Quaran-deals: How to stream for free during coronavirus quarantine
With so many people stuck at home these days, streaming and digital purchases are becoming our main options for entertainment. Yet, with so many various platforms, each with their own subscription prices, those fees start to pile up. With various movie studios making the decision to release theatrical films earlier than expected on digital platforms, TV networks and online platforms are beginning to do their part to make this next month's coronavirus quarantine a little bit more bearable.
Here's where you can find free-to-binge streaming options without breaking the bank.
For a limited time, the Home Box Office network is offering "some entertainment relief" by making nearly 500 hours of original programming free on the HBO Go and HBO Now apps and streaming sites for anyone without a subscription. Beginning April 3, those programs include nine original series, 10 docuseries and documentaries, and 20 Warner Bros. theatrical releases.
Here's the full list: Ballers, Barry, Silicon Valley, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, Succession, True Blood, Veep, The Wire, Arthur, Arthur 2: On the Rocks, Blinded By the Light, The Bridges of Madison County, Crazy, Stupid, Love, Empire of the Sun, Forget Paris, Happy Feet Two, Isn't It Romantic?, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Midnight Special, My Dog Skip, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, Pan, Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Red Riding Hood, Smallfoot, Storks, Sucker Punch, Unknown, The Apollo, The Case Against Adnan Syed, Elvis Presley: The Searcher, I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter, The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, Jane Fonda in Five Acts, McMillion$, True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality, United Skates, We Are the Dream: The Kids of the MLK Oakland Oratorical Fest.
CBS All Access
Not all of CBS All Access is free for the next month — just Picard, the Star Trek spin-off series starring Patrick Stewart. When going to sign up for the streaming platform, plugging in the code "GIFT" will unlock free episodes of the show until April 23.
Those who subscribe to Showtime before May 3 will find the subscription fee waived entirely. The network is offering free 30-day trials for new customers. Those who sign up will be able to access Showtime's original series, documentaries, specials, and movies through the online streaming service via Showtime or on the Showtime app. That includes Homeland, Billions, Ray Donavan (R.I.P.), and On Becoming a God in Central Florida. Hot tip, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels premieres Sunday, April 26, which will also mark the series finale of Homeland. Plan your 30 days accordingly.
AMC first announced that the initial eight episodes of The Walking Dead season 10 will be available for free on the AMC website and app, immediately following the airing of season 10, episode 14 on Sunday, April 5 through Friday, May 1. The network then launched the "We're With You" initiative.
Hours of popular programming will be made available on digital and on demand spaces across AMC, BBC America, IFC, and SundanceTV. That includes a collection of nature documentaries on BBC America for the month of April, and a comedy line-up on IFC for April, such as select episodes of Comedy Bang Bang and Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and the premiere of Brockmire.
Typically $6.99 a month or $59.99 a year, Sundance Now can be accessed for free for 30 days using the promo code "SUNDANCENOW30." The March 2020 slate includes films like The Other Boleyn Girl and shows like The Restaurant. There's also The Little Drummer Girl, Oscar nominee Florence Pugh's TV series with Alexander Skarsgaard, as well as A Discovery of Witches, the television adaptation of the acclaimed fantasy book trilogy. Beyond this, the first seasons of Liar, Riviera, The Restaurant, Public Enemy, and The Bureau will be available in front of the paywall until April 14.
The specialty studio division of Universal Pictures will livestream one movie every Monday in the month of April for free on the Focus Features Facebook page. The schedule currently features Gosford Park (April 6, 8 p.m. ET), Moonrise Kingdom (April 13, 8 p.m. ET), Mallrats (April 20, 8 p.m. ET), and My Summer of Love (April 27, 8 p.m. ET).
Multiple streamers announced plans to extend their free trial periods, some as much as 30 days. Shudder — AMC's platform dedicated to horror, thriller, and supernatural — is one of them. Use the promo code "SHUTIN" to access. The service includes films like Revenge, classics like Halloween, prize winners like Oldboy, and titles from Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro's list of the best 2017 movies, like Tigers Are Not Afraid. Shudder also features shows, like the comic adaptation of NOS4A2.
Acorn TV, the American subscription service from the U.K., offers a 30-day free trial by way of the "FREE30" promo code. It's the destination for a platitude of British-based programs: Manhunt (pegged as the next Bodyguard), Queens of Mystery (starring Julie Graham), Murphy's Law (starring The Hobbit's James Nesbitt with a guest-starring role from Michael Fassbender), the BAFTA-winning Marvellous (with Toby Jones), and more.
Well, Kanopy is actually always free. The platform from public libraries and universities is still a great option to access films, children's programs, and educational videos — for nothing! Lady Bird, What We Do in the Shadows (the movie), Moonlight, Hereditary, Eighth Grade, The Florida Project, Her Smell, Logan Lucky… shall we go on?
Sling TV is offering Sling Free, which is access to all the services free content. It's available through Roku, Amazon, Android, and the Safari, Chrome, and Edge web browsers. There's not a whole lot of high-quality Netflix-grade content, but there are certain perks, like live news coverage and shows such as Black Sails and Hell's Kitchen.
Howard Stern announced that, beginning March 31, SiriusXM will offer free access for North American listeners to its full lineup of premiere streaming content (more than 300 channels) until May 15. Those who aren't subscribers already can either download the official app or go to SiriusXM.com/streamfree and start listening with no credit card or longer commitment required.
This article was originally published March 20, 2020, and has been updated with new information.
For the latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19), including how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you are sick, please visit coronavirus.gov.