13 subscription services you can try right now for free
It seems like the world is dominated by subscription services nowadays. Instead of owning your favorite movies, songs and TV shows, you now have access to
all the movies, songs and TV shows.
That said, having memberships to all the great services out there can add up quickly.
Luckily, there’s almost no subscription service out there that doesn’t offer some sort of free trial. Whether you want to plow through “Game of Thrones” in 30 days for free, or want to see if Spotify Premium is really worth the money, here are some of the best free trial offers on the market. Just make sure you cancel your subscriptions before they are over, as there are few things worse than finding out you’ve been paying for something you don’t use.
Netflix — 30-day free trial
What you get: The streaming giant offers thousands of shows and movies. From “Breaking Bad” and “Stranger Things” to “Chef’s Table” and “Captain America: Civil War,” you’re bound to find something you’ll love. Users who have the mobile app on their phone or tablet can download movies and shows to watch on the go when they’re away from WiFi. After the trial: $10/month gets you a subscription with HD video, and allows for simultaneously streaming on two screens — split the cost with a friend for maximum savings.
Amazon Instant Video — 30-day free trial, 6 months for students
What you get: Of all the major streaming video companies, Amazon is the only one going toe-to-toe with Netflix in producing large amounts of high-quality original content. Their deals with HBO, FX and other networks allow them to provide you with an embarrassingly rich amount of prestige cable. Try “The Americans” — you won’t regret it. After the trial: Amazon Video is included with your Prime subscription. $99/year (or $8.25/month) will get you Amazon’s famous 2-day shipping, as well as access to Prime Music, Prime Photos, Prime Pantry and a number of other perks. Students can get a Prime subscription for $49/year.If you just want the streaming service without the rest of the Prime ecosystem, it can be had for $8.99/month.
Hulu — 7-day free trial
What you get: Hulu is the go-to service when you missed last night’s “Daily Show” and need to catch up quick. Since it enjoys support from many of the big studios and networks, Hulu stands out from the pack by getting most shows the day after they air. Its movie collection is nothing to sniff at, either. After the trial: Hulu recently got rid of its free, ad-supported model, and lowered the rate of its base membership to $6/month for the first year. Though it might seem like the best bargain of all the streaming services, there’s a catch: ads. If you want an ad-free experience, you’ll need to pay $12/month.
HBO Now — 30-day free trial
What you get: Not to be confused with HBO Go, which requires a cable or satellite subscription to use, HBO Now is the premium cable channel’s standalone streaming platform. Come here to catch up on “Game of Thrones” before the seventh season is released in July, and feel free to peruse HBO’s impressive catalog of films and shows. After the trial: True to form, HBO Now is the most expensive video service. $15/month will get you access to the entire HBO library, and you are free to cancel any time.
Sling TV — 7-day free trial
What you get: Sling wants to help you cut the cord once and for all. The service provides live access to networks like AMC, CNN and ESPN, and many more. What makes it better than cable? You can watch anywhere on any device. After the trial: Depending on the bundle you choose, Sling TV can cost you anywhere between $20-$40/month. The service also offers smaller, specific channel add-on bundles to the basic package, such as sports or Spanish language, for an additional $5/month.
PlayStation Vue — 7-day free trial
What you get: No, you don’t need a PS4 to use PlayStation Vue. The streaming service works much like Sling TV, bringing live cable onto your streaming device. After the trial: PlayStation Vue offers channel bundles that range from a basic $40/month bundle to a $75/month bundle that includes premium channels like HBO and Showtime.
YouTube Red — 30-day free trial
What you get: If you ever find yourself wishing you could watch that compilation of Jesse Pinkman’s best “Breaking Bad” moments while you’re camping and there’s no LTE signal in sight, YouTube Red is for you. The premium service allows you to download whatever YouTube video you want to watch later, as well as listen to music offline and with the screen off using the YouTube Music app. After the trial: YouTube Red will cost you $10/month, placing it in the same wheelhouse as all the major video and music streaming services.
Spotify Premium — 30-day free trial
What you get: Spotify has just about every song you’ve ever wanted — minus Taylor Swift. A premium account gets rid of those pesky ads, and allows you to download all the songs you want for offline play. Spotify’s music discovery features are hard to beat, and you’re sure to find a new favorite artist if you browse the Discover Weekly playlist. After the trial: A full-priced Premium subscription will run you $10/month. If you still have a .edu student email address laying around, you can get Spotify Student for only $5/month.
Apple Music — 90-day free trial
What you get: Apple Music boasts even more songs than Spotify and has deals with artists to release plenty of exclusives. The iOS integration is a perk, too. After the trial: Like Spotify, a full-priced Apple Music subscription will run you $10/month, with a student email halving that. $15 will get you a family membership that can be shared between six people.
Tidal — 30-day free trial
What you get: The artist-owned service has had a rough first year and a half, to say the least. Nonetheless, the free trial gives you access to millions of songs, along with a healthy number of exclusive videos and editorial content. After the trial: A standard Tidal subscription will cost you $10/month, but you’re not at Tidal for a standard subscription, are you? You want the lossless, high fidelity sound quality. And that will cost you $20/month. If you are a student, however, take a 50% discount. And if you are a member of the military, that discount is 40%.
Kindle Unlimited — 30 day-free trial
What you get: If you own a Kindle e-reader or have the Kindle app on your smartphone, tablet or computer, Kindle Unlimited aims to give you access to an enormous library of books. Boasting over one million titles, Kindle unlimited allows you to borrow up to 10 titles at a time, with no due dates or late fees. After the trial: Though it’s an Amazon subscription, Kindle Unlimited is not provided through a Prime subscription. Instead, the service will cost you $10/month, though there are also options to pre-pay for a block of months at a time.
Audible — 30-day free trial
What you get: If you’ve ever wanted to listen to Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” narrated by “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston, Audible is the place for you. The audiobook service has over 150,000 titles available to download, many of them read by some of entertainment’s most familiar voices. After the trial: $15/month will bring you access to Audible’s entire library. You will receive a credit for one free audiobook download per month, plus a 30% discount on any additional books you would like to buy, as well as access to weekly deals and discounts.
GameFly — 30-day free trial
What you get: GameFly solves the age-old dilemma of buying a video game for $60, only to see it begin to gather dust just a few months later. By sending you discs when you want them, and taking them back when you’re done, the subscription service is ideal for gamers who want to make the most of their systems. A GameFly membership will also give you the added benefit of access to their library of new movie releases on Blu-Ray and DVD. After the trial: A GameFly subscription will cost you $16/month and allows you to have one disc out at a time. $23/month will double that number of discs.