With the many conflicting demands and limitations of motherhood, taking time to watch your favourite TV shows and movies are often both one of the only and most useful ways many mothers have found to decompress and carve out some small amount of “me-time” throughout each day, or week.
Cable vs. Streaming
The problem with that is often in adhering to the restrictions of a broadcasting schedule to watch the programming you seek when it’s available. Even with a DVR connected to your cable TV box, you can only record so much programming, and only shows which the cable stations are broadcasting during that period of time.
With streaming, however, you have access to the entire catalog of the given streaming service to which you subscribe at all times, any time, on demand, as you desire. What’s more, streaming services cost a fraction of the rates for cable TV, and offer more services for the lower cost.
For instance, with cable TV, you can typically only watch different programming on a limited number of televisions hooked up to the cable box inside the household where the box is located. To watch on any device outside the household requires a separate, streaming subscription, at extra cost, if the cable provider even makes such a service available.
By contrast, with streaming services, you can typically watch different programming on multiple internet-enabled devices, not just televisions, at once. You can watch from any location, not just rooms within a single household associated with the subscription, and no connection to a cable box beyond a digital connection, such as WiFi, is required.
All of this amounts to saving money while increasing flexibility and freedom. Imagine being able to start a show or movie at home on your smart TV while your child is napping, continue it on a laptop at the Starbucks near your job during your lunch break at work, and finish it on your iPad while waiting for your child to finish dance class, all while paying less than you do now for cable!
If this promise of affordability, relaxation, convenience, flexibility and freedom appeals to you, read on to discover some of the top streaming services and deals, how to get free trials for key streaming channels and how to avoid streaming scam sites.
Top Streaming Services and Deals
In addition to the standalone services listed here, some of these services, like Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, offer bundles that allow you to add additional streaming services or pay-cable services in streaming format, such as Paramount+, HBO Max and Showtime.
The preeminent and still dominant streaming service, Netflix now rivals major motion picture and TV studios for annual Oscar, Emmy and Grammy Award nods. It’s just as much the dizzying plethora of content Netflix licenses (Friends, The Office, American Horror Story) that makes it so popular as it is that of its original programming (You, Tiger King, Squid Game.)
Netflix offers no free trial. Netflix does, however, allow you to cancel or change plans at any time with no penalty.
Disney may be associated predominantly with children’s programming, and rightly so, but the “plus” sign in this streaming service’s name is not to be discounted. Disney Plus, in addition to including major Disney titles released over the decades (Beauty and the Beast, Cruella, Cinderella) including in recent years in theaters and direct-to-streaming alike, also includes programming more suitable for adult tastes, like ESPN Sports, Marvel (Iron Man, WandaVision, Loki) and National Geographic. It also includes the content that crosses age barriers like the Star Wars pantheon, including those original to the service like the acclaimed The Mandalorian, and the ever-precocious Pixar (Luca, Soul.)
Amazon Prime Video
Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of Amazon Prime Video is that it comes free with a subscription to Amazon Prime, which is Amazon’s frequent shopper membership service that offers its own impressive host of benefits. This isn’t the only reason, however, to either get Amazon Prime or watch Amazon Prime Video instead of one of the other streaming services. The other, equally big, reason to do so is the (dare we say?) Amazonian collection of quality programming you can only watch on Amazon Prime Video. Amazon Original movies, like Annette, The Map of Tiny, Perfect Things, Sound of Metal and Jolt, rival any that Netflix, Disney+ or Apple TV have put out, and the same goes for their TV shows, including Goliath, Hanna, The Man in the High Castle and The Expanse.
Amazon Prime Video Free Trial
Amazon Prime Video does not have its own subscription plan separate from an Amazon Prime membership, and so it doesn’t have its own free trial. Amazon Prime, however, does have a 30-day free trial. Note that you can also rent and purchase content from Amazon Prime Video without an Amazon Prime membership for an individual cost per item.
Hulu may have put itself on the map with The Handmaid’s Tale, but once it got there, it has managed to remain as an entertainment force to be reckoned with. Firstly, Hulu lets you watch shows from the major networks and basic cable stations like CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, FX, FOX News and CNN. Secondly, it continues to pump out one great series and movie after another, most recently with Nine Perfect Strangers, Y: The Last Man and Dopesick.
Hulu offers a 30-day free trial for both its ad-free and ad-supported plans. For its Hulu + Live TV plan, however, it only offers a 7-day free trial.
How to Avoid Streaming Scam Sites
While these streaming sites let you watch your favourite shows and movies affordably, you must also beware of a common streaming scam currently circulating online. It offers free streaming services for anyone who signs up for a particular program, which unsurprisingly turns out to be a paid program. To further up the ante, the offer professes to be only available for a limited-time and open to only to a limited number of people who sign up on a first-come, first-served basis. Sometimes, the offer will even use the COVID pandemic as its rationale or motivation for making such a “generous” offer. Bottom line: if it looks too good to be true… you know the rest.
Armed with this knowledge and the understanding of all the benefits streaming can offer to your maternal mental wellness, you’re ready to get underway with cutting the cord on your cable box and starting your new life in streaming entertainment. Now you can watch your favourite shows and movies guilt-free!
Joel Foster is a freelance writer and editor at KillTheCableBill. He writes on the topics of education, entertainment, film, business and technology.