Saturday, April 26, 2014

6 Legitimate Ways To Watch TV Online For Free

Over the last couple of years millions of Americans have ditched their cable plans in favor of online streaming services like Netflix and iTunes. While these services are great most would agree that free or even lower cost alternatives would be ideal. Here are the tops 6 options we've found for watching our favorite shows online, 100% free and totally within the letter of the law!

Network Websites

Perhaps the most often overlooked by my fellow geeks out there is the fact that all of the major over-the-air networks, like NBC, ABC and CBS, will post episodes of recently aired TV shows to their respective websites. In addition to OTA networks several major cable channels now offer full episodes of their shows via their own sites as well. Generally, network sites only host a handful of the most recent episodes and don’t include episodes from previous seasons.


Hulu, unless you've been hiding under a rock recently you've likely already been using Hulu, or at the very least you already know the name. Sure the site does have commercials, but if you’re looking for free shows, you usually have to sit through advertising of some form anyway. The upside is that Hulu features shows from a wide variety of networks so there is always a little something for everyone. One major downside to Hulu is that you can't yet get it on the go. You'll need a Hulu Plus subscription to use it on your mobile device.

Update: According to a post on the Hulu blog, the site will offer free streaming on mobile devices starting this summer. The specific shows that will be available weren’t mentioned, and Hopkins added that mobile device streaming will require new licensing deals.


YouTube is often looked at as a user generated content only site. However they have been working over the past several years to add a great library of content. You can not only find full episodes of some of the more mainstream content but you'll also find some great indie-style shows. For those looking for full length movies, YouTube has you covered there. You can checkout the movies section for a great list of free movies, most you may have never heard of!


Perhaps one of the best options for geeks looking to stream content on the go is Crackle. The service features a great mobile app that supports almost any device out there. Unfortunately it doesn’t offer a huge variety of stuff to watch, and there are ads to deal with. However, Crackle features some of our favorite full TV series alongside some of our favorite cult movies that you might want to check out.


LiveStation is a must for new geeks! The site compiles live news feeds from networks from around the world in one place. Some of the news streams that LiveStation offers include Al Jazeera, Sky News, Reuters, BBC, and more–all for free. Image and audio quality are generally good, but in our experience, it took a few moments to load streams. For those that need their news fix on the go they also have a great set of apps for mobile content. offers users a bit more of a social hub than just a video steaming site. The site features more of a blog type feel with news, reviews and community style content. However, if you look past all that and hit the “Videos” tab, you’ll find full episodes of recently aired network shows. It’s a lot like Hulu, but with less variety and fewer commercials. There’s no need to fret about any legal issues either: the site is run by CBS Interactive, and don't let that detract you either. There is still plenty of content from none CBS stations

Honorable mention goes to the BBC iPlayer which streams content from up to 250 programs from the British Broadcasting Corporation. BBC iPlayer does restrict streaming to the UK-only, but setting up a proxy to get past those restrictions is relatively easy.

I know we've probably overlooked several great sources out there since these are just the few that we've used recently. If you have some sites that we've overlooked that you think we should checkout, please feel free to comment below with your suggestions! 

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