This article has been just updated: December 10, 2019
With so much free content on YouTube, Twitch, and Vimeo, it’s easy to see why so many people refuse to spend money on an over-the-top media service like Netflix, let alone traditional cable television. Still, some TV shows are simply too good not to watch. That’s why we’ve written this guide, which explains three different ways how to watch TV shows online free of charge.
Method 1: Watch TV Shows Online on Streaming Sites
- Advantages: Always available. All you need is a web browser, and you’re good to go. You don’t have to download anything to your computer. Works even without admin permissions.
- Disadvantages: Most online streaming sites don’t give you the option to download TV shows to your computer. Video quality can be a hit or miss. You will encounter many ads and pop-ups, and some of them may be malicious.
Online streaming sites are an excellent example of what many people call the “graynet.” Unlike the infamous darknet, which has become associated with illegal activity and marketplaces that sell drugs and weapons, graynet websites are accessible from any web browser, and there’s nothing inherently illegal about them. However, it’s also clear that what graynet websites are doing is possible only because they’ve exploited various loopholes in the law.
In the case of online streaming sites, it’s the fact that all content is hosted on various third-party servers. If online streaming sites hosted TV shows on their own servers, they would be 100 percent illegal and most of them would probably not even exist anymore. But since they’re basically just large content catalogs, they can keep serving TV shows and other content to visitors from around the world.
.How to Watch TV Shows on Streaming Sites
One popular online streaming site where you can watch just about every newer TV show is called Moviewatcher. This well-designed online streaming site has everything from “House of Cards” to “Nashville” to “Will & Grace” to “Young Sheldon”, and all you need to use it is your web browser:
- Go to: https://moviewatcher.is/.
- Select “TV SERIES” from the top menu.
- Choose a TV show.
- Pick a season and episode.
- Wait for a media player to load and click the play icon.
Method 2: Watch TV Shows Online Using Popcorn Time
- Advantages: Allows you to watch TV shows in HD video quality for free. Works on a wide range of devices and operating systems. You can choose any video quality you want. Doesn’t display any ads or malicious links.
- Disadvantages: Relies on the BitTorrent protocol, which is blocked by many internet service providers. You need admin permissions to install it.
The chances are that you’re familiar with BitTorrent, the communication protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing used to distribute data and electronic files over the Internet. Well, Popcorn Time is a multi-platform BitTorrent client that includes an integrated media player and presents itself as a free alternative to subscription-based video streaming services such as Netflix.
It’s almost hard to believe that Popcorn Time is a free application considering how professionally it looks and feels. You can install Popcorn Time on just about any computer running Linux, macOS, or Windows, and the application also works on Android.
Because Popcorn Time is such as a compelling alternative to paid streaming services, the MPAA forced its original developers to take it down, but that didn’t stop others from forking Popcorn Time, which is why you can still use it to watch TV shows online for free.
.How to Watch TV Shows Using Popcorn Time
There are currently two active forks of Popcorn Time, but the one we recommend is popcorntime.sh.
- Go to https://popcorntime.sh/.
- Click the large, red download button.
- Install Popcorn Time just like you would any other application.
- Launch the application.
- Select a TV show you want to watch.
- Wait until it loads and enjoy.
Method 3: Watch TV Shows Online During a Free Trial Period
- Advantages: Completely legal. You can enjoy popular TV shows as soon as they are released and in any video quality you want.
- Disadvantages: You must submit your credit card details for this method to work. There’s a chance that you forget to cancel before the trial period is over.
Many subscription-based online streaming services offer a free trial period during which you can watch as many TV shows as you want. Companies like Netflix know quite well that many people will exploit free trials to watch TV shows online without paying, and they don’t care all that much. They know that if their service is good enough, some people will eventually stick around and decide not to cancel.
You can easily turn this to your advantage and make sure to always cancel in time so you can enjoy TV shows for free. When one free trial period ends, you can simply sign up again using a different email address and start all over.
.How to Watch TV Shows for Free on Netflix
Netflix is probably the best subscription-based online streaming service with a very generous free trial period. This is how you can activate it:
- Go to: https://www.netflix.com/.
- Click the “JOIN FREE FOR A MONTH” button.
- Select a plan.
- Scroll down and click “CONTINUE” at the bottom of the page.
- Enter your email and password.
- Select a payment method.
- Enter your payment details.
- Activate your membership and enjoy Netflix for free for 30 days.
To cancel your Netflix membership before the trial period is over:
- Go to: https://www.netflix.com/.
- Click on your portrait in the right-hand corner.
- Select the option titled “Your Account.”
- Under Membership & Billing in your account preferences, you should see an option called “Cancel membership.” Click on it to cancel your membership.
You can cancel at any time, and you don’t have to give any reason why you’re no longer want to pay for your subscription. Should you forget to cancel your subscription in time, there’s no way how to get a refund, so be extra careful to remember when the free trial period ends. That said, if you’re a big fan of TV shows, it might be worth it to remain a subscriber instead of going through all the steps above every month.