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Beginner’s Guide To FREE Streaming Sites

Mar 16, 2020 | 7 min read
Hey! I'm Manvinder - BPharm student, certified meme connoisseur, a little too passive, and not very aggressive. Oh yeah, I like to write too.

IF YOU’VE EVER WONDERED HOW TO (LEGALLY) WATCH TV ONLINE FOR FREE, YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

In this world, there are 3 types of streamers:

  1. Google searches ‘free ways to watch TV shows online’. Bonus points for ‘1080p’. Options are either 30 second clips, or illegal sites with a 99% chance of getting a virus.
  2. Boujee individuals subscribed to a legal streaming site – may have used a combo plan to score some free Netflix (this article may not be for you).
  3. Leeches off the accounts of friends and family.

Regardless of which type you are, I’m here to show you ALL the legal streaming sites to catch your next TV show or film.

Psst, if you’re a University student, take a look at the exclusive FREE streaming sites with your University here: eTV


Plex

Plex is a media server allowing you to manage your own collection of TV shows on your computer, tablet, or phone. In 2019 the company launched its own free, ad-supported streaming service with a collection of movies from big names in showbiz like MGM and Warner Bros. But what makes this service stand out from the rest is that it has a large selection of podcasts and web series available to watch as well.

Plex is working on growing their international catalogue and churn out updates regularly. So although it may not have the widest range of movies and TV shows, there are plenty of hidden indie gems and festival favourites to keep you entertained. All you need is a free Plex account and you’re good to go!

⭐ Highlights: Trevor Noah: You Laugh But It’s True, Frequencies, Django, Thoughty2, The Red Balloon

TVNZ OnDemand

TVNZ OnDemand pulls together a collection of shows and movies from the channels TVNZ 1, TVNZ 2 and Duke into one convenient catch-up service, making it easier than ever to access your favourite shows and movies! TVNZ OnDemand offers most of what you usually watch on their free-to-air counterparts, so you’ll find a nice mix of sports, news, TV series and movies ready to be viewed.

There’s a great balance between fresh international content and Kiwi classics(looking at you, Shorty Street). Behind-the-scenes extras and specials are also a big plus, and helps the service stand out from others!

⭐ Highlights: Friends, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Wellington Paranormal, Grey’s Anatomy, Catch-22

Kanopy

‘Everyone from film scholars to casual viewers will discover remarkable and enriching films on Kanopy’

Kanopy is an international educational platform and provides a catalogue of films and documentaries through partnerships with over 4,000 universities and 200 libraries worldwide. Its collection has a heavy focus on independent, arthouse movies and docos. It even claims to have access to the more recent films from famous production house A24!

Kanopy has a great depth of content including NZ film classics, and basically everyone with a library card (or university email) can use it for free! Simply log in with your library/uni membership and enjoy the diverse selection of content with new titles added every month. Oh, and did I mention it’s ad-free?

⭐ Highlights: The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Small Apartments, Melancholia, Boy, Lion

Tubi TV

Tubi TV hosts quite a broad selection of content. Here, you can find everything from popular A-list flicks to filler movies that you’re unlikely to have ever heard of. It’s available for free on a variety of devices like smart TVs, Android, iOS, Playstation, Apple TV etc.

Clever categories such as ‘Not on Netflix’ and ‘Highly Rated on Rotten Tomatoes’ makes it easy to discover the kind of quality content you’re looking for. A few more pros: the dark theme is very aesthetically pleasing (I mean…when isn’t it?) and the media player is a breeze to handle. You don’t need to create an account to view content, but if you do, you can continue watchingwhere you left off (across devices) and receive personalised recommendations based on your viewing habits.

⭐ Highlights: Fist of Fury, Time Lapse, The Hurt Locker, Suspiria, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Yu-Gi-Oh!

ThreeNow

Did you know that Three was launched in 1989 as NZ’s first privately-owned channel? Well, it sure has come a long way since then, because you can now watch their shows online from the free-to-air Three and ThreeLife channels (and sister channel Bravo) on the ThreeNow platform. It’s perfect for anyone who loves to binge reality TV and comedy shows, although you do have to put up with a couple of ads every now and then. Best of all, you don’t even need to sign up to ThreeNow to stream content!

Similarly to TVNZ OnDemand, shows are available to watch for a specific period (ranging from a couple of weeks to a month), but in some cases international content can be watched before the local free-to-air broadcast.

⭐ Highlights: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Love Island, NCIS, Flirty Dancing, The Graham Norton Show

AnimeLab

AnimeLab is an Australian-based platform dedicated to streaming anime shows and fast-tracked ‘simulcasts’ direct from Japan. It currently features a diverse range of over 620 shows and movies in a variety of genres (including something called reverse harem…)

AnimeLab offers both a free (basic) and premium option. With the free option, there are ads, simulcasts are delayed one week, and video quality is capped at SD, i.e. 480p. A small price to pay for a service with a hell of a lot to choose from, not to mention the dual-language option making a large number of English audio dubs and subs available.

⭐ Highlights: Attack on Titan, Naruto Shippuden, Dragon Ball Super, My Hero Academia, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, One Punch Man


So there you go – look hard enough, and you’ll find a pretty decent selection of movies and TV shows to watch for free. Go grab some popcorn and get ready to binge!