While these are terrible times right now for many reasons, there is one area in the entertainment sector where it never has been this good: movies and TV series available on streaming services.
The sheer quantity and variety of movies, not to mention the accessibility, is fantastic. With most movie theaters closed, we’ve even been treated to a few new movies that would have been released theatrically, going either to VOD or streaming.
Below and linked, Tom’s Guide ranked their picks for the best free streaming services in 2020. Their #1 choice is the severely commercial-ridden, but well known Crackle. #2, is IMDBtv, a much better choice toward the top. Here’s what they have to say:
Some free streaming services offer live channels, others offer on-demand content. A few have both. Our top choice is Crackle, which has on-demand movies, TV shows and originals. Its movie selection is particularly good, with several recognizable titles from recent years. IMDBtv and Tubi are also great on-demand services with extensive lineups of movies and TV shows, plus easy-to-use interfaces that allow you to browse genres and curated collections. Vudu features many newer movies, since it’s got the might of Walmart behind it. Plus, it’s also a digital marketplace, so you can rent or purchase the latest hits.The best free streaming services | Tom’s Guide
Tom’s Guide Ranked Free Streaming Services
- Crackle – Sony
- IMDB TV – Amazon
- Roku Channel
- Pluto TV
- Sling FREE
Had to add Tubi and Xumo to my Roku channels list because they weren’t added. I re-added Sling, since I removed that when our free trial ended.
Based on number of commercials shown during movies (lesser commercial interruptions is better), here’s how I’d rank the free services I’m familiar with in the list above:
MovieReviewsbyUs Best FREE Streaming Channels in 2020
- Roku Channel
- IMDB TV
Unranked: Tubi, Sling Free, Xumo and Pluto TV
Tom’s Guide didn’t focus on the number of commercial breaks and/or length of these commercials into their ranking, instead evaluating the overall library and quality of movies. I’ll agree that Crackle has a decent list of movies and on that basis only does deserve to be better than last, but what good does that do if the experience trying to watch them is painstaking?
I didn’t rank Xumo, Tubi, Sling Free or Pluto TV because I haven’t watched movies on there — either at all or not enough — to fairly rank them in the listing. Crackle has been awhile, but the last experience was so miserable I was scarred from returning. I’ve watched the most free movies on Roku, Vudu and IMDB TV in that order. Obviously, if I can find something I specifically want to watch on the streaming services we subscribe to, that is my go-to option first.
The streaming services we have paid subscriptions to as of this writing are:
- Netflix ($15/month)
- Amazon Prime Video ($130 USD annual, included with Prime membership)
- Disney+ ($70 annual)
- HBO Max ($11.99/month)
- DC Universe ($5.99/month, grandfathered special promotional pricing)
- Shudder ($5.99/month)
- Peacock (included with XFinity internet)
These subscriptions work out to roughly $60/month or a total annual cost of $720 USD. If you factor in the cost of our high speed internet, we still are paying over $150/month for TV, despite cutting the cord from cable a long time ago.
Which ad-supported (free) movie/TV streaming services do you watch most?