What The Tech: Free Streaming Services

 

CHARLOTTE, NC — I’ve talked to quite a few people who say they subscribe to all of the streaming services. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney, Apple. All of them. They also tell me, even with all of those options, they still can’t find something to watch. If you’re in that group, you should know, there are ways to watch totally free TV and movies.

You may have noticed some streaming services displayed on your smart TV or one of the streaming devices and have wondered whether they’re any good. Let’s dive in to see what you can see.

I’m checking Pluto, Tubi, FreeVee, The Roku Channel, and Crackle. They don’t charge a subscription fee. Instead, you’ll see commercials. Like in the old days when you couldn’t fast forward. Most commercial breaks are 90-seconds.

They’re all available on most smart TVs, Roku devices, FireSticks, and Google TV. You can also watch through their smartphone apps and with a web browser. The Roku Channel is only available through a Roku device or a Roku TV.

As you might expect, you’re not going to get the latest great movies. Let’s take a look

Pluto and Tubi have movies and shows on demand along with live TV shows. Most live channels are classics. There are channels featuring non-stop 80’s movies, Westerns, Comedies, Documentaries, Action, and Drama. Some titles you may also see are available on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Tubi has live local news channels from across the country and some sports. Pluto has a deep library of mainstream movies and TV shows.

Crackle has been around for a long time. It’s mostly TV shows and movies from the 70s and 80s. No great titles to be found though.

The Roku Channel has some original programming as does Tubi.

There’s a lot of content but what about quality? To find out I used the app JustWatch and searched only for movies with at least an 8 viewer rating average on IMDB.

● Free Vee 246
● The Roku Channel 241
● Tubi 754
● Pluto 261
● Crackle 80

That’s 1,582 quality movies available for free over these streaming services.

But many of those 1,500+ titles are from the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Remember what it was like going into a Blockbuster at 9 o’clock on a Saturday night? Yeah, kind of like that.

The other thing you should know about these free streaming services is that the video and audio quality are not up to par with what you see using Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and your paid-TV streaming package. Those stream in at least 1080-HD (some are in 4K). The free streaming services are all in 720p. You’ll definitely notice the difference if you’re watching on a big-screen TV.

Still, if you want to save money, or if you’re always looking for something to watch, these services are worth the effort and time. They’re great and maybe the only source of classic TV shows like “Happy Days”, and “Gunsmoke.”