Which streaming services offer a free trial? How can I sign up?

How to watch the best on-demand films and TV shows for free (for a short time, anyway)

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Streaming services

The good news: we’re living in a platinum age of TV. From Netflix stalwarts like Stranger Things and The Crown, to Amazon’s The Boys and NOW TV juggernauts like Watchmen, screen fans have never had it so good.

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However, you might feel that viewers have now got too much choice. With so many critically-acclaimed shows on so many different streaming platforms, how can you work out which services to subscribe to?

The answer: making the most of free trials offered by each service. But which platforms offer a free trial? And for how long? Here’s all you need to know about how to watch each major streaming service for free (for a while)…

Netflix – 30-day free trial

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Netflix offers newcomers a 30-day free trial of its Basic, Standard and Premium plans (see here for more information). You can cancel the trial at any time, so there’s no commitment.

You won’t be charged until after your free month ends and you’ll be reminded three days before your trial expires.

Sign up for the Netflix free trial here.

What you can watch on Netflix during your free trial

Netflix offers a range of original TV shows, whether you want to try out royal series The Crown or Charlie Brooker’s dark anthology Black Mirror. You can also find popular series such as Stranger Things, Bojack Horseman, 13 Reasons Why and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

The service also offers plenty of non-original programming, including RuPaul’s Drag Race, South Park and The End of The F***ing World.

As for films, Netflix had plenty. These include Netflix originals, such as the critically-acclaimed gangster film The Irishman from Martin Scorsese, and the Oscar-winning Roma.

The service also hosts a rotation of popular blockbusters and hidden gems.

How much Netflix costs after the free trial

After your trial ends, you can maintain a subscription to Netflix from £5.99 (Basic plan). There’s also the Standard (HD viewing, £8.99) and Premium (4K viewing, £11.99) plans.

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Amazon Prime – 30-day free trial 
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New members can try Prime for 30 days for free. You can cancel your ties with Amazon at any time.

You can sign up for a free trial here.

Not only does this 30-day free trial allow you to watch shows and films available on Amazon Prime Video, but also gives you access to Prime delivery and Amazon Music.

What you can watch on Amazon Prime Video during your free trial

Amazon hosts a range of original series, from anti-Superhero story The Boys, to the critically-acclaimed The Marvellous Mrs Maisel. There’s also The Grand Tour (featuring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May) and Good Omens (starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen).

You can also find a range of non-original shows including Mr Robot (starring Oscar-winner Rami Malek) and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

As for movies, Amazon hosts plenty of original films – think Manchester By The Sea and You Were Never Really Here ­– as well as a roster of blockbuster titles from other studios.

How much Amazon Prime Video costs after your free trial

If you want to continue your Amazon Prime subscription, it’ll cost you £7.99 a month.

NOW TV – 7-day free trial

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You can get a 7-day trial to all the following NOW TV passes at once…

  • Entertainment pass (features the biggest TV dramas)
  • Sky Cinema pass (hosts over 1,000 movies – including many recent blockbusters)
  • Kids pass (hosts a huge selection of Children’s TV)
  • Hayu (features a stream of reality TV shows such as Keeping Up with the Kardashians)

See here to sign up.

Note: Although you can purchase Sky Sport passes with NOW TV, a free trial is not available for this service.

What you can watch on NOW TV during your free trial

If you’re after the latest big US series, the Entertainment pass is for you. It allows you to view dramas that air on America’s HBO network, such as Watchmen, Chernobyl, Succession and Game of Thrones.

The Sky Cinema pass allows access to a shed load of – you guessed it – movies. Premiering a new film every day, this pass allows access to the latest blockbusters and hundreds of classics.

Meanwhile, the Kids pass hosts a series of shows from Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Cartoonito, Boomerang and more. This means the pass gives access to the likes of Spongebob Squarepants, Mr Bean, Teen Titans and Moominvalley.

Hayu offers subscribers the freshest reality shows from the US, including The Real Housewives franchise, Botched, Project Runway and, of course, Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

How much does NOW TV cost after the free trial?

The cost of each pass after the trial is…

  • Entertainment pass (£8.99 a month)
  • Sky Cinema pass (£11.99 a month)
  • Kids pass (£3.99 a month)
  • Hayu (£3.99 a month)

Each pass renews automatically at the end of the free trial.

Britbox – 30-day free trial

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You can get a 30-day free trial to Britbox. Sign up here.

What you can watch on Britbox during your free trial

Created by the BBC and ITV, Britbox offers some of the best drama boxsets from both broadcasters, from Downtown Abbey, Broadchurch and Wolf Hall.

There’s also plenty of classic comedy on offer, from Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan’s The Trip, to Fawlty Towers, Extras and Only Fools and Horses.

And, in good news for reality TV fans, Britbox also hosts every episode of Love Island.

Movies, courtesy of Film4, will be available on the service from 2020.

How much Britbox costs after the free trial

After your trial ends, you’ll have to pay £5.99 a month to continue using the service.

Apple TV+ – 7-day free trial

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New Apple users can get a 7-day free trial of Apple TV+. However, you can get Apple TV+ free for an entire year when you purchase a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or Apple TV.

You can sign up to the free trial here.

What you can watch on Apple TV+ during your free trial

Although Apple TV+ didn’t launch with an extensive library, it does come with plenty of original series. These include The Morning Show (starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell), and dystopian drama See, in which all humans have lost their vision.

Although reviews for the shows have been mixed, Apple TV+ also promises a Steven Spielberg anthology series called Amazing Stories, plus a series from Star Wars director JJ Abrams.

How much it costs after trial

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To continue watching Apple TV+ after your trial expires, you’ll have to pay £4.99 a month.