Free Streaming Trials Disappear, but You Still Can Get Them Here

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Surprised man watching TV
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If you are cutting the cable cord for the first time — or simply looking for a new streaming service — your options for getting a free trial are shrinking.

Recently, many streaming services have curtailed their free trials, according to Consumer Reports. For example:

  • Sling TV has ended free trials for people who sign up through its website.
  • Netflix continues to slowly eliminate free trials, a process that started in countries outside the U.S. and that dates back a couple of years.
  • Both Disney+ and HBO Max have eliminated their free trials.

Streaming services apparently have decided that free trials do not pay big dividends. Dan Rayburn, principal analyst at the research firm Frost & Sullivan, told Consumer Reports:

“Doing away with free trials does not impact new sign-ups. What these companies say in private conversations is that content drives new subscriptions, and if they have shows and movies users want to see, people will sign up for the service, even without a free trial.”

Fortunately, many streaming services still give you the chance to sample their service for free — at least for now. They include:

  • Hulu: Up to 30 days, depending on the plan
  • Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access): Seven days
  • Philo: Seven days

A little creativity also might pay off in getting a free trial. Consumer Reports notes that although you no longer can get a free trial through the Sling TV website, you can still get the freebie by signing up through certain devices.

So, it’s worth trying to sign up through your phone or streaming media player, for example.

It’s also worth inquiring about other possible discounts. Rayburn notes that some streaming services have replaced free trials with price breaks for consumers who pay for a year upfront or bundle services.

Finally, some streaming services always are free. You can find out more about the best of them in “15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home.”

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