Stuck at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Lots of people have turned to streaming to fill in those long days at home (or to keep the kids entertained between at-home homework assignments), and many of the top streaming services, in an attempt to lure new subscribers, have extended their free trial periods beyond the typical 7-day time period.
Netflix is currently offering a 30-day free trial to new subscribers. You can choose from one of the three subscription tiers as your free month: their Basic standard definition single stream service ($5.99/month), their Standard service offering two HD streams ($12.99/month), or their Premium service offering up to four concurrent UHD streams ($15.99/month). Netflix is the home for popular movies and TV shows, including Netflix Originals like Stranger Things, Altered Carbon, and original movies like Roma and The Irishman, and the service is available on nearly every type of streaming device, including Roku devices and TVs, Apple TV devices, Amazon Fire devices and TVs, Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, and smart TVs. A credit card is required to activate your free month will be charged unless you cancel before the completion of your trial period.
Quibi is the new kid on the block, founded by former Dreamworks Animation executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, offering over 50 original shows “featuring the world’s biggest stars” like Liam Hemsworth (Most Dangerous Game), Sophie Turner (Survive), Kiefer Sutherland (The Fugitive), and Idris Elba (Elba vs. Block). Each episode runs less than 10 minutes each. Quibi will be available on Apple iOS and Android devices, and is offering a free 90-day trial for those who sign up prior to its launch on April 6. After the trial, you can subscribe to their ad-supported version for $5 per month or ad-free for $8.
Hulu is very popular with cord-cutters, as it offers next-day streaming of most shows on ABC, NBC, FOX, and now F/X, in addition to a large library of movies and other TV shows plus a growing list of original content. Hulu is offering a 30-day free trial to new customers (and returning customers who have been dormant for over 12 months), and you can choose between their ad-supported tier ($5.99/month) or their ad-free tier ($11.99/month). A credit card is required to sign up for the free trial, and will be charged unless you cancel before the trial ends. Hulu is available on most streaming devices, including Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire devices, and smart TVs, as well as Android and Apple iOS devices.
CBS All Access is also popular among cord cutters, offering next-day streaming of nearly every series airing on the CBS broadcast network, plus original series like The Twilight Zone, Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and Interrogation. They offer an ad-supported tier for $5.99/month or an ad-free tier for $9.99/month, and you can get your first month or either tier free by using the coupon code GIFT when subscribing at CBS.com and using the CBS All Access app on Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire devices, most smart TVs, and Android and Apple iOS devices. This offer may not be available when subscribing thru Apple TV Channels, Roku Channels, or Amazon Prime Channels.
Acorn TV is the home of popular British television shows like Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders, Murdoch Mysteries, Lovejoy and Black Books. The service is available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Samsung smart TVs, and Android and iOS devices. The cost is $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year, and you can get your first month free by using coupon code FREE30 when signing up on the Acorn TV website.
Showtime, a popular pay-TV channel, is now available a la carte as a streaming service on most streaming devices and smart TVs, and is the home for popular original series Homeland, Billions, Shameless and House of Lies. The service is $10.99 per month with a 30-day free trial by signing up on the main website, on Roku Channels, or using the Apple TV app. Signing up by other means, such as Amazon Prime Video Channels or as a Hulu add-on will only give you a 7-day trial.
There also a ton of free, ad-supported streaming services offering some very good (and some truly awful) programming to divert your mind from the pandemic. Crackle, Tubi, IMDB-TV and The Roku Channel are available on most streaming devices and offer a rotating selection of free TV shows and movies. Also available on most streaming devices are Pluto TV and XUMO are very similar services that are almost like having a basic cable subscription without any of the local channels. They offer a wide selection of live streaming channels offering news, kids programming, movies, classic TV shows, even music, plus a selection of on-demand movies and TV shows.