What’s better than watching a great movie over popcorn and drinks right there in your living room? And when these movies are available for free, it doubles the fun. Today, much entertainment stuff is available online, from vintage cinema to recently released films and trending TV shows. However, the problem lies in finding suitable free movie streaming sites.
Where does your favorite streaming service rank? Here’s a list of the best platforms along with their features, prices and standout TV shows and movies.
The best streaming services will help you stream great content without having to pay for cable. But the war to be the best streaming service has gotten ever-more complicated. While we love HBO Max, its June isn’t exactly a strong outing — as Westworld’s return is its biggest debut. That said, we give HBO Max points for improving its apps (including the once-buggy Apple TV HBO Max app).
What are the best streaming services?
The best streaming service overall was Netflix, but HBO Max spent the last year in the driver’s seat by being a great alternative to the movies. And with Netflix raising prices, big red isn’t doing itself any favors — as 2022 began with Netflix losing more subscribers than it gained.
The Tom’s Guide streaming team spends a ton of time on both streaming services, watching movies and shows for ourselves, and to stay abreast of which service deserves its flowers. Throughout the last year, we kept coming back to the same surprising answer. For as much as the HBO Max app has been annoying at times, HBO’s content — and the app’s layout — puts it over the top.
How to choose the best streaming services for you
The good news is that you don’t need to limit yourself to just one. It’s all about picking the number of services that’s right for your budget. And to that matter, all depends on the content you want to consume. While Netflix has a diverse array of content, it’s not appealing to any specific audience — which means it’s probably a service that most people have.
While Netflix is pivoting more to original shows and movies with each passing week, it’s still constantly adding licensed movies and shows. That means it’s not only the place you’ll re-watch The Good Place, but it’s also got its own hits like Glow and Love Is Blind.
Alternatively, do not sleep on HBO Max. Not only does the service get top-tier movies, but it’s continually getting some of the latest and greatest and most prestigious TV shows, such as Watchmen and The Outsider.
How we test streaming services
Chances are you’re already pretty familiar with most of the names on this list, but it’s by no means comprehensive. There are plenty of other ways to stream, and hundreds of other choices out there. As we evaluated these particular streaming options, we kept certain things in mind.
This list is ordered based on the numerical value I assigned to each streaming service in their individual review, which I determined by design (i.e. ease of use across different TV and mobile platforms), features (like 4K HDR, mobile downloads, recommendations, watch lists and number of streams), content (number of shows and quality of originals and back catalogs) and value (price compared to these other factors). Click through to the full reviews for more details.
Testing streaming services is both serious work and good fun. When we test the quality of these platforms, we use them on multiple devices, including game consoles, web browsers and mobile devices. You’d be surprised at how differently Sling TV can look between a Roku, the Apple TV box and Chrome. But there are a lot of other devices, so check out our Nvidia Shield TV vs. Nvidia Shield TV Pro face-off to see the difference between them.
We then compare the services based around the number of simultaneous streams they allow, if they throw in 4K streaming for free (or charge extra), and what other special features they allow. We also keep a strong eye on the new channels coming to each service, with articles such as our Sling Orange vs Blue face-off.
How to use a VPN to stream movies and TV shows safely online
You should consider connecting to a quality VPN before opting to use any of the sites listed in this article. That’s because most of the free streaming sites today are insecure.