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Nothing good on Netflix? Try one of these free streaming TV trials

Get extended free viewing on Acorn TV, Hulu, Showtime and more.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read

Binge the first three seasons of Rick and Morty as part of your 30-day Hulu trial.


I'll be honest: Even before the coronavirus the Netflix well was running a little dry for me, especially now that I've blown through Ozark season 3. Fortunately, lots of other  streaming services have stepped up with longer free trials for people stuck at home, meaning you no longer have to try to shoehorn an entire season or series into just a week or two.

Below I've rounded up some of the best free-trial deals you can get right now. Take note that with many of them, standard rules apply: 

  • You'll have to provide a credit card number
  • After the trial ends you'll start getting billed at the regular monthly rate
  • If you don't want to get billed, you need to cancel before the trial ends (pro tip: set up a calendar reminder the day before)

One other thing to note: Showtime, listed below, is a division of ViacomCBS, CNET's parent company.

For each service I've included my recommendations for what to binge. But I want your recommendations too, so list them in the comments!

Read more: The 10 best services for free movies

Acorn TV

Missing your weekly dose of Downton Abbey? Find another great British series at Acorn TV, which is home to a wealth of Australian and Canadian shows as well. The standard trial lasts just seven days, but promo code FREE30 will score you a full month.

You can continue as an Acorn subscriber for $5.99 a month, though there's a discount if you prepay annually ($60).

What to binge: A Place to Call Home, Detectorists, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

Fox/Screenshot by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

Hulu may well be my single favorite streaming service right now, in part because it brings me new episodes of Shark Tank every week and in part because you can subscribe starting at a measly $5.99 a month. (The Hulu/Disney/ESPN Plus bundle for $12.99 is pretty terrific, too.) As of last year, Hulu lets you download videos for offline viewing, always a nice perk.

What to binge: 30 Rock, Bob's Burgers, Rick and Morty, Shark Tank, Worth It

Read our Hulu review.


If memory serves, Netflix has always had a 30-day trial, so there's nothing "extended" here. (Not yet, anyway -- cough, cough, how 'bout it, Netflix?) Still, assuming you haven't already taken advantage of it, it's a free month in which to consume a pretty deep well of TV shows, movies and original content.

After the trial, subscriptions start at $8.99 a month, though you're probably going to want at least the $12.99 plan so you can enjoy high-definition streaming.

What to binge: Better Call Saul, BoJack Horseman, Stranger Things, The Crown, Tiger King

Read our Netflix review.

Showtime may not have the prestige of HBO, but there's plenty of good stuff to watch there -- and a full 30 days in which to watch it. For example, if you've never seen the Matt LeBlanc series Episodes, do yourself a huge favor. It's one of the most bingeable shows ever.

After the trial, a subscription would cost you $10.99 a month.

What to binge: Billions, Episodes, Escape at Dannemora, Homeland

What's your favorite streaming service right now? And which one(s) do you plan to try out? Share your thoughts (and viewing recommendations) in the comments.

Originally published last month. Removed extended-trial deals that are no longer available.

Watch this: What's new to stream for June 2020

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