If your streaming subscriptions are piling up and feel like they’re digging into your bank account more and more every month, it might make sense to take a break from the ones you don’t watch regularly. The good thing about Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and others is that there’s no contract or obligation involved, and you can come and go as you please.
You can also sample networks that you haven’t tried yet to see if they suit. All of the big video streaming apps offer a free trial of some sort. Two weeks or even a month is great for catching a must-see episode of a show that all your friends are crazy about, and for deciding whether the service is worth a monthly deduction from your checking account. Just keep in mind that you can only take advantage of a free trial once — and that if you don’t want to stick with a subscription, but forget to cancel when the trial is up, you’re going to be responsible for payment.
After that, you can figure out for yourself if you want to stick with the network throughout the year or just come and go when there’s a show that interests you. We all know that a big element of Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu is the rotating content that switches out monthly. Maybe a show or movie you love will come back. And you can’t forget about HBO’s fantastic documentaries, like the recent At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal.
Constantly quitting and returning might not be great if you want these platforms to continue creating the content you love, like more seasons of your favorite show. Less money for them means less money to pump into programming. But none of us are obligated to remain forever subscribed to Netflix as a show of our support for quality TV, and saving cash always feels good (and is sometimes necessary).
What follows is a guide to the major streaming networks: their free trials, prices, how to cancel the subscription, and what are some of the shows that you may want to watch.
I wish that quitting any of these services was as simple as putting together a calendar of when their high-profile originals come around. It’s not, but at least it’s some helpful context.
Note that the below applies specifically to these services as they’re offered in the United States.
Amazon Prime Video
Free trial length: 30 days (applies to all of Amazon Prime)
Price: $8.99 monthly (Prime Video only), $12.99 monthly (Amazon Prime), $119 annually (Amazon Prime)
How to cancel Amazon Prime Video: Go to your account page and choose the Prime box at the top right. On the next settings screen, look at the left-side column and scroll down to Membership Management. There you’ll find the “end membership benefits” option, where you can cancel either the Prime Video standalone or all of Amazon Prime, depending on which you’re currently subscribed to.
CBS All Access
Free trial length: 1 week
Price per month: $5.99 (limited commercials), $9.99 (no commercials)
How to cancel CBS All Access: Canceling CBS All Access is a quick process that can be done right from your account page.
Free trial length: 1 week
Price per month: $14.99
How to cancel HBO Now: The process of canceling HBO differs depending on how you’ve subscribed to it. If you’re subscribed directly through HBO, you can open the HBO Now app, head to settings, and then pick billing information. Choose HBO as your provider, and then “Cancel membership.”
If you’ve signed up through another service, such as Prime Video or Google Play, you can go here to learn how to cancel the network.
Free trial length: 30 days
Price per month: $5.99 (ad-supported), $11.99 (no commercials)
How to cancel Hulu: From any web browser, sign into Hulu and then visit your account page. Under Your Account, you should see a cancel option. Note that, as with HBO, it’s possible to be billed for Hulu through third parties (including Spotify if you took advantage of the free combo promotion when it was available). You can find out how to cancel the service at this page.
Free trial length: 1 month
Price per month: $8.99 (basic), $12.99 (standard / HD), $15.99 (premium / 4K)
How to cancel Netflix: Visit this link when logged into Netflix using a web browser and choose “Finish Cancellation.”
- Some shows worth a free trial:
Black Mirror season 5 (premiered June 5th)
- Orange is the New Black season 7 (coming July 26th)
- Stranger Things season 3 (coming July 4th)
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