Close this search box.

Counting the Cost of the Streaming Revolution: Is it Possible to Watch TV for Free Anymore? 

Table of Contents

Get up to 50% off now

Become a partner with CyberPanel and gain access to an incredible offer of up to 50% off on CyberPanel add-ons. Plus, as a partner, you’ll also benefit from comprehensive marketing support and a whole lot more. Join us on this journey today!

We’re living in an age where streaming services are taking over the world of entertainment. As more rivals enter the market, it can cost TV watchers more than $100 to view the eight biggest players’ ad-free plans. Is there a free alternative when it comes to watching our favorite shows online? Following a series of price hikes for 2024, Apple TV+, Disney+, and Hulu have raised their prices by $3 respectively, pushing the total outlay required to view shows on demand to new heights. At the time of writing, the costs of the eight largest streaming platforms and their monthly ad-free plans are as follows: 

  • Hulu: $17.99Max: $15.99Netflix (Standard): $15.49Disney+: $13.99Peacock Premium: $11.99Apple TV+: $9.99Prime Video: $8.99

This total cost of accessing major streaming services has brought online TV in line with traditional cable, which had an average monthly cost of $109, according to a leading research group in 2021. With each streaming service boasting its own flagship shows, movies, and other live viewing and sports, it’s becoming harder and harder for consumers to keep the total costs of embracing the streaming revolution down. The streaming revolution is likely to become more fierce as rival firms battle it out for a greater audience share. While an increasingly competitive landscape might help the pockets of viewers in the long term as lower pricing kicks into gear to woo consumers, for now, we’re having to pick and choose our favorite streaming services to save money. So, is there a way to continue watching our favorite TV shows, movies, and sporting events without having to pay heavy amounts of money for the privilege? Let’s look at some of the best ways to enjoy quality television without having to pay money for multiple streaming subscriptions: 

Tap into the World of Free Streaming Services

Although the costs of buying streaming subscriptions from leading services can seem astronomical, there’s a great range of apps that allow users to stream content at absolutely no cost whatsoever. While you might be thinking that free streaming platforms are unlikely to feature much quality in the shows and movies within their libraries, you might be surprised by the selection available to you. At a cost of $0, it’s certainly worth giving more free platforms a whirl as paid-for services continue to become more expensive, and some leading examples of free streaming apps include: 

  1. Freevee

Freevee is certainly an excellent choice when it comes to free streaming services, and with some leading movie titles alongside refreshing original content arriving on the platform, there’s plenty of reason to lighten your subscription roster with a powerful free player. The Amazon-owned app is available as a download on Android, iOS, Apple TV, Google TV, Fire TV, and the Sony PlayStation 4 & 5. In addition to some big-name series like Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Mad Men, Freevee also features some live TV streaming services. Recently, Freevee’s movie roster included the likes of Deadpool, The Invisible man, Spy, and Emma, among other impressive names. 

  1. Roku Channel

The Roku Channel app comes as standard with any Roku TV or device, but can also be accessed on iOS and Android app stores as well as via the web. With no subscriptions required to access the Roku Channel, it’s easy to get set up and watching shows and movies. The great thing about the Roku Channel is that it features the Roku Live TV Guide, and is a great way of accessing a good range of channels via the app. 

Tech Delivered to Your Inbox!

Get exclusive access to all things tech-savvy, and be the first to receive 

the latest updates directly in your inbox.

  1. Pluto TV

Owned by Viacom, Pluto TV offers another healthy selection of on-demand movies and shows. However, where this service really excels is in its range of live TV streaming services. Emulating the cable experience, Pluto TV allows viewers to browse live channels in a grid, and helps to provide a platform for watching shows as they air. For on-demand streaming, lifestyle shows like MTV’s Jersey Shore and VH1’s I Love Reality rank among some of the most renowned titles available on the platform. While Pluto TV features ads as a core principle of its revenue stream, breaks in between programming aren’t longer than typical cable shows. 

  1. Tubi

Unlike the other options on this list, Tubi doesn’t offer live TV within its services but instead focuses on a vast on-demand library of over 20,000 movies and shows. Owned by Fox Corporation, Tubi has managed to gain key partnerships with over 250 providers including the likes of Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate, which has made leading Hollywood titles like Kill Bill, The Terminator, and Foxcatcher arrive on the platform in recent years. With this in mind, Tubi serves as a free form of Netflix. Although you’re unlikely to see the latest blockbusters land in Tubi’s library, there’s no shortage of great TV and cinema from yesteryear available within the platform’s expansive and easy-to-use library. 

Broaden Your Viewing Experience With a VPN

Another excellent way to access more free content online is to take your existing streaming services further by using a virtual private network (VPN). The great thing about VPNs is that they offer a wide range of benefits to users. Not only are VPN services secured through end-to-end encryption through private servers around the world, but the anonymous browsing functionality means that it’s possible to overcome geo-fencing restrictions within your existing online streaming services. This means that you can gain more free access to wider libraries of content on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, or any of the aforementioned free streaming platforms that can be downloaded by shifting your VPN location to your chosen region. Additionally, VPN services can be completely free, and readily available on on-demand television platforms like Amazon’s Firestick. As Fire Stick Tricks highlights, free Firestick VPN services are readily available within the platform’s app store, and leading examples like Hotspot Shield, Windscribe, and Hide.me can all be utilized to broaden your viewing experience. There are many options for VPN services for browser-based television viewers too, but it’s important to do some research to ensure that your free virtual private networks are as secure as they claim to be. Alternatively, there are main premium VPN providers that can still offer great value for money in accessing more free TV content. 

Tune Into Over-The-Air (OTA) TV

In the age of cable and satellite television, you could be mistaken for believing that every TV channel can only be accessed with a subscription. However, this isn’t the case, and with the help of an over-the-air (OTA) TV antenna, you can still view a good range of channels live whenever you want for free. OTA TV offers high-definition television broadcasting from local television stations in your area, and all you need to do is have a working TV and digital antenna. Live TV can even be recorded for later with an OTA DVR. If you’re thinking of becoming more measured with how you consume your TV content, embracing over-the-air television can help you gain access to local news, nationally televised sports, and primetime shows on networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. 

Utilize Internet Protocol Television (IPTV)

It’s also important to highlight IPTV as a great resource for free viewing via an internet connection. Unlike cable and satellite, IPTV works via a dedicated broadcasting infrastructure to transmit broadcasts in the form of packets to end-user devices. One important consideration to take into account is the legality surrounding IPTV. While it’s perfectly legal to stream IPTV content in the United States, this is only based on broadcasters having the correct licensing agreements with content providers. With this in mind, there are many ‘pirate’ IPTV services out there that offer free streaming of on-demand content such as major sporting events on an illegal basis. The distribution of copyrighted material without permission is a violation of copyright laws and could lead to severe punishment for both providers and viewers alike. For the most part, internet protocol television is a wholly free and legal way for viewers to access content online without having to pay heavy subscription fees to providers. 

Will the Future of Streaming be Cost-Effective?

We’ve explored a wide range of alternative options to stream shows, movies, and live television for free. While these apps and platforms are great for offering great entertainment at no extra cost, avid viewers may still find themselves craving more premium-quality titles and recent releases.The strong competition among streaming firms means that many have introduced lower-cost ad-based services in a bid to retain customers, and in the future, we may see more competitive pricing come into play as the battle to become a market leader heats up. For many TV enthusiasts, finding a good blend between paid-for services and free content could be the answer. There’s no doubt that the likes of Freevee, Roku, Pluto, and Tubi offer some impressive content, so adding these alongside a VPN to unlock a greater range of services can be an excellent way of retaining your access to entertainment while lowering your bills by removing lesser-used services. Finding a blend that suits your needs can be the key to not only staying entertained, but also finding a sustainable range of streaming services that won’t break the bank in the process. 

Content Team

Unlock Benefits

Become a Community Member

Setting up CyberPanel is a breeze. We’ll handle the installation so you can concentrate on your website. Start now for a secure, stable, and blazing-fast performance!