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Home Entertainment: Free TV on the Web

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Home Entertainment: Free TV on the Web

4:35 /

Catch up on shows or even ditch your cable subscription.

[ Background Music ] ^M00:00:06 >> Tom Merritt: Sometimes you don't find out about a good TV show until part way through its run or maybe you don't get a certain channel or even worse probably more common, for whatever reason you're DVR fails to record your favorite show. Done with TiVo thanks to the internet there are many ways to catch up and maybe, maybe just maybe even ditch cable. I'm Tom Merritt from CNET.com, I'll tell you all about them on today's Insider Secrets. ^M00:00:28 [ Music ] ^M00:00:34 >> Tom Merritt: Now there are still many popular shows out there that don't put their content outline at least not legally and this ain't about piracy people, so put the pirate babe down for a moment. Still, a large number of shows are available legally online. Here are some of my favorite resources to help you find it. Step one, go to the networks website. More and more channels put full episodes on their site. Look into video tabs and find the link that's usually called full episodes, that maybe the best way right there. All the network stream their shows with commercial interruptions. Another resource is a video aggregator's site like Hulu.com. Hulu was launch as a cooperative venture of TV Networks to provide easy access to movies and TV shows, although anything you find there is likely to also be at the network website. It's convenient. If you wanna watch shows from multiple networks at one site. The shows here also have commercials and for some unfathomable reason they don't keep all the back episodes around. One of my favorite portals to check for TV shows is AOL, yup, good old America Online. They have partnerships with several videos suppliers like Hulu for instance. You can find the wealth of back episodes from major shows there. Another good portal is Funcast, the services operated by Comcast and is meant to tell you all the places you can watch any show. When you search for a show they give you any streaming versions they have access to plus the schedule of Verizon actual TV and any DVD versions available for purchase or rental. Now, speaking of DVD's, if you're a Netflix subscriber, another place to find old TV show episodes is through the Netflix streaming service. Your account allows you to stream many TV shows that are out on DVD. You'll have to have Internet Explorer or a dedicated device like the Roku Netflix box if you wanna use that service. Another good free streaming provider is Joost. You can download the application from Joost.com and it gives you free access to clips and full shows for several different channels although the download is moving to become a web plugin in your browser soon. If the show you want isn't streaming anywhere you may have to buy the show. Now the bad news is that cost money, the good news is you don't have to watch any commercials. Apple's iTunes allows you download many TV shows for $1.99 an episode or a whole season sometimes at a slight discount. The shows will play on your computer or on Apple mobile devices like the iPhone or Apple's Apple TV. They won't play on non Apple mobile devices though. Amazon's Unbox allows you to buy shows too, once you buy a show you can stream them in your web browser on Mac or Windows anytime you want. You can also download your shows to a Windows machine and moved them to several portable devices. You can also have the shows sent to your TiVo which is pretty cool. And then there's BitTorrent, yeah I know we said no piracy but BitTorrent.com the official makers of the BitTorrent protocol provide TV shows through their Torrent Entertainment Network that are completely legal. You also can get TV shows from your game console. The Xbox 360 sells TV shows in its market place some in high depth and Sony is taunting movies and TV shows at a push of a button for the PS3 and the PSP. Now that covers the major options out there but there are still others, to sum up I have approximately 3 options when attempting to catch up on a TV show. Stream for free but watch commercials, download for pay but have no commercials, or break the law and pirate and risk go into court. As more networks provide more shows that last option becomes less attractive, so come on networks, make it easier to find and leave all the back episodes up, okay. That's it for this edition of Insider Secrets, I'm Tom Merritt, CNET.com.

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