There are deals to be found, however, if you know where to look. Combining Hulu and Disney Plus gets you free ESPN Plus, while bundles with home internet or phone service can get you a free subscription to Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max or Peacock Premium. Let's break them all down.
T-Mobile, through its Netflix on Us perk, has long offered free Netflix on some of its unlimited plans including its Magenta and Magenta Plus plans as well as its new Magenta Max option. Older plans, called One and One Plus, also have Netflix included though exactly which version of Netflix will vary.
Higher-end options like Magenta Plus, Max and One Plus likely have Netflix Standard (the most popular version of Netflix that runs $14 per month and streams in HD) included so long as you have multiple lines. Those with one line of Max or the base Magenta plan will get Netflix Basic included (the non-HD $9 per month version of Netflix). Full details, including what you would need to pay if you wanted to upgrade to a higher plan like the 4K-capable Netflix Premium, can be found on T-Mobile's website.
Note: It's one Netflix subscription per T-Mobile account, not per individual line.
AT&T, which owns HBO Max, bundles in the WarnerMedia streaming service with a number of its wireless, TV and home internet plans -- though it is likely only on the priciest options. Today, that means you can get a free HBO Max subscription with its Unlimited Elite wireless plan or fastest 1 Gig internet plans. AT&T is also offering one-year subscriptions with its Choice or Ultimate AT&T TV packages.
Beyond its existing offers, the telecom giant also includes HBO Max with some legacy wireless offers. Older plans with HBO Max bundled in include Unlimited Choice, Unlimited Choice II, Unlimited Enhanced Choice, Unlimited Plus, Unlimited Enhanced Plus and Unlimited &More. Full details for activating HBO Max can be found on AT&T's website.
Note: It's one HBO Max subscription per AT&T account, not per individual line.
Whereas T-Mobile has Netflix and AT&T has HBO Max, the nation's largest carrier has Disney.
On its recent wireless plans, the carrier includes the "Disney Bundle" -- subscriptions to Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus that runs a combined $14 a month -- with its Play More and Get More unlimited plans. Other plans, such as its most affordable Start and Do More plans have six months of Disney Plus included, but not the bundle.
As Verizon allows for mixing and matching unlimited plans, so long as one line on your account has a Play More or Get More plan you will be able to get the perk. Note that it is only one Disney subscription per Verizon account, not per individual line.
The deal works for both new and existing Disney Plus subscribers, so if you already have a subscription you can either cancel or if you have the six-month trial, have the Verizon run first and then have your regular subscription continue after.
Those with a Play More Unlimited or Get More Unlimited plan from before August 2020 have been able to get Disney Plus for one year, though if you haven't activated it yet you'd only get six months of Disney Plus. If you switch to the updated version of either plan you'll be able to get the Disney Bundle.
If you've already got a Hulu or ESPN account, you'll need to combine your accounts on your desktop. Here's what to do.
Those not on T-Mobile or who don't want to switch their plans should look at Google and Netflix's bundling of six months of a Standard subscription with a Chromecast with Google TV. First introduced last year, the offer combines Google's excellent streaming dongle with Netflix Standard for $90. A six-month Netflix subscription on its own would be nearly $84 while Google's device normally runs $50.
The deal is capped at three purchases per customer but you can add the Netflix credit even if you already have an account (so long as that account isn't through a third-party like T-Mobile). If you decide to return the Chromecast and keep the Netflix, $50 would be refunded, making the six-months of Netflix only $40, a savings of $44 over what you'd regularly pay.
T-Mobile has shut down its TVision live TV service and replaced it with a discount on YouTube TV. Normally $65 per month, YouTube TV is our favorite live TV streaming service for cord-cutters who want a wide selection of live channels without subscribing to cable.
This deal is available to any current T-Mobile wireless or home internet service customer. It's available until July 31.
Don't need all those YouTube TV channels? Philo is a similar service but with fewer channels -- it doesn't include any sports, news or local channels, for example -- at a much lower price. Normally $20 per month, this deal cuts the price of Philo in half.
Just like the YouTube TV deal, this one is available to pretty much any T-Mobile subscriber. It's available through June 31 with promo code 2021PhiloP1.
Beyond getting Hulu in the Verizon bundle, there are a few ways to save on Disney's other streaming service.
Students will want to check out Spotify's Premium Student offer which combines Spotify Premium, Hulu's ad-supported plan and Showtime for $5 per month. All told, the bundle would save nearly $22 per month. You need to be a student above the age of 18 that is "enrolled at a US Title IV accredited college or university" to qualify and Spotify works with a third-party called SheerID to verify that you are eligible.
You will need to verify eligibility every 12 months, with the offer available for a total of four years. Full details can be found at Spotify's site.
College students who don't want the Spotify bundle can get the ad-supported Hulu for $2 per month. Hulu similarly uses SheerID to verify eligibility, with more details available at Hulu's site.
Another recent entrant, Discovery's streaming service runs $5 per month for its ad-supported option and $7 for the ad-free plan. As with Disney Plus, the best way to get this for free is through Verizon.
The telecom giant is offering a year of Discovery Plus' ad-free tier for free with certain unlimited wireless plans as well as new subscribers to its Fios and 5G Home internet plans.
Wireless users will need to have either a Play More or Get More plan to get the deal, while other unlimited plans including its Verizon Unlimited plan, Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, Above Unlimited, Do More Unlimited, and Start Unlimited can get a free six months. Full details can be found on Verizon's website.
Comcast, which owns Peacock and its parent NBCUniversal, includes a subscription to the $5 per month Peacock Premium for all Xfinity Flex users as well as its Xfinity X1 and video customers who subscribe to at least the "Xfinity Internet or Digital Starter TV" internet and TV packages. More details can be found at Peacock's site.
Cable company Cox is also giving away the $5 per month Peacock Premium subscription to those who have Cox Internet with a "Contour TV Essential or higher" plan. Those with Cox Internet and a subscription to Contour Stream Player or Contour TV Starter can "enjoy a limited time preview" of Peacock Premium "at no additional cost." Full details can be found on Cox's site.
If you don't have Cox or Comcast you can purchase an annual Peacock subscription for either $50 a year for ad-supported Premium or $100 per year for ad-free Premium Plus.
The new kid on the streaming block, Paramount Plus replaced CBS All Access on March 4.
In a bid to drive new subscribers, ViacomCBS is once again offering a deal where you could prepay for your first year at 50% off this time with promo code YEAR. The service currently charges $6 per month for its base tier with ads (or $60 if purchased annually), while the ad-free option runs $10 per month ($100 annually). Under the offer, an annual subscription for ad-supported Paramount Plus would run $30 while the ad-free option would be $50.
Note: In June the price for the ad-supported option will become $5 per month as ViacomCBS adjusts the plan, notably removing live CBS feeds and not offering the full catalog available on the service.
This deal expired on March 31.
If you already have standard HBO you likely can get HBO Max for free, while numerous AT&T wireless plans also include free HBO Max (see below). If you're in neither camp but still looking to save, you can get 20% off six-months of HBO Max if you prepay, which would amount to a $20 savings compared to the regular $15 per month rate.
The deal expired on March 1.
Peacock is adding the WWE to its platform on March 18, and to celebrate, the NBCUniversal streaming service is offering a deal to new users where you can sign up and get four months of Peacock's normally $5-per-month Premium offering for one flat rate payment of $10. This version will have access to Peacock's full library, though you will still need to watch ads.
This deal expired on April 9.