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Best Free Internet TV Streaming Sites 2020

If you're free for a day or two, try binge-watching some of the best TV shows of all time. Check now one of the best internet TV streaming sites below to get started.
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Author: Nica
Last Updated: March 26, 2020

Internet streaming has significantly changed daily entertainment for many people. Gone are the days when people had to find the most economical cable TV package. Nowadays, you can get a wide range of digital content from around the world without even spending a cent. The biggest advantage of free TV streaming sites is enabling you to watch your favorite programs on your mobile devices.

It is important to note that some free online TV streaming sites are not legitimate. They are capable of infringing your privacy and collect sensitive data from your devices. Read on to find the best TV streaming sites and how to access TV channels even if they are geo-restricted.

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    Best Free Internet TV Streaming Sites

    1. Tubi - Offers the Best User Experience

    Tubi is one of the biggest free streaming services that offer on-demand content like TV shows and movies. Since it is a free service, it inserts ads into the content it offers to generate revenue. Fortunately, the ads are pretty short, and pop-ups appear inconsistently within the content. For instance, when watching a TV show, you will get a 30-second commercial at the start and, maybe, a 15-second ad in the middle.

    At the moment, it does not produce original or live content like other streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Instead, it relies on content from production companies like Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM. Tubu currently offer shows such as The Bachelor, Hell's Kitchen, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Storage Wars and Green Wing.

    It was established in 2014 and headquartered in San Francisco with services in the US, Canada and Australia. As of August 2019, Tubi has over 20 million monthly active users, which makes it one of the largest independently-owned free streaming services.

    Tubi can be streamed through a regular web browser. This means that it can be accessed on a variety of devices provided that they are connected to the internet. Additionally, it features dedicated apps on phones, tablets and smart TVs to enhance the viewing experience.

    Unlike most of its competitors, you are not required to create an account to start streaming content. All you need to do is to go to the site, choose some of the content you want to watch and enjoy. If you want to enhance your user experience, there is still a free sign-up process and by creating an account on the site enables you to start a queue of content and resume watching from the spot you left off.

    our rating

    • Completely free
    • Intuitive app
    • A rich selection of TV shows catalogue
    • Content is a bit outdated

    2. Popcornflix- Best for Multiple Platforms

    Paid streaming sites such as Netflix have dominated the online streaming industry for a long time. However, the entry of free and ad-supported sites has changed the game. With sites such as Popcornflix that do not require any subscription, cord-cutting is becoming a norm for most people.

    The content on the Popcornflix web app is well-organized with recommended content all over the page although there are ads on these pages to ensure your content remains free.

    On free streaming sites, the content offered is far less than that you would get in a paid site and most of the movies and TV shows have a lower streaming quality but this is to be expected. However, for the comedy show fans, there is decent stuff on offer such as The Detectorist, Wilfred, and 3rd Rock from the Sun.

    The documentary selection is impressive. The kid's programming is fairly broad, the selection is rather retro with the most animated content dating back to the 1980s.

    Popcornflix works smoothly on all major platforms. However, the picture quality is a bit disappointing. For instance, streaming on the web app offers poor resolution; you will likely get pixelated and blurred videos, which can be worse than the normal standard definition. Nevertheless, the resolution is better on the Roku channel and mobile apps, but you will access the content in standard definition and not in high definition.

    our rating

    • Optional sign-up process
    • Several film categories
    • You can use scenes to make GIFs
    • Low-quality TV show content

    3. Sony Crackle – Best for TV Show Quality

    Sony Crackle is among the few legitimate free streaming sites that offer a mixture of TV shows, movies and other video content. Although it is ad-supported and occasionally interrupted by commercials, it is worth considering due to the amount of content offered. The only issue is that none of the content is offered in high definition, as per most free streaming sites.

    Crackle was purchased by Sony in 2006, and since then, the site has prominently carried the company’s name and this is why it is now called Sony Crackle. A significant stake was sold to Chicken Soup for the Soul so there are plenty of their TV shows available for streaming.

    If you have used other streaming services such as Netflix, you will notice that the Crackle interface is simple and intuitive. On the home screen, you will see the featured content while there is a navigation button that will take you to pages with movies, shows and your personal watchlist. When on the default mode, the content is arranged in an attractive tiled thumbnail view though you can switch to the basic list view.

    For those who love to binge-watch series, it has plenty of golden classics to pick from including Bewitched, S.W.A.T and Kitchen Nightmares. Since Crackle is completely free, it does not provide the latest TV shows and movies for streaming. However, it offers a wide selection of programs, and some of them are recent. For instance, it features newer TV shows such as 'The Walking Dead' and 'Dexter’. In many cases, the newer shows will only offer a few episodes. Unlike other free streaming sites, Crackle features original content. At the moment, there are 16 original TV shows and 11 films.

    Because Crackle is free of charge, it inserts advertisements into on-demand content to make revenue. The good part is that there are fewer ads compared to other free streaming sites.

    our rating

    • Good selection of on-demand content
    • Original content
    • High quality videos
    • Live streaming is not available

    4. Pluto TV – Most Organized

    This is a free streaming site operated by ViacomCBS. It offers TV shows from popular networks such as Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central, which are available through live video streaming and on-demand functionality. The good part is that the content is offered without a monthly subscription, so the company makes revenue by inserting advertisements and commercials.

    Although Pluto TV doesn't have as many programs as other dedicated services, it offers supplemental programs in various categories such as news, sports and entertainment.

    Right now, the site has over 75 free live streaming television channels such as NBC News, CNN, CBSN, Bloomberg Television, Fox Sports, NFL channel, etc. On top of that, you will be able to stream on-demand movies and television shows, most of which are recognizable names.

    However, it is important to note that some channels, such as Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, are not the real ones. Instead, they are streaming channels that feature available content from these platforms.

    Recently, the site shook things up by overhauling the user interface. This was meant to streamline the entire process of discovering and playback content. It made it possible to jump directly into the featured categories with a single click.

    Unfortunately, Pluto TV does not produce original content. However, some of the TV shows and movies offered on the platform are presented in a unique way. In addition, the user interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate.

    our rating

    • Cable-like experience
    • Popular on-demand TV shows and movies
    • Over 75 live streaming channels
    • No DVR functionality

    5. Viewster - Easiest To Navigate

    Viewster is a free streaming service available as a web-based browser and application on a wide range of devices. It features a rich selection of TV shows and movies. Signing up is not mandatory if you only want to stream videos.

    On the homepage, the TV shows and films are organized horizontally, which is very easy to navigate and user friendly. Although it offers a condensed browsing experience, it lets you view the video information like the duration, synopsis and rating. This is a great feature to enable you to easily choose the TV show you want to watch.

    Another major unique feature of Viewster is that you can look through the content by genre. One of the most popular genres on the site is anime offering Fushigi Yuugi, Flame of Recca and many similar.

    On the downside, the resolution of most videos is less compared to paid services like Netflix. Nonetheless, on the bottom of most videos, there is an HD button where you can adjust the resolution. The video player options are few in comparison with advanced options offered by its competitors such as Sony Crackle where you can even choose subtitles. Viewster only offers basic options like volume control and scrubbing.

    Most TV shows on Viewster have an occasional one-minute advertisement, which is common in most free streaming sites.

    our rating

    • Has an option to watch later
    • Offers multi-language content
    • Shows a history of movies you have already watched
    • HD resolution not available

    Best Subscription-Based Internet TV Streaming Sites with Free Trials

    1. Netflix – Best for Original Programs

    Netflix is one of the best paid TV show streaming sites as it features a broad variety of TV shows, movies and documentaries. Although it costs between $8.99 and $15.99 per month, it comes with a 30-day free trial.

    Netflix was originally founded as an online movie rental company in 1997 and for 10 years, it used to mail out DVDs and provide recommendations to its customers on what to rent next. In 2007, the company started streaming services that allowed subscribers to watch TV shows and movies online instead of waiting for mailed DVDs. In 2013, Netflix began premiering original TV shows such as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards.

    Now, the service has over 1300 original TV shows including Stranger Things, Narcos, You and the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, some of which have been nominated and won famous awards. Also, it has over 167 million paid users in more than 190 countries, making it one of the biggest streaming services in the world.

    The Netflix app is compatible with a wide range of devices such as Android, Amazon Fire, Roku, iOS, etc.

    our rating

    • Compatible with numerous devices
    • Variety of original series and movies
    • Allows offline downloads for mobile users
    • Premium plan is slightly expensive

    2. Amazon Prime Video – Best Library Collection

    Amazon Prime Video offers a growing catalogue of high-quality original content that includes popular movies and TV shows such as The Grand Tour, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and Bosch. Subscribers have the option to download content, which is a very rare feature on streaming services.

    The good thing about this service is that it is free for all Amazon Prime customers. This means that if you have already subscribed to the unlimited one-day delivery service, you will get free access to the video streaming catalogue. Thanks to the “First Episode Free” feature, you can watch the first episode of purchase/rent-only series for free, but if you're not an Amazon Prime customer and wish to subscribe to the service after the 30-day free trial plan comes to a close, it does cost $8.99 a month.

    The majority of the content is available in high definition (HD), and some are in ultra-high definition (UHD) and high dynamic range (HDR). The Amazon Prime Video app is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.

    Irrespective of what you are watching on, you can stream using three devices simultaneously. However, you are limited to only two screens when watching the same video content.

    our rating

    • An impressive library of content
    • Video ontent available on HD, UHD and HDR
    • Bundled with Amazon Prime subscription
    • Does not work on Chromecast

    3. Hulu – Best for Live TV

    In this era of intense online streaming service competition, Hulu continues to offer a robust library of shows and movies as well as live TV. Although the service recently added an offline download option, it is only available for premium subscribers which costs $11.99. The basic plan is $5.99, the lowest on the market.

    Like other paid streaming sites, it offers a 30-day free trial where you will get the Hulu experience. You will need to sign up first to start streaming and you will be required to provide your payment details upfront, but you will not be charged until the free trial period expires.

    Hulu on-demand library contains hundreds of seasons and thousands of episodes from major networks. However, due to the emergence of network-specific streaming services such as CBS All Access, the vast content library might be reduced in the near future.

    It is co-owned by Comcast and Walt Disney and mainly focuses on newer TV shows, original content,and documentaries.

    our rating

    • Compelling original TV shows
    • Accessible on multiple platforms
    • Affordable base price plan
    • Only available to US residents

    4. Showtime - Best Original TV Programs

    While some video streaming sites are designed to replace cable TV entirely, others primarily offer on-demand content. Although the Showtime streaming service is provided by a cable channel, it offers the latter. It has an excellent line-up of original programs, movies and live TV channels.

    Showtime subscription costs $10.99 per month, which is relatively expensive considering the narrow limited scope of video content available. If you are a new customer, you will get a 30-day free trial. During this period, you will not be charged for streaming the content.

    The line-up of well-known original programs is Showtimes’ main edge in the competitive video streaming industry. Some of its popular original shows include Billions, Black Monday, Homeland, Shameless, etc. It also features an impressive collection of previously aired content such as House of Lies, Dexter, Penny Dreadful, etc.

    The Showtime website is intuitive, clean and well-organized. On the homepage, you can access your profile settings wherein you can remove email notifications, edit billing preference, etc.

    our rating

    • A decent line-up of original programs
    • Supports offline download
    • Live TV option
    • Limited video content

    5. HBO Now – Best for On-Air Originals

    Home Box Office (HBO) Now is considered to be the biggest competitor of Netflix in the video streaming industry. Although it has a smaller catalogue, it has a high percentage of original content. Some of its most popular original shows include Game of Thrones, Westworld, Big Little Lies, True Blood, Watchmen, etc.

    On the downside, HBO does not feature animated series or anime, which is an important factor for some people. Nonetheless, it has other categories such as comedy, sports, documentaries and classics.

    Though it lacks a Live TV option, a number of current shows here are available for streaming even as they air on cable TV. It’s a great feature but it means you cannot watch an entire season in one sitting unless they have already aired.

    It offers a 30-day free trial wherein you can get access to all available content and is priced at $14.99 a month when this comes to a close.

    our rating

    • Supports multiple platforms
    • No ads or commercials
    • Intuitive website interface
    • No offline viewing
    • Does not support 4k or HDR content

    Understanding Free Internet TV Streaming Sites

    Most free internet TV streaming sites make money through ads. If you don’t like ads popping out on your screen while watching, then it’s recommended that you get a subscription plan from sites like Netflix.

    It’s easy to use free streaming sites. Most of the popular streaming sites will also not require you to create an account. You only need to choose and play your preferred TV show using your web browser or a dedicated app. This can be done on a wide range of devices which include smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart TVs, game consoles, etc.

    Also, even if you have a weak broadband speed, you can still stream online content on these free streaming sites. However, the quality may not be the best. It is advisable to have at least 1 mbps broadband speed or higher to stream content in standard definition. If you want to watch TV shows in high-definition, you will need at least 5 mbps. Some streaming sites offer content in 4k Ultra HD quality, which is four times the detail of regular resolution. However, you will need a broadband service with at least 15 mbps.

    Another advantage of using free streaming sites is that they use adaptive streaming technology, which automatically adjusts video quality according to your broadband speed. This ensures that you are not affected by buffering. For instance, the video may start streaming at 1080p and drop to a lower resolution if the internet connection speed suddenly becomes slow.

    Features to Look for When Choosing a TV Streaming Site

    • Available Catalogue

    The first thing to consider is the number of television shows and films offered by the streaming site. It’s best if the streaming site has a lot of TV shows to offer.

    Also, you should check if the site offers the latest or outdated videos.

    • Legality

    Some free sites are illegal and do not have the authority to broadcast TV shows and movies. These sites make money by selling their users’ data to third parties without consent.

    Make sure that the free streaming site you are using is legal and secure.

    Conclusion

    Nowadays, there is a wealth of free streaming sites that offer a wide range of television shows and movies. On some of these sites, you will not be required to even create an account to start streaming. So, what are you waiting for? Check out these sites now and start watching awesome TV shows with your loved ones!

    FAQs

    Can I watch free TV online?

    There are a lot of streaming sites that offer video content free of charge. On the downside, they feature advertisements and commercials, which can be annoying. However, some of them offer content in high definition.

    What should I know when accessing free streaming sites?

    It is advisable to be cautious with free streaming sites that are operating illegally. This is because of data breach and privacy invasion issues. There are cyber criminals who are always preying on innocent citizens. They offer free streaming sites that are designed to harvest private information.

    What do I need to access an internet TV streaming site?

    All you need to access an online TV streaming site is a stable internet connection and a working device such as a computer, smartphone, tablet, etc. To access high-quality videos, you need a strong broadband speed of at least 5 mbps.

    All trading carries risk. Views expressed are those of the writers only. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The opinions expressed in this Site do not constitute investment advice and independent financial advice should be sought where appropriate. This website is free for you to use but we may receive commission from the companies we feature on this site.
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    Nica is a BA Political Science degree holder who fell in love with writing after college. She specializes in financial technology and cryptocurrency. At her young age, she was already able to work with founders who graduated from Harvard, tech startups funded by Y-Combinator, CEOs of multi-million dollar blockchain companies, investment companies in London and many more.

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