There are many great streaming channels that are free (except for the burden of having to watch commercials). Here are some of the best…
• For current TV shows: Yahoo! View provides a few recent episodes of dozens of current network TV series (though not CBS shows). Examples: Modern Family…Scandal…The Tonight Show. It has a small number of movies and basic cable shows, too. Note: Typically, you would watch Yahoo! View content on a PC or laptop or directly connect the PC or laptop to your TV.
• For TV shows from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s: Shout! Factory TV offers classic series such as Car 54, Where Are You?…Route 66…and The Saint. It has films, too, but they’re mostly low-budget drive-in-movie fare. Shout! Factory can be streamed on a PC, laptop or through the Pluto TV app.
• For free movies without commercial interruptions: Kanopy offers more than 30,000 movies with no subscription fees or commercials. It has especially strong classic movies, art house films and documentaries. Examples: To Catch a Thief…The 400 Blows…Seven Samurai. To use it, you need to have a library card from one of the many libraries that offer Kanopy.
Alternative: A rival service called Hoopla also offers free digital downloads of movies with no commercial breaks to cardholders of certain libraries. Its selection is less extensive than Kanopy’s.
• For free movies from a pay movie service: Vudu is best known as one of many services that rents and sells digital downloads of recent films on a per-film basis. But Vudu now also has a few dozen mainstream movies available for free at any given time—click the “Movies On Us” tab on its website. These are not the most recent releases, but there’s often something worth watching. Recent examples: Black Mass…Mystic Pizza…City Slickers.
• For more free movies: Tubi TV has partnered with movie studios Lionsgate, Paramount and MGM to offer some relatively recent mainstream films. Recent example: Misconduct (a 2016 Al Pacino/Anthony Hopkins thriller). Tubi offers TV shows, too, though not many popular shows.
• For science fiction: Comet offers classic sci-fi shows such as The Outer Limits and Stargate SG-1. It has sci-fi movies, too, but they’re mainly drive-in-quality films.
• For a TV-like flip-through-the-channels experience: Pluto TV organizes a wide range of streaming content into a 100-plus channel grid that you can navigate as you would a cable provider’s onscreen guide. Most of Pluto’s content runs on a schedule as it does on conventional TV—but there also is an extensive on-demand menu of movies and a small selection of TV shows you can view if you’re using the app.
• For national and world news: CBSN is a 24-hour streaming news network offered by CBS. Alternative: Bloomberg Television is a 24-hour global news channel that’s free if you watch through Pluto TV.
• For local news: NewsON streams local newscasts from more than 200 stations in more than 120 US markets. Watch live or up to 48 hours after a newscast airs.