At my house, basic digital cable TV cost over $69 per month (plus taxes) and I watch maybe 10 or 15 of the 150+ channels that they provide me, meaning that I pay for many channels that I have no interest in. With the price of just about everything headed skyward, and paychecks plummeting, paid cable and satellite TV is often one of the first things to go from anyone’s budget. There are a lot of people who have taken the big step of getting rid of paid TV in their house and reverting back to antennas or no TV at all. Because I often give thought to ditching my cable, especially when my “deal” with Comcast expires, I was curious just how many ways there are that provide the ability to watch your favorite shows free-of-charge one way or another… and there are there a lot!
While I cannot vouch for the legality or the quality of all of these websites, here are
35 a lot of different ways you can still catch your favorite shows and web videos without paying for cable or satellite TV. And while I haven’t tried each and every one of them out for any extended period of time, the first 5 I list are my favorites, to help guide you to some of the ones that work well. I have either given my own opinion of each one or when possible I have taken a blurb from each site’s “About” page to give you a little more info. And if you have a favorite, or you use a site that isn’t listed here, please be sure to mention it in the comments so everyone can check it out!
Top 5 Favorites …
1. The good old fashioned antenna. Of course, this all depends on what kind of signal you can get inside your house. In my place here in CO, I can use an HDTV antenna and the channels come in beautifully. But I have lived in other houses where I couldn’t even get snow to show up on the TV (New Mexico, I am looking at you). Antennas mounted on roofs tend to be a lot better at pulling in those free signals, but remember that as of 2009 you need a special digital converter box, as the analog signals will no longer be broadcast (in most communities).
2. The network websites. ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, etc. – you name it, they are streaming most of their shows on their sites the day after they air on TV. Sure, there are a few ads, but there are ads on cable, too – at least here you aren’t paying to watch the ads.
3. Hulu – Hulu has become a big dog in the world of internet streaming TV. I know a guy who has a Mac Mini hooked up to a projection TV, and his only source of broadcast TV is through Hulu. It looks beautiful on that 100 inch TV, all free of charge…for now. Hulu does provide a “Plus” account for $10 a month that gives you more shows in HD.
4. JustinTV – Sure, it’s a lot of home web videos, but it’s also a great place to find that elusive game or event that you can’t see at home with an antenna. People film their own TV sets and broadcast it to the site – enabling you to watch too. (Told you I can’t vouch for legalities)
5. Share TV – Kinda like Hulu, but they seem to have more video available. Right now they have 14,469 episodes available across 485 television shows.
6. Miro – More of a video platform than a bunch of stations, Miro does have a directory of videos you can watch once you download the video player.
8. BeelineTV – Through their site, you can watch live TV channels from around the world. Interested in watching a live news feed from Croatia? This would definitely be the site you want to hang out on.
9. BigFileTV – Another site full of tv shows and feeds from around the world.
10. OV Guide – From movies, to TV, to anime, games, adult, documentaries, etc – OV Guide has a LOT of programs to stream to your computer.
11. Choose and Watch – ChooseAndWatch is a multimedia portal where you can watch hundreds of online TV channels and videos.
12. YouTube – I think you know this one already!
13. PCTV – Another web portal with everything under the sun that you either want to watch or watched at some point in the past.
14. TV Web 360 – Channel categories include News, Business, Entertainment, Music, Movies, Sports, Lifestyle, Educational, Shopping, Cartoons, Weather, Government, Religion and General TV. The web site offers over 1000 free Web TV channels.
15. Joost – Ever wanted to see Betty White in Calendar Girl? Want to see a lost episode of Adult Swim? Check out Joost.
17. TV Video – All the favorites on broadcast TV are available here.
18. AOL Video – Self-explanatory, but pretty generic.
19. QuickSilverScreen – A good place to watch movies, concerts, and documentaries online for free.
20. My Easy TV – There are more than 3000 television channels you can watch here… way more than you may ever need.
21. TV Lizer – TV Lizer is based on a portuguese website called TVTUGA, this is its english international version.
22. WWITV – A portal to watch over 2,800 live and on demand online television broadcasts.
23. Channel Chooser – With more than 10 million unique viewers monthly, they must be providing some good stuff.
24. TevoOtv – On this website, you will find movie, news, sports, music channels. They are sorted by their respective country, and are easy to access and view using the top navigation menu.
25. Find Internet TV – Missed the Tour de France? You wouldn’t have if you had known about this site.
26. Streamick – Based in Russia, these guys have thousands and thousands of streaming video channels for you to watch.
27. Crafty TV – Another portal for channels all over the world.
28. Jump TV – A broadcaster of live and on-demand sports video over the Internet.
29. Flick Peek – You can watch movies, tv shows, cartoons and anime free of charge. Oh, and you can also watch trailers for upcoming new releases.
30. Mevio – A social media-type community, providing access to the best in new media in audio, video, podcasts, and music.
31. Your Global TV – Seems a little sketchy, but hey – there is a lot here.
32. wfitv – Free internet TV from all over the world, delivered to your computer.
33. Any TV – Seems to require a download, and isn’t for Mac computers, so I couldn’t test it. Anyone?
34. Spreety – As a television guide for online TV, Spreety provides links to legal entertainment choices, including popular online TV shows, classic TV shows, music videos, news, online sports, and movies online.
35. No Subscription Required – Another “guide” of sorts, there seems to be current in-theatre movies listed here. (Again, the legalities are not my responsibility!)
36. Don’t Watch Me – Anyone ever use this one? Seems simple, but I couldn’t get it to work!
37. TVUNetworks – More live TV from around the world. These kind of sites are cool because if you are from another country, you can still feel right at home while watching your hometown news.
38. Veoh – Seems to be mostly cartoons and short films, but interesting anyway.
39. CastTV – Everything and anything, listed alphabetical for easy access.
40. My Easy TV – Anything you want, anytime you want it. And when I say anything, I mean…anything.
41. FreeTube – Select a genre, and start watching. Easy as pie.
42. SideReel – An entertainment guide and community site for television and film enthusiasts.
43. TV Duck – Like Wikipedia but for TV shows and movies. Links, links, and more links.
45. TV TubeX – Like the old TV shows? This might be a place for you to hang out more often, M.A.S.H. and I Dream Of Jeanie are on the homepage, if that tells you anything.
46. Clicker – Nothing you can’t find anywhere else, but a nice clean site anyway that leads you to the shows and movies you want to see.
47. Watvon – Thousands of free Internet television channels and web cameras. You can watch online streaming TV from any country around the world. Select any theme: movie channels, news videos, cartoons streams, live webcams and many other broadcasts such as sports channels, music clips and religious transmissions.
48. TV Land – The online portal for the TV channel. Good stuff here, if you like TV Land.
49. Video Surf – According to the site, “Using a unique combination of new computer vision and fast computation methods, VideoSurf has taught computers to “see” inside videos to find content in a fast, efficient, and scalable way. Basing its search on visual identification, rather than text only, VideoSurf’s computer vision video search engine provides more relevant results and a better experience to let users find and discover the videos they really want to watch.” Let’s see about that, shall we?
50. Gig Streams – Sports, sports, sports, and more sports. Need I say more?
So which will it be? This:
If you have gotten rid of cable or satellite, where do you watch TV? Do you have any additions for this list to share with other readers (or myself, if we go the no-TV route!)? Let me know in the comments!