How to watch Friends online

Best way to watch Friends (1994-2004)

Dying to know where to watch Friends? It’s one of those shows that deserves a marathon watch, and HBO’s newest streaming service, HBO Max, is the best way to do it. In fact, it’s the only way to stream every single season online right now. How much will it cost you? Well, the platform will set you back $14.99/mo., but there’s no contract to sign, so you can cancel at any time. 

All the ways to watch Friends online

Even if you’ve never watched Friends, you probably know the names of all the characters. After all, it’s the place where Jennifer Aniston’s career skyrocketed and the ’90s show that featured celebrity cameos from Brad Pitt to Reese Witherspoon. Over the course of 10 seasons, you’ll be treated to the life, loves and losses of a group of friends living in Manhattan. And once you’ve finished viewing all 236 episodes, you’ll never be able to get the words “Smelly Cat” out of your head ever again.

Seeing how popular Friends was and still is, it’s been surprisingly difficult to catch episodes online. While you’ll still find the odd rerun on cable TV, the only way to watch every single season from start to finish is through HBO Max. It’s the streaming service to try if you want more than 10,000 hours of content, including popular old HBO shows like The Wire and newer creations like Westworld.

Here’s how much you can expect to pay to see a Friends stream online.

Streaming servicePrice
HBO Max$14.99/mo.

Streaming Friends

To catch a Friends stream online, you’ll need HBO Max. HBO used to have three streaming services: HBO Go, HBO Max and HBO Now. But in recent months, both HBO Go and HBO Now were renamed to HBO, leaving HBO Max as the biggest and best on-demand streaming service that the premium network offers.

HBO Max

On HBO Max, there are thousands of hours of shows to browse, and they don’t just come from HBO either. Of course, you’ll find lots of HBO series that ran for a similar length and are just as popular as Friends. (Think Sex and the City and Game of Thrones.) But there are also other shows like Doctor Who and Adventure Time along with movies from DC and Studio Ghibli. If that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, HBO Max also broadcasts original shows.

For the amount of content you’ll get to devour, HBO Max doesn’t charge a huge amount each month. Subscribers are asked to pay $14.99/mo. and can enjoy a seven-day free trial at the beginning to see if they’re really into the service’s offering. But if you already subscribe to HBO, you may be able to get HBO Max for no additional cost.

The streaming service is available on pretty much every device around. However, it currently doesn’t work with Amazon Fire TV or Roku devices. Three simultaneous streams are allowed with each account, so you and other members of your household aren’t forced to watch the same title at the same time. Plus, you can create up to five user profiles, so each person can enjoy a personalized content library. Offline viewing is allowed, too. You can download up to 30 episodes or movies at one time to watch without an internet connection.

Renting vs. buying Friends

If you don’t want to subscribe to HBO Max, you can also buy Friends episodes or entire seasons from a number of providers. Unfortunately, there aren’t any sites where you can currently rent this show.

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime is one of the biggest online shopping destinations, but Amazon Prime Video offers subscribers the chance to stream original content and buy or rent titles. As Friends streaming isn’t available via Amazon Prime Video, you’ll have to shell out for it, even if you’re a Prime member. Standard definition (SD) episodes cost $1.99 to buy, while high definition (HD) episodes are $2.99. The price for buying full seasons in SD and HD is the same: $14.99. However, you’ll find that some seasons are a little cheaper at $9.99.

Google Play

Google Play is the place Android users go to buy or rent apps, music, movies and TV shows. Unfortunately, the Google Play store doesn’t give you the option to rent episodes or entire seasons of Friends. But you can buy each episode for $1.99 or a full season for $19.99. All 10 seasons can also be yours for the grand total of $139.99. Episodes and seasons are only available in HD.

iTunes

You’ll probably have used iTunes if you’ve ever owned an iPhone, iPad or iPod. Although most people associate the service with music, it’s also a platform that houses thousands of entertainment titles. Only seasons of Friends are available to purchase, and they’ll cost you $19.99 in SD or HD. Once you’ve bought a season via iTunes, you can download it to any Apple device to watch offline. You can also share content with other family members that use Apple devices for no extra fee.

Vudu

Vudu is a similar platform to all the rest. It lets you rent content for 24 hours or buy titles that you can keep forever. Plus, it houses a few titles you can watch online for free. As with all the other rental sites, Friends is only available to buy via Vudu. Episodes cost $1.99 to buy, while seasons cost between $9.99 to $14.99. The complete series of Friends will set you back only $99.99. Prices are for Vudu’s special HDX definition, which allows streaming at a better quality than regular HD.

YouTube

When you think of YouTube, your mind probably turns to funny cat videos. But the site has a lot more to offer, as you can also buy or rent thousands of movies and TV shows. Again, Friends can only be purchased, rather than rented. But you can pick up single episodes for $1.99 in SD and $2.99 in HD. Full seasons are only available in HD and cost $14.99 each, while the complete series collection in HD costs $99.99.

Our hot take

As HBO Max is the only way to stream Friends online right now, you don’t have to worry about choosing between multiple streaming services. But it’s possible that the show will move to another platform in the future. So if you don’t want to miss out on all the action from the Central Perk cafe, it’d be wise to try HBO Max now. Luckily, you can start a free seven-day trial before having to pay a cent.

Lauren Sharkey