Free Online TV

hulu

After spending several hours working away on your free software, what better way to kick back and relax than with a little free television, provided online via web apps?  With a broadband connection, a current browser with flash support, and this article, you are prepared to watch just about any TV show you want.

Besides tv episodes, you can see out of circulation tv shows as far back as Gilligans Island or Dark Shadows (who remembers that one?).  But not all sites carry them.  Don’t worry though, all the current ones, like 24, Chuck, Bones and Lost are all available as well, and almost identical between the sites!  Listed below are the top sites, along with some of their strengths.  Not all sites are created equal, so make sure you check them all out – you will discover something new at each one.  If you are into movies, they each have something to offer, but none of them have much.

  1. Hulu – King of the hill.  They pioneered the embedded commercial, thus making it possible to monetize video episodes that had become worthless to advertisers due to the prevalence of TiVo.  This site has probably the widest variety of tv along with a decent amount of movies and other clips.  The hang up with Hulu is you have to get it quick, because they only carry the last 4 full episodes.
  2. Fancast – My second rated site, in that it contains 4 to 5 full episodes of the some shows you want to see.  This site is the only one that actually has several full episodes of Gilligan’s Island available to view.  They have many episodes of Lost and some others.  Another thing that is nice about it compared to Hulu is that it is uncluttered.  When you look at a show, you get the 4 current season episodes they provide, one previous season, and that’s it.  With Hulu, there are a ton of clips and trailers that are essentially misleading.  If you are not reading the length of the clip and you are a first time visitor, you end up clicking on several of the trailers before you realize they are only teasers meant to lure you in to watch advertising so they can generate revenue.  Fancast doesn’t go there.
  3. TV.com – This site is another that contains or references content from several stations.  They seem to have many of the same current tv episodes, however they only have the most recent two full versions available.  If you want to get a taste of time travel though, it is interesting to view episode listings on this site stretching into the future.  Almost makes you think you can click on them and watch them before they have happened….
  4. Fox – One of the sources for programming content, if what you want to see was produced by them, you would think that you are best off getting it here.  More episodes of 24 for instance?  You would be wrong.  5 episodes.  No more.  They are logically organized a bit better, with the top ribbon full episodes, the bottom ribbon other stuff.
  5. ABC – Another source site.  Has detailed character bios and other minutia on the series, but again the new online industry standard of 5 full episodes.  They have many interviews and other material as well.  With some series, like Lost, they have more content than other sites, going all the way back to the pilot.
  6. CBS – Another source site.  Where else can you get two weeks worth of full episodes of Late Night with David Letterman?
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