Free TV on PC

Category: Television

A search for free TV on PC turns up thousands of results. But chances are, none of them deliver what you really want: how to watch free TV on your PC. Here's how to find and watch popular TV shows on your computer without paying a monthly fee...

How to Watch Television on Your PC, For Free

The top few dozen sites offering free TV on your PC are all remarkably similar in their sales pitches. That's because they're all peddling the same scammy software. If you come across one of those websites offering a $49 software package that promises to give you free satellite TV, run away. For details, see my Free Satellite TV on PC article about this scam.

The truth is, you don't have to buy any software, or pay a cable or satellite TV company monthly fees. You don't need expensive satellite dishes or set-top boxes. You can choose from thousands of free TV channels worldwide. You can watch movies, sports, news, children's series, nature documentaries, and more. All you needs is a computer, a high-speed Internet connection, and a bit of guidance.

Many TV content producers make their programming available on the Internet. ComedyCentral, for example, offers full episodes of "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" free of charge. Thousands of local news stations stream their stories over the Internet for free. Just type the name of your favorite TV network into a search engine, and chances are good that you'll find plenty of free video content at their website.
Free TV on PC

Hulu, a joint venture of NBC, Fox, ABC, and other stations, offers commercial-supported episodes of popular shows such as Family Guy, 30 Rock, Dancing With The Stars, House, and The Office. Hulu is a free and legal alternative to the many online services that offer pirated episodes of TV and movie content. If you're downloading TV shows via bittorent or some other "file sharing" software, you could be placing yourself at risk. See my related article Sued For Downloading? for details.

Other Free TV Alternatives

Another alternative that doesn't require internet access is tuning in free local television signals. By adding an HDTV tuner to your computer, you can watch any local TV station that you could otherwise pull in with a TV antenna. TV tuners are easy to install and prices start at about $50. Your tuner will come with software that allows you to change the channel and record a show. See my Free HDTV On Your PC article for more details.

Then there are public service broadcasts offered under the "free to air" model. Free to air TV (also called FTA) programming is broadcast via satellite in unencrypted form. You don't need a set-top box decoder to decrypt the programming, just an appropriate satellite receiver. Most FTA broadcasts are government-sponsored public TV services, news, religious and ethnic programming, so you won't be getting MTV or your favorite NBA, MLB or NFL sports programming on FTA satellite channels. See my related article Free Satellite TV for more info on (legal) FTA.

In summary, if you want to break free of the monthly fee for cable or satellite television service, there are plenty of options. You can use your computer to watch online TV shows, as well as over-the-air broadcasts. You won't have the luxury of 750 TV channels, but it's all free and legal.

Do you have something to say about free television? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Free TV on PC"

Posted by:

desta elliott
26 Apr 2011

Amazon recently added free video streaming (for select shows) to its $80/year Prime program. I am knocked over. $80 is less than half one MONTH's cable bill. And, cable is providing shows less and less often for my tastes--basically BBC historical dramas & mysteries. Amazon has scads to watch. I am even considering adding Netflix, which will equal only 1 month or so of my current cable bill.
Plus, being able to stream videos lessens the need to have stacks of DVDs (VHS) laying around the house?

Bob, can you do (or have you done) an article on connecting your laptop to a large screen LCD TV? I want to be able to share viewing. My laptop screen has to be "just so" or you can't see a thing.

Posted by:

26 Apr 2011

I use the following sites frequently. Occasionally, there are some drawbacks. Enjoy!

Posted by:

Bill Brammer
27 Apr 2011

Roku is a good way to see tv programs on your tv.
It is cheap and works really well!

Posted by:

27 Apr 2011

In response to "desta's" question regarding connecting your laptop to the TV to watch shows and movies...YES..I do it all the Roku box or console is required, just your laptop and 2 cables. I get a halfway decent picture just using RCA cables for sound and S Video for the video. i use the S-video output on my laptop with a converter to RCA, plug it into the yellow input on the TV. Then hook up the red/white audio cable from the headphone out jack using an 1/8th stereo splitter to the input on the TV...very low tech but works perfectly...If my TV had a VGA input I'd use that instead of the yellow composite cable. My laptop is 4 years old and does not have HDMI out cable. Chances are your new TV has a VGA input for video...but it all boils down to what your laptop can "export". I mostly watch Hulu (free version) and use the "full screen" mode once the show starts playing. It then fills the screen on my TV...I have a 57" Sony projection TV that is almost 10 years old and like I may not be 1080i or 3D but it works for of all the price--- $0

Posted by:

Anders Cornell
27 Apr 2011

Many thanks, Bob, for your ongoing efforts to exterminate the idea that a special program is going to give you free access to paid shows...!

Posted by:

28 Apr 2011

We gave up cable TV a about 3 months ago and have not missed it. New episodes of Hawaai50 are available on Local news is available when we want to watch it with no commercials. We did subscribe to Netflixs. Well worth it.

Posted by:

03 Jun 2011

I would love to try this, but we just received notification from our internet service provider that they will now be limiting the amount of hours of internet usage, with a hefty fee for overage. They specifically mentioned that watching movies and TV shows online uses up a lot of the allowance in just a few hours. have they "got" me on this?

Posted by:

23 Jan 2014

Yer right at a cost which you don't display until you sign up yet another rip off!
Why do web sites always do this:- Free until you sign up.
I bet your answer will be 'Yes but it is free to sign up'

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Free TV on PC (Posted: 26 Apr 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved