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October 20th, 2007

33 Ways to Watch Free TV Online


It’s time to toss the old tube to the dumpster. Well, not if you have one of those 47” plasma ones, but
you know what we mean. The future of media is the Internet, and television is no exception. Instead of browsing through the channels with your remote, you could be browsing through the free online TV providers on your computer – hell, if you like, you can watch them all at once (in really tiny windows). It’s time to reach out and see how much free online TV we can find.

YouTube

Well, duh. We had to start with the big one. Not much to say here except: user uploaded videos, lots and lots of them, all free. Yeah, and lawsuits, too.

Joost

Another much-hyped favorite from the authors of Skype is still in beta stage, but i actually delivers on all fronts: P2P system for delivering content; solid amounts of good content, great GUI, almost glitch-free work, quality video. If you can snag an invite, you’ll be in for a treat.

Babelgum

Babelgum

Babelgum is similar to Joost in two ways: P2P-based content delivery, and free but ad-supported content. The service is in open beta, and everyone is free to try it out, although the amount of daily downloads is limited. Channels include news, music, documentaries, sports, animation, and others. The content plays smoothly, and the interface is great, although not as polished as Joost’s. Hint: don’t give up if the video doesn’t start immediately; it takes some time to buffer it and there’s no visible indication that it’s happening.

Zattoo

A p2p-based online television with a downloadable client focused on European (over 50) channels. Unfortunately, it won’t work if you’re not from one of the supported countries.

Veoh

Veoh has a slightly different concept than other services on this list. Their downloadable player acts like a VCR: you can save movies to it for later viewing. Although it’s possible to watch videos online on the Flash version of the Veoh player, the focus is on offline (or at least desktop) viewing, and videos longer than 45 minutes can be viewed only on the desktop player. Available videos include both user generated content as well as professionally produced, sometimes copyrighted stuff.

NGTV

NGTV, which is short for No Good TV, is the television you don’t want your daughter to watch. Or at least it tries to leave that impression: in reality, it’s similar to what kids see on TV everyday: lots of music & entertainment, lots of foul language, and long, long intros for every episode.

Democracy

Democracy

Democracy is actually a media player which you can use to watch media files on your hard drive. But, the difference is in that it also lets you connect to all of the big video hosting sites and many independent publishers. Finally, it’s a media organizer, which lets you bundle all that offline and online videos into one neat collection. The result is a great online video experience that’s not quite as effortless as Joost, but it sure beats visiting all those video sites and podcasts and looking for stuff by hand.

EpisodeNetwork

Episode network is a large link list, pointing to videos around the web. They’re not hosting any of the videos on the site; but bear in mind that since the material includes blockbusters and entire TV series downloading the stuff might be just a tad illegal.

Dailymotion

One of the biggest video sharing sites around, Dailymotion is as old as YouTube, and nearly as successful. Unlike YouTube, it’s still not sued by every media powerhouse under the sun, so you can still find a lot of good stuff there. For a list of TV series available at Dailymotion, check out this site.

Google Video

Although Google has bought YouTube and Google Video is slowly fading out of the picture, it’s still a very large video sharing site with tons of content and an UI that wouldn’t mind a makeover.

BlinkX

BlinkX

BlinkX is a video/audio search engine which claims to have indexed over 12 million hours of video. Since it’s a search engine, you’re hardly gonna be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the shows, but it’s great for finding that elusive video you think you saw three weeks ago but you were too drunk to remember what’s it’s called or what’s it about.

ChannelChooser

A windows media player based video portal offering a large selection of TV channels. Simple layout and interface, very little annoyance.

Freetube

Freetube is one of those sites that keep it simple: no downloads, no subscriptions: only lots of neatly categorized shows. It didn’t work all that well for me, but some users say that it’s their favorite service, so try it out.

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