It's not so difficult to stay at home during the coronavirus lockdown when there's so much free entertainment to take advantage of. That seems to be the M.O. for many studios and streaming services, as they've made so many shows and movies available to the public for free. That said, they aren't running charities here. These deals won't last forever, so make sure to jump on board before it's too late.
Not all deals are the same. Some, like HBO or Epix, are offering their content for free — without a need to subscribe. Others, like Showtime or Noggin, are offering extended free trials of their services. Whatever the case, there are plenty of ways to binge some excellent titles completely free of charge.
If you like British television, Acorn TV is for you. The service is offering an extended free trial, up to 30 days from its usual seven. Use the FREE30 code when signing up. After the trial, it's $5.99 per month unless canceled.
The Cartoon Network's adult-oriented programming channel, Adult Swim, is offering all episodes of its "Samurai Jack" series for free — to anyone. That's five seasons, and you don't even have to sign up for an account or free trial. You can watch them in the apps or on its website.
The company has made 40 kids' and family shows free to watch, for anyone, not just Prime users. You will need a free Amazon account to watch them.
Apple's premium TV subscription is already easy to get. Buy a new iPhone (or other approved Apple device), and you get a year of Apple TV+ for free. That said, if you don't have free access to the service, Apple has your back. The company just made some of its biggest hits, like Dickinson, The Elephant Queen, Little America, and Servant completely free of charge.
The Epix channel is free until May 2, and you don't even have to sign up for a trial. Just open the TV app, select "EPIX," and watch whatever's there.
Additionally, other premium channels that usually have seven-day trials have been bumped up to one-month trials, including A&E Crime Central, Acorn TV, Arrow Video Channel, CBS All Access, History Channel Vault, Lifetime Movie Club, PBS Living, Showtime, Shudder, Smithsonian Channel Plus, Sundance Now, and Urban Movie Channel. Noggin is even better with a two-month free trial. If you don't see any trial offered at all for the above, it's likely you already had one before.
- Apple TV: iOS
If you've been wanting to watch the new "Star Trek: Picard" show, now's your chance. You can get a one-month free trial now using code GIFT or ALL (trials are usually seven days). With the first code, you have to sign up by April 23, but there's no date attached to the latter. After the trial, it's either $5.99 or $9.99 each month, depending on if you sign up for limited commercials or no commercials.
The anime streaming network always offers a free tier, so long as you're okay with ads. That said, Crunchyroll is now offering a 14-day free trial for its premium tier, which is both ad-free and HD. Its shows also appear on the app within an hour of their original Japanese airing, so you can keep up-to-date on your favorite shows.
The premium movie channel is offering free access until May 2, with no need to subscribe, when you go through Apple's TV app (not via any of Epix's iOS apps). See Spectrum below for another Epix deal.
- Apple TV: iOS
While the film studio doesn't have a monthly subscription service, it is offering one free movie per week on Mondays throughout April on its Facebook page. The catch is that they'll be livestreamed, so you have to hit the couch as soon as they start. The four films for "Focus Movie Mondays" are "Gosford Park" (8 p.m. EDT, April 6), "Moonrise Kingdom" (8 p.m. EDT, April 13), "Mallrats" (8 p.m. EDT, April 20), and "My Summer of Love" (8 p.m. EDT, April 27).
The big-name premium is making its original series Ballers, Barry, Six Feed Under, The Sopranos, Succession, True Blood, Veep, and The Wire all free on its HBO Now and HBO Go platforms, starting April 3. Select documentaries and feature films will also be available for free in the #StayHomeBoxOffice package.
The popular education network is offering its vault subscription service as a one-month free trial ($4.99 a month after) for those who can't or don't want to subscribe via Apple TV Channels.
The famous TV channel is offering its movie club as a one-month free trial ($3.99 a month after) for those who can't or don't want to subscribe via Apple TV Channels.
If you're missing movie theaters, Lionsgate has you covered. Jamie Lee Curtis hosts a weekly event dubbed "Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies," which airs a new Lionsgate movie on both theirs and Fandango's MovieClips' YouTube channels every Friday until May 8. Screenings have already included The Hunger Games (April 17) and Dirty Dancing (April 24), and will conclude with La La Land (May 1) and John Wick (May 8). We're hoping Lionsgate continues this event past the 8th — we love the "movie theater at home" approach.
While the NBA season is on hiatus, the NBA and Turner Sports are giving a free preview of its subscription product (normally $124.99 annually) so that you can watch full-length games and replays of the season so far, as well as an archive of games and other content. The preview lasts until April 22.
Netflix is making 34 of its documentaries free for anyone via a YouTube playlist. The company says it is doing so at the request of teachers, who would normally have access to Netflix's documentaries to screen in the classroom. Now they and anyone who wants to can check out all 34 titles at any time.
The education service is offering a 60-day free trial ($7.99 a month after) for those who can't or don't want to subscribe via Apple TV Channels.
The premium channel is offering a one-month free trial for new subscribers ($10.99 a month after). It's only two weeks free via Apple TV Channels. See Spectrum below for another Showtime deal.
The horror-centric movie-streaming service is offering a 30-day free trial with promo code SHUTIN (free trials are normally seven days).
Sling is offering for a limited time what it calls "Stay in and Sling," a free subscription plan that gets you ABC News Live, Fox News (and some Fox affiliates), as well as "thousands of movies and shows suitable for kids and families." Paid users can also access the content free while the program's up without any changes to their plan.
Sling is also offering something called "Happy Hour Across America" as a part of this promotion. This happy hour is free access to Sling Blue from 5 p.m. to midnight each night. You'll have access to 32 channels free-of-charge, and while Sling Blue normally costs $30 per month, you don't need to enter a credit card to sign up.
With that, you can catch all nine Star Wars movies with this promotion, so long as you tune into TBS. Not a bad deal.
The TV and internet provider is offering both Epix and Showtime for free until April 19 for current Spectrum TV subscribers. You can access the content from the following apps.
Normally, Sundance offers its streaming subscription service at $59.99 a year or $6.99 monthly with a seven-day free trial. Now, that trial's been bumped up to 30 days. Use the SUNDANCENOW30 code when signing up.
T-Mobile is offering customers on its unlimited plans two-months of YouTube Premium for free starting March 24. You need to claim the deal in the T-Mobile Tuesdays app by May 1 to qualify, and you will be charged if you don't cancel before the two-month deadline.
UMC, founded by the creator of BET, is all about feature films, comedy specials, documentaries, music, and entertainment for African American and urban audiences. It usually has a seven-day free trial, but you can get 30 days free with code UMCFREE30. Then, it's $4.99 per month thereafter.
Free deals aren't the only offers worth checking out. Many studios are also making movies available to rent and purchase earlier than scheduled, including movies still in theaters. You'll find titles from studios like NBCUniversal, Paramount, Sony Pictures, and Warner Bros., including films like "Trolls World Tour," "Birds of Prey" and "Sonic: The Hedgehog."
VidAngel doesn't produce its own content. Instead, it's a service that allows you to filter existing movies and TV shows for a more family-friendly experience. You can decide whether to censor profanity, nudity, or other potentially offensive or inappropriate aspects of your favorite shows and movies, at least the ones VidAngel has in its library. As part of a social distancing effort, you can use VidAngel for free until April 30. After that, it returns to its usual $9.99 a month.
YouTube TV is another cable TV alternative, offering over 70 channels. Plans normally start from $49.99 a month, but YouTube TV is currently offering a 14-day free trial. That's two full weeks of your favorite shows, cable-free and free of charge. This deal is especially time-sensitive, however, as it expires April 14.
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Other worthwhile deals to check out: