"Don't touch that dial," or at least that's what they want you to think. With the ever-expanding landscape of digital streaming services out there, it's getting harder and harder to find great and affordable streaming services, or at the very least to select one of them.
The game used to be dominated by our cable providers and following that, everything became about digital streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
But when the services begin popping up everywhere, it becomes a game to see who can tag that hard-earned wallet.
This year alone, we'll see the introduction and launches of the Disney+, AT&T, WarnerMedia, Apple and IMDB streaming services.
What if you had alternatives that wouldn't break the bank with the affordability of being free? That's what we're looking to provide you here in with these five sites listed below.
1. Sony Crackle
Sony Crackle is owned by Sony, of course, so it hosts a lot of Sony original content, plus programs and movies from other companies.
- It's a free service to watch some of your favorite TV shows, original programming, and movies.
- It breaks down the content into multiple categories such as Spotlights, Originals, Action, Drama, Comedy, Fandom, Thriller, Icons, Anime, Trending and a plethora of other categories.
- Can be connected to a large variety of platforms such as TVs, mobile device, set-top boxes, gaming consoles and online.
- The service is ad-supported to allow it to continue to be free and offers no offline viewing options.
Tubi streams more than 12,000 titles, including movies and TV shows. Affiliated studios include Paramount, Lionsgate, MGM and more.
- Includes thousands of movies and TV show options for free.
- Stream anywhere on smartphones, Android, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xfinity X1, Xbox, Samsung Smart TVs, Sony Smart TVs, PlayStation and the web.
- Includes content from a plethora of other sources for kids of all ages and content that's not streamed anywhere else.
- Tubi is supported by advertisements during shows.
- Highlights a section called, Not on Netflix, Leaving Soon!, and for those Rotten Tomatoes fans a Highly Rated on Rotten Tomatoes section.
3. Pluto TV
Pluto TV is owned by Viacom and runs more than 100 free channels, from old TV shows to movies to a (limited) selection of sports.
- Runs on Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku and PlayStation.
- Channels include CBS News, Food TV, NBC, Bloomberg TV (which airs the The Kim Komando Show!), Crime Network and more.
- Apps are available for Apple and Android devices.
- Shows include ads.
YouTube began as a platform for people to upload and display their own videos. That feature remains, but the site now offers videos and some live TV from major partners, like CBS, BBC and others.
- This is a mixture as some films are free if you can find them, while others are at a premium.
- Video quality can vary based on the program. Meaning you could see 480p, 720p, or 1080p resolutions.
- Unfortunately, there is no way to filter the content by genre, free, paid and can be difficult to find what you're looking for.
- When searching and finding what you are looking for, your best bet is looking for content with high view counts and subscriptions to the content.
Vudu delivers full-length movies and TV for free, but offers more content in subscriptions.
- Programs that are free are thoughtfully labeled with the text in a nice red highlight if they're Free and with Ads.
- The profiles provided on a particular film gives you a breakdown of the description of the media, MPAA score, Rotten Tomatoes (RT) scoring, if it has closed captions, length of the content, a trailer, cast and crew information and full RT Reviews.
- Content available for free with ads can also be rented and bought digitally for a cost.
Bonus: Watch your favorite local TV channels in HD for free
So maybe you don't want to "Touch that Dial," but you could use a cheaper alternative for your favorite local cable channels with a one time cost. Something the younger generation may or may not be aware of is that adding an antenna to your TV can still give you that cable vibe but for free as it was in the days before cable television.
A good antenna you can purchase on Amazon is an HD Digital TV Antenna that can give you that HD picture on new and old TVs alike. It will allow you to pick up those digital TV signals in the airwaves and bring you a variety of channels with no monthly bill to pay. There's no DVR, but it's an option for those on a tight budget.
Update: Streaming service price changes on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Apple and others
Dropping cable TV used to be a surefire way to save some money every month. You could just sign up for Netflix and have access to thousands of movies and TV shows. Well, things have changed. Now there are so many other streaming services to choose from and so many different plans that you might not be able to decide which is the best for the price. Tap or click to see the most popular services and everything you get with them.