Friday, June 1, 2007

Free Streaming Movies and TV Shows

Yes I admit I have been guilty of baiting search engines for the title, but trust me, there has been reasonable amount of research going into this post. So keep reading.

The best part of internet these days is the sheer wealth of streaming media that is available in video form. The popularity of sites like Youtube, DailyMotion and many more such sites is not just due to being able to upload your home made videos. It is the ease of being able to watch copyright material such as cricket, football clips, TV shows and movies. While such acts by the users are not going unnoticed by the MPAA who are trying their best to bring down Youtube and sports associations such as the English Premier League have slapped lawsuits against Youtube for allowing people to upload clips. (As an aside, I wrote a post earlier on the consequences of the EPL's lawsuit against Youtube.)

But those things aside, there is still some time to go before the law manages to catch up with these 'illegal' activities. I doubt if they will manage to completely clamp down on them because they still haven't been able to stop Bit-torrent sites entirely.

The TV shows and movies that are present in these video streaming sites are not very easily accessible by simple use of the search bar. But when one wants to watch them there are other sites that index your favorite TV shows, and link to them episode wise. Some of which we'll talk about here.

These sites started out by indexing popular shows like South Park, Family Guy and so on, and have now extended to any decent American show on offer. This has now even stretched to movies. And it's not just English movies on offer. Asian and Desi movies have also started to prominently feature on these sites. Most of them are also doing the smart thing by looking for reliable Web masters who wouldn't easily buck down under pressure from the MPAA and most important of all, they try to be hosted in a country outside of the US. This factor is more significant when these indexing sites noticed DailyMotion's (which is hosted in France) relative laxness as far as taking down videos were concerned. Of course, now even they have started taking down videos more aggressively so these sites look upon other video sharing sites that have sprung up in dozens. (Yes, that is why the World Wide Web is such a difficult place to control)

So where would a newbie want to start when he wants to search for movies and TV shows?

First of all, having hi-speed internet connection is an absolute must.

One of the first few sites that I started off with was TV-Links. This site had a real good choice of movies and TV shows, but at some point it was guilty of not updating broken links and adding shows as soon as they aired. (Yes I am that impatient!)

So I switched to for a while. This site is run by some kids in Germany, who proudly scream out in their front page that they have figured in the Wall Street Journal! This site, although not very attractive in design with the occasional annoying pop-up and "free ipod ads", has a very dedicated set of people who post videos to the site and also try to fix broken links that users report! I have found their link updates quite prompt. However, now even TV-Links have improved their collection and promptness, so they are still at the top of my list.

For a while the MPAA managed to somehow shut some of these indexing sites down, but sites like Dailyepisodes came up which maintained a list of TV indexing websites where fans would vote and the higher votes a site gets the higher the site moves up the list.

However the baap of all these indexing sites is undoubtedly OVGuide. This site indexes all the index sites! The Online Video Guide, as it stands for, made it to TIME Magazine's top ten websites of the year.


It searches from a wide variety of TV/Movies indexing sites and solves the problem if you find it difficult to locate your favorite movie. But if you want to request specific shows that you don't find, it would be a good idea to check out Movie Forumz although most video indexing sites have forums of their own.

Hi-def streaming movies.
However, most of these site stream from flash based video sharing sites which stream have low quality video. So for a better quality streaming option comes, surprisingly, DivX! DivX, not too long ago launched their own video sharing site called Stage6 The site requires an install of DivX player and shows only high quality streams. Of late it has become a repository of high quality movies and TV shows, though they are again not so easy to search. So we have a dedicated site specifically for that purpose: Joox.

Admittedly the list is not as exhaustive as the aforementioned flash-based sites, but it still is pretty good with what it has. There is a good error reporting system in place to report broken links and it is also possible to easily download the DivX videos. The download speeds were pretty good, too (depending on your respective speeds), I could download a 700 MB movie in 20 minutes! So it is up to you to either stream it or down it for later use.

Anyway I haven't covered all the sites that I usually visit so I will give you a compiled list here based on how good I found them to be:
TV-Links Remains my first and one of my favorite indexing site along with Alluc. They have started adding more DivX quality prints too to their collection, and have gotten more prompt with their updates too.

Alluc Among my favorite indexing sites

Peekvid It was very good at one point, with a very nice looking site design. Of late it seems to have gone a little lazy and full of spammy ads.

OVGuide The best search engine for TV/Movie streaming sites.

Familyguynow Dedicated site for Family guy episodes. I am personally a big fan of this show, although if you look around the site you will find equally dedicated sites for South Park and American Dad.

Showstash Got a good collection of Movies and Shows

Joox The best index of hi quality DivX high quality streams

Movie Forumz Probably the best Forum as far as online streams of TV shows and Movies are concerned.

MovieWalah [via] I just found this today it is an alternative to Joox and it looks similar to it. The error report mechanism of Joox seems the better of the two and Joox also allows download of movies.

And there are literally hundreds of such sites. The ones above are my top picks. Most of the other sites have copies of the same links that these sites link to, so there is not much even with other sites. But I will attempt to add more to this list as and when I find some site worth adding to. Otherwise this list is almost enough to satisfy your TV and movies viewing appetite for quite some time.

Legal alternatives
This is useful only to residents in the US, as Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS show a large number of their hit shows online on their websites. Fox streams their shows (like 24, Prison Break, Bones, American Dad and so on) on their MySpace page. NBC and ABC do so on their official websites, while CBS has a tie up with Youtube for some of their content.

While in these cases you might need to sit thru 20 second slots of ads, they are other wise watchable with good streaming speeds, and the ads are not really annoying.

Makes me wonder, if all of television should also be syndicated on the web with context based advertising taking care of the revenue. I know things like Joost have started thinking on those lines. But till then the MPAA have their task cut out in their battle against online illegal video streaming.

Hope all this helps waste your internet surfing time!


  1. Now that's a comprehensive post regarding free streaming movies. Thanks for all those links but like I mentioned, I'm not much for these sites. The TV networks now have decent streaming options for old episodes on their websites so I catch any missed episodes online.

    Regarding the link bait, I admit one part of my post was to run an experiment at bagging those keywords but strangely there aren't many searches at least according to Overture Keyword Tool. Also, the sites that you have linked have already bagged those top 10-20 positions for those keywords.

  2. Pikey,

    Thanks for Joox. I guess the rest of all the sites are pretty well known for most of us. But still, your effort must be appreciated. Good researched post.

  3. [Patrix]
    Well I didn't do keyword analysis for the title anyway, so what the heck :) About catching episodes on the official websites, agreed, most of them come on the official sites, but some like House are not shown on Fox. Even I catch most of them on the official sites as much as I can.

    Nice to know that I actually gave some links that were useful to people.

  4. [...] any other video streaming sites you use or recommend for movies or TV shows. Update: Head over to Piker’s detailed listing of online streaming sites for (many) more [...]

  5. I've tried most of these sites and they're pretty unreliable when it comes to actually finding working links or the type of link that i'm looking for.

    A friend of mine recently pointed me in the direction of which is where I now find Heroes, Lost, 24 and The Office (along with other shows), pretty reliably.

  6. [Jeff]
    The site you linked looks good with its design and info on shows. But as far as reliability of links are concerned, all of them are pretty much the same. It depends on the community that reports and fixes broken links. The sites that I linked to have a large community. I haven't used Sidereel, although I will keep a watch on that in future.

    Thanks anyway.

  7. you should check it is a directory of streaming websites (animes, acrtoons series..) you can also search through the websites listed in the direectory.. i m going to add sidereel aswell ;)

  8. NSR has over 350 free movie sites with the latest releases.

  9. ovguide is a great movie site so is &

  10. Try

    They list the top 25 websites to watch free movies each month. I usually use the search engine they have to search through those top 25 sites.

    I've always been able to find what I'm looking for with this site.

  11. is a good site to add, All Movies are 100% in Full

  12. If you just search google you can find pretty much any tv show you want.

    Like search watch family guy and you will get results like: Which have full episodes you can watch for free.

  13. free online movie site

  14. Watch Free Movies And Tv Shows Online Another Good Alternative :

  15. For missed TV episodes, how about a dvr? I'm quite happy now that I always have my favorite shows waiting on my dvr. Granted there seems not enough hours in a day to catch up on all of them, but until the hard drive fills up, I'm never hunting for that kinda stuff.

    As for movies, well, I fit in what I have time for, but I guess I have less free time than a lot of people. Are people watching on their computers because they don't have jobs? I work 84 hours every two weeks, so that seriously cuts into my video-watching time. But it does pay for my dvr.