Want to stream quality movies and shows for free? There's an app (or three) for that
TV junkies' bank accounts are about to be minus a few more dollars with last week's launch of Apple TV+ ($4.99 per month) and next Tuesday's arrival of the monolithic Disney+ ($6.99 per month). The former has new shows starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell and Jason Momoa. The latter has, well, Disney. (And Pixar. And Marvel. And Lucasfilm. And Nat Geo.)
Those streaming services join a galaxy of options that already includes Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, CBS All Access and others -- and don't forget about next year's launch of HBO Max ($14.99 a month for everything you already get on HBO, plus a larger library of movies and TV shows).
Oh, and look, here's your bill for your internet and cable services from Xfinity, not to mention the Xbox Live subscription your home's resident "Fortnite" champion needs to play with his or her friends online.
It's no secret that The Golden Age of Content(TM) doesn't come cheap, but you might be surprised to learn that there are still streaming services that deliver quality films and TV shows completely free ... provided you don't mind some commercials here and there.
Most of the programs available for free on Tubi, Vudu and Popcornflix (I swear that last one is real) have titles like "Alien Convergence," "Ghost Mountaineer" and "Clowntergeist," but all three of these apps boast four-star flicks and classic shows.
Vudu is the best way for paying customers to collect new and classic movies in the cloud, and it now also boasts the best library of free content. You can easily navigate to their free titles from the homepage of the website and app, which should be available on your smart TV, gaming console or mobile app store (as should all services mentioned in this column).
As of this writing, Vudu's free offerings include the entire "Twilight" film franchise, classic Oscar winners like "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Rain Man," and every pre-Daniel Craig 007 movie.
The TV library goes retro with "The Addams Family" and "ALF," and boasts cult favorites "Dead Like Me" and the original U.K. version of "Shameless."
The library at Tubi includes major league movies like "Major League," "How to Train Your Dragon," "Scream" and "No Country for Old Men." Its newer titles include the modern classic "Spotlight," the 2015 best-picture winner about The Boston Globe bringing to light widespread abuse in the Catholic Church.
The TV lineup is a virtual reincarnation of Nick at Nite: "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Ozzie & Harriet," "The Patty Duke Show" and "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" are all here, joined by some more recent "oldies" like "Major Dad" and "Punky Brewster"
The movie collection at Popcornflix suffers by comparison, though it does include Martin Scorsese's recent, barely seen religious epic "Silence," starring Adam Driver ("Star Wars") and Andrew Garfield ("The Amazing Spider-Man").
Their TV collection fares much better: "Roseanne" (the good episodes), "3rd Rock From the Sun," "21 Jump Street" and "Kitchen Nightmares" lead the pack.
I listed a lot of titles here, but there are thousands upon thousands more. The easiest way to find out where a movie or show is streaming is reelgood.com. Look long enough, and you'll discover even more apps and channels with even more titles to scroll through for two hours before giving up and going to sleep.
• Follow Sean on Twitter at @SeanStanglandDH.