Best Streaming Services for Snowy Winter Nights
Thanksgiving has come and gone, and winter has arrived in New England. I’m a husky, so I love the cold and the snow! The mini-humans (well, not the one they call a “teenager”) play with me in the backyard until I get so wet that when I get inside, I shake it off. Mom and Dad don’t seem to like that too much …
After a day of playing in the snow, I like to cuddle up on the rug in the living room while my humans watch television (except when they watch Lassie or Best In Show; everybody has their celebrity crushes). To save money this year, Mom and Dad are dropping our cable company next month (I didn’t realize they’d been holding on to it, all this time. If I held onto my tennis ball for that long, nobody would ever throw it for me!) and have been looking for streaming services to replace them with. After they went to bed, I put my technose to work and sniffed out the best options to help them save money on their entertainment (maybe they’ll use some of that extra money to buy me a meet-and-greet with Air Bud! Ugh—he is so cool!).
There are numerous options for free streaming available, but for a wide variety of quality options, check out the following services:
Available on Android, iOS, Roku, Amazon, Xbox, PlayStation. Chromecast, Android TV, several smart TVs
Crackle is owned by Sony and has one of the largest free catalogs available on a wide range of devices. Some videos may contain ads, although that’s a small price to pay for a free service with a vast amount of streaming options that change regularly. You can also use it without signing up—or you can create an account to track your viewing for customized recommendations.
Available on Android, iOS, Roku, Amazon, Xbox, PlayStation, Chromecast, Android TV, several smart TVs
Like Crackle, Tubi has a massive and diverse catalog of shows and movies to choose from and is one of the most well-known of the free services. Unlike Crackle, all videos contain ads every 15–20 minutes. Otherwise, Tubi has a very smooth interface and is available on just about all smart devices.
Available on Android, iOS, Roku, Amazon, Xbox
Popcornflix focuses on movies and updates its catalog regularly to include a good mix of films from all eras. Like Crackle, sign up is not necessary to enjoy their collection for free, which also includes a growing list of original movies and shows, like many of the paid providers.
Available on Android, iOS, Roku, several smart TVs
If you’re a Comic Con fan, ConTV is a must for your streaming collection. Among others, they partner directly with Wizard World (the largest Comic Con producer) to bring loads of options from across the Con spectrum! Whether you’re into sci-fi, horror, anime, martial arts, fantasy, grindhouse or any other Con genre, you’ll find a plethora of both current and classic options. In addition, ConTV has started to produce original content and takes email recommendations from users seriously.
The following services are not free options but will still be much cheaper to package and combine than your cable or satellite TV provider.
$8.99, $12.99 or $15.99/month; Available on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Roku, Amazon, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, Chromecast, most smart TVs & smart Blu-ray players
Netflix has been the gold standard regarding streaming services thanks to their status as the trailblazers. What started as a rental program through conventional mail has spawned an entire industry that virtually replaced the brick-and-mortar video rental industry. Netflix updates their TV and movies catalog monthly, and offers more high-quality movie content than any competitor. They have also put a lot of money into developing original content only available to Netflix subscribers, such as Lost in Space, Narcos, Bojack Horseman and Stranger Things.
Starting at $5.99/month for streaming service and $44.99/month for streaming and live TV; Available on Android, iOS, Roku, Amazon, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, Chromecast, most smart TVs & Blu-ray players
When it comes to a selection of your favorite network and cable TV shows, Hulu is ahead of the competition. They also added live TV to select plans with over 60 channels and 50 hours of Cloud DVR, making them a more comprehensive alternative. They do not have as robust of a movie selection as competitors, but they update routinely. Like Netflix, Hulu puts money into developing an ever-growing catalog of original content specifically for subscribers. If you’re a fan of The Mindy Project, Castle Rock or Marvel’s Runaways, you’ll only catch them on Hulu.
*Sniffty thrifty tip!*
College students can save big with Hulu and Spotify, receiving both unlimited ad-free music as well as ad-supported Hulu for just $4.99/month!
$8.99/month, $12.99/month or $119/year; Available on Android, iOS, Roku, Amazon, Xbox, PlayStation, Chromecast, most smart TVs & Blu-ray players
Prime Video is owned by Amazon, so while it may not carry as many movie and TV titles that come free with the subscription, there are other benefits users can take advantage of. For all Prime Video plans, users will also be able to access additional video content to rent or purchase, directly from the Prime Video app. Amazon has also become a force with their original content including The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Bosch and Good Omens. For either $12.99/month or $119/year, users will also have access to a bundle of other Amazon benefits like free same- or 2-day shipping on Prime-eligible products across the Amazon marketplace, unlimited music streaming and reading, free games on with Twitch and exclusive discounts at Whole Foods.
Starting at $54.99/month; Available on Android, iOS, Roku, Amazon and Chromecast
If you’re scared to cut the cable cord because you’ll miss your sports, fear no more! FuboTV is marketed as a live TV service with an emphasis on live sports. Their basic package includes over 90 channels (depending on where you are) that will not only cover your sports-bingeing needs, but also contains a variety of other entertainment channels like Discovery, AMD, BBC, USA and many more. If the basic package doesn’t cover your channel needs, FuboTV has an Ultra package that offers over 150 channels (depending on your location), as well as smaller, cheaper add-ons specifically geared toward entertainment, Showtime networks, and more sports.
Starting at $49.99/month; Available on Android, iOS, Roku, Amazon, Xbox, Chromecast , most smart TVs & Blu-ray players.
YouTube TV allows you to watch live TV from over 70 channels depending on your area, including local sports and news. The service does not require a contract and offers a free trial period for those wishing to test it. Not only will your basic channel needs be covered, you’ll also have access to unlimited storage space so you can fill
your library and watch from anywhere without worrying about extra fees or storage devices. YouTube TV allows for three simultaneous streams and allows for up to six accounts to be attached to one bill, allowing for families to streamline their bill-paying as well as curate their own individual content.
So there you have it, a roundup of my favorite streaming services to both get you through the biting New England winter cold (at least that’s what my humans say—the weather has never bit me …) and help you save money to buy more treats and toys for your four-legged furry pal! In the meantime, I think it’s time to go eat some of that snow on the deck …
Until next time,
Your pawsitively pawesome pal Cache
*Prices subject to change by supplier.