Where to Watch Free TV
In my last article, I mentioned how the expansion of the streaming landscape had the potential to make streaming more expensive than cable. I explained how this will force some users to make decisions regarding how much or little content they can subscribe to.
But in an era where everything is getting more expensive, there is one magic word that gets people on their feet: FREE!
For this article, I will list my picks for where you can watch television content for free, be it on-demand or streaming channels.
Before I continue, let me disclaim that, as streaming content changes frequently, titles displayed or highlighted may not reflect what is currently available. Also, parents with children should be aware that some of the services I am about to highlight may not have content filters or age-restrictions, so be sure to supervise your children when they are utilizing these services.
There are a number of services that offer live channels.
Stirr is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group and offers live channels from Sinclair stations and other streaming channels. Stirr City is the primary channel which draws content based on the selected location/station, meaning you can get some content from a station near you. If you’ve tried in the past and weren’t able to find a station near you, check again, because the number of affiliate stations has expanded in the past few months.
Pluto TV, currently owned by Viacom, has hundreds of channels organized into 13 categories; Featured, Movies, Entertainment, News, Binge Watch, Comedy, Sports, Explore, Life + Style, Tech + Geek, Kids, Latino, and Music. In addition to the channels hosting a variety of programming on a given theme (Buzzr TV, with its game show reruns, is a personal favorite) are a number of channels focused on individual programs, like the one that plays Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Pluto also has an available library of on-demand content.
Tubi has an assortment of movies and shows, including recent and popular titles. It boasts a variety of genres and categories, including a category of titles not available on Netflix.
Recommended viewing: epic series like Merlin and the wrestling program Lucha Underground. Also, die-hard Power Rangers fans will be interested to know that Tubi currently hosts several of the Super Sentai programs on which Power Rangers is based.
Vudu is one of my favorite sites for building up your library of purchased content, but they also host a variety of titles available to watch for free with ads. In addition, there is also a section where you can own free premier episodes of TV shows.
Recommended viewing: Rock Dog, Penelope, and Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen.
Sony Crackle hosts a variety of content from Sony’s catalogue. In addition to feature-length films and TV shows, there are also Sony originals produced exclusively for the service.
Recommended viewing: the TNG-era Star Trek movies and the Marvel anime series.
People who own a Roku device (on which you can get apps for all the services mentioned in this article) should be familiar with the Roku Channel. But the Roku Channel is actually available even if you don’t own a Roku device.
Recommended viewing: the Adam West Batman series, and one of my favorite sci-fi programs, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda.
To some people, this may seem a little obvious, like promoting the use of sliced bread. But YouTube remains one of the best places to stream content.
While people do post bootleg content (which the site and copyright holders actively work to take down), there is plenty of good and legitimately posted content on the site for just about anything you can think of, be it movies, TV shows, music videos, news, or sporting events. Lately, some networks and services have even posted premiere episodes of new shows on YouTube temporarily to promote their service, including NBC’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist and CBS All Access’s Star Trek: Picard. There are also plenty of live streams on various topics. There is also a section of movies and shows that you can watch for free with ads. So, there’s plenty of good content available if you know what to look for.
The best part of YouTube is how easy it is to customize with the ability to create your own playlists. I have actually been in businesses whose TV monitors ran YouTube streams. By creating your own playlists, you could easily save enough content to create your own personal “TV channel” to stream anytime.
While there is no guarantee that all the content you could want will be available on these sites, there is plenty to explore and get involved in. And, referring to my last article where I mentioned saving money by devoting yourself to certain services for certain times, it’s worth seeing if any of these can satisfy your streaming desires.