When you buy a car, you get to take it out for a test drive. So why shouldn’t you be able to take a free cruise through all of the movies, TV shows and documentaries you’re considering paying for on the daily/weekly/monthly? Okay, so one investment is a little larger than the other, but with so many streaming services out there right now, you want to make sure that you’re adding valuable content to your library before committing to them all, right?
These days, with people cutting the cord and relying on more online content than ever, streaming services have evolved to include all kinds of content — including the stuff you get on regular old cable. They’re also injecting tons of cash into high-profile TV series, premiering big-budget films before they even hit theatres, and dropping buzzy documentaries that everyone seems to be talking about. But with so many actual services, you kind of have to pick and choose, otherwise, you can rack up a pretty hefty bill.
Luckily, some of the best streaming services out there also offer free trials. We’ve rounded them up below, so you can start your own personalized fall viewing guide sooner rather than later.
Amazon Prime Video
BEST BUNDLE SERVICE
Prime Video’s 30-day free trial gives you access to Prime shows and select movies and TV series, so you can then decide whether it’s worth coughing up the extra $9 a month to access such titles. Or, you can just subscribe to the overall Amazon Prime service for $13 a month, and get deals on shipping and returns, plus other subscriber perks. From there, you can also customize your Prime Video by subscribing to specialized Prime Channels (like Starz, Acorn TV and MLB.TV), which are easily accessible under the overall Prime Video hub.
Amazon Prime Video
BEST PRESTIGE TV
If you want to see what all of the Ted Lasso, For All Mankind and The Morning Show buzz is all about for yourself, you can access AppleTV+ content free for seven days or for an entire year when you buy a new Apple device. If you’re in the market for a new phone or tablet that may be the way to go. Sure, the content library of originals isn’t as expansive as some of the other services, however, Apple seems to be injecting a ton of cash into the shows that it is producing, so you know the overall quality is there.
Sign up for AppleTV+ Now
Discover the plethora of reality shows and lifestyle content that this newer streamer offers for free during a seven-day trial. Otherwise, you can fork over $5 a month for content with advertisements, or $7 a month for the ad-free fare. Not too shabby when you consider the service offers programming from Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, HGTV, ID, A&E, History, Lifetime, OWN, Travel, Science Network and The Dodo, right?
If you want unlimited access to everything Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic, you’re going to want to subscribe to Disney+. The streaming service used to offer a free seven-day trial but has since stopped that, and now only offers monthly subscriptions of $7.99 or $79.99 per year. However, some other services like Verizon and Amazon Music have inked deals with the Mouse House to give away free trials with the purchase of their own products and services.
Sign up for Disney+ Now
FOR SPORTS LOVERS
If you want a service that will provide you with a plethora of live games, ESPN+ is where it’s at. The streamer offers MLB, NHL, NBA and MLS games throughout the year, as well as college sports, golf, boxing, tennis and pretty much every other sport you can think of as well. Unfortunately, it no longer offers a free trial and users need to pay $5.99 a month or $49.99 per year, but Verizon does offer some deals so you can still snag a free ESPN+ subscription that way.
Sign up for ESPN+ Now
FOR MOVIE BUFFS
The service wrapped its seven-day free trial in the US following the release of Wonder Woman 1984, however, if you currently have an HBO Now subscription you may be able to still get an HBO Max plan for free. You can also snag a free subscription if you buy into Cricket Wireless’s unlimited monthly plan.
Otherwise, HBO Max recently departed Amazon Prime Video, where many users were accessing it. The service is expecting to lose viewers as a result, so a premium subscription is currently 50% off. Grab one if you love big-budget movies and want to watch Warner Bros. titles like Dune and The Suicide Squad from the comfort of your own home.
Sign Up for HBO Max
FOR GENERAL ENTERTAINMENT LOVERS
Even though this streamer has been around longer than some of the newer players, it still offers a free 30-day trial for its standard service, as well as a seven-day free trial of its Hulu and Live TV package. Once you’re in there you can play around and see which one works best for you, but either way, you’ll be able to access some of the service’s original series, including The Handmaid’s Tale, Nine Perfect Strangers and The Premise.
Sign up for Hulu Now
BEST GENERAL ENTERTAINMENT
As of October 2020, the days of Netflix offering up its content for free are over. The thinking is that the service has been around since 2013 and is one of the oldest players on the block, so at this point everyone who is going to grab a subscription probably already has. If you are looking into a new subscription, the streamer promises that you can cancel anytime, but you still need to cough up that original $8.99 per month for a basic plan.
Sign up for Netflix Now
NFL Game Pass
BEST FOR FOOTBALL LOVERS
If you want access to all of the season’s games, live pre-season offerings, full replays and live game audio, this streaming service is a dream. Football lovers typically get it all for a one-time payment of $100 (or four installments of $30), but you can definitely still take it for a spin-free with the seven-day trial.
Sign up for NFL Game Pass Now
BEST FOR YOUR OLD SCHOOL VIEWERS
If you’re into the CBS crime dramas and reality shows, Paramount Plus is basically the dream. The service also offers edgier content that used to live under All-Access, like The Good Fight or Women Who Kill, along with episodes and movies from BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount Pictures, making it a pretty robust service. You can check it all out with a free seven-day trial, and then switch to a monthly plan for either $4.99 a month (ads) or $9.99 a month (ad-free).
Sign up for Paramount+ Now
MOST COMFORT FARE
Here’s the good news: Peacock is always free since it’s an ad-supported streaming service. However, if you love the nostalgic reboots (Saved By the Bell!), gripping dramas (Dr. Death!) and all the trashy reality TV you can handle (hello, Housewives!) and want to watch it all ad-free, you can upgrade your subscription at $5 a month.
Sign up for Peacock Now
MOST USER-GENERATED CONTENT
If you’re into streaming videos and music but never quite got into the YouTube Red experience, you can now sign up for a free three-month trial before December 31. That way you can see whether you want to stick around for the YouTube Originals and YouTube Music Premium on the regular.