What the Tech? How to Find TV, Totally Free
When we first decided to cut the cable/satellite cord last summer, it was to save money. Then we added YouTube TV, Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+, Peacock, and Hulu. Not to mention Amazon Prime for $120 a year but I won’t include that in our cost since I mainly subscribe for free shipping and specials.
Still, that’s a lot of money each month. Over $100 by the time you include taxes and fees. I started thinking, what if I cut out all of the paying services? What could we watch? Turns out, there’s plenty of free options.
The first is the local TV channels. All of the affiliates broadcast their signals in HD through the air, all you need is an antenna (provided you live close enough to the stations’ transmitters. That gives me all of the major networks plus the 2 or 3 other channels they broadcast. I didn’t even purchase a new antenna but dug one up from the closet that I’ve had for 30 years. Any old antenna will do.
Then I started adding some of the free streaming services.
Pluto TV is one of my favorites. It has 2,420 movies and 569 TV shows for free and some of them are on Netflix. “The Walking Dead”, “The Americans” are there along with “The Big Short”, “The Silence of the Lambs”, and nearly every James Bond movie ever made. There are live TV channels and thousands of on-demand movies and shows. You can watch Pluto TV using an
Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, or a Roku device.
You can also watch it on your computer or with the Pluto app. Most smart TVs also include it in their setups.
Tubi TV is even better in terms of the quality of movies and shows. It currently offers 19,442 movies for free including “The Hunger Games”, “Good Will Hunting”, “Her”, and the very good movie “Wind River”. A look through the lineup found far more movies with a 9.0 IMDB rating. Pluto had only 1. Tubi is also available on most devices and you can watch on a phone or tablet
IMDB TV is available on an Amazon Fire device (no Roku) and while the choices aren’t as broad as with Tubi and Pluto, you may still find some things to watch. In fact, I was surprised to find recent Emmy winner “Schitt$ Creek”, along with “MadMen”, “Lost” and several old Tom Cruise movies. I also found old classic TV shows and a few movies I wouldn’t mind watching again.
If you own a Roku one of the best services is the free Roku Channel. It offers both on-demand and live programming. The Roku Channel currently has 1,664 titles including “Halloween”, “Donnie Darko”, “Seabiscuit”, and classic TV shows “Batman”, “3rd Rock from the Sun”, “I Dream of Jeannie”, and “Bonanza”.
YouTube also has a free video option for movies and TV shows. Currently, there are 283 titles. The best movies are primarily from the 80s and 90s. “Thelma & Louise”, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, “A Fish Called Wanda”, and “Meatballs” are at the top of YouTube’s listings.
How are all these titles free? Advertisements of course. You’ll need to sit through commercials. But hey, it’s all free.