Not much good can be said for being quarantined to the house for months at a time, except for the fact that it gives everybody a chance to catch up on the best free streaming trials of 2020! There’s never been a better time to curl up on the couch and either binge some new shows or settle back with a few old favourites.
So, what are the best free trials for streaming in 2020? The following 30 streaming services offer free trials of varying lengths that range from movies to television shows to niche productions like horror and anime:
90 Day Free Trials
Amazon Music Unlimited
Amazon Music Unlimited allows users to stream any song, anywhere, and on any smart device they own. Even as part of their extensive free trial, there are no ads to wade through while listening, and Amazon Music Unlimited is also compatible with Alexa-enabled home devices such as the Amazon Echo.
Mubi is an excellent streaming service for people who consider themselves serious film buffs, as these cult and classic films are much different from the normal range of content you’d typically see on a more mainstream streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu. Perfect for viewers with arthouse sensibilities, Mubi gives you plenty of time to decide whether the service’s content is right for you.
For users who already own an iPhone or a Mac, Apple Music offers a robust streaming music service that caters to the Apple user. Users can edit Apple’s curated playlists, create playlists, stream music using mobile data, or jump straight to an artist or band’s page from Now Playing. Another great feature of Apple Music is offline listening, which lets you access your tunes even without an Internet connection.
60 Day Free Trials
For fans of Bollywood, Eros Now is a subscription streaming service that focuses on Indian cinema offered in high definition. Eros Now features both classic Bollywood films as well as contemporary films. If you’ve never tried watching Bollywood movies and have wondered what all the fuss is about, Eros Now gives you two months to give it a shot.
Even though Spotify offers a free version of its service that is supported by ad revenue, the ad-free Spotify Premium offers several other features that aren’t available on regular Spotify, such as the ability to choose songs for curated playlists and an unlimited number of skips when browsing. Spotify Premium also offers two tiers of high definition listening modes designed for high-end speaker systems.
Pandora is the original streaming music service, and Pandora Premium is a way to experience the streaming service without being limited to the shuffle experience. Along with giving users access to songs and albums on-demand, Pandora Premium also gives users access to higher quality audio files, the ability to replay favorite songs, and the option to curate customized playlists.
30 Day Free Trials
Tidal is the streaming music service that was founded by Jay-Z and bills itself as a hi-fi musical experience with audio files compressed in such a way that the sound can be experienced in its purest form. Tidal has a catalog of over sixty million songs, some of which are exclusive to the service and can’t be heard elsewhere. For listeners interested in supporting the musicians over the corporations and record companies that generally run the show, Tidal is a good way of throwing in with the creators.
Netflix has been the king of streaming for years now, and it’s only recently that other streaming services have begun to catch up. Netflix still offers the most popular streaming service globally, featuring a wide variety of blockbuster series from The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad to cult classic films like Clueless and V for Vendetta. One significant advantage of Netflix that it allows users to set up child profiles that restrict their browsing to age-appropriate movies and shows.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is a free service for Amazon Prime subscribers, and Amazon Prime doesn’t just give you access to movies and television shows—it also nets you extra savings on Amazon shopping and free 2-day shipping on many items. Some of the most popular shows on Amazon Prime Video include favourites such as Rick and Morty, Billions, and Game of Thrones.
Hulu is one of Netflix’s largest rivals. While the streaming service started a bit bumpy at the beginning with technical problems and uneven streaming quality, Hulu has had several years to refine its streaming services and now competes head to head with the other streaming giants. Hulu has recently had several breakout hits in its series The Handmaid’s Tale and Castle Rock. It also features several popular comedy series such as Bob’s Burgers, Community, and Broad City.
Shudder is a streaming service that is geared directly at horror buffs, and it provides plenty of fresh and blood-chilling content along those lines. Shudder features popular new horror shows such as A Discovery of Witches and Creepshow as well as horror documentaries perfect for any die-hard fan of the macabre. New users can access a 30-day free trial of the service by typing in the code SHUTIN during sign-up.
For users who are wanting to look beyond mainstream American television for murder mysteries, Acorn TV is a streaming service that focuses on mystery television series from other countries such as the United Kingdom, Britain, Spain, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The service also offers dramas in Spanish. Acorn TV’s regular free trial is seven days, but a 30-day free trial can be obtained by putting in the code FREE30 at sign-up.
Xfinity Flex is a somewhat simplified version of other streaming services such as Roku Streaming Stick or Amazon Fire TV. This makes it a good fit for those users who might find more complicated streaming services too difficult to use, such as children or the elderly. Xfinity Flex doesn’t offer as much access as some other services, but it is more affordable than most and offers live television as well. On Infinity Flex, users have access to popular favorites such as Stranger Things and Parks and Rec.
Urban Movie Channel
Urban Movie Channel is a streaming service that focuses on African American films, documentaries, and television shows. A typical free trial is seven days, but users can access an extended 30-day free trial by typing in UMCFREE30 at sign-up. Urban Movie Channel features a variety of content featuring black actors and actresses in dramas, romances, and much more.
Real poker fanatics need to check out PokerGO, which features live poker tournaments from around the world as well as associated programming. Watching live poker is one of the best ways to get into the game even if you’ve never played, and with a free trial, there’s no excuse not to check it out and see what all the fuss is about.
Pureflix is a Christian-friendly alternative to Netflix, with a focus on family-friendly and religious programming. Since Pureflix is focused on clean programming, it’s a good option for those who want a streaming service that their kids can safely navigate alone. For those that find the shows and movies on other streaming services to be too violent or full of negative imagery, Pureflix offers a friendlier alternative.
VRV is a bundled kid’s streaming service that focuses on animation and features classic cartoon channels such as Boomerang and Nickelodeon as well as anime content like Crunchyroll. For either kids or just kids at heart, VRV offers a wide variety of animated content to check out.
14 Day Free Trials
Quibi is unique among streaming services in that it focuses on short-form mobile content, with most videos offered ranging between five and ten minutes long. A significant advantage that Quibi has over other streaming services is that the shows and content generated for it are exclusive to the platform, meaning the stuff you see on Quibi is stuff you won’t be able to watch anywhere else.
Youtube has been a popular Wild West television platform for decades and was a massive influence on the development of internet culture as a whole. A major advantage that Youtube TV offers over several other streaming services is cloud-based DVR technology, which allows users to stop, pause, rewind, or record shows at will. YouTube TV offers live television from over seventy different channels. Youtube also offers a wide variety of original live streaming content generated by users from around the world.
Crunchyroll features a wide variety of anime fresh from Japan and has a selection of both subtitled and dubbed series available, including some only recently available outside of Japan. Users can explore new breakout hits such as Attack on Titan or old classics such as Inuyasha. Crunchyroll also offers fans who have grown up on American imported anime a chance to view some of the genre’s more obscure titles. The streaming service features live simulcasts from Japan, so fans get the latest episodes fast.
A streaming service for pure cinema and film art aficionados, Criterion Channel, features a heavily curated playlist of some of the most thought-provoking and critically acclaimed arthouse films from across the globe, many from independent and obscure producers. From documentaries to classic Broadway shows, Criterion has a ton of content to offer that can’t be found at any other service.
CBS All Access
For Trekkies of all ages, CBS All Access is the free streaming service that can’t be missed. CBS All Access features all of the newest Star Trek Shows, including Star Trek: Discovery, Picard, and Star Trek: Short Treks. CBS All Access also features several classic television shows such as Cheers and Beverly Hills: 90210 as well as reboots of classic television shows such as 2019’s Twilight Zone.
7 Day Free Trials
Showtime originated in 1976, making it one of the oldest on-demand television and movie production series that is still going strong. Still, it’s managed to keep up with the twenty-first century well enough. The broadcast service has had several breakout series hits, including Nurse Jackie, Dexter, and Twin Peaks: The Return.
Starz is a streaming service that has exclusive rights to several blockbuster television shows such as Outlander and Black Sails, making it a free trial service for a quick binge of its best content if not for an extended subscription. Unfortunately (or fortunately), some of its best shows are also long-running shows, and there’s plenty of other great content available, which means you’ll probably be tempted to keep the service on long after the free trial has run out.
Disney+ is relatively new on the streaming service circuit, with only a few months of active service under its belt so far. However, it came out of the gate hot with its breakout Star Wars hit The Mandalorian and features one of the best repositories of golden age Disney films you’ll ever have access to. Not only that, but Disney+ also has separate subchannels for Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars, meaning this trademark powerhouse has a little something to watch for everyone.
With Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon all throwing their hats in the streaming services ring, it’s no surprise that Apple decided to set up a streaming content service as well. Apple TV+ is unique in that it exclusively streams original Apple movies and television series, making it someone different than some of the other aggregate streaming services.
ATT+T TV Now
Like Xfinity Flex, ATT+T TV Now is designed to bring cable television into the twenty-first century by giving traditional cable companies a streaming service platform for live television. Since these services don’t typically offer much in the way of original programming compared to networks like Hulu or Netflix, these services focus instead on bringing live cable television to smart devices.
Philo features some of the most popular television channels currently in production from A&E to The Discovery Channel. With 58 channels to choose from and unlimited DVR capabilities, Philo is an excellent economical choice for someone who wants mainstream cable television shows but doesn’t want to pay traditional cable prices for a hundred other shows they don’t watch.
DC fans rejoice—not only does DC Universe give comic book fans access to all of the original television series set in the DC Universe as well as the DC major motion films, but it’s also an all-access pass for users to read DC comic books, too. DC Universe may not have as much to offer someone who isn’t already a superhero fanatic, but for those who don’t have to be convinced, it’s a pop culture holy grail.
Fubo TV is a great streaming option for sports fans since it offers some of the best national sports programming of any of the streaming services. Fubo gives users access to mainstream news channels like CNN and FOX as well as sports channels such as NFL Network, The Golf Channel, beIN Sports, and Fox Deportes. With the next World Cup only a few years away, there’s never been a better time to get invested in international sports as a fan.
How to Choose a Free Streaming Service Trial
With so many options available for trying out streaming content, it’s almost impossible to choose which ones to try first. It’s a good idea not to sign up for too many free trials at one time since you might lose track of when the trials end. Some of these trials feature an automatic renewal at the end of the trial period, meaning that you have a high chance of getting charged if you don’t cancel.
Here are some things to consider when deciding which streaming service to go with:
- Movies or television: Some streaming services focus more on the silver screen or epic television sagas, while others are more focused on reality television or short live television programs. Before you decide on a streaming service, you should decide whether you want to focus your streaming content on movies, television, or a mixture of the two.
- Age-appropriate programming: If you have children in the household, that’s a significant factor that should be taken into consideration when deciding what streaming services to put on home devices. Some streaming services offer both adult and children’s programming, but making sure that children can’t access adult programming is an important consideration when choosing a streaming service.
- Niche interests: Certain streaming services are geared towards niche genres such as anime, sports, horror movies, documentaries, foreign films, and others. If you have a special interest in a particular type of programmings, such as murder mysteries or Bollywood films, it’s a good idea to seek out streaming services that cater to that preference since you may end up being exposed to great movies and television you didn’t even know about.
- Budget: Chances are you can’t afford all of the streaming services you’d like to buy, so figuring out roughly how many you can afford ahead of time can give you something to think about while you explore free trials and figure out if there are any subscriptions worth paying a monthly fee for.
- DVR capability: If you have a hard time catching your favorite live TV shows when they’re on, cloud-based DVR technology that some streaming services offer allows you to tape and record any shows that may come on when you aren’t around to watch them, letting you watch them later whenever you want.
The great thing about free trials for streaming services is that you can try out as many different services as you want until you settle down with something that will give you your money’s worth.
Tips for Using Free Streaming Service Trials
If you want to get the most out of your free streaming service trials, there are a few tips you can observe to make the whole process more fun and less prone to accidental charges on your credit card.
Here are some ways to get the most out of free streaming trials:
- Keep track of when you started the trial period. If you’re planning on trying out several different streaming services, it’s a good idea to keep a list of them gathered together in a notebook with the start date of the trial period as well as the date that the trial ends so that you can cancel before any subscriptions auto-renew. Make a note of the services which do charge an auto-renewal subscription fee versus those that do a lock-out after the trial period.
- Figure out what you want to watch ahead of time. If you have always wanted to watch Black Sails, but you’re not interested in anything else on the Starz network, the show is short enough to binge within the trial period. This means that you can potentially catch up on many shows by binging them all in one go without actually having to pay for any of them if you plan your trial periods carefully.
- Consider month to month switching for your streaming services. If you plan your streaming subscriptions around what you plan to watch versus keeping several streaming services active simultaneously, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars over a year. Online subscriptions in streaming have made it easy to drop services when you run out of content and pick them back up if they premiere something you want to see.
- Watch the best of the best. If you’re trying to cram as much quality content into each free trial as possible, it’s a good idea to google “best of” lists for each streaming service so you can hit the highlights and see the best shows and movies available. Keeping a wish list of movies and TV shows to watch can help you narrow down your picks.
- Broaden your horizons. Free streaming trials are a great way to take in media that you wouldn’t regularly otherwise expose yourself to, such as documentary films or films from the perspective of a different ethnicity or subculture. Have you ever watched a Bollywood movie or an arthouse film? Free trials are the perfect way to take in some culture and watch something new.
- See what’s coming up. Most major streaming services have a “coming up” section where they display shows and films that will be presented within the next few weeks. Looking ahead to see what’s going to be showing on what channels can give you an idea of which service to go with to see as many of the shows you’re interested in as you can.
- Don’t waste time browsing. If you’re one of those people who spends hours in front of the browse screen on a streaming service trying to figure out what you want to watch, stop it. When you’re trying to get the most out of a free streaming service, wasting time just aimlessly looking through the stacks trying to find something to watch is wasting valuable free trial time. Instead, make a list of things you want to watch on the service before signing up.
- Don’t forget to cancel! If you forget to cancel your streaming subscription before the end of the trial period, you’ll end up getting charged by some streaming services. The charge isn’t likely to be much, but getting pinged with subscription charges is a hassle when you’re trying to get as much free content out of your streaming service trials as possible.
It might seem complicated and overwhelming to try to sift through all of the streaming content that is available in 2020, but there are so many good television shows and movies out there that you’ll never run out of things to watch. You may as well sit back, curl up under a comfy blanket, make some popcorn, and enjoy the ride.
Free Trials Are the Best Way to Pinpoint the Streaming Services You Want to Keep
With so many streaming services available now, it can be overwhelming trying to narrow your chosen services down to a handful. The costs of multiple services can stack up rapidly, so you’ll want to take some time to pick the services that cater best to you.
The best thing about there being so many competing streaming services is that you could easily spend months going through all of the content available in free trials and never spend a dime on entertainment. Think of the money you can save!