2020 Ranking of Best Free Streaming Services

While these are terrible times right now for many reasons, there is one area in the entertainment sector where it never has been this good: movies and TV series available on streaming services.

The sheer quantity and variety of movies, not to mention the accessibility, is fantastic. With most movie theaters closed, we’ve even been treated to a few new movies that would have been released theatrically, going either to VOD or streaming.

Below and linked, Tom’s Guide ranked their picks for the best free streaming services in 2020. Their #1 choice is the severely commercial-ridden, but well known Crackle. #2, is IMDBtv, a much better choice toward the top. Here’s what they have to say:

Some free streaming services offer live channels, others offer on-demand content. A few have both. Our top choice is Crackle, which has on-demand movies, TV shows and originals. Its movie selection is particularly good, with several recognizable titles from recent years. IMDBtv and Tubi are also great on-demand services with extensive lineups of movies and TV shows, plus easy-to-use interfaces that allow you to browse genres and curated collections. Vudu features many newer movies, since it’s got the might of Walmart behind it. Plus, it’s also a digital marketplace, so you can rent or purchase the latest hits.

The best free streaming services | Tom’s Guide

Tom’s Guide Ranked Free Streaming Services

  1. Crackle – Sony
  2. IMDB TV – Amazon
  3. Tubi
  4. Vudu
  5. Roku Channel
  6. Pluto TV
  7. Sling FREE
  8. Xumo

Had to add Tubi and Xumo to my Roku channels list because they weren’t added. I re-added Sling, since I removed that when our free trial ended.

Based on number of commercials shown during movies (lesser commercial interruptions is better), here’s how I’d rank the free services I’m familiar with in the list above:

MovieReviewsbyUs Best FREE Streaming Channels in 2020

  1. Roku Channel
  2. Vudu
  3. IMDB TV
  4. Crackle

Unranked: Tubi, Sling Free, Xumo and Pluto TV

Tom’s Guide didn’t focus on the number of commercial breaks and/or length of these commercials into their ranking, instead evaluating the overall library and quality of movies. I’ll agree that Crackle has a decent list of movies and on that basis only does deserve to be better than last, but what good does that do if the experience trying to watch them is painstaking?

I didn’t rank Xumo, Tubi, Sling Free or Pluto TV because I haven’t watched movies on there — either at all or not enough — to fairly rank them in the listing. Crackle has been awhile, but the last experience was so miserable I was scarred from returning. I’ve watched the most free movies on Roku, Vudu and IMDB TV in that order. Obviously, if I can find something I specifically want to watch on the streaming services we subscribe to, that is my go-to option first.

The streaming services we have paid subscriptions to as of this writing are:

  1. Netflix ($15/month)
  2. Amazon Prime Video ($130 USD annual, included with Prime membership)
  3. Disney+ ($70 annual)
  4. HBO Max ($11.99/month)
  5. DC Universe ($5.99/month, grandfathered special promotional pricing)
  6. Shudder ($5.99/month)
  7. Peacock (included with XFinity internet)

These subscriptions work out to roughly $60/month or a total annual cost of $720 USD. If you factor in the cost of our high speed internet, we still are paying over $150/month for TV, despite cutting the cord from cable a long time ago.

Which ad-supported (free) movie/TV streaming services do you watch most?

6 thoughts on “2020 Ranking of Best Free Streaming Services

  1. With Pluto TV, I usually watch the shows because most of the movies they have I can watch with Vudu free movies or Crackle. I do like Crackle because they have many older shows/movies that you can’t get anywhere else, like Double Dragon. There is a problem where sometimes the episode won’t play. As for ads, sometimes it’s worth the ads in order to see movies & shows you haven’t seen in years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JoeRover – you don’t think Crackle has too many ads? I agree the selection is good to even great sometimes, but the ad volume just kills it for me. I don’t mind one or two ads every 15-30 minutes. Crackle the last time I tried them was showing 5 ads at a time pushing a 90 minute movie into well over 2 1/2 hours. That’s worse than traditional TV ever was with commercials. It’s just a terrible way to try and watch a TV show, even if it’s “FREE”.

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  2. Not a free service, but when we cut the cord we decided on Fubo because it had the stations we wanted most. It’s been 4 months now and I’m pleased. I get Amazon prime for the shipping so the television is a bonus. I have Disney +, CBS All Access, and Netflix already so all in all we save about $50 a month this way without Cable TV.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for mentioning Fubo, Patti. Tell us more about Fubi. Is it like a full blown TV service competitor a la Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu, etc? So it has regular live broadcasts and such? Does it have a streaming library of movies that subscribers can watch commercial free (or no)?

      The logo looks very familiar in the Roku channel store. Think we might have had a free trial to it once upon a time in the past … it looks familiar anyway.

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      1. Okay, finally getting around to looking at the specifics you asked. Yes, it has a full blown TV line-up like Sling TV, YouTube TV etc. I compared them all when we were cutting the cord. We needed certain channels that we watched frequently, one of which was The Weather Channel. Any of the networks that they carry which have shows available for binging are there on demand. I don’t think they have their own library of movies – it looks like just what’s available from the networks they carry. There’s also 500 hours of DVR recording available with the package we have

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  3. I don’t have any free streaming services besides Vudu, which I hardly use anyways. I only have Shudder (because I like horror), Hulu (because I don’t have cable… with Hulu I can watch Fargo as well!) and Netflix (cause why not).

    I’m the film-lover who purchases a Blu-Ray/4K/Steelbook collection to have as keepsakes rather than multiple services. Now that I think about it, I only really use Hulu and Netflix for television series.

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