Stuck at Home: 7 Ways You Can Watch TV for Free While Quarantined

Updated on April 23, 2020
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A mother and freelance writer, Meagan loves to research and learn new things. Her biggest passion is sharing those things with other people.

If there was a way to watch movies for free, would you turn that down? You’re in luck because there are several ways to watch movies and TV shows for free and we are going to look at them all.

Saving Money While Quarantined

Millions of Americans — young and old — have had to abandon their ordinary routine. They’re being laid off from work or forced to leave school. Most people are eligible for some financial relief under the recent CARES Act, but not all states have gathered the resources to implement those financial benefits.

Until these lifelines become available, people may have to cut back on their spending. Cable and other television services are one of the first things people cut from their budget.

Luckily, there are some ways you can continue to watch TV for free. You won’t have to commit to a subscription, but you might have to watch ads. We survived the era of commercials before and we can do it again. Especially if it means saving money.

So, what are you waiting for? Check out these free services and start saving money on movies and TV today.

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1. Vudu

Compared to its competitors, Vudu’s library of free movies and television shows is huge. The company originally started as a rental service, but in 2016 they added free services. These free titles are ad-supported and a typical movie has around five minutes of ad’s.

Is Vudu Free to Use?

Yes, some available titles on Vudu are offered for free. No, there are some titles that must be purchased or rented. Most of the newer stuff is only available for purchase or rent, but there are enough free titles to keep you busy for years.

What Device Can I Use Vudu On?

Vudu can be used on almost any device in your home. Some smart TVs have Vudu on them already. Both Android and iOS users have a Vudu application available to download in the required app store. If you have a newer version of PlayStation or Xbox, you can download the Vudu app and watch it on your game console. Vudu can also be watched on laptops in most modern web browsers without having to download an app.

How Do I Use Vudu?

You will have to sign-up for a Vudu account in order to both rent or watch movies for free. You can either create a new account, use a Wal-mart account or link to a Facebook account. No purchase is required to watch any of the titles in their free section, but you will have to have a debit/credit card in order to rent/purchase newer titles.

Do You Need a Credit Card to Use Vudu?

When creating an account it will ask for card info, but you can bypass this step by clicking the “do it later” link. You do not need to enter your card information to watch the free titles.

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2. Pluto TV

Pluto TV is a streaming service that offers both Live TV and on demand content. Unlike some other sites, you don’t even need to create an account to start watching their content.

There are quite a few short ads and you may end up watching the same ones numerous times. Most of us remember when commercials were a standard part of television and are not bothered by a few ads if it means free content.

Is Pluto Actually A Free TV Streaming Service?

Pluto TV is absolutely free to use because it’s ad-supported. Instead of paying a monthly subscription, users are required to watch ads. The commercials may play before the content starts, or during the program you’re watching. It’s not always ideal to be interrupted by ads, but it’s a small price to pay in order to save money on TV.

What Can I Use Pluto TV On?

You can either use a web browser to access their content or download an app on one of the many devices that has the Pluto TV app available to them. Both Android and iOS stores have Pluto TV apps available to download. Many smart TVs already have Pluto TV available in some form or have apps that can be used. You can use some game consoles to download their app as well.

What Channels Are on Pluto TV?

With over 200 live channels to choose from, they offer something for everyone, It would be impossible to list all the channels here, but you can find a complete list on the Pluto TV website. They do not offer local channels at this time.

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3. Crackle

Crackle is a free streaming service whose library includes both original and on demand content. This popular streaming platform has been known under many names — Grouper, Sony Crackle and now just Crackle. It’s currently owned by both Sony and Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Is Crackle Free to Use or Do You Need a Monthly Subscription?

Crackle is an ad-supported streaming service. Users don’t have to pay anything to watch the content available on this platform, but they will have to watch the ads that are inserted into the content.

Do I Need to Sign up for Crackle to Use It?

You don’t need an account to begin watching TV on Crackle, but having an account allows you to tag content to watch later or resume a movie after it’s been paused. It may also make it easier to use the service on multiple devices.

How Do I Use Crackle TV?

Crackles free streaming service is widely available on most devices that have an internet connection. You can instantly access Crackle through any modern web browser on laptops and computers. Most smart TV’s have Crackle pre-loaded. Xbox, PlayStation and other devices that allow you to download apps can be used if your TV does not have an app. Both Android and iOS have a version of their app that can be downloaded.

Basically, if you have a device with an internet connection and an app store, you can use Crackle TV.


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4. Hoopla

This one is a bit different from the others mentioned, but it's just as amazing. Hoopla is a digital media lending service that's linked to libraries across the world. Aside from movies and TV shows, users can listen to music and audio-books or browse through hundreds of e-books and e-comics.

How Does Hoopla Work?

Unlike other streaming platforms, users must have a library card in order to use Hoopla. It’s quite easy to sign-up for and use Hoopla as long as you have a library card and your library offers this service. All you need to sign-up is your e-mail address, password and library card information.

Are There Restrictions on Hoopla?

There are some restrictions on content. Users may only borrow eight items per library card a month. However, if each member of your family holds a card, you can each borrow eight items. You will have a set amount of time that you can watch or read each borrowed item as well.

Is Hoopla the Only Digital Media Lending Service Available?

Kanopy is another digital media lending service that’s provided through some college campuses and has recently started being offered by libraries. If you’re enrolled in college or have a library card, it’s worth checking into. Kanopy showcases many Indie titles and documentaries that are not offered by a lot of the bigger streaming services.

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5. Popcornflix

Popcornflix is another ad-supported streaming service. Its library is a bit smaller than some of the bigger streaming services, but it still offers something for everyone. While you probably won’t find new releases in their gallery, you will find a lot of great movies along with some lesser-known indie titles that are well worth watching.

Is Popcornflix Free?

Yes. Users can watch movies and TV shows on Popcornflix for free in exchange for watching the inserted ads. The ads are not terribly long and do not overwhelm the content you’re trying to watch.

Do I Need to Sign-up for an Account to Use Popcornflix?

It’s easy to start watching movies on this streaming service and you don’t need an account to begin enjoying their content. However, there are benefits to having an account. You may be prompted to sign-up for an account, but users always have the option to skip that step.

How Do I Use Popcornflix?

You can access Popcornflix from any web browser and be watching in minutes. There are apps available for both Android and iOS phones and devices as well as other consoles that have an internet connection.

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6. Tubi TV

Another ad-supported streaming service, Tubi TV doesn’t have a lot of newer titles but its library is much larger than most streaming platforms. There are a lot of older titles mixed in among titles you may never have heard of before. There’s literally something for everyone on Tubi TV.

Is Tubi TV Really Free?

Yes. This media platform is one hundred percent free to use. Users will have to watch ads in return for viewing content for free. However, the ads are short and mainly occur when you first start viewing, when you resume viewing after pausing and once or twice while watching the media.

Do I Have to Sign-up for an Account?

You don’t have to sign-up for an account to start watching content, but if you want to watch anything rated for older viewing audiences, you will have to sign-up for a free account. It doesn’t take long, and having an account opens up other features.

How Do I Watch Tubi TV?

Tubi TV can be accessed from practically any device that has an internet connection. There are apps available for game consoles, smart TVs, Android users and iOS users. You can also watch content right from their website, which is accessible from most modern web browsers on any device.


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7. The Internet Archive

The internet archive is a great resource for free digital media. However, you most likely won’t find anything new. Since it is a collection of public domain media, most of the things they offer are older. Still, it’s a wonderful place for people who love older — or black and white — films to find some forgotten classics.

Do I Have to Have an Account?

You don't have to sign-up for an account to start watching the content. Like any of the other sites and services, having an account may unlock features not available without an account.

How Do I Use the Internet Archive?

Unfortunately, since this is an internet archive, it’s only accessible through modern web browsers. Most devices have internet accessibility and can be used to visit the website. Most titles are available for download so you can watch them offline.

Movies are not the only thing that can be found on the internet archive, and users could easily find themselves wasting hours delving into the giant media library.

Other Places to Watch Free TV and Movies

The above list only scratches the surface of free digital content. While we tried to include something for everyone, there are thousands of places that offer collections of media for free.

Whatever your interest, you’re bound to find many sites that offer just content in that category.

However, be careful when accessing a site. Do not give out personal information, do not enter credit-card information, watch for “free trials” that either don’t offer an easy way to cancel or come with a slew of hidden fee’s and always read the find print before entering into any contract.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Meagan Ireland

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