies which can be rented
- Additional benefits of priority delivery and Amazon Music
- Offline download is supported as well
- Original content being a dud is more common than an exception
- Third-party content partnerships abandon partnership due to competition
Amazon Prime is a brother to Netflix though with a lacking personality. It launches original content just like Netflix but they rarely receive the fanfare that Netflix’s content gets. It is not due to the brand value but due to the lackluster nature of the content itself. Amazon Prime has launched many duds so you need to be careful with what you watch. The advantage that you get with Amazon Prime is that it comes with the add-ons of Prime Music, premium delivery and early access to launches on the Amazon Store.
There is a free trial period so you do get free TV streaming with Amazon Prime as well for 1 month. It is available on multiple platforms including Kindle Fire HD, iPad, Xbox, PlayStation, internet-enabled TVs and Blu-ray players, Sony's Home Cinema system, Sony's Network Media Player and the many Android smartphones.
While Amazon Prime might not be too good with original content, it does have a good collection of movies you can watch. The collection is mostly child-friendly, in fact quite more than what you get on Netflix.
Amazon Prime has a good collection of documentaries that are not available on many free TV streaming apps. Many of the paid streaming services don’t offer documentaries as good as Amazon Prime. There are both educational documentaries like One Child Nation and entertainment documentaries like Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway.
- Extensive list of live TV channels
- Great selection of TV series
- Low base pack price
- Offline download available for premium subscribers
- Base pack comes with ads
- Original content is less compared to Amazon Prime and Netflix
- Just one stream allowed
Hulu offers you a large variety of options to choose from. It has live TV shows as well as original content and third-party TV series. Since it is a TV streaming site you save on your expense of cable. Also, it is the only app on Nintendo Switch with which you can watch TV live streaming for free with its base pack.
It benefits a lot with its Disney content. Disney wants to keep Disney+ family-friendly and as a result of its other content finds its way to Hulu. It is a very big library of content that along with other TV streams from NBC, FOX and Comedy Central makes it hard to resist.
Till 2019 Hulu didn’t offer offline viewing but with its competitors offering this feature, Hulu came out with offline viewing of iOS and then rolled it out for the Android platform as well.
While the subscription cost of the base Hulu pack is lower than Netflix, it comes with ads which is not the case with Netflix. The base pack also comes with HD content and even 4k originals which are lacking with Netflix. It is like enjoying free TV streaming with ads but there is a base expense involved.
There are all sorts of genres it caters to. There are 100 anime, documentaries, Live TV and Sports on Hulu. Not all content is available with a free subscription though. The most in-demand content usually is behind a paywall. But with so big a library of free content, you are still promised to find a lot of things to your liking.
- All Disney original content available in base pack
- 4k content and offline download at no extra cost
- Price is very competitive compared to the top players pricing
- Allows 4 streams at once
- Content is limited to Disney’s family-friendly content
- Premier Access is expensive
Disney Plus is on a little different path from other free TV streaming sites and paid streaming sites. All of the content that this subscription offers you is Disney content rated UA. All Disney’s cartoon series, movies like Marvels, Star Wars and Pixar are available on this platform and this is how they want to keep on growing.
And it’s not as if the customers don’t benefit from this. Disney can offer 4k quality content, offline downloads, and personalized recommendations on Disney Plus. Production houses like WandaVision, The Mandalorian and Pixar's Soul are making big investments to produce content that they will launch exclusively on Disney+
Disney acquired the 21st Century and with it got hands on a whole lot of high-quality content. While the more adult-oriented content is found on Hulu as we discussed above, Disney+ launched with around 7,500 TV shows and 500 movies that are family-friendly.
At $7.99 per month, you get access to all its content including 4k media. There is also an annual package of $69.99 which can be bundled with ESPN+ and Hulu for $12.99 per month. Compared with the TV streaming sites discussed above, you got to say that the pricing is quite attractive. There is a concept of Premier Access which is access to content a few weeks before its normal release on the platform that costs upward of $30.
- All the best content of HBO available in one subscription
- 4k content coming soon in 2021
- Theatrical releases from Warner Bros.
- Parental controls are much more customizable
- Except for the normal HBO releases, there is no original app-only content
- Price is higher compared to competitors
- 4k is still not available for many titles
HBO Max is the new kid on the block but it is making a lot of noise for all the right reasons in the list of TV streaming sites. Its predecessor, HBO Now, has been discontinued and most (not all) users who had access to HBO Now or HBO Go have been migrated to HBO Max.
By the looks of it, HBO Max has entered with a bang with a lot of all-time favorites like Lord of the Rings, Friends, Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, etc. It is the only streaming app in our list which is doing free TV streaming of its debut movie Godzilla vs. Kong, Dune on the same day as in theatre. If you are making the account for your kid you can use the parental control settings to limit show only age-appropriate content to your kid.
At the launch, it was available for Amazon Fire TV devices and Roky but that’s not the case now. You can get all of the HBO televerse at $15/month. This is much pricier than all the above services but if you are a big fan of the content that HBO releases, you probably won’t mind this cost.
- Many old releases can be found which otherwise are not available on other TV streaming sites
- Low-quality content
- Lack of famous third party content like Friends
- Some titles might not have all episodes or seasons available
Sony’s Crackle is a free TV streaming app available for mobile, laptop or smart TVs. It has a nice collection of hit TV shows and does add content now and then. However, it is not the best in terms of free TV streaming sites. It also does not offer the best quality content (in terms of picture quality) but it is expected to keep getting better. The bigger problem with Sony’s Crackle is that it is available only in the USA, Canada, Australia, and 18 countries in Latin America. If you are in any other country including any European country, you won’t be able to access its content.
Though Crackle is free, it still makes original content. Some of its original content is “Snatch” - a crime drama starring Rupert Grint, “Startup” - a gritty drama starring Martin Freeman, Adam Brody and Ron Perlman. However, it lacks when it comes to featuring famous TV series. And even those which do exist like Seinfield, don’t have all their seasons available.
One good thing we found on Crackle is it contains a good collection of old anime series. If you are a lover of anime from the year 2k like us, you are sure to become nostalgic.
- Unlimited content available for free
- By default available on most smartphones
- Premium gets access to original content, ad-free experience and background music playing
- Original content is useful only if you have a YouTube creator that is your favorite and is publishing behind the paywall
You probably won’t consider YouTube a free TV streaming service but the truth is that it has a lot of pages that stream live TV shows. From news to entertainment, there are a lot of live streams and series that are published on YouTube.
While there is a lot of ad-supported content on YouTube that you can watch, there is also YouTube Premium which removes the adverts but also gives you access to YouTube original content. If you have any favorite content creator on YouTube, it just might be a great way to support their work and access it which otherwise is behind a paywall.
Along with ad-free YouTube and original works, you get YouTube music which gives you all the music there is to listen to on one app. You can download YouTube content of any quality to watch it online later but the content stays on the app only. Another great thing that comes with Premium access is the ability to be able to play your music when the app is in the background.
- Free for public library cardholders
- Huge amount of content
- Available through Android and iOS app and any browser
- Borrowing limits
Hoopla works courtesy of your local library but digitally. Originally designed to host audiobooks, it now hosts movies, TV shows, ebooks, music, and even comic books. Since it works on your local library model, everything is available for free but only if you have a library card. So actually, while it is free streaming TV for you, the libraries do have to pay a cost for the content they make you available.
There is a good categorization system of Hoopla so finding a good movie or series won’t be that much difficult. However, being a free service, don’t expect to get the latest movie releases on this app.
Since it is tied up to your library card, it also works on the similar limitations that you would face when physically visiting a library. There is a limit to how many people can check out a movie. You need to place a hold on certain items and wait for others to be available. There is a limit of monthly checkout of items and a time limit as well for certain libraries till when you are allowed to do a checkout.
- All shows as available in HD quality
- Best experienced on Apple devices
- For those who love cricket, it is a great app to watch cricket on the move
- 2 screens allowed at the same time with 1 subscription
- TV shows are not telecast live but are available a day or two later
- There is no latest release section or filter. You need to hit and try to find a show you like
Hotstar is one of the best free TV streaming sites in India. It is available in the US and Canada as well. It has a collaboration with Disney+ and comes out regularly with a lot of original content. It streams movies, TV shows and live sports events.
Not all of the content is free. Most of the Hollywood content is available for a charge. It is the official online broadcasting partner for IPLs and many world cricket tournaments. It also broadcasted the Game of Thrones series in 2017 due to which it garnered a lot of paid subscribers.
Hotstar can cater to even very low internet speeds by streaming free TV content at even 180 pixels! The player is user-friendly with 10 seconds forward or rewind, full screen and for the volume, you can use the up and down.
The ads come very less frequently when doing a comparison with YouTube on free content and are annoying. The premium subscription is quite affordable and offers you extra features.
- Lots of free TV and movie streaming
- Can be used for setting up your media server and streaming content on TV
- Plex is not an original content creator so don’t expect that
- You are not going to get any latest release here unless, of course, it is pirated
Plex is originally a media management program that is used to create a media server through which you can do free internet TV streaming anywhere where you can install a Plex app. This technique is used by users to share their media files with other users.
There is a premium on-demand service of Plex with which you can stream Hollywood blockbusters, independent films, and more. There is a lot of content that is available for free TV streaming too. It recently got access to Crackle’s content as well which boosted its library vastly. You can do a lot of free internet TV streaming and movie streaming with the combined content.
At the time of writing this, Plex has nearly 90 channels with nearly more than 50 streaming live TV content in HD.
StreamFab Downloader is an all-in-one streaming downloader package that allows users to download streaming videos to watch without an internet connection when they are not home, from all the paid and free streaming websites mentioned in this article, and more others that are not mentioned here, such as Apple TV+, Paramount+, HBO Now, AbemaTV, and more to come in the future.
Even before the pandemic struck there was a lot of internet streaming happening all over the world. And with the pandemic and lockdowns, free TV streaming and paid subscriptions of such apps have seen exponential growth. But what if you want to watch these movies or TV series again? Do you want to keep on paying your high internet bill as well as contribute to global warming when you can prevent both by downloading the content the first time you watch it?
Some streaming downloaders can help you download media content in its top quality from all of these sites. Check out the downloaders available from StreamFab to save your favorite movie, TV series, and anime offline and never have to pay for content for which you have already paid for.
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