How To Get Free Movies Online - Legally
A reader asks: 'Where can I get free movies online? I know about Netflix and Hulu, but their free trials expire after a month. And those websites offering free access to popular films seem rather sketchy to me. Is there a way to download free movies without getting in trouble?'
Free Online Movies: Yes, But...
For some people, even $8 a month is too much to pay for Netflix, Hulu Plus, or another subscription streaming video service. There are ways to get movies online for free, but you get what you pay for – and often less.
First, let me offer a word of caution. Steer clear of Web sites that promise to let you “watch any movie for free.” Simply put, they’re lying. Movie producers do not put their most valuable properties online for everyone to watch for free. If you use one of these sketchy services, you are dealing with criminals who have stolen the movies they’re offering.
If you lie down with dogs, you are going to get fleas. And those "fleas" can take various forms. Many “free movies” websites will require you to register your personal information, or install specialized software. You can expect to receive spam, become a victim of identity theft, and/or catch a malware infection. Malware may also be installed on your computer or tablet surreptitiously while you are watching a movie. That’s how “free” movie services make money.
It is unlikely that the MPAA will sue you for merely watching a pirated movie online. The movie industry goes after bigger game: the people who make pirated movies available for others to download. But that doesn’t mean a streamed movie is legal, and criminal activity always carries a risk of penalties. I have heard from people who've gotten "cease and desist" letters from their ISP after illegal downloads, warning them that they could lose their account if they continue. And in the music realm, there are well-known cases where ordinary people have been sued for tens of thousands of dollars as a result of their "file sharing" activities.
Free Movies - Popcorn Not Included
A handful of online services do offer free movies legally. But you get what you pay for, and you won’t get the latest blockbusters. Here are a few legitimate online movie sites for examples.
Crackle is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment. It offers several thousand Sony-owned movies and TV shows for streaming. In addition to streaming movies through its Web site, Crackle distributes them via YouTube, Hulu, AOL, MySpace, and mobile service providers. The biggest complaint that consumers have about Crackle is the brief commercials that inserted into every movie, apparently every 5 to 10 minutes.
Viewster is a Switzerland-based video-on-demand service. It offers free and pay-per-view movies from over 100 studios, including Warner Brothers. It also distributes indie movies, international TV shows, and short clips. Content is available through the Viewster site (registration required), on YouTube, and on Android devices.
OpenCulture is a collection of “the best free cultural & educational media on the Web.” Its movie collection includes public domain films and indie productions that are distributed with no strings attached. There are over 500 films available, including some classics such as George Orwell’s “1984,” Gary Cooper in “A Farewell to Arms,” “All Quiet On The Western Front,” and others.
Indie Movies Online was voted “Best Website to watch free movies” by users of About.com. If you’re a fan of low-budget, non-traditional films, this is the place for you. There are no ads, no distribution channels, just a straightforward website streaming movies for free, legally.
From the Internet to Your TV
In my opinion, the convenience of downloading a movie from the Internet to your TV screen via Roku, Boxee or Apple TV makes it well worth the couple of bucks you'll pay to watch legally. You can find many popular and current movies on Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime, and not worry about the potential downsides of illegal downloads. See my related articles to learn more about those services and how they work:
- Streaming Internet Movies to Your TV
- Can Boxee Outfox Your Set-Top Box?
- Free TV With Hulu?
- Is Amazon Instant Video the Netflix Killer?
Yes, there are plenty of free movies online. They just might not be the ones you want to watch. But there is no legal way to download or stream the latest Hollywood hit movies to your computer, tablet or smartphone for free. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 25 Oct 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- How To Get Free Movies Online - Legally (Posted: 25 Oct 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved