Want a year of free streaming services? This guide has you covered
Compared to old-school linear cable, streaming TV can be amazingly convenient—except when it comes to deciding which service to sign up for. There are now dozens of them, many catering to unusual niches.
Luckily, many of those services have free trial periods to let you sample them, but there’s a catch. To get those free trials, you have to share your credit card info, and you’ll get charged if you don’t cancel in time. So Reviews.org, which reviews Internet and TV services, put together a No-Cost Streaming Calendar. Import it to your Google Calendar, and it’ll remind you exactly when to sign up for, then cancel, each trial service to avoid being charged.
There are so many free trials that Reviews.org found you can get free streaming for a whole year just by stringing them together.
The calendar even schedules some trials to match the season. In late October, you’ll get back-to-back tastes of horror-focused streamers Screambox and Shudder. And from Dec. 20-27, you’ve got Hallmark Movies Now—the perfect time to sample some inoffensive holiday-themed weepies.
You’ll also get to know some services you may never have heard of. FrndlyTV, anyone? Broadway HD? Philo? History Vault? Sure, why not—it’s free.
There are a couple of shortcomings to the schedule. The trials don’t seem tied to upcoming releases, but catching a hot new movie or show for free is one of the smoothest uses of a free trial. Also oddly vexing is the inclusion of Quibi, which is technically a streaming service, but only for your phone. (Though this may be more a problem with Quibi than with the guide.)
And even with automatic reminders, juggling all of these free services is a bit of work. Many of the trials only last a week, so you’ll spend a few minutes most weeks signing up for and canceling services.
As the Reviews.org team points out, this isn’t about gaming the system. If you test a service you really like, you might find yourself inclined to go ahead and pay for it, which is exactly what the free trials are there for.
Reviews.org’s No-Cost Streaming calendar kicks off Sept. 1, with a week of NBC Peacock Premium.