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How to save money on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu – USA TODAY

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Netflix launched its streaming program in 2007, at the time a DVD-by-mail service only. Since then, streaming has taken the world by storm and established itself as a mainstream service, with 78% of U.S. households having some sort of streaming service. The rise in streaming, like the rise of DVD before it, was largely thanks to its convenience. Unlike brick-and-mortar rental storefronts such as Blockbuster, users have access to countless videos without leaving the comfort of their homes. It’s also cheaper than previous services as consumers don’t have to pay for individual movies or an entire cable package, but rather a bundle of entertainment at a fraction of the price.  
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However, streaming is becoming more and more expensive. With the number of competing platforms on the market, many people subscribe to multiple streaming services to have access to all their favorite shows across various networks. In fact, the number of households with four or more streaming services doubled from 2020 to 2021. What’s more, the streaming services themselves are becoming more costly—Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN+ will each see price hikes in the coming months. 
With inflation on the rise, it’s understandable to think that streaming might have to be one of the things you give up. Fortunately, there’s still hope and there are less expensive ways to enjoy online entertainment. We’ll walk you through all the ways you can save money on streaming services. 
 Disney+ Day is tomorrow: What to know and what’s streaming
Did you know that there are dozens of free channels just waiting to be watched on your television? Channels such as NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS and the CW are available to watch with an antenna. You’ll be able to watch a variety of programs with just a one-time payment for the cost of the antenna itself.   
The best HDTV antenna we’ve tested is the ClearStream Eclipse TV Antenna. With a range of 35 miles, ClearStream offers many different channels with crystal-clear picture quality. It comes with a wall mount that attaches without the need for screws or pins. Beyond being practical, this antenna is beautiful. Its elegant, halo-like design gives it a cool, futuristic look—it’s certainly an upgrade from the old bunny ears design that used to be ubiquitous with antennas. Plus, it has a black side and a white side so that it’s guaranteed to fit your home’s style, no matter the color tones.  
If you prefer streaming entertainment to using an antenna, there are still ways to save money. In fact, there are streaming services you can enjoy without paying so much as a penny.   
If there’s a show or movie you want to watch on a paid streaming service, then you might want to make use of a free trial (especially if you want to quickly binge a single show). Not all major streaming services offer free trials, but many do. What’s more, the free trials tend to be generous with the amount of time they give you. Popular services that provide free trials include Hulu, Showtime and Prime Video, which each offer 30-day free trials. YouTube TV offers a 14-day free trial and Paramount+ offers a 7-day trial. 
If you don’t plan on subscribing to a streaming platform after your trial is up, make sure to set a reminder to cancel your subscription before the trial period ends or you’ll get charged for a membership.  
Many streaming services allow you to purchase a specific tier, with more expensive tiers having premium features such as HD or advertisement-free streaming. If you’re willing to deal with ads, consider purchasing the lowest tier of a service. That way, you can still enjoy the excellent programs it has to offer while saving a bit of money.  
For $6.99, you can watch Hulu with ad breaks compared to $12.99 for Hulu without ads. In addition to a free tier with fewer movies and shows, Peacock offers an ad tier for $4.99 and an ad-free tier for $9.99. In the coming months, both Disney+ and Netflix will launch a basic, ad-supported tier that is slated to be cheaper than their current lowest tiers.  
Streaming services offer many bundles and deals that can help you save money while giving you access to additional subscriptions.  
For $13.99 a month, you can purchase a bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, which gives you access to countless shows and movies for way less than you’d pay for each service individually. Certain phone providers, such as Verizon, offer free streaming bundles with the purchase of certain plans. Namely, Verizon users can get a free bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. Verizon also offers up to 6 months of discovery+ with select plans. 
An Amazon Prime subscription gives you access to Amazon Prime Video, making one of the most convenient shopping platforms even more appealing. If you have a Walmart+ membership, then you’ll soon have access to a Paramount+ subscription.  
Lastly, if you have an internet provider such as Xfinity, many channels will allow you to stream their shows free of charge if you log in with your internet provider information.  
There are a few ways to save money on some of the biggest streaming platforms through price cuts offered through signup.  
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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