Big List of Online TV services

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 3, 2007
Updated • Jun 3, 2013
Music and Video, tv

There are several ways to watch TV online. You can download episodes from video portals, use p2p networks to download shows, use p2p clients that stream TV in real time and use websites that do the same. The demand for and resources to do so are growing with every year and it becomes quite a task to keep an overview over the best options to get your TV fix.

Most legit TV services that let you watch shows and episodes only restrict access to those shows to users of select countries. Most listed below restrict access to users from the US or UK.

This means that you won't be able to access the TV shows if you are from the US but abroad for example. There are ways around this, and I'll mention one at the end of the guide.

The guide is divided into sites that offer streams on their websites, and other sites that aggregate contents. All services are free.

Online TV Services



A well known online TV site that is only accessible in the US. It offers a selection of free TV show episodes and video clips that you can watch right away on the site.

The commercial Hulu Plus subscription service provides you with access to additional TV shows and episodes. For some, all episodes and seasons are available so that you can watch them right on the site. This includes among others all episodes and seasons of Law & Order, Family Guy, Hell's Kitchen, One Piece, Grey's Anatomy, Yu-Gi-Oh and a lot more.



You can watch episodes and clips of Fox shows on the official website. Only a limited number of episodes are available for each show (usually five).



You can watch the five latest episodes of NBC shows on the official website. You find clips in addition to that on the website and additional information about the show, but the episodes are limited just like they are on the Fox website.



Watch PBS shows such as Call The Midwife, Antiques Roadshow or Masterpiece on the website. While you do not get access to all shows, you can usually watch more episodes online than the latest five.



If you are from the UK, you can watch BBC shows right on the official website. You can either browse a particular channel, BBC One to Four, or use the all programs listing instead to find a show that you are interested in.



Access all ITV channels on the website. Like BBC's offering, it is only available if you are connecting from the UK.



Another UK-only service offering part of its program as streams right on its website. Most UK-based shows appear to be available fully, meaning all series and episodes. US shows on the other hand are limited to a couple of episodes.

  • Free TV offers access to more than 1900 different online televisions streams that you can watch in your browser. Channels include small local stations, news stations and others.
  • World TV PC links to a large list of free TV streams on its website that you can watch right on site. Some channels may only be available if you are coming from allowed countries.


OV Guide

The site keeps track of TV shows, episodes and more. You can look up virtually any show that ever aired in television to see if it is available online. Just hover the mouse cursor over an episode and will display all available streaming services to you that offer it. This includes both free and paid solutions.

Zap 2 it

zap 2 it


  • Zattoo, only available in select European countries such as Germany, the UK and Switzerland provides its users with live streams of the current TV program so that they can watch it on their PC or mobile devices.

Monitors TV shows and episodes and provides you with information where you can watch them online. Seems to list less free streaming options than the two other services listed above. A Dollar sign indicates if you have to pay to watch.

Update:  Check out our overview of 2012 legal TV streaming sites which lists popular TV sites that you can visit to watch TV right on the Internet. If you are not from the US but would like to watch Hulu and other sites, try Media Hint for Chrome which makes that available.

Last but not least you can take a look at our recently updated TV on PC viewing guide for programs that you can install and run on Windows systems to watch TV on your PC.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source –

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

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