Whether you’re looking to rewatch old favorites or catch up on popular titles, you can find a great selection of free TV shows online.
In this article, I’ll take a close look at 11 of the best websites and apps for watching free TV shows online that are completely legal. I’ve visited each of the websites and watched a few videos from each to see what the process is like, what’s available for free and how many ads you can expect.
Where To Watch TV Shows Online Free
If you’re searching online for free TV shows to watch, there’s a good chance that you could end up on a sketchy website. Some of them may try to get your credit card information; others provide access to pirated content. But there are several websites, apps and streaming services that you can use to watch TV shows online legally and free. Among them are Crackle, CW TV, Pluto TV and Hoopla.
If you’re looking for a full list of websites that let you watch TV shows that you’d normally have to pay for, you won’t find it here. Instead, I’ve compiled 11 completely legal websites where you can watch TV shows for free, most of which are ad-supported.
When you visit some of these websites or download the apps, you might have to create a free account in order to access the free content. Still, you shouldn’t have to download anything or enter any payment information to watch legal, free TV shows online. At most, you might have to disable your ad blocker.
Note that I’ve rated “Ad Pain” from low to high. That’s based on the length and frequency of advertisements.
Resource Best For Platforms Ad Pain
Hoopla Top Hollywood hits; offline viewing App (iOS and Android)
CW Seed Hit shows, live TV and multiple platforms App (iOS and Android)
Pluto TV Live TV App (iOS and Android)
The Roku Channel Reality and live TV App (iOS and Android)
IMDb TV Top Hollywood hit shows App (iOS and Android)
Crackle Classic shows, comedy, star-studded favorites App (iOS and Android)
Popcornflix Family and kids App (iOS and Android)
Tubi Reality TV and kids shows App (iOS and Android)
Vudu Hidden Gems App (iOS and Android)
Crunchyroll Anime App (iOS and Android)
Yidio Variety, a large collection App (iOS and Android)
Below, you’ll find detailed information on 11 different places where you can legally stream free TV shows online.
Hoopla digital library
Major Genres: Action & adventure, children’s, comedy, family, romance, sci-fi, thrillers
Best For: No advertisements, offline viewing
Platforms: App (iOS and Android), computer (streaming/download), TV (app/casting)
Hoopla is the digital service of Midwest Tape, which is one of the leading providers of entertainment and media to public libraries across North America. On Hoopla, you’ll find digital videos including TV shows and movies as well as music, audiobooks, e-books and more from more than 1,500 libraries.
Hoopla works just like a public library in the sense that you can borrow digital copies of TV shows at any time by using your local library card. If you have a library card, you can create a Hoopla account for free online. You will have to log in before you’ll be able to “borrow” anything.
After you sign in, you can browse through featured titles, anything you currently have borrowed, recommendations, popular picks and titles that you’ve added to your favorites. You can also click “browse” at the top of the screen to use the search bar.
Once you’ve found a TV show you’d like to watch, you can see the details, description and ratings from other Hoopla users. The shows that I chose let me borrow just one episode at a time. If you’re ready to check something out, just click “borrow” beneath the show. You’ll see a message that lets you know how long you’ll have access to the show (typically 2-3 days) and whether it’s available for streaming, downloading or both. The title will automatically be “returned” when it’s due back, but you can return it sooner to check out the next episode