Free or cheap streaming alternatives to Netflix, Prime and Spotify

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I have bad news and good news.

The bad news is that the digital entertainment you love is getting more and more expensive.

Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO Max (is now Max) have increased their prices or cracked down on password sharing. Spotify could raise prices, to. In 2012, e-books were often cheaper than printed copies. No longer.

There is no single explanation for these rising prices. But for the most part, businesses now realize that digital entertainment may never be as popular and lucrative as they hoped.

Your loss of trust will result in a reduced supply of digital entertainment and higher prices for you.

The good news is you still have great free or cheap entertainment to cram into your eye and ear holes. Introducing the curmudgeon’s guide to digital entertainment.

I am in love for saving me time and money.

Search for a specific show or movie and JustWatch will list where you can stream or download it and how much each viewing option costs. You can filter the search results to only show free streaming services.

When a friend recently raved about the British TV series Detectorists – and yes, it’s fantastic – JustWatch pointed this out to me to see it on several free streaming services I had never heard of including plex. There were commercials, but I didn’t care.

Look the current Dungeons & Dragons film, I could subscribe to the Paramount Plus streaming service for $9.99 a month with no ads. Or, JustWatch tells me that I can rent a digital copy for a one-time fee of $5.99 from a number of vendors, including Apple, Amazon, youtube or Microsoft. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post.)

You won’t find a cheap way to watch anything like the latest hot Hulu series or a Netflix movie. You must subscribe to Hulu or Netflix. (I won’t go into pirated viewing options.) And be aware that JustWatch sometimes contains incorrect information.

But above all, JustWatch is a adorable streaming companion.

If you’re dying to watch “Beef” on Netflix or any other popular streaming show, you can always sign up for a free trial and cancel before you have to pay. (See the one small win below for a tip.)

I also use the trick of rotating through streaming services individually to save money.

A while ago I paid for the BritBox streaming service. When I got bored with the offer there, I quit and signed up for Hulu. I will be switching to another subscription soon.

I save browser bookmarks of shows I want to watch on Hulu, Netflix, Max, Amazon Prime, and other services so I know what to watch when it’s their turn in my rotation.

You also have more options if you’re not too picky about what you see and don’t object to ads.

For less than $100, a digital TV antenna allows you to watch a range of TV channels in your area – if you have a TV.

There are also huge collections of mostly older TV shows and movies on free streaming services like Pluto TV, freevee, Tubi TV and the Roku Channel.

And canopywhich is available to some people with a university library card or online account, also offers free streaming movies and TV series.

Are you a Netflix subscriber? My colleague Heather Kelly wants to know how you feel about the company crackdown on password sharing. Email her at

I refuse to pay for a streaming music subscription. Instead, I saved song playlists to the free tiers of youtube music And Spotify.

It’s annoying when my workout playlist keeps getting interrupted by ads. But it’s free.

Chris Richardsthe Washington Post’s pop music critic, told me that the digital service he uses the most without paying a dime is YouTube — “Not their music service, just plain old YouTube, which has a staggering amount of music.” Concerts, user-uploaded loosies, etc.”

(For the uncool among us, “Loosies” are often unpolished song recordings that are not part of an official album release.)

Chris also recommended browsing and the online radio station NTS.

Other options for free music streaming with ads include: Pandora, iHeart, AccuRadio And radio garden, which allows you to listen to local radio from anywhere in the world. There are also those radio Radio, if that’s what you’re interested in.

Continue reading: Free alternatives to watch, read and listen to

I’ve heard from many Tech Friend readers who are addicted to it Libby app to borrow free e-books and audio books from your local public library.

All you need is a card from a public library that works with Libby’s parent company, OverDrive. You can usually read or listen on your phone, on a Kindle, or through the website.

search here to see if your library system or school allows borrowing from Libby.

My Libby app says I borrowed more than 250 ebooks or audiobooks from the New York Public Library for a total of $0.

fanfare is another app with library ebooks, audiobooks, comics and mostly obscure movies and TV shows. Check the website to see if your local library participates. Hoopla’s app can be choppy at times.

Being a technology newsletter, I’ve mainly focused on digital entertainment options. But if you like physical books, you can borrow them from friends, buy used copies from Goodwill, or a site like ThriftBooks or look at a neighborhood Small free library.

Read more from Swiss Post’s Climate Coach: Why you should buy everything used.

It’s your turn: tell me Your best advice for free or cheap digital entertainment. I may feature your tip in a future The Tech Friend newsletter.

I wrote about it Disadvantages of buying digital subscriptions in smartphone apps or through Amazon’s digital video channel storefronts like Fire TV.

But a big advantage is that you can see inside All the digital subscriptions you pay for in one place and give up the ones you don’t want. This includes free trials that you forgot were ending soon.

If you purchased a digital subscription from an Apple or Android app or Amazon store, here’s how to see what you’re paying for and how to cancel those subscriptions.

On an iPhone or iPad: Go to the Settings app and tap your profile name at the top.

Tap Subscriptions. If you have active subscriptions that you bought in an app, you can tap each subscription to see when it will renew and you can select “Cancel Subscription” at the bottom.

Also make sure that the option for renewal receipts is enabled (you will see the color green). You will receive email reminders about your subscriptions.

On an Android device, instructions vary slightly by device, but give it a try: Go to the Play Store app. Tap the box with three lines in the corner or your profile picture in the top-right corner.

Tap “Payments & subscriptions” → “Subscriptions” to see what you pay for with your Google account. When you click each subscription, a cancel button will appear.

On Amazon’s website: At the top (to the right of the search box), click the Accounts and Lists menu and click “Memberships and Subscriptions.”

Again, you’ll see a list of subscriptions you’ve purchased through Amazon for streaming video services like BET Plus or Starz. You can click Cancel.

(Please note that you can’t buy all digital subscriptions through apps or Amazon. Netflix doesn’t let you buy a subscription through its smartphone apps or through Amazon. You also can’t buy a Spotify subscription through the Apple app. You’ll have to go to or

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