If you're one of the millions of Amazon Prime subscribers, you are by now familiar with all of the fantastic benefits that come with the service, such as free two-day delivery, Prime Day sales and specials, and, of course, Prime Video. Amazon has long included tons of great content in its Prime Video service for Prime members, from syndicated favorites to a growing library of award-winning original content.
This is all stuff you probably already knew. However, what you may not be aware of is that Prime Video isn't the only free service available on Fire TV. I'm one of the millions who've been exploring a nearly unlimited supply of free content, which has been keeping me entertained on the cheap during this quarantine period. The Fire TV team has done a really great job at organizing and packaging all of this free content, giving it top-level attention on both the Fire TV home screen navigation controls, as well as the top-level banner ads and the subsequent app rows below those banner ads.
Over the past year, we've observed an increase in demand for ad-supported content, and one of the top requested features has been a central location to explore free movies and shows. We began testing this Free tab feature in fall 2019 - Ryan Styrk, Amazon Fire TV spokesperson.
For this piece, I wanted to highlight some of the content that I've been watching (or am looking forward to watching) for free this summer on several streaming services on the Amazon Fire TV. Unfortunately, you may not be able to access all of this content where you are, but that's where a picking out one of the best VPNs comes in handy. Using a VPN like ExpressVPN will allow you to spoof your location to access the content with ease. You can sign up for ExpressVPN right now and save 49% on the purchase (+ get 3 months free). Here are all the best VPN services for Fire TV Stick.
Free Content on Amazon Fire TV Amazon Prime Video
While it's certainly true that Amazon Prime Video syndicates lots of great content from other creators (some of my favorites on tap right now include Psych, Monk, and Parks & Recreation), I wanted to focus in this section on some of my favorite Prime Originals currently available.
- Hanna, seasons 1 and 2 (TV series): Hanna is a fast-paced thriller about a teenage girl who was raised in the woods of (Poland?) by her spy-on-the-run father. The first season followed her outrunning the folks who killed her mother and becoming a real badass on her own. I'm psyched to start season 2 this weekend!
- Homecoming, seasons 1 and 2 (TV series): Homecoming got a shot in the arm when Julia Roberts heard the original Gimlet Media podcast and worked to turn it into a TV series (which she stared in the first season). Season 2 continues to delve into the shady world of military experiments with the uber-talented Janelle Monae.
- Upload, season 1 (TV series): In Upload, a healthy young man who comes close to death in a car accident chooses to "die" and have his memories scanned and uploaded into a utopia in the cloud. But, he quickly finds out that paradise isn't perfect (or free).
- Brittany Runs a Marathon (Movie): This is a more female, more modern version of Run Fat Boy Run, but it's just as charming and motivating. Just beware, it's not for kids' eyes.
- The Big Sick (Movie): This was one of the first big hits pushed out by Amazon Studios, and it showed us a different and authentic side to one of my favorite actors and comedians, Kumai Nanjiani. It's the true-life story of how he met and fell in love with his wife, Emily Gordon.
- Vast of the Night (Movie): I have yet to watch this one, but it's currently sitting at the top of my watchlist. It's a sci-fi film set in 1950s New Mexico, with a heavy alien signal vibe.
Don't forget to also catch up on fan favorites like Jack Ryan, The Expanse, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel before they come back with new seasons later this year or in early 2021.
Free Content on Amazon Fire TV IMDbTV
The popular Internet Movie Database (IMDb) website has been around for nearly thirty years and was acquired by Amazon way back in 1998. IMDbTV is much newer, launching less than two years ago as IMDb FreeDive, and shortly after that getting the IMDbTV rebrand. This service, free to Prime members on Fire TV and tablet devices, offers mostly syndicated, ad-supported TV shows and movies. However, it, too, is starting to create and distribute original content.
- Schitt's Creek, seasons 1-5 (TV series): Look, I've tried on three separate occasions to get into this show, but I just can't (and I LOVE Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara). However, I know that it's one of the top-rated recent sitcoms, so here you go.
- The Middle, seasons 1-9 (TV series): I only started watching this because I loved Neil Flynn in Scrubs, but I got hooked and binged the entire nine seasons in about three weeks. Brick and Sue Heck are two very odd but very endearing kids that will make you want to root for them.
- News Radio, seasons 1-5 (TV series): The 90s were a golden era for sitcoms (especially on NBC), but this one has flown under the radar for too long. The first few seasons with Phil Hartman are real gems.
- Patriot Games (Movie): I will readily admit that I'm a Tom Clancy stan, but what I really like is any book, show, or movie set in the Jack Ryan universe. Patriot Games is probably the best from the Harrison Ford/Alec Baldwin set of films, at least in my opinion (ok, it's tied with The Hunt for Red October).
- The Muppets Take Manhattan (Movie): If you want some Muppet content but don't want to shell out for Disney+, IMDbTV has a few of the original beloved Muppet movies from the 80s and 90s.
- There's Something About Mary (Movie): Ok, this is a bit juvenile and shows my age, but this was legitimately one of the funniest movies of the late 90s — fight me.
I didn't want to overwhelm you with options, but there are dozens, if not hundreds, of great TV shows and movies on the IMDbTV service. Several of the more recent Star Trek movies, Karate Kid, Tombstone, Lost, Friday Night Lights, Murder She Wrote, and more. The list just goes on and on!
Free Content on Amazon Fire TV Other services
If you click through the Amazon Fire TV Free content section, you'll see many other services that you may or may not have heard of, but that nonetheless have a lot of good content available for your viewing pleasure.
Some of the ones that I recommend you download and try out are Crackle (run by Sony), Tubi (run by Fox), and Pluto.tv (run by ViacomCBS). They all have syndicated shows and movie properties from their respective owners, plus additional diamonds in the rough.
For example, you can catch Girl, Interrupted and We Need to talk about Kevin on Crackle, stream The Firm, Glory, or So I Married an Axe Murderer on Pluto.tv, or watch Days of Thunder, Galaxy Quest, or Heathers on Tubi. Not too shabby for free! Ok, these services are ad-supported, so they're not truly "free," but that's a fair tradeoff during these tough financial times, at least in my opinion.
Sit back and enjoy the show
I tried not to feature duplicate content in the lists above, but you will find that many of these services have a lot of the same material. That's not to say that they don't have their own unique offerings, however. At any rate, you probably won't download or use all of these free apps at one time anyway, so try a few out and see what favorites you discover!
In addition to all of this genuinely free content, don't forget that many streaming services offer free trial periods from one week up to a month or more! Be sure to check out our regularly updated guide to these free trial offerings and expand your viewing wish list!
And don't worry about getting your favorite shows and playlists mixed up with family members, or having the kiddos accidentally stumble onto inappropriate content. Amazon recently released an update where you can (finally) create individual, family profiles for your Fire TV device.
Ok, enough writing. I gotta get back to my programs.
Streaming stick saver
This is the streamer to stick with
Stream all of your favorite content in glorious 4K UHD for only $50. The Fire Stick 4K also comes with a handy Alexa voice remote, and you can control your TV volume, channel, and on/off inputs through its HDMI-CEC support.
Prime time viewing
Get a taste of the good stuff
If you're not already an Amazon Prime member and you want to see what all the fuss is about, why not give it a try, for free? Once you see all of the benefits and free content available, you may never want to leave!
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