The Best Streaming TV Services (Free and Paid)

Dan Price 16-12-2019

Streaming TV services can be broadly split into two categories: free and paid. Everyone likes free stuff, but paid options obviously offer more (and newer) content. In this article we list the best free streaming TV apps and the best paid streaming TV apps.


The Best Free Streaming TV Services

Let’s begin with the best free streaming TV services 10 Free Internet TV Channels You Can Watch Online Here are the best internet TV channels to watch online, all of which are both free and legal. Read More .


crackle channels

Owned and operated by Sony, Crackle has been a staple app for cord-cutters since its launch back in 2007. The company has content partnerships with several leading film and TV studios, including 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios, Disney, MGM, and Warner Bros.

And because its owned by Sony, you’ll get free access to a massive back catalog of the company’s hit shows such as Seinfeld, The Shield, Damages, and Rescue Me. In more recent years, Crackle has also started to invest in original shows. Some of the most critically acclaimed are The Oath, Sports Jeopardy, and Start-Up.

Crackle is available in 21 countries, all of which are in America. It has not been available in the UK since 2014, though you can always use a VPN like ExpressVPN or CyberGhost to bypass the geo-blocking.


If you’d like to learn more, check out our article listing the best free TV shows to watch on Crackle The Best Free TV Shows to Watch on Crackle Crackle is a free streaming service packed with TV shows to watch. Here are several free TV shows worth watching on Crackle. Read More .

Tubi TV

tubi series

Tubi TV is a free alternative to Netflix. It has a library of more than 12,000 TV shows and movies for you to dig into. The company has partnerships in place with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, Warner Bros., and, since late 2018, NBCUniversal.

Despite the partnerships, we don’t feel the quality of the content is as high as that found on Crackle. Yes, there are some gems, but there’s a fair number of sub-par shows that you’d never realistically want to watch.


Sadly, the app also has an even smaller list of supported countries than Crackle; it is only available in the US and Canada. Again, a good VPN will let you get around the geo-blocks.

The Tubi TV streaming service is ad-supported.

Pluto TV

Rather than offering on-demand video, Pluto TV is a live TV streaming service. Again, it’s free to use. Although the service has been around since 2013, it’s currently receiving considerable investment thanks to a January 2019 buyout by Viacom for $380 million.

Some of the channels you can expect to find include NBC News, CNN, Bloomberg, FOX Sports, Eleven Sports, and an adapted version of MTV.


There are also 24/7 channels devoted to series such as Doctor Who, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, and many more. You’ll even find content from Paramount, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon on Pluto’s own in-house streaming TV channels. For sports fans, there’s a dedicated MLS channel.

The Roku Channel

the roku channels shows

The Roku Channel is an on-demand TV streaming app. Since its launch in October 2017, it has rapidly risen to become one of the best free TV streaming services available.

It features TV series and movies from Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Warner Bros. There is also content from streaming TV providers who already have apps in the Roku Channel Store (such as American Classics, FilmRise, OVGuide, and Popcornflix).


Sadly, The Roku Channel is only available to people in the United States. The service is ad-supported.

The Best Paid Streaming TV Services

While those free options are good, there are also streaming TV services available to those willing to pay for a subscription.


netflix price

Despite the increasing competition, Netflix remains the gold standard for paid streaming TV services. It invests billions of dollars in producing its own original content while also offering hundreds of your favorite TV shows and movies from other creators and studios.

Today, the company has expanded to be available in more than 190 different countries. The only major exception is China, though it’s also unavailable in locales where US businesses are banned from operating (such as Syria and North Korea).

The available content differs between locations, but Netflix’s original shows and movies are available everywhere.

In the US, a Basic plan (one screen and no HD) costs $8.99/month, a Standard plan (two screens) costs $12.99/month, and a Premium plan (four screens and 4K) costs $15.99/month.


hulu content

Hulu offers two TV streaming packages—an on-demand video service for $5.99/month and a live TV service from $44.99/month.

Disney owns the company, so there are masses of Disney’s shows and films available in the on-demand catalog. However, you will also discover numerous Hulu originals and plenty of non-Disney content too.

Hulu + Live TV comes with more than 65 channels as standard. You’ll get access to major networks like NBC and CBS, sports content from ESPN and FOX, and other mainstream channels such as CNN, National Geographic, History Channel, and Cartoon Network. You can buy add-ons for more sports and foreign-language content.

Hulu is only available in the US.

Amazon Prime Video

amazon prime video signup

Amazon Prime Video is Netflix’s greatest rival. Like Netflix, Amazon invests heavily in its own original content while simultaneously providing a vast library of content from other networks and studios. Much of the streaming service’s original content has been met with critical acclaim.

The app has a similarly large worldwide reach as Netflix; the only countries where it is unavailable are the usual suspects such as Cuba, China, and Iran.

In order to use Amazon Prime Video, you have to be an Amazon Prime member; there is no way to open a standalone account. The benefits and the cost of Amazon Prime vary from country-to-country. In the US, a Prime subscription costs $12.99/month.


HBO Now is a US-based streaming tv service that’s only available within American borders. The service went live in 2015.

As the name suggests, the service is HBO-centric. Sure, you get access to much of the company’s huge catalog of content, but you won’t be able to watch any non-HBO TV shows or movies. There are also some notable shows missing from the library, even though HBO has the rights. These include Tenacious D, Da Ali G Show, and The Ricky Gervais Show.

Only one package is available. It costs $14.99/month. For that, up to three users can stream simultaneously.

Learn More About Watching TV Online

The apps we’ve discussed above are the best TV streaming services available today.

If you’re still not satisfied and would like to learn about even more options, make sure you also check out our articles listing the best live TV streaming services The Best Live TV Streaming Services for Cord Cutters There are lots of live TV streaming services to choose from. Here are the best live TV streaming services for cord cutters. Read More and the best sites to watch TV on your computer The 15 Best Sites to Watch TV on Your Computer Over the Internet Thanks to streaming, there are now more ways to watch TV online. Here are the best sites to watch TV on your computer. Read More . Or maybe you’re looking for a TV and movie streaming service like Vudu What Is Vudu and How Does It Work? What is Vudu? How does Vudu work? How much does Vudu cost? Here's everything you need to know about streaming on Vudu. Read More .

Related topics: Amazon Prime, Freebies, HBO Now, Hulu, Media Streaming, Netflix.

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  1. masayoshi kakakawa
    December 20, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Fubo TV is a sports-centric service that also offers a number of other channels including local OTA stations (except ABC) -- and more RSNs (regional sports networks) than any other service. Especially for fans of professional baseball, basketball and hockey teams, FuboTV offers what might be the only way to watch regular-season games without cable. There's no ESPN, however, and a convoluted user interface and high price mean it's not the first service we'd choose. Netflix : One of the first streaming TV services and it's so popular that it's become a catch-all term in the same way as "Magic Marker" or "Coke" in the South. Plans start at $13 a month, and it covers thousands of TV shows and movies, including original content like Daredevil and Orange Is the New Black.

  2. Sam Beachy
    August 19, 2019 at 9:45 am

    What about Sling TV? I have had Sling subscriptions on occasion but always seem to run into trouble with slow buffering and response time. Is that why it didn't make the paid list?