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All Things Geek - Enjoy some free TV

Matthew Lane • Oct 30, 2017 at 2:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Have you cut the cord on cable television?

Millions of people around the world have, and more are doing it every day. I did it nearly five years ago and have never looked back. I've fully embraced the Netflix world and have joined the ranks of the 100 million subscribers who binge on such shows as “Stranger Things,” “Daredevil” and “House of Cards.”

And like millions of others, I've expanded my over-the-top streaming options by subscribing to Amazon Prime and Hulu. These three services alone provide me with more movies and television shows than I'll need in five lifetimes.

Add in the free content you can find on YouTube and many other networks (The CW for example), there's simply no reason to not consider cutting the cord on traditional television. It's definitely worth a look.

But I'm always looking for more movie and TV options, especially streaming services that are free. And believe it or not, there are a quite a few out there. All you have to do is download an app to your phone or tablet, suffer through the occasional commercial and boom! You're all set.

Here are three apps that offer free content you might want to consider checking out, in case you haven't already.

Crackle

Chances are you've heard of this one. Crackle (originally named Grouper) was launched in 2004, purchased by Sony in 2006 and re-branded as a multi-platform service offering movies and television shows from Sony's vast library.

Crackle has classics shows (”All in the Family” and “Seinfeld”), quirky cartoons (”The Critic” and “Dilbert”), shows you probably know (”Heroes” and “Just Shoot Me!”) and ones you've never heard of (“Action” and “Between Brothers.”) On the movie front, I logged in while writing this piece and found “Arlington Road,” “Chappie,” “Devil,” “Flatliners” and “Godzilla” (the 1998 version).

I admit, Crackle's offerings are rather hit or miss, and its library will probably leave you scratching your head, but it is free. There's bound to be something you recognize, plus the service has been adding to its original content in recent years, such as with “Sequestered,” “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and “Joe Dirt 2.”

PopcornFlix

This is a new one for me, but one I'm starting to like. PopcornFlix is both a website and over-the-top service offering TV shows, documentaries, webisodes and feature-length movies. From the phone app, it looks and feels like Netflix, it's broken down by the usual genres (family, comedy, drama and horror) and instead of a “trending now” selection, PopcornFlix has a “popping now” option.

The service was conceived in July 2010 and went into live beta in March 2011. PopcornFlix primarily streams independent feature films, many coming from its owner Screen Media's library, but it does have mainstream offerings too that you might recognize.

Running across the banner as we speak are “Morning Glory,” “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,” “Shutter Island” and “The Running Man.” I also found a bunch of cartoons (”Max Fleischer's Superman,” “The Legend of Zelda” and :Strawberry Shortcake”), a handful of movies by Lloyd Kaufman, and a couple of known flicks like “Mission Impossible 3” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

It doesn't have the deepest or most impressive library, and honestly, there's a ton of stuff on there you've never heard of. But there are a few gems in there and, of course, it's free.

Tubi TV

Last on my list is Tubi TV, an over-the-top service I've heard of before, but never really checked out until recently. Like Crackle and others, Tubi TV is a free, ad-supported platform offering television shows and movies on a variety of devices, including mobile, Xbox, Playstation and Roku.

So what does Tubi TV have to offer? Is it more than SyFy channel quality movies and foreign TV shows nobody's ever heard of? Quite the opposite. Tubi TV does have your typical B movie lineup, but it also has a decent selection of stuff you know. Even stuff you've watched before and enjoyed.

It's got a decent anime and classic movie selection, documentaries, cult favorites, a “Highly rated on Rotten Tomatoes” queue, a “Not on Netflix” option (which I find rather funny), plus the traditional genres of action, comedy, drama, horror, science fiction and thrillers.

Honestly, Tubi TV reminds me of the early days of Netflix. And it must be doing something right. Since launching in 2014, the service holds the largest library of free TV and movies on the web (more than 50,000 videos), with content partners including Paramount, MGM, Lionsgate and dozens of others. Apparently, its library is second only to Netflix.

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