When it comes to streaming services, the first names that come to mind probably include Amazon Prime, HBO Now, Hulu, and Netflix. They offer hundreds of titles, including recent releases and original TV series.

One thing these services have in common is that you have to pay—and Netflix is among several that have been raising prices.

But consumers can also stream movies free from services that are—in most cases—supported by ads. The best bets among these services include Kanopy, Pluto TV, Sony Crackle, Tubi TV, Vudu, and Xumo.

Like Netflix or Hulu, these free services are available on most streaming devices, making it easy to watch on your TV, laptop, or tablet.

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In addition to making you sit through ads, these services require other trade-offs. You’re out of luck if you want Ultra High Definition, or 4K, shows. Instead, they provide regular HD video (as do cable TV companies). You’re not likely to find recently released movies. And, of course, you won’t be able to watch original shows such as HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Hulu’s “Runaways,” or Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”  

But in a world of $1,000 smartphones and $5 salted caramel mochas, it’s nice to know you can still see “Teen Wolf” or “Lethal Weapon” free of charge. (Another path to free content is to get a TV antenna.)

Here’s what you need to know to stream movies free from the services mentioned above.

Amazon IMDb Freedive

Powered by the Amazon-owned IMDb movie and TV show database, Freedive is Amazon's free, ad-supported streaming service, which is very similar to the free Roku Channel that's available on Roku TVs and streaming players.

Unlike Amazon's other premium video offerings, though, it focuses on older movies and TV shows, plus IMDb programs such as celebrity interviews, documentaries, and coverage of film festivals and award shows.

For example, current programming includes older movies like "Memento" and "True Romance" and TV series like "Fringe" and "Heroes," rather than newer shows and Hollywood blockbusters.

You can watch Freedive via on the IMDb website, as well as on Fire TV devices or through Amazon Prime Video apps on smart TVs, mobile devices, tablets, Echo screen devices, and Apple TV. To watch, you'll need to sign in using your IMDb or Amazon account, or create one. You can also sign in with your Google or Facebook account.

Freedive videos include advertisements that run before and/or during playback, and—no surprise—they can't be skipped.

Hoopla

If you have a library card, then Hoopla might be your ticket to free movies, music, audiobooks, comics, and more. Getting started is pretty simple: Just go to the site, create an account, then find your local library.

Once you've signed up, you can browse by title or genre, or get recommendations based on what you've previously borrowed and what's popular. When you checkout a movie, you have a 72-hour window in which to watch it. (Your library sets the limit on how many movies you can borrow each month; in my case, it's four.) Your movie will start streaming once you've made a selection. 

You can access Hoopla on a computer, Android and iOS mobile apps, and via streaming players such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku. If you're using the mobile app, there's a download option for offline viewing.

Kanopy

Unlike the other streaming services on this list, Kanopy doesn’t show ads. But to use the service, you’ll need a membership at a participating library, university, or other learning institution. 

Kanopy says it has a catalog of 26,000 films from sources including the Criterion Collection, the Great Courses, New Day Films, and PBS. If that sounds like a cerebral list, it is. Kanopy’s selection leans away from Michael Bay blockbusters and toward art-house films. Indie flicks include “What We Do in the Shadows” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.” Available documentary titles include “America Divided,” “Helvetica,” and “I Am Not Your Negro.” 

If you access Kanopy through a library membership, you may be able to watch a limited number of titles per month; members of educational institutions get unlimited access. 

Kanopy maintains a list of participating institutions. The same page lets you request access for your library if it doesn’t participate. 

LG TV Plus

LG's Channel Plus is a free streaming service that's powered by Xumo, which is described in greater detail below. Basically, it offers over 100 live and on-demand news, sports, and entertainment channels from the internet, which you can access using the included program guide.

If you're using an antenna to get free over-the-air channels, both of those stations and the Channel Plus channels will appear in the same program guide.

Channel Plus is included in LG's webOS smart TV system on newer TVs, and it can be added via firmware to select older TVs going all the way back to 2012. You can access the Channel Plus feature from the main menu bar that runs along the bottom of newer LG webOS TVs.

Pluto TV

At first glance, the Pluto TV website looks a lot like the navigation menu from a cable box, with scores of channels.

These aren’t familiar broadcast channels, however.

Most of the channels feature video content curated from around the web, including online newscasts from CBSN, Cheddar, and NBC News, as well as comedy content from "Mystery Science Theater 3000" and The Onion.

But Pluto also offers more conventional streaming-service content, including modern movies (“True Grit,” “Shutter Island”) and classics from earlier eras (“Clue,” “Clear and Present Danger,” “The Way of the Dragon”).

Compared with its competitors, Pluto TV has a somewhat hit-or-miss selection. The TV show pickings are particularly sparse, though they will satisfy fans of “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and “Storage Wars.”

Pluto also recently reached a deal with Vizio to power the company's "WatchFree Wednesdays" streaming service, which provides about 100 free, ad-supported channels on its SmartCast TVs.

But perhaps the company's biggest news is that it's being acquired by the media giant Viacom. While the deal hasn't yet been completed, Pluto TV could allow the company—which owns networks including BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and MTV, as well as the Paramount movie studio—to broaden the reach of its programming beyond its pay TV business.

The Roku Channel

If you have a Roku streaming media player or a Roku TV, you've been able to watch free shows and movies via the company's own free, ad-supported streaming channel, The Roku Channel, since last fall.

But Roku is moving beyond its own players and Roku TVs with The Roku Channel for the Web, which lets you access that free programming from a computer, smartphone, or tablet. In addition, there will be a Roku Channel app on Samsung smart TVs. Using any of these devices, you simply go to therokuchannel.com and log in or create a Roku account to start streaming.

To make finding free content easier on the Roku platform, the company has rolled out a new feature, called Featured Free, on the Roku home screen. In this section you'll be able to get links to free content not only from The Roku Channel but also other content providers, including channels like ABC, the CW, and Fox and streaming services like Crackle, Pluto TV, and Tubi.

SnagFilms

Designed for those who might be interested in programming that's outside the mainstream, SnagFilms offers more than 2,000 on-demand movies, TV show episodes, documentaries, and original comedy shorts.

Categories include Climate Change & the Environment, Refugee & Immigrant Stories, Celebrate Pride, and Before They Were Stars.

Like many of the other free services, SnagFilms is supported by ads. You can access the service via a computer, Android and iOS smartphones, tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Roku streaming players, and PlayStation and Xbox game consoles.

Sony Crackle

Crackle, Sony’s ad-supported streaming service, hosts a library of mainstream titles including older TV shows (“Seinfeld,” “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “Who’s the Boss?”) and popular older movies (“Lethal Weapon,” “Big Fish,” “Pineapple Express”).

And the service has a smaller collection of somewhat more recent movies, including “The Bang Bang Club” and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

Like Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix, Crackle has been developing some of its own content. These series include “Snatch,” a drama based on the movie of the same name, and “StartUp,” which is essentially a darker version of HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” It also has a few original movies, including “The Oath,” about a gang of crooked cops, and “In the Cloud,” about a London terrorist.

Tubi TV

This ad-supported service has more than 7,000 titles, including selections from the libraries of Lionsgate, MGM, and Paramount Pictures, as well as Starz Digital.

These range from old (and probably best forgotten) Chuck Norris films to classic indie titles (“Bagdad Cafe”) and more recent acclaimed movies such as “The Hurt Locker.” Seasons of TV shows, such as “Pokémon,” “Merlin,” and “Blue Bloods,” are also available.

You don’t have to register for Tubi TV, but if you do, you get some perks, such as being able to resume play from where you left off and keep track of what you’ve watched.

Vizio WatchFree

In much the same way that LG has partnered with Xumo for its Channel Plus service, Vizio has teamed up with Pluto TV for its free, ad-supported WatchFree streaming service.

WatchFree is included as part of Vizio's SmartCast smart TV service, and it offers access to about 100 news, sports, movies, and TV shows. (See Pluto TV, above, for more details.) WatchFree is treated as its own input on SmartCast TVs, so you can find it by pressing the Input button on the Vizio TV remote control.

Vudu

Vudu is best known as Walmart’s online video site, where you can buy or rent a wide range of movies and TV shows. But the service recently expanded its free, ad-supported content lineup to include more movies and full seasons of TV programs, which you can find under the “Vudu: Free Movies & TV” page.

The rotating collection includes hundreds of popular older movies, such as “Traitor,” “Valkyrie,” and “Teen Wolf,” and TV shows such as “Peep Show,” “The Inbetweeners,” and “Happy Endings.”

To access the free content, you need a Vudu account, but you don’t have to provide payment information.

Xumo

Xumo is a free, ad-powered streaming video platform that offers live and on-demand content from more than 100 channels.

Unlike other free services, Xumo focuses on premium branded channels, and you’ll find a lot of short-form content across a wide array of entertainment, lifestyle, news, pop culture, and technology content providers. That includes everything from The Onion and Funny or Die to TMZ, GQ, Vogue, NBC News, and Sports Illustrated.

After you’ve used the service, it can start making program recommendations based on your interests. Among the latest news: Xumo has now added content from the History Channel to its lineup. Also, the PGA Tour’s first ad-supported streaming channel is now on Xumo. Launched on smart TVs as part of a partnership with Xumo, the channel will include live coverage of matches as well as highlights and interviews.

YouTube

You might think of YouTube mainly as the home of user-created content, but the site also has some free movies in the "Free to Watch" section under Movies & Shows. This offering is something different from YouTube Premium (formerly known as YouTube Red), which bundles videos, original movies, TV shows, and music as part of an ad-free plan that costs $12 a month.

Last time we checked, there were more than 90 titles available, all of them free with ads. Admittedly, the mix is pretty far-ranging, so you get everything from older, bigger-budget Hollywood fare ("Legally Blonde," "Four Weddings and a Funeral") to animated movies ("Igor") to documentaries ("Jiro Dreams of Sushi").

Available movies, though, do seem to come and go. For example, a few months ago we were able to watch several of the "Rocky" movies, but they're no longer listed. So you should check back occasionally to see what new movies have appeared.