After dropping $500-800 for your brand new iPad or Surface tablet, the last thing you want to do is sign up for a ton of monthly-service programs that will further drain your exhausted bank account. But at the same time, you want to utilize one of the best features of any portable gadget in 2013—being able to watch movies and television on the go. In case you’re new to the online streaming world, or if you just need a reminder of what’s out there, here are 3 free and legal ways to view content on your tablet:
This app is steadily gaining in popularity, but is still fresh enough to escape many people’s notice. It currently offers over 300 films free of charge, as well as a host of recent and classic television programs, ranging from cult favorites like FX’s Rescue Me, all the way back to CBS’s Seinfeld. With just the occasional commercial sprinkled in—about the same as a 30-second ad that pops up in a YouTube video—Crackle gives you access to an extensive library of content without costing you a dime.
While Hulu Plus has been making tremendous inroads into mainstream recognition (you’ve probably seen it advertised on several different cable and broadcast networks) most people still aren’t aware that they offer a free version, in addition to their $7.99 a month premium service. But if you’ve just stripped the plastic off your shiny new tablet and are looking to test its video capabilities, head over to Hulu.com and you’ll see a huge offering of free content, with the same brief commercials as Crackle. You won’t get access to Hulu Plus’ larger archives, and current television episodes will only be available for a limited time before expiring, but you’ll be able to catch up on many of your favorite broadcast network programs free of charge.
Official Network Websites
This was quite the emerging trend several years ago, before taking an unexpected drop in popularity. But take a look at many of your main broadcast networks, such as CBS, NBC, ABC, etc., and you’ll find that many of their current programs are offered free for a limited time, usually several days after the program debuts on the network during primetime. If you want to watch The Big Bang Theory or Shark Tank on your iPad, you can head over to each channel’s website and stream the episode, while avoiding most of the commercials that saturate its primetime slot.
In addition to these always free services, there are a host of monthly trials you can sample, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, and many more. Even if you’re planning on dining on Ramen Noodles for the next week to recover from your tablet purchase, you can start streaming movies and television right out of the box.
John is a tech blogger who ditched cable for good in 2011 and hasn’t looked back. One of the companies he writes for, Internet insurer Protect Your Bubble, can help you protect your new tablet for less cost than a Netflix subscription.