7 Sites to Watch Free TV Shows Online (Yes, Full Episodes!)

Satisfy your craving for great TV with these convenient sites

These days, you don’t need a television set or cable package to enjoy full episodes your favorite TV shows whenever you want. There are plenty of websites out there that let you watch free TV shows online that include some of today's most popular programs; connect your device to a TV for a night of comfy couch-surfing. You just need to know where to look.

The trick is finding the best sites, which isn't always so easy to do. Some sites will scam you into signing up for unrelated fees while others require that you complete a survey before you can watch anything. And if you're not careful, some sites that come with sketchy downloads can even infect your computer with viruses. (Although Netflix now offers a fairly safe option for downloading TV shows and movies for offline viewing.)

If you're going to use an unofficial site to watch TV, you'd best do your research to find out from other users whether it's safe to do so first. Steer clear of any troublesome sites and check out the following high-quality, trusted sites instead.

Hulu on laptop
Computer image: agrobacter/iStock

Hulu is one of the best and most popular places to watch full episodes of a wide range of TV shows online, with the newest ones usually available to view within 24 hours of being originally aired on TV. In addition to the enormous range of things to watch, Hulu also give you the opportunity to watch all sorts of great documentaries and movies whenever you want.

To start watching episodes for free, simply browse through TV shows using the TV tab in the top menu or use the search bar to type in the title of a specific show. Some will have a "Free" checkbox that appears above the episode thumbnails. Check it off to see what you can watch without a subscription. You can also sign up for the 7-day free trial to get access to everything all at once and then simply cancel before your time is up. More »

Screenshot of Crackle.com

With Crackle, you can watch full episodes in addition to movies and create personal watch lists so you can keep track of everything you're watching. Because it's a totally free service, with accessibility across major platforms, there are some commercials rolled into the programming. Regardless, Crackle is a great alternative that you can enjoy viewing on your computer or with one of its apps on your mobile device.

With Crackle, you don't even need to create a free account to start watching. Just click the TV tab in the top menu or search for a show title, choose the episode you want and enjoy. It's helpful to create an account, however, if you plan to use the watch list feature and want to rate shows as you watch them. More »

Tubi TV
Screenshot of TubiTV.com

Tubi TV is a more recent alternative to the online TV world aiming to bring free shows to viewers, and yes – it operates legally through license agreements (unlike many of the other small free TV sites out there). In fact, it even includes movies. It doesn't exactly have a huge range of the new and currently popular shows you'll find from using the sites above, but if you're looking for something different to watch, this is still a great place to look. 

Hover your mouse over the menu icon to browse by interesting categories like "Not on Netflix," "Highly Rated on Rotten Tomatoes" and more. Click on an episode and start watching! You can set up an account if you want and enjoy the 40,000+ shows and movies this great service has to offer. More »

Screenshot of OVGuide.com

OVGuide doesn't host TV shows to watch on its platform, but it will point you in the direction of where to watch it – ideally for free on official and totally legitimate third-party streaming platforms – with just a click of your mouse. Think of it as a massive search engine or aggregator for official TV and movie streaming platforms.

When you click on a show that you want to watch, the video viewer will have a "Watch Video at [Third-Party Platform]" label beneath the play button, which will open a new tab in your browser to the exact web page of where that specific show can be watched on that third-party platform.

The upside to using something like OVGuide is that you get to see some of the latest shows that just aired. And with apps available for iOS, Android and the Roku streaming player, you're not ultimately tied down to the desktop web. The downside is that not everything you click on is 100 percent guaranteed to be free to watch.

OVGuide states on its About page: "If free streaming content is not available for a particular movie or title, OVGuide.com directs users to the right platform, subscription service, or video on demand site." So if you already have a subscription to one of these premium sites, you'll be good to go. But if you're looking for strictly free TV, you'll have to just browse, click, see which site or platform OVGuide recommends and hope something totally free pops up! More »

Screenshot of YouTube.com

Lots of people don’t realize that YouTube is actually a great place to look for television shows. While you won't exactly get access to the most current or popular shows (unless you pay), nor a guaranteed high-quality viewing experience, you might still be pleasantly surprised by what's available on the web’s largest video sharing network.

Just search for a show title and see what comes up. For example, if you search Boy Meets World – an old ABC family sitcom from the 90s – several uploaded episodes from virtually every season will come up. On the other hand, if you search for Grey's Anatomy – a more current and popular television drama – you'll notice results will come up where you'll have to pay a fee to stream it legally on YouTube. More »

Popcorn Time
Screenshot of Popcorn-Time.to

Hopefully, you found at least one show you'd like to watch from the sites suggested above, but if you're still on the hunt for more options, perhaps Popcorn Time could work for you. First, you should know that this one doesn't exactly work like the sites listed above. Popcorn Time is actually an open-source application that you download to your computer, which then allows you to freely stream TV show and movie torrents.

Yes, torrents. In other words, most of the content you'll find on Popcorn Time is pirated. Tons of web users torrent online content all the time and have been doing so for years, but it's up to you to know the consequences you might face from using a service like Popcorn Time depending on the country you're in.

Popcorn Time is known to be one of Netflix's big competitors. It offers high quality, fast streaming and even lays out titles in a similar visual way that Netflix does. Despite the fact that users are likely watching stolen content, many swear by this service. More »

Screenshot of TVPlayer.com

Are you in the UK? If you are, then you'll want to know about TVPlayer – a free TV streaming service that offers over 109 channels for free on both the desktop and mobile devices, including shows that are currently airing live. 30 premium channels are available to users who upgrade to a Plus account for a monthly fee.

Free channels include popular ones like many of the BBC channels, the Food Network, QVC, 4Music, ITV 1 and many more. All you have to do to sign up is create an account with your email address, verify your account creation and start watching!

Obviously, the big downside with this one is that it's restricted to users in the UK. If you're located somewhere else, like in the US, you can still create an account and sign in, but if you try to watch something, TVPlayer will first check to make sure you're in the UK and will block access if you're not.

Given that so many people have discovered the many advantages of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), it's possible that you could get around TVPlayer's geographical restrictions if you tried. Having said that, more streaming services – like Netflix, of course – are seriously cracking down on the VPN trend, so don't be surprised if TVPlayer doesn't work with your VPN either!

See our Best VPN Service Providers list if you're interesting in trying out that route.

Can't get enough free tv? We've got 14 more places you can watch free TV on the web! More »

Take Advantage of Free Trials Offered By Premium Streaming Services

The most popular premium television program and movie streaming services, like Netflix and Hulu Plus, offer free trials for at least a week, up to one month. If you're serious about enjoying the best high quality and commercial-free television, signing up for one of these free trials is often worth it. Once your trial is up, you can then decide whether or not the monthly subscription fee is worth paying for in order to keep enjoying your favorite shows.