Best streaming service deals – CNET

Running out of movies and TV shows to watch? Itching for some original content to stream on your brand new smart TV? Your basic channel lineup no longer cutting it? Maybe it’s time to subscribe to a new streaming service. 

Many of these services, including Disney PlusHuluParamount PlusNetflixHBO Max and Peacock are running deals. Some home internet or phone service bundles can get you a free subscription to Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max or Peacock Premium. Meanwhile students get cheap Hulu and people who buy the new Chromecast with Google TV get six months of Netflix. Depending on the streaming platform you’re eyeing, there could be a good deal out there.

Let’s break down the best streaming service deals you can get right now.

Read more: Best streaming service of 2021

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If you already have standard HBO you likely can get HBO Max for free, while numerous AT&T wireless plans also include free HBO Max (see below). Right now the $15 ad-free tier of HBO Max is half off for six months after the company pulled access to the service through Amazon Prime channels. That’s a savings of $45 over six months. This deal is available for both new and returning users and expires on Sept. 26. 

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T-Mobile, through its Netflix on Us perk, has long offered free Netflix on some of its unlimited plans, including Magenta, Magenta Plus and its new Magenta Max option. Older plans, called One and One Plus, also have Netflix included, though exactly which version of Netflix will vary. 

Higher-end options such as Magenta Plus, Max and One Plus likely have Netflix Standard (the most popular version of Netflix that runs $14 a month and streams in HD) included so long as you have multiple lines. If you have one line of Max or the base Magenta plan, you’ll get Netflix Basic included (that’s the non-HD $9 a month version of Netflix). Full details, including what you’d need to pay if you wanted to upgrade to a higher plan like the 4K-capable Netflix Premium, can be found on T-Mobile’s website

Note: It’s one Netflix subscription per T-Mobile account, not per individual line.

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AT&T, which owns HBO Max, bundles in the ad-free version of the WarnerMedia streaming service with a number of its wireless, TV and home internet plans — though it’s likely only on the priciest options. Today, that means you can get a free HBO Max subscription with its Unlimited Elite wireless plan or the fastest 1Gbps internet plans. AT&T is also offering one-year subscriptions with its Choice or Ultimate AT&T TV packages. 

Beyond its existing offers, the telecom giant also includes HBO Max with some legacy wireless offers. Older plans with HBO Max bundled in include Unlimited Choice, Unlimited Choice II, Unlimited Enhanced Choice, Unlimited Plus, Unlimited Enhanced Plus and Unlimited & More. Full details for activating HBO Max can be found on AT&T’s website

Note: It’s one HBO Max subscription per AT&T account, not per individual line. 

If you don’t have AT&T, you can save $30 by prepaying for a year of HBO Max. This will make the ad-free option $150 for the year or the ad-supported option $100.

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Whereas T-Mobile has Netflix and AT&T has HBO Max, the nation’s largest carrier has Disney. 

On its recent wireless plans, the carrier includes the Disney Bundle — subscriptions to Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus that run a combined $14 a month — with its Play More and Get More unlimited plans. Other plans, such as its most affordable Start and Do More plans, have six months of Disney Plus included, but not the bundle. 

Verizon allows mixing and matching unlimited plans, so as long as one line on your account has a Play More or Get More plan you will be able to get the perk. Note that it is only one Disney subscription per Verizon account, not per individual line. 

The deal works for both new and existing Disney Plus subscribers, so if you already have a subscription you can either cancel or if you have the six-month trial, have the Verizon subscription run first and then have your regular subscription continue after. 

Those with a Play More Unlimited or Get More Unlimited plan from before August 2020 have been able to get Disney Plus for one year, though if you haven’t activated it yet you’d only get six months of Disney Plus. If you switch to the updated version of either plan you’ll be able to get the Disney Bundle.

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Cricket Wireless, which is owned by AT&T, has added a new deal that will bundle a subscription to the ad-supported version of HBO Max with the carrier’s $60-a-month unlimited plan. 

Although this version has ads and lacks 4K, offline downloads and the ability to stream new Warner Bros. releases when they hit theaters, you do get access to all HBO content as well as Max originals such as Gossip Girl, Titans and The Flight Attendant. 

Note: It’s one HBO Max subscription per Cricket account, not per individual line. 

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In addition to offering free Netflix, T-Mobile has added a new perk for some of its plans: a free 12-month subscription to Apple TV Plus. Normally $5 a month, the deal will be available to new and existing T-Mobile customers who have one of a variety of plans.

This includes the company’s more well-known Magenta and Magenta Max offerings as well as some specialized plans like Magenta 55 Plus, Magenta Military, Magenta First Responders and small business customers with T-Mobile for Business accounts. Those with a Sprint Unlimited Plus or Sprint Premium plan can also get a free year of Apple’s streaming service. 

The deal is available until July 31, 2022. 

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Paramount Plus normally runs $10 a month for its commercial-free (and live-CBS-included) offering. On June 7 the company added a new option that drops the live CBS feeds and has “limited commercial interruptions” that runs $6 a month, in the process replacing a previous $5 monthly plan. 

Prepaying for a year of either can effectively net you two months free, with the ad-free version running $100 for the year (a $20 savings) and the ad-supported tier running $60 (a $12 savings).

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Verizon and Sling have teamed up to offer new and existing Verizon wireless, Fios and 5G Home users the option to get free Sling TV for two months. Normally $35 a month, the two packages offer live TV, including TBS, TNT and CNN, with the Blue package also including the NFL Network, Fox News, MSNBC and (in some markets) the local feeds of NBC and Fox. The Orange package lacks those latter channels but does offer ESPN. 

Sling is also offering the option of two free months for either its International package (up to $35 a month) or its Latino package (up to $15 a month) instead. Existing Sling TV users aren’t eligible for the deal, and full details can be found on Verizon’s site.

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At $14 a month the Disney bundle saves you $5 each month over the cost of separate Disney PlusESPN Plus and Hulu subscriptions, which is basically the same as getting ESPN Plus for free. 

If you’ve already got a Hulu or ESPN account, you’ll need to combine your accounts on your desktop.

If you’re not on T-Mobile or don’t want to switch your plans, look at Google and Netflix’s bundling of six months of a Standard subscription with a Chromecast with Google TV. First introduced last year, the offer combines Google’s excellent streaming dongle with Netflix Standard for $90. A six-month Netflix subscription on its own would be nearly $84 while Google’s device normally runs $50. 

The deal is capped at three purchases per customer but you can add the Netflix credit even if you already have an account (so long as that account isn’t through a third party such as T-Mobile). If you decide to return the Chromecast and keep the Netflix, $50 would be refunded, making the six months of Netflix only $40, a savings of $44 over what you’d regularly pay.

This deal will be available through the end of 2021.

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If you were on the fence about trying HBO Max and are in the market for a new streaming device, Google has a new deal for you. The search giant has a new bundle that combines its Chromecast with Google TV and three months of ad-free HBO Max for $65. With the device usually running $50 on its own, and ad-free HBO Max running $15 a month, this deal saves you $30 — the equivalent of two free months of HBO Max. 

The Google Store deal will be available until Dec. 31, 2022, though you’ll need to be new to HBO Max to take advantage of it. 


Beyond getting Hulu in the Verizon bundle, there are a few ways to save on Disney’s other streaming service. 

Students will want to check out Spotify’s Premium Student offer which combines Spotify Premium, Hulu’s ad-supported plan and Showtime for $5 per month. All told, the bundle would save nearly $22 a month. You need to be a student above the age of 18 who is “enrolled at a US Title IV accredited college or university” to qualify, and Spotify works with a third party called SheerID to verify that you’re eligible. 

You will need to verify eligibility every 12 months, with the offer available for a total of four years. Full details can be found at Spotify’s site.

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College students who don’t want the Spotify and Showtime bundle can get the ad-supported Hulu for $2 a month. Hulu similarly uses SheerID to verify eligibility, with more details available on Hulu’s site.

Discovery Plus

Another recent entrant, Discovery’s streaming service runs $5 a month for its ad-supported option and $7 for the ad-free plan. As with Disney Plus, the best way to get this for free is through Verizon. 

The telecom giant is offering a year of Discovery Plus’ ad-free tier for free with certain unlimited wireless plans as well as new subscribers to its Fios and 5G Home internet plans. 

Wireless users will need to have either a Play More or Get More plan to get the deal, while other unlimited plans, including its Verizon Unlimited plan, Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, Above Unlimited, Do More Unlimited and Start Unlimited, can get a free six months. Full details can be found on Verizon’s website.

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Comcast, which owns Peacock and its parent NBCUniversal, includes a subscription to the $5-a-month Peacock Premium for all Xfinity Flex users as well as its Xfinity X1 and video customers who subscribe to at least the “Xfinity Internet or Digital Starter TV” internet and TV packages. More details can be found on Peacock’s site

Cable company Cox is also giving away the $5-a-month Peacock Premium subscription to those who have Cox Internet with a Contour TV Essential or higher plan. Those with Cox Internet and a subscription to Contour Stream Player or Contour TV Starter can “enjoy a limited-time preview” of Peacock Premium “at no additional cost.” Full details can be found on Cox’s site

If you don’t have Cox or Comcast, you can get an annual Peacock subscription for either $50 a year for ad-supported Premium or $100 a year for ad-free Premium Plus.


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The new kid on the streaming block, Paramount Plus replaced CBS All Access on March 4. 

In a bid to drive new subscribers, ViacomCBS is once again offering a deal where you could prepay for your first year at 50% off this time with promo code YEAR. The service currently charges $6 per month for its base tier with ads (or $60 if purchased annually), while the ad-free option runs $10 per month ($100 annually). Under the offer, an annual subscription for ad-supported Paramount Plus would run $30 while the ad-free option would be $50. 

Note: In June the price for the ad-supported option will become $5 per month as ViacomCBS adjusts the plan, notably removing live CBS feeds and not offering the full catalog available on the service. 

This deal expired on March 31.

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Peacock is adding the WWE to its platform on March 18, and to celebrate, the NBCUniversal streaming service is offering a deal to new users where you can sign up and get four months of Peacock’s normally $5-per-month Premium offering for one flat rate payment of $10. This version will have access to Peacock’s full library, though you will still need to watch ads. 

This deal expired on April 9.

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Don’t need all those YouTube TV channels? Philo is a similar service but with fewer channels — it doesn’t include any sports, news or local channels, for example — at a much lower price. Normally $20 per month, this deal cuts the price of Philo in half. 

Just like the YouTube TV deal, this one is available to pretty much any T-Mobile subscriber. It’s available with promo code 2021PhiloP1.

This deal expired on July 1.

Read our Philo review.


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