With people spending more time in their homes than ever because of the coronavirus pandemic, a diverse catalog of movies and shows to watch is more important than ever. Thankfully, the "streaming wars" do not have to break the bank, as many platforms are offering prolonged free trials during this period of social distancing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has many people self-isolating in their homes, with only their family, roommates and pets to keep them company. In these stressful times, many are hoping to catch up on movies or shows they have fallen behind on — provided they have the right subscription. However, with many non-essential offices and services shut down, it is not a great time for some people to pick up a new monthly bill — even a small one.
Thankfully, there are work-arounds. Many of the top streaming services have free trials ranging from a week to a month, and some have been extended in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Others are doing bigger promotions, or can be purchased in a bundle with a few different options.
Finally, there is always the option of pausing one subscription and activating another. With a little creative calendar work, it has never been easier to pay for only what you watch from month to month.
Here is a look at the best free streaming deals available right now.
Netflix is still a powerhouse in the streaming industry — despite all its new competitors — and it is going all out during this pandemic. Netflix is offering a 30-day free trial for new customers right now, with no promo code or link required. After that, the service ranges in price from $8.99 to $15.99.
Showtime's streaming service is also doing an extended 30-day free trial right now, again, for new customers only. To sign up, visit show.com and select "start your free trial," then while away your time indoors watching Shameless, Homeland and other hit shows and movies.
CBS All Access
CBS All Access is offering a 7-day free trial, giving fans a look at some new must-see programming. The site is the only place in the U.S. to catch Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Discovery, along with other hit exclusives.
Sling TV has an exciting new option called the "SLING free experience," which allows subscribers to stream several live TV channels online at no cost. This includes news coverage, network shows and even some movies. From there, customers can always upgrade to a full Sling TV subscription for $20 per month. The service can replace a cable package altogether, depending on what you like to watch.
Amazon Prime Video
Prime Video has always been a reliable option for existing Amazon Prime customers, but now new users have a chance to give it a try. The whole service is offering a 30-day free trial, including the digital perks as well as the 2-day shipping on eligible orders. Prime Video originals are on the rise right now, from the superhero series The Boys to The Marvelous Miss Maisel, all available for $12.99 per month or $119 per year after the trial is up.
Hulu is doing a 30-day free trial as well, and it is invaluable for times like these, when you may want to fall back on a comfortable re-watch rather than a new, unfamiliar show. New customers can select "get one month free" on Hulu's homepage now to try it out.
For those without cable, HBO can be one the most enticing networks out there, and now they can give it a test drive online. The channel's streaming option HBO Now has a 7-day free trial, available on its website for new customers. This is a good way to check the offerings out before HBO Max launches in May.
Major sporting events may be canceled during the pandemic, but the streaming services are still alive and well. Fans can get a free NBA League Pass through April 22, a free NFL Game Pass through May 31, and MLB TV for free if they use T-Mobile for their cellular service. For those mourning all the canceled games this year, there is plenty of old footage to watch here.
Now is a great time to be an indie film lover, as you can finally watch the latest without flying across the country for a film festival. Sundance Now has extended its usual 7-day free trial to 30 days, giving fans a huge library of independent films and documentaries to watch throughout their social distancing periods.
To claim the trial, use the promo code SUNDANCENOW30 when signing up.
Horror fans must have Shudder, a streaming service exclusively for thrillers and supernatural cult classics. The service usually costs $4.75 per month, but right now fans can get a 30-day free trial first. Simply use the code SHUTIN while signing up for a new account.