We live in an age now where its no real secret that large numbers of people are streaming movies without having to pay a cent and usually by using torrents, but what not nearly as many people have cottoned on to yet is that there are actually some high-quality services out there backed by large corporations like Paramount Pictures that are also offering you free ways to stream content as well, and it’s all perfectly legal to do.
Popcornflix is a movie and TV show streaming service where you can watch movies online with next to no fuss. It’s more like Crackle than it is 123Movies because no funny business is going on here and there’s nothing illegal. The movies that are being shown are fully licensed, and the owners of the films know about it and approve the service. That said it still does manage to be free, and you can get it on lots of different devices such as Roku, Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Xbox, iOS, and probably some others that people use that we don’t know about yet.
The more we use Popcornflix the more we prefer it over Crackle because the movie and TV show selections are pretty dense, a lot more like what you would expect to find from a full-fledged service such as Netflix. And if you watch Netflix from outside of the USA, then there probably isn’t much difference between the amount of content at all (because Netflix outside of the United States is very average).
Popcornflix also has the added advantage of being available as an application so you can do things like use the app on your mobile device and then get the movie showing up on your Apple or Android TV. You would think that it wouldn’t make much difference since smart TVs can browse the web anyway, but it actually does because most smart TV web browsing still to this day is a horrible experience. So if you can skip it and just stream directly from applications, you’ll be better off for it. That is unless you have a portable computer that’s built something like an HP all-in-one and you can transfer it around the house and you have a kick-ass computer monitor that’s large enough to double as a TV. If you do have something like that, then by all means, just cart the computer around the home and browse Popcornflix directly from your web browsers (I do this myself if you can’t already tell).
Yidio has one of the largest online film communities we’ve ever seen, but it also cheats this list a little bit in the sense that it doesn’t offer only free content. It’s a service that lets you discover movies and TV shows that are available across all other popular streaming services, including the paid ones like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and more.
Even though it doesn’t offer everything for free (for obvious reasons or why the hell would the paid ones continue to exist?) it does offer “Free movies” and “Free TV shows” categories that you can browse so you can see the best of the free stuff if that’s all you want to watch.
You can expect to find most of the good stuff that you are used to finding on your TV stations or popular streaming services coming out of the United States, and it even lets you know what’s popular so you can get quick access to the shows that most people are watching.
The owner of the site probably thought it would be a great way to entice people to sign up to the paid subscriptions, but we view it more as a bit of tease. Most of the free stuff isn’t as good as the paid stuff, although you will find the occasional cult classic ready to let you watch it without opening your wallet like Mac and Me.
One of the best-kept secrets of watching movies online is Crackle. It is, without question, one of the premier places to head to watch movies of high quality and without any intrusive advertisements that either slow your computer down or just get in your way.
We recommend Crackle to everybody because it is actually owned by Sony and most of the others out there are just independently owned projects. Not that we have anything against smaller businesses that are independently owned, but when it comes to the world of online movie streaming, the ones that are independent are usually pretty low quality. The reason for that is because watching movies online isn’t usually a legal thing, so these sites don’t get the chance to display advertisements that are of high quality and pay out well. Instead, they need to resort to putting up low-quality ads that don’t pay well because those are the only ad networks out there online that will accept their business (which is basically a low-quality website, as much as we like to take advantage of their movies).
Crackle isn’t like that. It is a legitimate service, completely legal, owned by Sony and is just quite literally streaming movies and TV shows online just like these other torrent websites do. What’s more, you don’t really get any advertisements when you visit Crackle. The webpage loads incredibly smoothly, and your computer’s processor won’t be asked to run hard at all. It is no different than if you were to be watching Netflix or Hulu—well, there is one difference: Sites like Netflix charge a subscription fee, and Crackle is free.
How the hell there is this website called Crackle and not one person I know has recommended it to me is one of the most surprising aspects of my life this year. There are some sites out there that offer cheaper subscriptions but at the cost of you needing to watch ads between movies and what not, and Crackle probably does a similar thing which helps sponsor the movies and TV shows that are offering.
Also, the range of movies and shows you get on Crackle is very limited at any one time. If you were to visit the Horror section on the same day of us publishing this article like we did, you would only see a handful of movies available. That’s not a loading error. They only offer a small selection at a time, and then the movies they offer will rotate to something else. The more modest database at any one time will be a deal breaker for many people out there, and the movies they show are typically quite old. Good for the people who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s and want to watch some classics another time, and bad for everyone else who has been raised in the era of high definition.
Both the 123Movies and FMovies websites are assumed to be run by the same people just because there are so many similarities between the web design elements and we also think its part of the reason that makes their database so powerful. Between the two websites, there are millions of people watching these movies. And when you go to start playing an old movie that isn’t very well known, or from your judgment probably shouldn’t be getting viewed by too many people, the movie or TV show seems to stream without any problems. These websites are peer-to-peer networks, which means they rely on people seeding the movies for them to be watched. Since there are only so many movies out there in the world, the more websites you can make that get lots of views helps those movies play better because it means more people are seeding the movie that comes from the one database that is being shared between the sites.
However, there are some caveats with using either of these two websites. They are independently owned and not able to run high-quality ads and therefore the experience you get is quite poor at the time (depending on what ads they decide to run during your time of visit.) During our time of visit, there are usually pop-unders, and there is nothing that knows how to make your computer lag quite like a pop-under sitting there that you haven’t dismissed yet.
The good? Well there movie and TV show collection is dynamite–they have lots of movies and shows from decades ago and up until recent times. They even have movies that are available in the cinema and haven’t yet made it to DVD. The cam quality is also probably the best cams you would find if you spent all day looking online for the best version.
While speaking of Popcorn, no free online movie watching list would be complete without mentioning Popcorn Time. It’s an application that you download and then open up, much the same way you would with Netflix, and then you just browse your movies and TV shows from within the app itself without any web browser required. The movies start playing immediately as soon as you choose them without there being any waiting around for the download to complete. So from that sense, you are streaming the movie. However, if you keep watching long enough for the download to complete, then the movie ends up in your downloads folder on your computer, available for you to watch a second time again without you needing to use any of your uploads or download data again. From that point of view, many people prefer using Popcorn Time over one of the streaming services because it saves them data over the long run. On the flip side, there are quite a lot of computer noobs out there who find it terrifying that the computer’s storage is being used up and will one day explode before they can do anything because they have no idea where their movies are being stored and how to get access to the downloads folder. If you are one of those kinds of people, then maybe Popcorn Time isn’t such a good idea.
The movie and TV selection you get with Popcorn Time won’t rival some of the best streaming websites, and sometimes when you go to watch older movies or unpopular movies, you won’t be able to do it because there aren’t enough people seeding it for you to take advantage of. But if you’re only into watching new movies and that have been released in more recent times, you should enjoy the Popcorn Time experience.
Visit: Popcorn Time
Tubi TV is an excellent example of not judging a website by its name. Sometimes sites don’t have a huge budget to start out with (hence the names that don’t break the bank), but then they grow into being websites with lots of fantastic content and earn lots of money. While we don’t really have any idea about Tubi TVs beginning, we do know that they are a free movie streaming service that’s just as good, and if not better, than many of its competitors.
Tubi TV is a perfectly legal streaming service, helped by the backing of Paramount Pictures and Starz, so you know there is nothing you need to be worried about with your ISP or breaking the law when you watch content from this website. There are thousands of movies, and TV shows that you can choose from and a small portion of those are only available if you rent them. The rest are available for free—as long as you don’t have anything blocking the advertisements. It’s a professional service, and the ads are high quality. There are certainly no pop-under or pop-over ads. We couldn’t see any banner ads at all. The ads are probably going to interrupt your viewing from time to time, much like a commercial break would on your free to air TV channels.
If there’s one glaring downside with Tubu TV, it’s that the website makes you sign up before you can start watching some of the movies. That’s a free subscription, and you don’t have to subscribe to watch all of the movies—most of them are, in fact, available to you without subscribing and they have the subscription there to block specific titles for age restriction reasons. But we usually pass on subscribing to things because who has a spare 3 minutes to go through those motions? Not us. Plus, when you subscribe to something, you can usually expect to find some stuff coming to your email. That’s always going to be easy to unsubscribe from, but it just leaves a bitter taste in our mouths why Tubi TV would expect you to subscribe when it’s competitors don’t. Still, if you don’t mind subscribing, then it’s probably on par with or just a little bit below something like Popcornflix.
Visit: Tubi TV
Top Documentary Films
If watching documentaries is more your thing, then you’ll want to check out the Top Documentary Films website for a wide variety of free documentaries. There aren’t as many documentaries out there in existence as movies, so the list isn’t as extensive, but there are several hundred documentaries available for your viewing pleasure.
The website has an interesting quote on its front page which we’ll show you now because it’s worth reading:
We always have to keep in mind that a Documentary, after all, can tell lies and it can tell lies because it lays claim to a form of veracity which fiction doesn’t. Some of the documentaries are made just to discredit some particular person, party, organization, system, etc., but most of them here on TDF are nonbiased, without prejudice and worth watching.
Documentaries are great to watch for educational purposes, but you do also need to keep in mind that sometimes people can create documentaries with a very biased view and there isn’t always a lot stopping them from creating whatever they want to create no matter how obscure it may seem. You don’t usually see those kinds of words of wisdom when you go to watch documentaries from a website that also hosts movies and TV shows, so it’s great that a site dedicated to documentaries has done it. But it’s also there because a lot of the films you get on this website are low budget and didn’t get a wide distribution and they don’t come from labels like Paramount Pictures or something that would have had a much harder review process.
Top Documentary Films naturally doesn’t get as much web traffic as other free streaming sites because it deals with documentaries and nothing more, but we highly recommend bookmarking this page as your go-to place for documentaries because it is a great website that’s set up more like a blog than anything else but also offers three easy to use categories at the top of the page. There you can choose between checking out the list of top 100 documentaries or hit up the “List” where the documentaries are divided into categories of their own—for example, technology, politics, science and so on.
Visit: Top Documentary Films
Snag Films is not the place to visit if you want to watch your Hollywood blockbusters because it isn’t likely to have the film you want to watch in stock, but it does have a collection of over 2,000 movies and documentaries that are entirely legal for you to view. It’s also a site that has one of the best user experiences out of the bunch. Having a black background isn’t our first preference for when it comes to websites because it can look a bit intimidating, but we’ve seen large companies such as Netflix manage to use it and it does make sense for a website offering content for you to watch to have a black background because when you play the video content it’s black that you want surrounding it.
We aren’t exactly sure how Snag Films makes money or the other inner workings. Apparently, a lot of the film content up for grabs is available for free, and we tend to believe that because it doesn’t have anything that we are used to watching on our TVs and that would explain the financial side of things that we couldn’t get a grasp.
Visit: Snag Films
Viewster is a website offering free movies online, ranging from anime, sci-fi, fantasy, gaming, and documentary. There are over 5,000 titles available for you to choose, and you can find just about every category you would find from a typical high-quality streaming service. Again, Viewster is 100% legal in every way, and it is not streaming torrents without permissions from the owners. Instead, you’ve got a community of fandom video creators posting independent stuff. You won’t find your Hollywood blockbuster movies as you would on something else like Popcorn Time, but you also have to remember that this one isn’t breaking any laws (unlike Popcorn Time).
We took a quick look, and there wasn’t too much we were interested in, but as far as legitimate sites hosting free content provided by the filmmakers go, this is one of the better ones.