You’re tired of paying for cable services every month. You want to cut the cord, desperately, but you want a legal alternative. Sure, you could scour bittorrent sites to find the newest episode of your favorite T.V. show, but that avenue is usually illegal and always carries a serious risk of a phone call, a visit from law enforcement, or a nastygram in the mail from a network threatening to sue you. We advise against that. Here’s how to stay on the right side of the law, and still satisfy your viewing needs.
Hulu is probably the most well-known service for free T.V. and movies. That’s because it was one of the first to arrive on the scene to offer free T.V. Sure you have to endure the commercials, but you aren’t paying for anything on this site. You just watch and enjoy.
If you ever do get tired of the commercials, you can upgrade to Hulu Plus, cut down on the commercials, and get a lot more content in the form of back episodes for your favorite shows. One peculiarity of this site that stands out immediately is the fact that some shows aren’t actually hosted on the site. Instead, the company links out to the network’s website where you can watch the show. Another criticism of the site is that you don’t get the freshest content, and the selection is somewhat limited.
Finally, the biggest complaint voiced by users is that, for Hulu Plus, even though you’re paying for the subscription, you still have to put up with commercials. You cannot speed through them either, unlike standard cable with a DVR.
Netflix has gained a lot of traction over the years and is now integrated into a lot of devices like smart T.V.s, Apple T.V. and other electronics. There’s a good reason why. This mail-order-video-turned-streaming-movie service has worked hard to create a strong brand and solid programming. They’re also a lot cheaper than most services you’ll find out there. No, it’s not free, but you’ll probably find them to be a steal compared to your current cable provider. A few dollars compared to $50 or more. It’s no contest.
While Netflix also suffers from some dated content choices (i.e. the full Knight Rider series, starring David Hasselhoff), and it often takes a long time for the company to secure the rights to newer series (i.e. The Walking Dead), it’s also not a second-hand company aiming to be the best “content curator.” It spends money developing its own original programming like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. And, it secures tier-one talent for those shows too, like Kevin Spacey. Netflix is currently responsible for a third of all Internet traffic, so clearly they’re doing something right.
Get Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime costs $99 per year, and you get access to several thousand movie titles and over a million songs. You also get free 2-day shipping on just about anything you buy on the site – a nice bonus. Finally, the service comes with, of course, books.
Of all of the services out there, this is probably the most unique. The Amazon Interface can sometimes feel a little cluttered. But, the company’s 4-service offering at a very reasonable price makes it hard to ignore.
You can always rent movies and T.V. shows on iTunes or similar services (i.e. Amazon). At $3.99 to $5.99, the rentals aren’t the cheapest in the world, and buying a T.V. show might not appeal to you, but it’s often cheaper than paying for a year’s worth of cable if you only watch a handful of shows.
Redbox is also an alternative to the online renting scheme. This company has cornered the market that Netflix left behind. If you live in a large city (or even a small one), it’s not too difficult to find a Redbox location. These machines dispense DVDs for a $1 per night of rental. There are no late fees, and you can usually find all the new or newer releases and sometimes even older ones. It’s uncomplicated, and that’s why we love it.
Download Videos From YouTube
You can always find copyright-free independent films and videos on YouTube and download them for later personal viewing. A simple YouTube downloader like the one at http://youtubedownload.altervista.org/ is all you need for that, and the rest is free. Make sure that you’re not breaking any copyright laws. That point cannot be stressed enough.
Most of the original shows on YouTube are pretty flexible about this, but never make any assumptions. Contact the channel owner or scope out the channel’s page for details about downloading. Some channels actually encourage you to save it to your computer and pass it around – free publicity. Just remember to respect intellectual property.
Get Free T.V. Online
There are several places you can score free T.V. online, like Crackle. It’s a legit service owned by Sony, with licensed content so don’t worry about stealing or violating intellectual property laws. It’s ad-supported, but there are movies and T.V. shows on there for free, so what do you want? If you’re into Anime, Crunchyroll is probably the best site out there for Japanese T.V.
Ivonne Strauss loves technology for productivity and entertainment. She enjoys writing about maximizing potential without breaking the banks.