Watch TV online legally

Oct 15, 2008
Updated • Dec 22, 2012
Music and Video

The Internet is often a place where unlicensed television shows are easy to watch, albeit through websites offering streaming, torrents or USENET.

Recently, many websites have started to show shows free online but do so in a legal fashion, paying for the shows using advertisements.

Different websites seem to work in different jurisdiction but it is fair to say that a large amount is available to viewers from the United States only. Here are a few resources to watch tv shows online.

South Park Studios famously provided their shows online free of charge because the show's creators were annoyed of people watching their shows illegally. Unfortunately, South Park Studios is not available in Great Britain; I suspect it is North America only.

Joost, the much hyped IPTV service which recently has recently made the transition from software to web-based, boasts a number of titles, both mainstream and online-only. In the UK, and possibly other countries, titles such as Babylon 5, Peep Show, Shameless and Robot Chicken.

YouTube has recently announced it will start 'serving full-length TV dinners' including shows like Star Trek: The Original Series, MacGyver and Beverly Hills 90210. Unfortunately, this is unavailable in Europe.

Hulu is a site which offers free, ad-supported streaming video of TV shows and films from NBC and FOX, amongst others. This includes shows like The Simpsons, The Daily Show, Family Guy and even The Office! Predictably, this is also only for Americans.

BBC iPlayer is a free streaming video service kindly provided to people in the United Kingdom. iPlayer allows Brits to watch most shows broadcasted on a BBC channel in the past week on-demand. The BBC even admits that iPlayer technically does not require a licence fee, a type of tax which any British person with a TV set pays to help support the non-commercial BBC.


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  1. bob said on March 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks for the great list of sites. My wife and I are watching more an more shows online. We ended our cable TV subscription two years back and have been renting a lot of movies since.

  2. Online TV said on May 20, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    There are more and more online TV stations out there. It’s much easier and cheaper to stream over the internet than to go on cable.

  3. hotlynks said on February 25, 2009 at 4:01 am

    cool listings , if anyone here has a media site i would like to exchange links with them at my site :3

  4. david leonard said on January 3, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    one time I was at someones house and they had digital cable on their PC some how, just been trying to figure out how because I forgot who they were

  5. HungSte said on November 29, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Have you ever heard of ?

  6. Mac Johnson said on November 19, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    You should check out factualTV ( Documentaries online, for free! It’s really great. Some docs aren’t the best I’ve seen but many of them really are great. You should check it out!

  7. Handgry said on October 17, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Somehow I expected to read about how to bypass those regional restrictions (with proxies or so) and not a few sites that offers free shows to selected countries.
    By the way zattoo is also regionally restricted

  8. lily said on October 15, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    any asian rv channels/ streaming sites?


  9. Martin said on October 15, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Alex yes Zattoo is an interesting option for Europeans although it does not fit the bill of this post which is more about websites that are offering pre-recorded content.

  10. Alex Guest said on October 15, 2008 at 1:00 pm


    For TV addicts in several European countries, including the UK, you should take a look at Zattoo. With a small software player, you can watch live TV from any of the top channels – BBC, ITV etc.

    All the best

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