SiteJabber was developed
in part with a grant from the
US Government's NSF
SiteJabber for Companies
The official SiteJabber Blog Facebook Twitter RSS Mail Signup

Popular Posts

The 7 Biggest Craigslist Scams

4867049268_497d4720df Online shopping lovers beware: Craigslist is not always a bastion of wondrous deals and titanic savings. Internet con-artists have ...

Read more282 comments

Wedding Dress Scams: Dream Dresses & Wedding Nightmares

Like magic Throughout the ages, the perfect wedding dress has captured the imaginations of women and girls everywhere. That makes it all the ...

Read more156 comments

How Bad of a Problem Is Ebay Fraud?

lv-zinwoo-park-fake You’ve heard the horror stories and have been told be to careful on eBay, but is fraud really so common these days? The ...

Read more112 comments

11 Facebook Scams to Watch Out For

Don't click on them Whether we like it or not, Facebook has become a large part of our lives. Even if you don’t have an account, chances are ...

Read more62 comments

The Chargeback: How to Get a Credit Card Refund if You’ve Been Scammed

3320605778_713c8ef2d1_z Most of us have been a victim of a website scam or online fraud. Maybe the pair of super-cheap UGG boots you just bought turned ...

Read more45 comments

Groupon Revealed: The Pros and Cons of Daily Deals

110317-SJ-DAILYDEALS-1 Have you ever wondered how daily deals sites worked? Hailed as a great success this new, niche retail market is helping people to ...

Read more41 comments

Penny Auctions Further Explained

3355278756_c5fc81ea09 A penny auction is a special kind of online auction that allows sellers of expensive items to offer them for pennies on the dollar ...

Read more31 comments

3 Travel Scams That Will Make You Reconsider How You Plan Your Next Trip

airplane on runway Long gone are the days when travel required sitting down with your local travel agent months before your trip. Today, simply hop ...

Read more27 comments

The Savvy Online Consumer

Can You Really Watch Movies Online or View Internet TV for Free?

By Andrew Grossman on March 29th, 2011 • 9 comments

If you Google watch movies online, you’ll see the unending pages of sites promising immediate downloads of thousands of TV channels and Hollywood blockbuster movies. Unfortunately, many of these sites are much more interested in getting your money than in giving you what you’re looking for. So to stay out of trouble, it’s important to understand what’s legal, what’s illegal, and what’s an outright scam.

The one time fee for unlimited movies or internet TV: SCAM

Hundreds of websites advertise, “free unlimited movies”, or “free internet TV” for a one time price of $39.95. These sites often do not have any actual video content as that would be illegal. These sites don’t own the rights to the content; doing so would cause them to get shut down. Instead if you read the fine print, you’ll find that what they’re really selling you is a video player software download, which is likely free elsewhere and not what you were looking to purchase. The website will then give you links to other websites, which may or may not have the content you want, outside of the US – not to mention that many of those sites contain content which is illegal to distribute and may get you into trouble with authorities. In addition, many of our users have reported that these types of downloads have installed spyware and viruses on top of not providing the movies or shows for which they were looking. Examples of these situations can be read in the reviews of sites such as Moviesdatacenter and Tvonpc.

 

Bittorrent file sharing: free and legal IF you follow the rules

Many people have heard of Bittorrent but are often unsure of exactly what it does or how it relates to watching videos online. Bittorrent is a peer-to-peer protocol that allows people to share files, including movies and TV shows. SiteJabber users have given positive reviews to sites such as Vuze (or Vuse) – an application which applies the Bittorrent protocol to enable file sharing. Through applications like Vuze, it’s possible to download many types of legal content—documents, uncopyrighted videos, etc. However, many people also use these applications to share pirated content, an illegal practice we do not support or recommend. Not only can you be held liable for downloading illegally copyrighted material, but downloads may also contain embedded computer viruses and spyware (Vuze “premium” claims to offer antivirus protection but it’s unclear how well this works).

Video sharing: free and legal IF you follow the rules

YouTube is the clear leader in video sharing; you can feel confident that anything you watch on YouTube is probably perfectly legal because Google (YouTube’s owner) has all but eliminated illegal copyrighted material. In so doing, however, Google opened the door for businesses such as Megavideo—a site based in Hong Kong with a much higher bar for removing copyrighted material. Megavideo, according to Alexa, is the 102nd most popular site in the world due in no small part to the ability of users to watch copyrighted material online without downloading it to their computer or installing malware infested video players. Uploading copyrighted content to Megavideo (assuming you don’t own the copyright) is definitely illegal in the US. However, the legality of watching copyrighted content on Megavideo is a bit murkier. It’s unclear if there is legal risk, and we are certainly not lawyers, but we can’t recommend it. In the long run, if sites such as Megavideo persist outside of US copyright laws and allow anyone to view Hollywood movies and TV shows for free, we do wonder how much longer it will be profitable to keep producing all of our favorite shows.

Sites with Hollywood deals: legal but you must pay

Sites such as Hulu, Netflix and even Amazon all offer unlimited viewing of mainstream TV shows and movies for a monthly fee (although Hulu does offer a great deal of free TV and movie content). These sites all have deals with major studios and offer premium content in high-quality digital video. The selection of video content will likely never be as vast as sites that are of questionable legality. However, you can rest assured that you won’t break any US copyright laws, your computer won’t contract any viruses, and you’ll be supporting the development of future movies and TV shows, while likely viewing much higher quality content.

Have you had related experiences watching and downloading TV shows and movies? If so we’d love to hear about them in the comments; and as always be sure to review good sites and report fraudulent ones for the SiteJabber community.

Image source 1image source 2



Comments

9 Responses to “Can You Really Watch Movies Online or View Internet TV for Free?”
  1. Tom says:

    Megavideo rules!

    • hoa says:

      its funny though that you cant really find the videos directly on megavideo. i always have to use sidereel for that.

  2. Greg says:

    Anyone charging for illegal pirated movies is just out to scam you. I do see that megavideo charges money for their site, anyone know if that is worthwhile?

    • Tran says:

      I used it when I lived abroad (where TV is between 2 and 8 seasons behind, depending on the show), and for me, it was well worth it. However, being back in the states, I find that I can do without a subscription (and use Hulu or Netflix instead) and once in a while just take advantage of the free 72 minutes.

  3. Rick says:

    1. old laptop (where you don’t care if it gets infected with viruses): free
    2. Megavideo: $9 bucks a month for premium membership
    3. PC to HDMI cable for your plasma TV (so you can connect laptop to plasma): $10

    Watching hollywood movies the day they come out on your TV at home: priceless

  4. suckerforpuns says:

    I’ve found that checking out the website for TV shows often leads to awesome!

    - PBS seems to have every episode ever available to watch streaming.

    - NBC has recent episodes available to watch for a limited time, SNL (from Digital Shorts to the Bass-O-Matic) plus lots of cool bonus content, like The Office Webisodes.

    -Comedy Central, Adult Swim, Fox — other good examples

    If you have a Library card, many library websites offer digital content (it can be interesting stuff, but not really a great source for Saturday night movie plans.

    Many shows/networks have official Youtube channels

    Some of my favorites –

    - BBC America http://www.youtube.com/user/BBCAmericaTV

    - The Muppets http://www.youtube.com/user/MuppetsStudio

    Hope that gives you some ideas!

  5. Elvira says:

    I use well known sites to watch free movies and T.V. – hulu.com and netflix.com. Love it and no problems.

  6. ananymous says:

    Couchtuner used to be a great site, now it is virus infested. Avoid at all cost, contracted the services.exe virus you cannot get rid off without totally reinstalling.

  7. Thewalkingdead says:

    I love the walking dead and I usually watch it on couchtuner.me but now when I try to stream it the screen tells me that the file has been deleted. But if you use couchtuner on your iPod touch you can’t get viruses and most of the shows work, like the Big Bang theory.

    If anyone knows a good site to watch the walking dead on please let me know!!!

Share Your Opinions

Tell us what you're thinking...
and if you want a pic to show with your comment, then get gravatar!