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5 Best Streaming Services With Free/Paid Trials

Sarah Osman-Mikesell - Writer for Top10.com
A man and a woman trying out a free TV streaming trial.
I've explored numerous streaming services, each offering a wide range of options. The challenge is to find one that provides the shows you enjoy while also fitting within your budget.

In the US, the selection of TV shows and movies exceeds 817,000 titles and continues to grow. Similarly, the number of streaming platforms and apps has expanded significantly.

Trials are crucial; they let you explore channels, assess streaming quality, and confirm device compatibility. But most importantly, they help you avoid investing in a service that may not meet your needs.

I'll guide you through my top five free and paid trials so you can make a smart choice.

» Need a platform that everyone will love? Try these tips for choosing a streaming service.

Our 5 Best Streaming Services With Free/Paid Trials at a Glance:

1. Hulu + Live TV

Base price - From $76.99/month

Mobile app - Yes

Hulu + Live TV's 30-day free trial gives you access to exclusive and critically acclaimed original series like "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Little Fires Everywhere." But it doesn't extend this offer to its live TV services.

Still, its bundle deals, including Disney+ and ESPN+, present an excellent mix of content—from family-friendly movies and blockbuster films to sports and documentaries. Whether you're into binge-watching TV shows, hate ads, or need to watch your budget, Hulu's flexible plans are designed to meet these needs. Plus, you can cancel anytime, adding to its convenience.

Why we chose Hulu: 

  • 90+ channels, including sports, news, and movies
  • Unlimited DVR storage to record live TV
  • Option to test Disney+ and ESPN+

Hulu + Live TV Hulu + Live TV Start Now

» Here's why you should bundle your TV services

2. Sling TV

Base price - From $40/month

Mobile app - Yes

To get a feel for Sling TV, start with their seven-day free trial. Simply download the Sling TV app on a compatible device, click the "Watch Now 7 Days Free" button, and enter your payment details.

Sling TV offers two main plans: Sling Orange and Sling Blue. Sling Orange features channels like ESPN, Disney Channel, and Freeform. On the other hand, Sling Blue provides FS1, USA Network, BET, Bravo, and Fox News. Depending on your location, you can also add additional channels such as FX, FXX, Syfy, TLC, and NBC/FOX.

For NBA fans, Sling TV has a special offer. If you purchase six months of Sling Orange in advance, you can add the NBA League Pass. This deal not only saves you money but also grants you full-season basketball coverage.

Why we chose Sling TV: 

  • Includes a cloud DVR feature
  • No long-term contracts
  • Offers add-ons for kids' programming, news, and international channels

Sling TV Sling TV Start Now

3. Amazon Prime Video

Base price - From $8.99/month

Mobile app - Yes

You're eligible for a 30-day free trial if you're a new subscriber to Amazon Prime or haven't used the service in the past year. This includes Prime Video, free two-day shipping, and ad-free songs on Prime Music. Students get an even better deal: a $69/year Prime membership with the first six months free.

Amazon Prime has a large selection of movies and TV series, including Amazon Prime hidden gems like "Fleabag" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." If you're already shopping on Amazon but don't have Prime, watch your email for occasional seven- or 14-day trial offers.

Why we chose Amazon Prime Video:

  • Access to premium networks like HBO and SHOWTIME
  • Six-month free trial for students
  • Membership sharing

Prime Video Prime Video Start Now

4. Philo

Base price - From $25/month

Mobile app - Yes

Philo's week-long free trial is an excellent choice if you're looking for an affordable streaming service with a strong focus on lifestyle and entertainment content. After the test period, you get 70+ channels, including major networks like AMC and Comedy Central.

With Philo's unlimited DVR feature, you can record and store shows for up to 30 days. You can also replay almost any content from the past 72 hours and stream on up to three devices simultaneously.

Why we chose Philo:

  • Mix of live and on-demand TV
  • Add-on options for channels like Epix and STARZ
  • Includes child-friendly content for families

Philo Philo Start Now

5. fuboTV

Base price - From $74.99/month

Mobile app - Yes

New fuboTV customers can enjoy a seven-day free trial on Starter, Pro, or Elite plans. It broadcasts various leagues and tournaments, including the Premier League, Champions League, MLS, Ligue 1, Liga MX, NFL, NBA, and NASCAR. It also offers a Latino package for Spanish-language TV and add-ons for French, Italian, and Portuguese networks.

With a strong lineup of news and entertainment options, fuboTV allows streaming on up to 10 devices, depending on your chosen plan. Plus, it includes ample cloud DVR space, making it ideal for families who want to rewatch shows.

Why we chose fuboTV: 

  • 390+ channels available
  • 4K streaming
  • 1000 hours cloud DVR

fuboTV fuboTV Start Now

» Ready to rumble? These are the best sports streaming services.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Streaming Trial

Trial Duration

Trials shorter than a week often don't provide enough time to explore a streaming service's offerings fully. A week-long trial strikes a good balance, allowing you to check out the service's library, device compatibility, and streaming quality.

A 30-day trial allows you to explore a vast library of shows and movies for a generous period, ensuring you find content that matches your taste perfectly. It gives you a risk-free opportunity to test the service's features and user interface, helping you decide if the subscription is worth it.

Cancellation Policy

Check the cancellation policy of the streaming service to avoid being trapped with an unwanted subscription. Most streaming services don't demand long-term contracts, but you need to verify this. Consider reading user reviews about their customer service, especially focusing on how easy it is to cancel.

Check for complicated cancellation policies that could lead to tedious email exchanges. Speaking directly to a customer service representative can often save time and reduce frustration. Look for contact information on the platform or use a live chat option for quicker resolution.

Payment Information

Major streaming services usually keep your payment information secure. Still, monitor your free trial closely to prevent accidental charges.

For newer or less familiar streaming services, exercise caution before providing your payment details. Research and read user reviews on platforms like Trustpilot to ensure your information is safe.

Comparison to Paid Plans

Knowing how much streaming services cost is crucial, especially if you enjoy it and plan to continue after the free trial expires. Be aware that prices can vary significantly. For instance, Prime starts at an affordable $8.99/month, while fuboTV is pricier at $74.99/month.

You also want to know how much the service costs if you forget to cancel the trial. I've had friends who didn't like the platforms they tried but still got charged because they missed the cancellation deadline.

Free Streaming Trials: Your Gateway to Entertainment

Experimenting with various TV streaming service trials, including free and paid options, is an effective way to determine the most suitable service for your needs. And the future of TV streaming holds the promise of even more personalized and immersive experiences.

With the number of paid streaming service subscriptions worldwide projected to reach 458 million by 2027, it's an exciting time to dive into these trials and discover your ultimate streaming companion.

» Find out why TV streaming is worth it.

Sarah Osman-Mikesell - Writer for Top10.com
Sarah Osman-Mikesell has written about film and pop culture for over a decade. She holds a BA in creative writing and is pursuing her master’s degree in the same field. Aside from her work at Top10.com, Sarah’s writing has been featured in SheKnows, The Huffington Post, Success Magazine, and more.