10 best free movie streaming services: Netflix alternatives for 2019 – CNET



Is Netflix putting a strain on your budget? Following a price hike earlier this year, the streaming service now starts at $9 per month, with its most popular plan now at $13 and its ultra-HD tier priced at $16.

Fear not: As long as you have an internet connection, you can continue to enjoy movie night. Granted, you may not be able to stream Hollywood’s latest, but you can still watch gems such as Blade Runner, Captain Fantastic, Eighth Grade and plenty of classics, all without spending an extra penny.

Here are 10 services offering totally free, totally legal movies you can watch online. Some offer TV shows as well. Just be prepared to sit through commercials, because that’s how most of these services pay the bills. And note that because selections change regularly, not all the titles listed here may still be available.



Crackle is bringing out the Star Trek classics this month.


Sony’s Crackle is an ad-supported streaming service, one that offers both movies and TV shows — including some original content. It’s available on a wide variety of devices and doesn’t even require you to set up an account, though doing so enables you to save favorites, get recommendations and resume playback if you switch between devices.

What you can watch: Crackle’s selection continues to expand, with around 200 movies available at any given time. (The selection changes periodically). At this writing, you’ll find gems like Fight Club, Looper, My Girl and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. They’re all older films, to be sure, but there’s still plenty of quality stuff to watch.

Where you can watch: Crackle’s list of supported devices is extensive. The service offers apps for all mobile platforms, game consoles and major streaming devices, and it’s even baked into many smart TVs. It does not offer the option to download movies for offline viewing.



Captain Fantastic is a fantastic new addition to IMDb TV (formerly FreeDive).


This relative newcomer, formerly known as FreeDrive, is part of IMDb, the Internet Movie Database, which is owned by Amazon. In other words, IMDb TV is Amazon’s way of offering ad-supported movie streaming independent of Amazon Prime. And it’s not limited to movies; there are TV shows available as well. Unfortunately, there’s a pretty major viewing limitation.

What you can watch: Though it started with only about 100 titles, IMDb TV just announced plans to triple its content selection, which will bring the tally into the thousands. Already you can watch great stuff like Captain Fantastic, Paddington and Platoon, and Oscar-winner La La Land will arrive on the service on July 1.  

Where you can watch: IMDb TV works on any device that supports Prime Video with channels



Hoopla is a streaming service you may have access to through your public library.


Got a library card? Check to see if your library has partnered with Hoopla. This digital-media service allows you to check out all kinds of stuff — including movies. When you “borrow” a movie, you have 72 hours in which to watch it. Your library determines the total number of movies you can borrow each month.

What you can watch: It’s hard to get a bead on how many movies Hoopla has available at any given time, but you can browse a huge range of genres — everything from animation to westerns. There’s also a generous selection of family friendly content. The good news is Hoopla doesn’t have the same catalog of movies as many of the other services here; the bad news is the selection doesn’t change very often, and it can be hard to find anything familiar to watch. 

Where you can watch: Hoopla content can be viewed on your PC in a browser, or on Android or iOS devices. The service now supports most streaming devices as well, including current-generation Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku devices. Surprisingly, Hoopla’s mobile apps offer not only streaming, but also a download option for offline viewing.

Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is home to all things public domain, including thousands of feature-length movies. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s no cost to use the service, nor do you need an account (though you can create one if you want to mark favorites and such).


Many classic movies and TV shows can be found on the Internet Archive.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

What you can watch: “Public domain” is code for “old” or “mostly black-and-white,” making this the place for folks interested strictly in classic films. Thus you’ll find the likes of His Girl Friday, Plan 9 from Outer Space and Gulliver’s Travels.

Where you can watch: The Internet Archive exists solely on the web, so you’ll need a browser to access it. However, most mobile browsers (including Safari on iOS) can stream the content.


If your library doesn’t offer Hoopla, maybe it has Kanopy? This commercial-free (yay!) service, which began life in Australia, has made its way to thousands of college campuses worldwide and, more recently, various US libraries. Check the website to see if your library has it — and ask for it if it doesn’t.


Here’s hoping your library subscribes to Kanopy, because the commercial-free service has a growing selection of top-quality films.


What you can watch: Given its educational bent, it’s not surprising that Kanopy offers a large selection of indie films and documentaries from the likes of PBS and The Great Courses. But its sizable library also includes titles from the esteemed Criterion Collection, which is code for “films.” There are also some fairly mainstream titles to be found, including Donnie Darko, Ex Machina, Lady Bird and Moonlight.

Where you can watch: Kanopy has Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku channels and apps for Android and iOS. It’s also available on Chromecast.

Pluto TV

A relative newcomer, Pluto TV is noteworthy for offering not only on-demand movies, but also live TV channels including CBS News and, ahem, CNET. It’s ad-supported, of course, but definitely one of the best free-content options currently available.


Newcomer Pluto offers lots of movies, some of which are pretty well-known and -regarded.

Pluto TV

What you can watch: It’s hard to say for sure how many movies Pluto has, but there are lots of categories, each with lots of titles. There’s a lot of C-grade junk, to be sure, but also some decent titles. A current sampling: Adaptation, Batman Begins, Layer Cake and family favorite Fly Away Home.

Where you can watch: Pluto TV works in desktop browsers, but also offers a Windows client. It has apps for Android, iOS and various smart TVs and channels for Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku.

Roku Channel

The Roku Channel isn’t a free-movie provider, but rather an aggregator of new and existing no-cost content. Thus, don’t be surprised if there’s some overlap with some of the movies available on other services. You’ll find movies from Roku partners such as Lionsgate, MGM, Sony and Warner, along with free content from existing Roku channels such as FilmRise, Popcornflix and Vidmark.  


The Roku Channel can be viewed on your Roku device or in a browser.


What you can watch: Like pretty much every free-movie channel, Roku’s rotating selection is a mix of schlocky stuff and some standouts. The latter include Contact, It Follows, This is Spinal Tap and the absolutely bonkers (in a good way) The One I Love. Keep in mind, you can probably find many of the same titles from the likes of Crackle and Tubi TV; the Roku Channel is merely putting some hand-picked selections under one roof.

Where you can watch: On Roku devices, natch. But there’s also a browser-based Roku channel so you can watch at your PC. But don’t plan on going mobile just yet; the Roku apps don’t currently allow for streaming from the Roku Channel.

Tubi TV

Home to thousands of free commercial movies (though definitely not commercial-free), Tubi TV offers content from studios including Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount. 


Tubi TV has a lot of movies, just not a lot of particularly good movies.

Tubi TV

What you can watch: Tubi TV has a lot of movies, but chances are good you haven’t heard of most of them. To help separate the wheat from the chaff, check out the Highly Rated on Rotten Tomatoes and Not on Netflix categories. Even then, the current selection is pretty meh; the best titles I found were The Cabin in the Woods, Paddington and True Grit.

Where you can watch: Tubi TV’s list of supported devices is very comprehensive; the service offers apps for Android and iOS, the major game consoles, major streaming devices and some Samsung TVs. It does not offer the option to download movies for offline viewing.


Walmart’s Vudu video service has been consistently expanding its ad-supported section, which allows viewers to choose from a generous selection of movies (mostly older titles, alas) to watch at no charge. This option does require you to have a Vudu account, but it’s free to set one up.


Vudu has lots of free-with-ads choices — but no good filtering options within those choices.


What you can watch: It’s hard to get super-excited about Vudu’s selection, which is extensive but consists of mostly older and direct-to-video-caliber titles. My picks from the oldie-but-goodie list: Mystic Pizza, Platoon, Risky Business and Witness.

Where you can watch: Vudu is available pretty much everywhere: all major streaming devices, mobile devices, game consoles and so on. While the mobile apps do allow you to download paid movies for offline viewing, however, free titles can only be streamed.


You might think Google’s video service is nothing but clips and more clips, but it now hosts some free full-length movies as well. (This is not to be confused with YouTube Red, the subscription service that includes some original movies.) Just head directly to the free-to-watch section to see what’s available.



What you can watch: If there’s an old movie — old enough that the copyright has expired — you’re interested in seeing, you may be able to find it on YouTube. Indeed, there are at least 11 great movies there. But you can also find ad-supported “modern” titles including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Moonstruck. Beyond that, it’s a lot of dreck.

Where you can watch: Needless to say, anywhere you can access YouTube (which is just about everywhere), you can watch YouTube movies. 

Originally published on Feb. 21, 2017.
Update, June 17, 2019: Updated movie selections and services.
Update, June 22 at 7:52 a.m. PT.


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source: cnet.com