20 Popular Streaming Services With A Free Trial

The Spool Staff
November 24, 2023

The good news is that almost all streaming services offer free trials. It makes sense, after all, to try out something first before committing to it. Among major streaming services, the only exceptions to this almost-rule are Netflix, Max, and Disney+, though even then, there are workarounds—you can access them via bundles, for instance, on platforms like YouTube TV that do offer free trials.

The standard duration of these trials is seven days, but there are some that (miraculously) go beyond one week. Amazon Prime and Hulu are two of a handful that still offer 30-day free trials.

Within this period, you can test various features and see if they’re up to scratch. You can check whether you can actually watch on multiple devices, for example, or download titles offline. But best of all, you can watch all the movies and TV shows the platform has to offer and see if it’s a good fit for you. Now’s as good a time as any to see if Mubi and Criterion are all they’re hyped up to be, or whether you can finally cut the cord and jump to live TV with YouTube TV or DirecTV Stream.

Below, for your consideration, we round up all the popular streaming services that offer a free trial:

DirecTV Stream

DirecTV Stream is a streaming service that offers everything from live TV, local channels, on-demand films, sports packages, and even premium cable networks like HBO and Starz for an additional fee. Its plans, which start at $70/month, are on the pricier side of live TV, but that’s because it offers unlimited DVR and streams on top of at least 75 channels, depending on the plan you pick.

Price: $69.99/month

Free Trial: 5 days

Channels: A&E, ABC, AMC, Animal Planet, AXS TV, Baby First TV, BBC America, BET, Bloomberg Television, Boomerang, Bravo, C-SPAN, C-SPAN2, Cartoon Network, CMT, CNBC, CNN, CNN en Espanol, Comedy Central, Discovery, Disney Channel, Disney Jr, Disney XD, E! Entertainment, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, Food Network, FOX, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, Fox Sports 1, Freeform, FX, FXX, Galavision, Gem Shopping Network, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, HGTV, History, HLN, Home Shopping Network, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, MotorTrend, MSNBC, MTV, MTV2, One America News, Ovation, Paramount Network, PBS, QVC, QVC2, ReelzChannel, REVOLT, RFD-TV, RSNs, SundanceTV, SYFY, TBS, TCM, TeenNick, TLC, TNT, truTV, TV Land, Univision East, USA Network, VH1, Vice, WE tv

Philo

At just $25/month, Philo is one of the most affordable on-demand and live TV streaming services out there. It boasts over 70 live channels, including AMC, Lifetime, and Paramount Network, 70,000 movies, and unlimited DVR. If you ever find Philo’s base package wanting, the service also allows you to stack add-ons like Starz and MGM+ to your plan.

Price: $25/month

Channels: A&E, AccuWeather Network, AMC, American Heroes Channel, Animal Planet, aspireTV, AXS TV, BBC America, BBC World News, BET, BET Her, Catchy Comedy, Cheddar News, Cleo TV, CMT, Comedy Central, Cooking Channel, Crackle, Crime-Investigation, Deck the Hallmark, Destination America, Discovery Channel, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, FETV, Food Network, FYI, Game Show Network, GetTV, Great American Family, Great American Living, Gusto TV, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Heroes & Icons, HGTV, History, IFC, INSP, Investigation Discovery, KIN, Law&Crime, Lifetime, LMN, Logo, Magnolia Network, MeTV, Motor Trend, MTV, MTV Classic, MTV Live, MTV2, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Oprah Winfrey Network, Paramount Network, PlayersTV, pocket.watch, Pop TV, RetroCrush, REVOLT, Revry, Ryan and Friends, Science Channel, Smithsonian Channel, Start TV, Story Television, Sundance TV, Tastemade, TeenNick, TLC, Travel Channel, TV Land, TV One, UPtv, Vevo 80s, Vevo 90s, Vevo Country, Vevo Hip-Hop, Vevo Holiday, Vevo Pop, VH1, Vice, WE tv

YouTube TV

Often dubbed as the best cordless replacement to cable, YouTube TV is a live TV streaming platform that gives you access to more than 100 channels, sporting events, local channels, unlimited DVR space, and up to three simultaneous streams. But what really gives YouTube TV its edge is customization; depending on your needs, you can easily add premium channels like HBO, sports channels like NFL Redzone, and Spanish channels like Unimas to your preferred lineup.

Price: $72.99/month

Free Trial: 7 days

Channels: ABC, ABC News, ACCN, Adult Swim, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, BBC World News, BET, BET Her, Big Ten Network, Bounce, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CBS, CBS local channels, CBS Sports Network, Cheddar, Cheddar News, CMT, CNBC, CNBC World, CNN, Comedy Central, Comedy TV, Comet, Court TV, Cozi TV, Dabl, Discovery, Disney, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Docurama, Dove Channel, E!, ESPN, ESPN U, ESPN2, ESPNews, Food Network, FOX, Fox Business, Fox News, FOX SOUL, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Fox Weather, Freeform, FX, FXM, FXX, Galavision, Game Show Network, Get TV, Golf Channel, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, HGTV, HLN, HSN, IFC, Investigation Discovery, ION, Justice Central TV, LAFC Channel, Law & Crime, Live Now, Local Now, Localish, MotorTrend, MSNBC, MTV, MTV 2, MTV Classic, My TV, Nat Geo Wild, National Geographic, NBA TV, NBC, NBC local channels, NBC News Now, NBC Universo, NBCLX, NBCSN, NECN, News Nation, NFL Network, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Orlando City Channel, OWN, Oxygen, Oxygen True Crime, Paramount, PBS, PBS Kids, PBS local channels, PC Mag, Pop, QVC, Recipe.TV, Scripps News, SEC Network, Smithsonian Channel, SNY, Start TV, Sundance TV, SYFY, Tastemade, TBS, Teen Nick, TeleHit, Telemundo local channels, The CW, The Great Courses, The Weather Channel, TLC, TNT, Travel Channel, Tru TV, Turner Classic Movies, TV Land, TYT, Unimas, Unimas local channels, Universal Kids, Univision, Univision local channels, USA, VH1, WE tv

Topic

Fans of crime and mysteries will find much to like in Topic, an ad-free on-demand streaming service that sources some of the best of the genre, including Nordic noir and chilly British thrillers, from around the world. To help you broaden your taste, the service also puts out helpful guides and newsletters that recommend which shows and movies to watch. Plans start at $6/month or $60/year.

Price: $5.99/month

Sundance Now

Sundance Now is an on-demand streaming service that offers international thrillers and prestige dramas from around the world. It's owned by AMC Networks, which operates other noteworthy networks like IFC and Shudder, so you'll often see crossovers from these studios. It updates its catalog weekly, and a subscription costs a reasonable $7/month, which you can cancel anytime and try first with a 7-day free trial.

Price: $6.99/month

Spectrum TV Choice

Exclusive to Spectrum Internet customers, Spectrum TV Choice is a live TV plan that lets you build your channel lineup of choice. For an extra $30/month, you get to pick 15 channels ranging from Showtime and Max to ESPN and the NFL Network to CNN and Nickelodeon. For an extra fee, you also get to add local channels on top of that. This plan, perfect for those who prefer to customize, also has DVR and multiple streams.

Price: $30/month

Shudder

Shudder offers no-frills access to pure horror cinema, which it both licenses from other studios and produces in-house (notable originals include When Evil Lurks and Perpetrator). The streaming service is easy to use and isn't cluttered with ads, plus it makes sure to add a new title every week and curates its selections without the help of an algorithm. Plans start at $6/month, which you can try with a 7-day free trial.

Price: $5.99/month

Paramount+

Paramount+ is an on-demand streaming service packed with original series like the Star Trek reboots, Billions, Yellowstone, and Fraiser, blockbusters like Top Gun and Transformers, and live sports from CBS. The ad-supported plan costs $6/month, while the ad-free plan costs $12/month. The latter includes offline downloads, your local CBS station, and the entirety of Showtime, which is home to fan favorites like Yellowjackets and The Curse.

Price: $5.99/month

Channels: CBS local channels, CBS Sports HQ, CBSN, ET Live

Now TV

Available exclusively to Xfinity customers, Now TV is a live and on-demand streaming service that comes with more than 40 live channels and a subscription to Peacock Premium at no additional cost. You can watch AMC, The Food Network, and Discovery on Now TV, and a wide array of NBC sitcoms, Sunday Night Football, and the Premiere League on Peacock. It costs $20/month (on top of a $20 internet subscription) and can be viewed simultaneously on up to three devices.

Price: $40/month

Channels: A&E, Afro, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, BBC News, Comedy TV, Cooking Channel, Crime+Investigation, Discovery Channel, Discovery Life Channel, Food Network, FYI, GetTV, Great American Family, Great American Living, GSN, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, HGTV, History Channel, ID, IFC, Justice Central TV, Lifetime, LMN, Magnolia Network, Military History Channel, MotorTrend, OWN, Pursuit, Recipe.TV, Science Channel, Sony Movies, Sundance Channel, The Weather Channel, TLC, Travel Channel, Vice, WEtv

Mubi

Well-known to film lovers around the globe, Mubi is a highly curated streaming service that offers a selection of indie, international, cult-favorite, and classic films, which it rotates and updates every day. Every week, it also recommends a new film for you to enjoy. A subscription costs $10.99/month, but you can also pay for a discounted price ($95.88) with an annual plan.

Price: $10.99/month

MGM+

MGM+ is an on-demand streaming service that offers a good mix of recent Hollywood blockbusters, original series, and perhaps best of all, classic titles from the studio's heyday in the 20th century. Think The Apartment, To Catch a Thief, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Fatal Attraction, and more. A subscription is priced at $6/month, and it's available both as a standalone app and as an add-on to most cord-cutting services including Hulu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube TV.

Price: $5.99/month

Magnolia Selects

The streaming arm of famed production studio Magnolia Pictures, Magnolia Selects is a movie-streaming service that gives you unlimited access to the studio's films, which range from award-winning indies, heartwarming comedies, eye-opening documentaries, and more. A subscription costs $5/month, and you can access it as a standalone app or as an add-on to Amazon Prime and other streaming services.

Price: $4.99/month

Hulu

Hulu may be on the cheaper side at just $7.99/month, but the on-demand streaming service boasts an ever-growing catalog of original series like The Handmaid’s Tale, primetime hits like Modern Family, and BBC imports like Killing Eve. It’s also where you’ll find FX’s critically acclaimed titles like Atlanta, Fargo, and Reservation Dogs. Hulu runs on ads, but if you can’t stand commercials, you can go ad-free for $17.99/month.

Price: $7.99/month

Funimation

Specializing in all things anime, Funimation is an ad-free on-demand streaming service that features the latest films and TV shows out of Japan, with comprehensive dubs and subs for English-speaking viewers. A subscription costs $7.99/month, and you can pay an extra $2 for more simultaneous streams and offline downloads. Funimation was bought by competitor Crunchyroll in 2020, but to date, it continues to stream and serve customers as usual.

Price: $7.99/month

Fubo

Designed for the ultimate sports fan, Fubo is an on-demand and live TV service that streams games from multiple leagues including the NFL, NBA, MLB, and the Premier League. You can get up to 215 live channels on your lineup, which includes coverage on RSNs and local stations, though you might have to pay extra if you want premium entertainment channels like Starz and Showtime.

Price: $2/month

Channels: A&E, ABC, ABC News Live, ACC Network, AccuWeather, Animal Planet, Bein Sports, Bein Sports 4, Bein sports 5, Bein Sports 6, Bein Sports 7, Bein Sports 8, Big Ten Network, Bravo, CBS, CBS Sports Network, CBSN, Cheddar, CMT, CNBC, Comedy Central, Comet, Cozi TV, Discovery Channel, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E!, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, Estrella TV, Food Network, FOX, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Freeform, fubo Sports Network, FX, FXX, FYI, Galavision, GetTV, Golf Channel, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, HGTV, History, IFC, Investigation Discovery, Local Now, MotorTrend, MSNBC, MTV, National Geographic, NBC, NBCLX, NBCSN, Newsmax, NFL Network, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, Olympic Channel, OWN, Oxygen, Paramount Network, Pop, RSNs, SEC Network, Smithsonian Channel, SYFY, Tastemade, Telemundo, The CW, The Weather Channel, TLC, Travel Channel, TUDN, TUDNxtra1, TUDNxtra10, TUDNxtra11, TUDNxtra2, TUDNxtra3, TUDNxtra4, TUDNxtra5, TUDNxtra6, TUDNxtra7, TUDNxtra8, TUDNxtra9, TV Land, TVG, Unimas, Universal Kids, Universo, Univision, USA, VH1, Vice, WE tv, WGN America

Frndly TV

True to its name, Frndly TV is an on-demand and live TV streaming service that’s friendly both on the wallet and for viewers of all ages. At just $7/month, it offers more than 40 live channels, including The History Channel, Hallmark, and The Weather Channel, plus DVR and lookback features and multiple profile options. It’s ideal for those looking for a wholesome, family-friendly streaming experience.

Price: $6.99/month

Channels: A&E, AccuWeather, BabyFirst, BYUtv, Circle, Crime-Investigation, Curiosity Channel, DECADES, Dove Channel, Dove Family Movies, Dove Kids, FETV, FMC, FYI, Game Show Netowrk, GetTV, Great American Family, Great American Living, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Heartland TV, Heroes & Icons, History, INSP, Justice Central TV, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network, Local Now, MeTV, Military HISTORY, Outdoor Channel, Pixel, QVC, Recipe.TV, Sportsman Channel, Start TV, Story Television, The History Channel, The Weather Channel, UPtv, Vice, World Fishing Network

Discovery+

If reality shows and documentaries are a staple in your household, then Discovery+ might be a good addition to your streaming lineup. Aside from originals, the streaming service offers content from channels like CNN, TLC, The Food Network, HGTV, and Animal Planet, to name a few, while some of the titles you can expect to see are Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unkown, 90 Day Fiance, and MILF Manor. It has two plans, one costing $5/month and another ad-free plan that costs $9/month.

Price: $4.99/month

Criterion

Criterion is a movie-streaming service that features some of the most celebrated, critically acclaimed, and hard-to-find films from around the world. More than just being the streaming arm of The Criterion Collection, however, the service also offers exclusive premieres, collections, masterclasses, director commentaries, and interviews, making sure to cater to its cinephile subscriber base. A subscription costs $10.99 monthly or $99.99 yearly.

Price: $10.99/month

Britbox

Home to some of the best telly Great Britain has to offer, Britbox is an ad-free on-demand streaming service that's compatible with most media players, including smartphones and TVs. For $9/month, you get access to BBC shows like Luther, Sherwood, and Downton Abbey, as well as ITV gems like Stonehouse, Channel 4 classics like The IT Crowd, and a host of Britbox-produced documentaries, mysteries, dramas, and sitcoms.

Price: $8.99/month

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ is an ad-free and on-demand streaming service whose library may seem small compared to other streamers, but you can be sure that every single title it has is produced in-house. This covers critically acclaimed films like Killers of the Flower Moon, as well as dramas, sitcoms, kids' shows, and more recently, Friday Night Baseball. It costs $9.99/month and can be played on most devices except Android phones and tablets.

Price: $9.99/month

Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime is an on-demand streaming service that doubles as a membership to Amazon's shopping platform. That means aside from getting the latest Prime titles, which are a good mix of original and licensed films and TV shows (both from Hollywood and around the world), you also get access to free shipping, same-day delivery, and seasonal discounts. The subscription costs $15/month, but if you're only interested in Prime as a standalone streaming service, you'll just have to pay $9/month.

Price: $14.99/month