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How to Watch TV for Free

Updated on August 9, 2013

We Got Rid of Cable

Our family made a decision to get rid of cable. We did this because we didn't want easy access to tv for our children and because it was expensive. The kids are actually fine without cable but dad is really missing it.

Even though, I am often asked "When are we getting cable back," I've stood firm on keeping cable out of our home. However, I too enjoy watching tv every once in a while and have found Netflix streaming isn't the end all be all.

This hub is all about how my family watches tv for free with the help of our pc and Wii. Not everything that I share here is 100% free but there are many free options for you to choose from and the paid options are very affordable.

Got a PC? You've got FREE TV!

Everyone can watch free tv with their pc. Many tv stations offer full episodes of their top shows:

If you don't want to hop around to various stations to find your favorite show, you can give a try.

Hulu brings together a large selection of videos from over 225 leading content companies, including FOX, NBC Universal, ABC, ABC Family, Biography, Lionsgate, Endemol, MGM, MTV Networks, National Geographic, Digital Rights Group, Paramount, PBS, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. and more. Users can choose from more than 2,600 current primetime TV hits such as The Simpsons , 30 Rock , Lost , Glee and The Office the morning after they air; classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer , The A-Team , Airwolf and Married...with Children . Hulu also offers a wide array of more than a 1,000 movies and documentaries; and clips from Saturday Night Live; web originals like If I Can Dream, Fake It Til You Make It, The LXD and twentysixmiles; and other popular TV shows and movies. ~

The free version of Hulu only offers limited episodes of your favorite tv shows. However, you can supersize it with HuluPlus for $7.99 per month. Hulu Plus offers entire seasons of your tv programming with the ability to stream to:

  • internet connected tv
  • blueray player
  • iphone
  • ipad
  • itouch
  • Roku
  • Sony PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360 (coming soon)
  • Tivo (coming soon)

Benefits of HuluPlus:

  • Cheaper than cable at $7.99 per month
  • All of your favorite episodes so you don't miss anythng
  • Can stream in HD to your tv

Cons of HuluPlus:

  • Limited to certain stations and shows
  • No live tv
  • Limited movies

Hulu Plus is a great way to get the tv off your pc and on to your tv plus you get more episodes to choose from. At this point, we are only using Hulu but I'd love to hear feedback on anyone that is using HuluPlus to stream to their tv. How is the viewing quality?

We don't use HuluPlus but may consider it if the feedback is good. Instead we are using which I will describe in the next section.

Playon TV Another Cheap Way to Watch TV

For a yearly fee of $39 per year or $79.00 for life ($3.00 per month), is another cheap way to watch your favorite shows on your tv. With Playon TV you can watch shows from the following sources:

  • Hulu
  • Netflix Instant Queue (requires subscription)
  • Comedy Central
  • CBS
  • ESPN
  • Spike TV
  • The Ultimate Fighter
  • PBS
  • PBS Kids
  • Nick
  • MTV
  • Vevo
  • YouTube
  • or (requires a subscription)

There are also plugins that you can download which enable even more channels like:

  • Ted
  • Syfy
  • Discovery Channel
  • Food Network
  • Southpark Studios
  • Some Live Channels when the plugins work properly

To use, you need a pc, wireless internet and one of the following devices:

  • Wii
  • Xbox 360
  • Play Station 3
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Google TV
  • brite-View Cinema Tube
  • Cirago Network HD Multimedia Center
  • Moxi HD DVR
  • HP MediaSmart TV
  • NETGEAR Digital Entertainer Live EVA2000
  • UEBO M200
  • VuNow VN1000SD/HD

It may also work on these DLNA compliant devices:

  • Diamond HD Media Wonder Full HD Media Player
  • DirecTV HR20/HR21/HR22
  • D-Link DSM-510, DSM-520, DSM-750
  • Internet@TV
  • Mvix ULTIO
  • Myka
  • Pioneer KURO HDTV
  • SageTV HD Theater
  • Seagate FreeAgent Theater+ HD Media Player
  • Sony Bravia DLNA-compatible HDTV
  • vmcPlayIt
  • Western Digital TV Live
  • XBMC

What I love about Playon TV is that we can a lot more channels than we can with Hulu alone. The selection is enough for my family to enjoy shows that we thought we had to do without when we quit cable.

Benefits of Playon TV:

  • Huge selection of stations to watch
  • Very affordable at $39 per first year & $19.99 every year after or a one time fee of $79
  • Large selection of devices to use with it

Drawbacks to Playon TV:

  • Requires a PC to use
  • Streaming quality depends on how good your internet connection and pc are
  • Picture quality can be blurry
  • Does not support HD
  • Not all the top channels available for viewing
  • Can't type to search for movies
  • Can take awhile to find what you are looking for

Playon TV is in the beginning stages and many of the drawbacks will probably get fixed as streaming internet tv grows up.

Watch TV with Your WiI

More Alternatives

Hulu & Playon TV are not the only players in the internet streaming television. Here are a few others to look into:

  • Boxee
  • Google TV (Currently an expensive option but look for them to be a big contender)

How Do You Watch TV for FREE?

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    Post Comment

    • profile image

      trusouldj 4 years ago

      There is still cable in my house, but I have one big screen 44 inch tube tv in the living room that I won't allow cable on. That's my special tv with only a VCR and DVD hooked up to it. I watch old recorded shows as well television season DVD sets and westerns. Good stuff.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      I'm still trying to convince my wife to drop cable for Netflix LWmama, but she's addicted to Top Chef so instead of the $30 internet and $10/mos netflix bill we're probably going to continue paying $175/mos from Charter cable for basic with internet, ugh, I hate paying all this extra dough. If we ever switch, and can figure how to rig the internet to the computer, I'll come back here and check out this hub.



    • climb20082008 profile image

      climb20082008 7 years ago

      good job,thank u for sharing:-

    • loseweightmama profile image

      loseweightmama 7 years ago from Maine

      Thanks Lamme, we feel the same about tv. It definitely encourages more reading and creativity to not have tv always available to them.

    • Lamme profile image

      Lamme 7 years ago

      I have 5 kids and we pulled the plug on cable about 4 years ago. My kids are still young (8-13), so they are the prime age for TV viewing :) We got the basic Netflix plan which gives unlimited streaming and we've never looked back. There are some shows we would like to watch that we don't get, but we also don't get a monthly cable bill either. We've found Netflix to be the perfect balance for our family. Sometimes we'll watch something on the PC, like the World Series or some other program, but 99% of our TV viewing is streamed from Netflix. Great article!


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