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Where Can I Watch TV on The Internet?

written by: Carson K•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 11/3/2010

Where can I watch TV on the internet? Learn where to find online TV programming for your home theater setup. In this article we will look at different online video services, and the hardware you will need to watch it on your TV.

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    Watch TV Over The Internet

    "Where can I watch TV on the internet?" It is a valid question, and in this article I will answer that question.

    There are many websites streaming TV and other video content over the internet. In a highly related article I talked about the hardware required to get this media from the internet and onto your TV. Below we will look at some of these internet video services and talk about which specific hardware device, as mentioned in my related article, is needed to get that content to your TV.

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    Hulu and Hulu Plus

    Hulu offers a lot of popular TV shows from Fox, ABC, and many other TV networks. Many of these shows are available online the day after airing on television. If you don’t mind waiting a day to watch the latest episode of your favorite TV series, then this service may allow you to get rid of the TV subscription. The catch? You have to find a way to get this content from your computer to the TV. If you own a full-blown HTPC, as discussed in my previous article, then you're taken care of. However, if you opt for one of the cheaper, more streamlined options, then you may have to pay for Hulu Plus. This is the subscription you have to pay to get Hulu to devices like a gaming console, or one of those set top boxes/media players. Hulu Plus currently costs $10 a month, and does unlock additional content not available to free Hulu subscribers, but you also still have to sit through commercials. There are rumors that the monthly subscription will be cut to $5 a month, but that has yet to happen.

    There are other ways to get Hulu to game consoles and some media players, but these still usually cost a yearly subscription, can be finicky, and ultimately not as reliable of a solution as Hulu Plus is going to be. If you are interested in exploring this, look into PlayOn and TVersity. These services also allow you to get a myriad of other online content to your TV, and are worth looking at for the more tech inclined.

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    The Network Website

    Where else can I watch TV on the internet? While Hulu is a great start, it doesn't cover all of the TV networks.

    As mentioned abve, Hulu is a front for many TV networks, but there are several networks that they don’t cover. If you can’t find a popular TV show on hulu, you may want to visit the network website, like CBS.com, and see if they have full episodes online. Odds are that they do.

    To get TV networks not available on Hulu to your TV, the easiest and guaranteed way is with a full HTPC setup. However, TVeristy and PlayOn both offer a lot of TV networks online catalog to their customers. So if an HTPC isn’t in the cards but a console is, then it may be worth seeing if the network you are looking for is supported by one of these services.

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    Lesser Known Options

    There are many online websites that allow you to watch just about any TV show there is. The problem is, there is no guarantee that they have a license with the content creators to legally offer this content. Further, the video quality on these sites is usually pretty poor and not worth watching, especially on your big screen TV. The reason I bother addressing this is because you may be looking for a popular show from another country, and you simply may not know if the content is legitimately being provided or not. My recommendation is to read the site's “about us” page. This page will usually give a clear idea of whether the site is legitimate or not.