Streaming services offer free options

Elijah Hickman | Banner | Peacock offers many free shows and movies like "Parks and Recreation" and "Kung Fu Panda."

Streaming television shows and movies are becoming increasingly common activities. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime video and ,strong newcomer, Disney+ have dominated the field, although some networks have started making their own streaming services to make revenue for themselves, such as HBO Max and the rebranded Paramount+ that was previously CBS All Access. These companies charge $6.99-$9.99 a month for a subscription.

However, some companies have decided to allow varying levels of access to their content for free as long as consumers do not mind watching a few advertisements.

One of these companies is  Tubi, a division of FOX Entertainment, which offers its content for free as long as its users do not mind watching some advertisements.

“Tubi, a division of FOX Entertainment, is an ad-supported video-on-demand service with more than 35,000 movies and TV shows, 100+ local and live news channels and 250+ entertainment partners, including content from nearly every major Hollywood studio,” Tubi said on its website. “Tubi gives fans of films and television programs an easy way to discover new content that is available completely free.”

In honor of Halloween, Tubi also has a special horror and paranormal collection, called “Terror on Tubi” with more than 5,000 titles.

Another free streaming service is Peacock, from NBCUniversal. They have plenty of content from the networks owned by parent company NBCUniversal, such as NBC, USA Network and Syfy.

“Yes, Peacock is free!” Peacock said on their website. “No credit card required. You just need an email address and password to sign up to access thousands of hours of great entertainment instantly. Once you’re signed up, you can start watching Peacock right away. No strings attached. No expiring trial period. It’s just free.”

Although much content is free, users can access all of their content, including original shows, with Peacock Premium for just $4.99 a month or watch ad-free with Peacock Premium Plus for $9.99 a month.

Ella Svoboda, freshman civil engineering major, said she primarily uses the more well-known streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, but she has used Peacock as well.

“(I’ve used) Peacock, but that’s a new one so I don’t think it’s as widely known,” Svoboda said. “It’s nice that they’re free, especially since (for most) TV you have to pay for everything, like the channels, (but) everything’s better when it’s free.”

Svoboda said her concern is that with free streaming services, users have to watch advertisements and they do not always have content users are looking for.

“A lot of the free ones are the ones that come with ads or they don’t have everything on them that you want to watch,” Svoboda said. “I tend to go more to Hulu or Disney+ because they have everything (I want) but you have to pay for both of those.”

Marlette Fernandez, freshman exercise science major, said she had not heard of Tubi before but would love to check it out.

“We shouldn’t be paying so much to watch movies,” Fernandez said. “We should just be able to watch them. But some (streaming services) have certain series on there (where) sometimes you have to pay for the (individual) episodes.”

Besides Tubi and Peacock, streaming services such as PlutoTV, IMDb TV, Crackle and Mediaverse by Plex offer free options. 

There are also library-operated streaming services such as Kanopy, where all users need to register is a library card to watch the content on the site for participating libraries, including the Riverside County Library System.

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