Free or cheap streaming alternatives to Netflix, Prime and Spotify

Free or cheap streaming alternatives to Netflix, Prime and Spotify

This text is a preview of The Tech Buddy e-newsletter. Enroll right here to get it in your inbox each Tuesday and Friday.

I’ve dangerous information and excellent news.

The dangerous information is that the digital leisure you like is getting dearer.

Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO Max (now known as Max) have raised their costs or cracked down on sharing passwords. Spotify may elevate costs, too. In ye olden days of 2012, e-books have been usually cheaper than arduous copies. Not anymore.

There’s no single rationalization for these climbing costs. However principally, corporations now understand that digital leisure might by no means be as fashionable and as profitable as they hoped.

Their lack of confidence is translating into fewer digital leisure decisions and better costs for you.

The excellent news is that you simply nonetheless have wonderful free or cheap-(ish) leisure to stuff into your eye holes and ear holes. Let me current: the cheapskate’s information to digital leisure.

I like for saving me money and time.

Seek for a specific present or film, and JustWatch lists the place you’ll be able to stream or obtain it and the way a lot every viewing possibility prices. You’ll be able to filter the search outcomes to point out you solely free streaming companies.

When a pal lately raved concerning the British TV collection “Detectorists” — and sure, it’s implausible — JustWatch pointed me to see it on a number of free streaming companies that I’d by no means heard of, together with Plex. There have been commercials, however I didn’t care.

To look at the current Dungeons & Dragons film, I may subscribe to the Paramount Plus streaming service for $9.99 a month with out adverts. Or, JustWatch tells me that I can lease a digital copy for a one-time payment of $5.99 from a bunch of locations together with Apple, Amazon, YouTube or Microsoft. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Publish.)

You received’t discover a low-cost method to watch one thing like the most recent sizzling Hulu collection or Netflix film. You’ll have to subscribe to Hulu or Netflix. (I’m not going to say pirated viewing choices.) And bear in mind that JustWatch has unsuitable data generally.

However principally, JustWatch is a pleasant streaming companion.

Should you’re dying to see “Beef” on Netflix or another buzzy streaming present, you’ll be able to at all times join a free trial and cancel earlier than you’ll want to pay. (See the one tiny win under for a tip.)

I additionally use the trick of rotating by streaming companies one after the other to economize.

Some time in the past, I used to be paying for the BritBox streaming service. Once I bought uninterested in the stuff obtainable there, I canceled and signed up for Hulu. I’ll transfer on to a different subscription quickly.

I hold browser bookmarks of exhibits that I wish to watch on Hulu, Netflix, Max, Amazon Prime and different companies so I do know what to look at when their flip is available in my rotation.

You even have extra choices when you’re not too choosy about what you watch and don’t thoughts commercials.

For lower than $100, a digital TV antenna enables you to watch a bunch of broadcast TV channels in your space — you probably have a TV set.

There are additionally big collections of principally older TV exhibits and flicks on free streaming companies corresponding to Pluto TV, Freevee, Tubi TV and the Roku Channel.

And Kanopy, which is offered to some folks with a public library card or college on-line account, additionally has free streaming films and TV collection.

Are you a Netflix subscriber? My colleague Heather Kelly needs to know the way you are feeling concerning the firm’s crackdown on sharing passwords. Electronic mail her at

I refuse to pay for a streaming music subscription. As an alternative I’ve music playlists saved on the free tiers of YouTube Music and Spotify.

It’s annoying to have my exercise playlist interrupted always with commercials. But it surely’s free.

Chris Richards, the pop music critic for The Washington Publish, advised me that the digital service he makes use of essentially the most with out paying a dime is YouTube — “Not their music service, simply plain previous YouTube, which has a staggering quantity of music. Concert events, user-uploaded loosies, and so on.”

(For the uncool amongst us, “loosies” are sometimes unpolished music recordings that aren’t a part of an official album launch.)

Chris additionally really useful sifting by and the net radio station NTS.

Different choices at no cost streaming music with adverts embody Pandora, iHeart, AccuRadio and Radio Backyard, which helps you to hear native radio from anyplace you select on the planet. There’s additionally the radio radio, if you’re into that.

Learn extra: Free alternate options for watching, studying and listening

I’ve heard from many Tech Buddy readers who’re hooked on the Libby app for borrowing free e-books and audiobooks out of your native public library.

All you want is a card from a public library that works with Libby’s mother or father firm, OverDrive. You’ll be able to usually learn or pay attention in your telephone, on a Kindle or by the web site.

Search right here to see in case your library system or faculty enables you to borrow from Libby.

My Libby app says that I’ve borrowed greater than 250 e-books or audiobooks from the New York Public Library for a grand whole of zero {dollars}.

Hoopla is one other app with library e-books, audiobooks, comics and principally obscure films and TV exhibits. Examine the web site to see in case your native library participates. Hoopla’s app will be janky generally.

As a result of it is a know-how e-newsletter, I’ve targeted totally on digital leisure choices. However when you’re into bodily books, you’ll be able to borrow them from buddies, purchase used copies from Goodwill or an internet site like ThriftBooks or take a look at a neighborhood Little Free Library.

Learn extra from The Publish’s Local weather Coach: Why you should purchase all the things used.

Your flip: Inform me your finest recommendation at no cost or low-cost digital leisure. I’d characteristic your tip in a future version of The Tech Buddy e-newsletter.

I’ve written concerning the downsides of shopping for digital subscriptions in smartphone apps or from Amazon’s digital video channel storefronts corresponding to Fireplace TV.

However one massive benefit is you can see in a single place all of the digital subscriptions that you simply’re paying for and stop ones you don’t need. This consists of free trials that you simply forgot are ending quickly.

Should you purchased a digital subscription in an Apple or Android app or an Amazon storefront, right here’s methods to see what you’re paying for and cancel these subscriptions.

On an iPhone or iPad: Go to the Settings app and faucet your profile identify on the prime.

Faucet on Subscriptions. When you’ve got any lively subscriptions that you simply purchased in an app, you’ll be able to faucet on every one to see when it renews and you’ll select Cancel Subscription on the backside.

Additionally be certain the choice for Renewal Receipts is turned on (you’ll see the colour inexperienced). You’ll get e mail reminders about your subscriptions.

On an Android machine, the directions differ a bit by machine however strive: Go to the Play Retailer app. Faucet the field with three strains within the nook or your profile picture within the higher proper nook.

Faucet “Funds and subscriptions” → “Subscriptions” to see what you’re paying for by your Google account. Should you click on on every subscription, you’ll see a button to cancel.

On Amazon’s web site: Click on on the “accounts and lists” menu on the prime (to the best of the search field), click on on “memberships & subscriptions.”

Once more, you’ll see an inventory of the subscriptions you’ve bought by Amazon to streaming video companies like BET Plus or Starz. You’ll be able to click on cancel.

(Please notice that you simply can’t buy all digital subscriptions from apps or Amazon. Netflix received’t allow you to purchase a subscription in its smartphone apps or from Amazon. You can also’t purchase a Spotify subscription from its Apple app. You must go to or


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