How to Watch Movies and TV Online for Free
Author Info | Tech Tested
Updated: November 24, 2019
With a broadband connection and a bit of work, you can watch many movies and TV shows online for free. There are many sites that offer free access to visual media. It’s just a matter of finding them. Read these steps to learn how to watch movies and TV online for free.
Method 1 of 4:
Streaming Video Legally
Start with YouTube. YouTube is the largest and most popular video streaming site by far. It’s also a good place to listen to popular music, including current hits.
YouTube is also rife with homemade shows and series of all kinds. These usually have low production value but can be quite entertaining and informative.
Movies and mainstream TV shows can be found on YouTube, but more popular and well-known properties usually get taken off the site for copyright reasons. There are, however, a whole lot of movies in the public domain (not under copyright anymore).
Check out hulu.com. Hulu is a mainstream video site like YouTube that bridges the gap between free content and professional content. It features a rotating menu of films and TV shows for free, plus a more expansive monthly pay service.
Hulu tends to have a lot of free TV shows, but very few A-list shows. There’s usually a mix of older and newer shows available.
Hulu’s free film selection is fairly small, but it’s easy to search. Again, expect a mix of old and new titles.
Spend some time at vimeo.com. This site is a direct competitor to YouTube. As with YouTube, all of Vimeo’s content is free, but users can pay a fee to upgrade to higher-quality streaming and more space to upload their own videos.
Vimeo features independent, professional-quality work, such as artistic short films, as a point of pride. It also features plenty of ordinary user-created content.
TV shows and wide-release movies are rare on Vimeo, but obscure and small-budget projects abound.
Method 2 of 4:
Streaming From 3rd Party Sites
Know that you can still get in trouble for streaming illegal content. If you do not download a movie or show and instead stream it off a website, you are not legally responsible for the movie. However, putting up video for other people to stream is illegal if you do not own the copyright. It is also illegal to stream video for a public performance or to download any part of the video.
If you do not own the rights to something you are always, in some small way, legally at risk when streaming.
Perform an internet search for your title + streaming. There are plenty of other, smaller competitor sites that stream videos for your enjoyment. Nearly all of them are free. A Google search should reveal a few quickly.
Commonly used sites include Project Free TV, Megashare, Putlocker, Sockshare, Dailymotion, and WatchCartoonOnline.
A good template to find videos is: “(movie or show) full (put either *movie* or *episode* here) free.” For example, “Game of Thrones full episodes free.”
More specific queries will get more specific responses, such as Game of Thrones full episode 3, season 2, free.”
Never click “download” on a streaming site. These sites are funded with dubious advertisements and potential viruses. Usually, good common sense is enough to avoid issues, and when in doubt you should not click on a sketchy link. You can safely navigate to your video as long as you know what to avoid:
Claims to “speed up your computer,” or update your browser.
“Personalized” chat rooms, text bubbles, or conversations.
Claims that you have a virus, need to clean up something, or need “Administrative Privileges.”
Understand how to use mirror links. Most streaming sites don’t actually host the videos you want to watch. They are more like filing cabinets, holding links to every movie and episode they have access too. Once you click on a link from you internet search you’ll go to a page with series of links, often with names like VidShare, PutLocker, MooShare, etc. These links have the actual videos in them, and are usually ranked by usability.
There is often a “score” next to each video, telling you how good the quality is.
Never click on a “download” link, or click links outside of this list, as they are usually spam.
Choose a highly ranked mirror link. The title of the episode or movie is usually colored and bolded. This is your link. Click here to be taken to a new page with a rectangular video player in the middle.
If you are not taken to a video screen, exit out of the page and try another link.
Click the play button on the video screen. There may be a lot of other buttons an the site, but these are for ads. You can exit out of them by clicking on the small “X” in the upper right corner of the ad, but most of them disappear once your click the play button. This is usually in the bottom left corner of the video player.
Consider foreign sites if you cannot find your video. There are many foreign streaming video sites that exist in a legal gray area thanks to lax or out-of-date copyright protection laws in countries such as China and Russia. Though a dubious choice at best, these sites sometimes feature streaming media (especially major movies) that can’t be found for free anywhere else.
Exercise caution when dealing with foreign sites. Malware and spyware are common. Never download anything from these sites, and be sure that your antivirus program is up to date.
Expect extraordinarily slow load times. Unlike YouTube and other popular Western sites, most of these sites use outdated hardware that causes their videos to load slowly even on fast computers.
Know that search engines often remove the links to illegal content. If you are having a ton of trouble finding a working link on your search engine, click to “Read the DMCA complaint.” It’s a compiled list of links that search engines aren’t allowed to display on a search page. The links do still work, however, and if you copy and paste them into the search bar they will go to the correct page.
Method 3 of 4:
Torrent Movies and TV for Free
Understand that torrenting is illegal and can lead to viruses. Downloading TV and movie files directly onto your computer is not recommended due to the risk of lawsuits and viruses. If you get caught, you could face very stiff fines and/or jail time. That said, millions of people torrent across the globe to find exactly the movies and TV they want for free.
Install a torrent client. A torrent client is how you download torrents and convert them into a format you can watch. There is no central server – torrents are a way to share information from one computer to another. There are multiple clients available for free online. Some of the more popular ones are:
Find a torrent tracker website. There are a variety of websites that list torrents, which you can find by searching for “torrent tracker” online. The most reliable ones are easy to navigate, have a variety of links, and are not impossibly cluttered with advertisements.
Search for your show or movie. Most public trackers will have a copy of every recent show and movie shortly after they are released.
Use popular shorthand for finding the file you want. For example: if you need the second episode from the third season of a show, search for “show name s03e02.”
Download a well-populated torrent. Torrents are popular when they have “seeders,” which is often noted right next to the title after you search. The speed at which you can download a torrent file is determined by the number of seeders available.
Most torrent sites allow you to sort search results by the number of seeders by clicking on the word “seeders” at the top of the page. Torrents with many seeders are less likely to have viruses, as multiple people have used it successfully.
Check the comments to make sure the video works. Most sites have a comment section underneath the link to “download torrent.” Read as many comments as possible to determine if other users feel that the quality of the file is good and worth your time. Many sites also have a rating system that can help your quickly determine if the torrent is good.
Click “download torrent.” This will open the torrent in your client and automatically download the file. When it is done you can watch your videos!
Download a magnet link when possible. These files are slightly different than a standard torrent file. They match content based on an identifier that can then be found without central trackers.
Method 4 of 4:
Ensuring Your Computer Can Watch Movies
Test your ability to stream video on YouTube. Visit YouTube and choose a video that’s at least a few minutes long, such as a music video. Does the video load within 10-20 seconds and play back without pausing or skipping? If so, your connection is probably strong enough for most streaming video services. If not, look into getting a newer computer or a faster Internet connection.
Perform a speed test. To check your connection speed, visit SpeedTest.net and click the green button that says BEGIN TEST. Anything slower than about 256Kbps might be too slow for adequate video streaming.
Mbps is a higher number than Kbps. If your number has Mbps after it, you probably have an adequate connection speed. However, 0.535 Mbps is the same speed as 535.55 Kbps.
Nearly any new computer will be more than adequate for streaming video. If your computer is the problem, feel free to buy something very cheap as long as it’s new.
Update your plug-ins when prompted. Sometimes you’ll find a video that won’t play until your download a specific plug-in, which teaches your computer how to read the video. While you should always be aware of scams, the three main plug-ins to update are Microsoft Silverlight, DivX, and Adobe Flash.
Download free anti-virus software to protect your computer. Depending on how badly you want to view movies and TV, you may accidentally stumble upon sites with bugs and viruses. If you avoid downloading and clicking on ads, most of these can be avoided, but you should still be prepared.
Windows users can download AVG Anti-virus completely free.
Mac users can download Sophos anti-virus for free.
Could I get a virus doing this?
It’s always a possibility. Make sure you have a good anti-virus software that checks the websites you try to load before opening them, and run a virus scan on any files you download.
Can a Chrome Book stream movies from sockshare.com?
Yes. You can stream as long as you are connected to the Internet.
Can I watch some movies on websites without an internet connection?
You cannot access a website without an internet connection. If you want to watch movies without a connection, you will have to download the movies first.
I can get the video in the slot, but how do I make it play?
If you are playing it on a laptop, open it in documents, and it should play. On a TV, select the correct input.
Until relatively recently, YouTube had a roughly 10-minute video length limit throughout the site. This means that sometimes, movies can be found on YouTube divided into several 10-minute segments. If you’re willing to deal with each one loading separately, they usually work fine.
Downloading movies and TV shows without paying for them is piracy, make no mistake. Only take this risk if you have a good reason. Remember, public library systems and video rental services are cheap or free, and entirely legal.
Things You’ll Need
A computer, preferably a fairly new one
A broadband Internet connection
The proper software
Choose a Good Movie to Watch
Enjoy a Movie at Home
Download YouTube Videos
Download Movies Using uTorrent
Get Free Movies
Watch Movies Using Telnet
Find Websites To Watch Free Movies Online
Legally Watch TV and Movies Online
Watch Movies on Android
Watch Films on Kodi
About This Article
wikiHow Technology Team
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 153 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time.
Updated: November 24, 2019
Article Rating: 71% – 193 votes
Categories: Watching Television Online | Watching Movies Online
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