Streaming services have become a vital part of our entertainment, with more introduced each year to quench our thirst for a wider selection of films and TV shows.
The problem is, with so many streaming services on the market, monthly subscriptions will soon add up. In order to save yourself some money without missing out on great content, here are a few ways to get streaming services for free in the UK.
Free streaming services
Not all streaming services charge a monthly subscription fee. There are plenty of services that offer free content you can access on mobile apps, streaming sticks or on your smart TV.
BBC iPlayer has a tonne of free content including box sets of popular shows such as Line of Duty, to new releases like Killing Eve and What We Do in The Shadows, alongside a number of great films that you don’t want to miss.
You’ll have to be quick though. A lot of the content on iPlayer is only stored for about a week, so be sure to watch your favourite BBC shows as soon as they’re released.
Also, bear in mind that you’ll need to have a TV licence in order to watch all this great free content.
You can watch catch up episodes of the majority of shows that air on Channel 4 via its All 4 app and on its website. You can find all of Channel 4’s original content, as well as classic shows like The Simpsons and The IT Crowd, and a vast collection of films from its Film4 service.
The service is completely free but you will need to register and watch ads in order to view the content. There is an ad-free service, All 4+, which lets you watch 1500 shows without ads for just £3.99 a month with a 14-day free trial.
It’s a similar story with My5, the streaming service for Channel 5. The main difference being that it recently added extra channels from the US service, Pluto TV.
This has added over 200 films to its back catalogue, not all of which are Oscar-winners (see Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus). However, you can always access all your favourite Channel 5 content and stream episodes of shows like Neighbours, Home & Away and Geordie Shore.
And don’t forget about YouTube which boasts an incredibly vast source of entertaining video content. With channels like Artflix and Viewster, you can watch a number of niche films on YouTube for free (and legally).
Before you decide which streaming service you want to subscribe to, it’s helpful to get a good idea of the type of content it has to offer. As such, most streaming services offer some sort of free trial, although there are notable exceptions from Netflix and Disney Plus.
Netflix is the king of content streaming platforms, and as such, decided to discontinue its free trials towards the end of last year. Since Netflix shows are released in their entirety, it would have been easy to sign up for a 30-day, or even 7-day, free trial and watch the entire series and cancel without having to pay a penny.
While it’s hard to imagine anyone who doesn’t already have a Netflix subscription, the streaming service is now offering a sample of free content to tempt new subscribers without giving away everything for free.
Head to netflix.com/gb/watch-free and you can watch the first episode of shows like Stranger Things, Our Planet and When They See Us, as well as full-length Netflix original features such as Sandra Bullock’s horror film Bird Box.
Amazon Prime Video
Since Prime Video is included in an Amazon Prime membership, you can access its massive collection of content during your Amazon Prime 30-day free trial. In addition to the thousands of films and TV shows, you can also try out all the other benefits of Amazon Prime including free shipping and access to Prime Video subscription channels like Starzplay and hayu which also offer a 1-week free trial.
You can get access to the best of US-television with NOW TV, including HBO exclusives and thousands of new films on channels like Sky Atlantic and Sky Cinema.
A free 7-day trial will give you access to most of the NOW TV monthly passes including the Entertainment Pass where you can watch the latest TV shows online and the Sky Cinema pass. The obvious exception is the Sky Sports pass which you will have to purchase a day pass or week pass to view any content.
If you’re interested in films that are a little less mainstream but full of acclaim, you can get a 14-day free trial to BFI Player to watch classic and cult films from across the decades. After that the monthly subscription is just £4.99 a month which you can cancel at any time.
With a lot of the free content that was previously available on BBC iPlayer and on the ITV Hub migrating to Britbox, you might be considering getting yourself a monthly subscription. The good news is that Britbox has all that great classic British content in one place. And you can try the service out for free for seven days.
Get a free streaming service with your mobile phone contract
You can get streaming services for free when you sign up with certain mobile networks or when you purchase a new handset from certain manufacturers.
Six months of free Disney Plus with O2
Whether you want to rewatch Disney classics, see the latest releases, or immerse yourself in the Marvel and Star Wars universes, you can do that all for free on Disney Plus when you take out a new contract or upgrade with O2. You simply choose it as your Extra when you check out.
Apple TV Plus
Apple TV Plus has a small yet prestigious collection of content on its streaming platform, with big name actors and directors drafted to create a score of original and exclusive content, including Jennifer Anniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steven Speilberg and Oprah Winfrey.
Normally £4.99 a month, you can get Apple TV Plus for free for a whole year when you purchase an Apple product, including the new iPhone 12. Once your new device is linked to your Apple ID, all you need to do is open the Apple TV app (make sure it’s updated) and activate your subscription when prompted.
Amazon Prime Video or YouTube Premier for free on Vodafone Unlimited plans
When you sign up to a Vodafone Unlimited plan, in addition to unlimited data, you’ll get free access to either Amazon Prime Video or YouTube Premium for the length of your contract.
What a perfect combination. Thousands of hours of great content for free and unlimited data so you can enjoy it wherever you are.
Six months of Britbox free on EE
EE customers can get free access to Britbox for six months on a pay monthly, 12-month SIM Only, tablet or data SIM plan (excluding business plan customers).
EE also lets you stream Britbox on your mobile device without using up any of your data allowance.