Finding something to watch has moved beyond the TV and remote control. On the internet you can find almost any TV show you want, from current seasons, to classics from network TV, to pay channels. Your options for free TV shows are great, but if you want entire seasons upon release or hard to find episodes, you may need one of these pay options too. Here, we’ve collected 50 resources for TV downloads, and even a few for commercials.
Networks for Free
Most of the major TV networks offer downloads of their current and some former shows for free. There may be delays between air time and when you can access them, but you’re sure to find some of your favorites among this list.
- ABC. You can watch full episodes of The Mole, Lost Seasons 1-4, Ugly Betty and more. There are two ad breaks for a half-hour show and three ad breaks for an hour show and you must watch 30 seconds of the ads before fast forwarding.
- NBC. Get Friday Night Lights, My Name is Earl, and more of your NBC favorites here. You get lots of extras such as deleted scenes, games, and trivia at each show’s video spot.
- CBS. Get full episodes of your CSI’s and all the rest of your CBS favorites at this site. Also, they offer full episodes of classics like The Twilight Zone.
- Fox. Watch full episodes of your favorite shows on Fox like American Idol, House, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, and The Simpsons. You will need to wait 8 days after the show aired to access the newest episodes.
- Lifetime. Find full episodes of shows like How to Look Good Naked, Gay, Straight, or Taken? and Season 2 of Army Wives.
- A&E. You can watch full episodes of Intervention, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, and The First 48 at this site. You can also watch clips of Indie movies like Murderball, Jesus Camp, and My Kid Could Paint That.
- MTV. Watch Real World episodes, My Super Sweet 16, and even old Beavis and Butt-Head episodes on MTV.com. You will need to go to the specific show you want to watch to find videos.
- HGTV. Get full episodes of shows like Color Splash and Designed to Sell on this site. You’ll watch the shows in segments ranging from just over two minutes to longer segments around eight minutes.
- Discovery Channel. Watch shows from Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and TLC from this site. They offer a limited selection from a handful of shows that are available for a limited time, so you better stay on top of this site if you want to see your favorite.
- PBS. Watch videos from some of your favorite PBS shows here. Not all of these offer full episodes, but you can get enough through the clips to feel like you’ve not been short-changed.
Networks for a Fee
These networks offer their TV shows, but you must either be a cable subscriber to their channel or you must pay for the download.
- HBO on Broadband. Cable subscribers with HBO can watch over 600 shows on their PC. Right now this is only available in Wisconsin, but look for it to be coming to your area soon.
- Showtime. You can watch your favorite series, for a fee, right on your computer or download your a series, boxing event, or comedy special on one of eight different video venues.
BitTorrents allow users to share files, such as TV shows or music, with others. There are several BitTorrent applications that will help you find and play your favorite TV shows on your computer. Some of these applications will even find the most updated episodes for you. Be sure to check local laws to ensure you are not breaking any copyright laws.
- µTorrent. The claim to fame with this application is their small size. You can download your TV shows with this BitTorrent client running in the background and never notice it’s going. It also offers scheduling, RSS downloading, and customizable skins.
- BitTorrent. Download the software for BitTorrent, then start watching your favorite TV shows right away. The more popular the show, the faster the download.
- Miro. Download this software to "turn your computer into an Internet TV." You can play just about any major video format, incorporate video RSS feeds, and auto-download your shows.
- BitComet. Download any video, mp3, or Flash file from any website so you can get your TV shows from even more locations. It promises fast downloads and it’s free.
- BitSpirit. You can do simultaneous downloads or chat with other peers if you use this BitTorrent application to get your TV shows. You’ll get high speed with low memory usage with this software.
- Transmission. Like µTorrent, Transmission promises a small size and lots of features to help you get your favorite downloads. This is open source software, so anyone can use it for free.
- Vuze. Formerly known as Azureus, this torrent client promises quick, efficient, and quality downloads. It also offers a share feature that allows you to share bandwidth and speed up your downloads.
- Ted. Let Ted do the work for you by finding your favorite TV shows and downloading them as soon as new ones become available. Ted works with other torrent clients such as Torrent or Tomato Torrent.
- XTVi. Specializing in TV torrents, this site offers free shows with no registration. If you do choose to register, it’s still free, but you can also upload your own torrents and post comments.
- GUBA. Get any type of video here, including your favorite TV shows. You can watch the videos in Flash or download to your PC, iPod, or other portable device.
- EZTVefnet.org. This is similar to the other BitTorrent applications, but you must pay a subscription fee to download the software. The fee goes to the tutorials and support available at this site and may be worth it to someone new at bittorrent application use.
All of these sites offer free access to TV shows. Some act as a clearinghouse and provide links to other sites while others actually give you the shows themselves.
- Joost. Get over 20,000 shows for free at this site. You will need to have a broadband internet connection and to download the Joost software.
- AOL Television. Watch full episodes of TV shows like American Dad, The Daily Show, and Lost for free. With almost 9000 episodes, your favorite show is sure to be here.
- FreeTVonline.com. Download TV you favorite shows with this service. You will need to install their viewer, and the shows are available for free through advertisements, so you will have to see those as well.
- TVFreeload. Choose from over 1000 TV shows on this site. Download instantly or register to take advantage of their Direct Download Option for an easier download.
- ShareTV.org. This site is more than just TV downloads with an active forum, blog, and more. Watch full episodes of newer shows like Heroes or older shows like Twin Peaks.
- Graboid. Download this software to get free full-length TV shows and movies. Some of the features do cost money, but some do not.
- Peekvid. Register to get your shows for free with Peekvid. Browse alphabetically for TV shows or movies you want to watch with this simple website.
- Veoh. From 30 Rock to The Young and the Restless, you can get free TV shows at this site. You can customize your Veoh experience, participate in forums, and download VeohTV to watch the shows from the web on your TV at the time of your choosing.
- Joox. Find TV shows, sports, stand-up comedy, and more at this site that offers links to videos all around the Internet. There is no need for registration or downloading anything, but you might need one of two plug-ins to access the videos.
- alluc.org. This site hosts a database of links to cartoons, TV shows, and more. The site is a bit awkward in that some of the links are broken and the English translation is a bit off (SpongeBob Hempants?), but there is a good selection nevertheless.
- Fancast. Watch full episodes of lots of your favorite shows. You can find oldies like WKRP in Cincinnati and recent episodes of Family Guy.
Download for a Fee
You can find tons of TV shows with these sites, but you will either need to pay for the individual show or season or will need to have a paid subscription.
- Netflix. Download your favorite TV shows instantly like Weeds, classic Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Office, and Dexter. You will need a paid Netflix subscription, but each download is free.
- iTunes. iTunes isn’t just for music. Go to the store and get TV shows as soon as one day after they aired. You will need to purchase these shows, but you can watch them on your computer, iPod, or iPhone.
- Direct2Drive. If you are tired of trying to track down your show the day the newest season is released, then get the latest TV shows downloaded directly to your computer at this site. The price is comparable to buying the DVDs.
Find classic TV shows and cartoon at all these sites. You are sure to find some old favorites like Gilligan’s Island or Gunsmoke among these.
- Classic Cartoons. This blog is devoted to all sorts of classic cartoons and not only gives a bit of background, but also offers screenshots and videos of many of them. Use the search tool for specific topics or cartoons or just browse through the archives for unexpected treats.
- Oldies TV. Watch classic TV shows from the 50′s and 60′s here. The site is a bit cumbersome with lots of scrolling involved, but you can find some great old shows to watch.
- Nostalgia Manila. Another blog devoted to TV, this one offers cartoons and TV shows from the 60′s, 70′s, and 80′s. Browse from the list on the right or use the search tool to find links to full episodes of old favorites like Gilligan’s Island and The Flintstones.
- Vintage Videosift. People post random videos, then others vote on them. More votes means the video gets pushed higher to the top of the list. You can find lots of vintage cartoons and other TV bits among these video. You may not be able to find exactly what you want to see, but if you are in a mood for someone else to select, this is the place for you.
- liketelevision.com. Get classic TV shows and cartoons as well as vintage toy commercials here. You will need to pay for a subscription to watch anything other than the commercials.
- GoFish. Targeted at mom, teens, and kids, this site has classic cartoon as well as a lot of current Japanese cartoons like Digimon and Naruto.
- Crackle. Get "Minisodes" of lots of your old TV favorites like I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, and Facts of Life. Minisodes are about five minutes long and edit out the superfluous stuff like chase scenes to keep the basics of the episode.
What would TV be without the commercials? Find old ones, new ones, funny ones, and international ones at these sites below.
- Funny Super Bowl TV Commercials, 1998-2008. This About.com page offers links to several places with Super Bowl commercials, including some banned ones. The "Wardrobe malfunctions" spoof commercial is worth a look too.
- Retrojunk. Pick from the 70′s, 80′s, or 90′s and watch TV commercials that will give you a taste of your childhood. Choose your category from several options such as toys or snacks.
- funnyplace.org. Watch funny commercials from all around the world on this site. The videos are on a wall you just click through them, so enjoy the random assortment of ads you will get here.
- Classic TV Ads. All these commercials are from the 50′s, 60′s, and early 70′s. Select from these fun categories: eat, drink, smoke, clean, groom, shop, and travel. You will even get a little history behind these ads.
- Thinkbox. These commercials from the U.K. are some of the most recent out there. Click on the images in the "Breaking Ads" section to watch them.
- japander.com. The Japanese love to have westerners in their commercials…or maybe westerners love to be in Japanese commercials. Either way, these are some amusing TV spots.
If you enjoyed this article, please bookmark it at del.icio.us »