Looking for the best free streaming sites for movies and TV? We’ve compiled a list of the 25 best free streaming options across a range of content that you can view completely for free anywhere, whether you are in the US or abroad.
The best free TV and movie streaming services provide a safe and legal alternative to torrents and websites that illegally stream content. Websites that rely on torrents or unlicensed content streaming are more likely to carry malware or put users at risk of copyright infringement lawsuits.
Although there are no subscription fees, most free streaming sites use geographic content restrictions. So if you are currently traveling abroad, the only way to access free streaming sites back home is by using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, that gives you a local IP address for your home country.
Note: Comparitech only recommends streaming services that have the legal rights to stream content, and only recommends using a VPN to access legally available TV shows and movies. Comparitech does not condone or support the use of piracy websites or services.
Below, we explore the 25 best free streaming sites you can use anywhere in the world, and when necessary, how to access their content libraries with a VPN.
25 Best Free Streaming Sites for TV and Movies
Based on our research, below are the 25 best free streaming sites for TV shows and movies.
Here are the best free streaming sites for TV and movies:
- ABC News Live – Excellent source for national US news broadcasts
- Adult Swim – Free streaming access to popular Adult Swim content
- Charge! – Focuses on action TV shows and movies, with some sports
- Comet – Serves up sci-fi content, including TV and movie classics in the genre
- CONtv – Offers a wide selection of nerd-culture TV shows and movies
- Crackle – A catch-all for free streaming access to shows and films, including Crackle originals
- CW Seed – Free streaming site hosting The CW’s popular original programming
- Fawesome.tv – App-based service providing free kids TV shows
- FilmRise – Free movie streaming service carrying top-rated films (via YouTube)
- Funimation – Top streaming site for anime with an ad-supported free tier
- IMDb TV – Now owned by Amazon, offers free streaming of well-known content
- Kidoodle – Free kids TV programming with an ad-free premium option
- PBS – No-cost on-demand access to all PBS original content
- Peacock – Provides thousand of hours of free access to NBC content
- Plex – Free streaming of top-rated TV shows and movies
- PlutoTV – Free live TV and on-demand content with hundreds of channels from well-regarded networks
- Popcornflix – Carries hundreds of free TV shows and movies across most genres
- SBS On Demand – Large Australia-based free streaming site with top-rated TV shows and movies
- Sling TV – Delivers a little-known free tier offering live and on-demand content
- Stirr – Free TV shows and movies personalized to each user’s location
- Tubi – The largest free-with-ads TV and movie streaming service on the market
- Vudu – Small library but offers high-quality free content
- W4Free and Watch4 – EU-based streaming service carrying free reality TV content
- XUMO – Similar to PlutoTV but with unique channel options for TV and movies
- YouTube – The well-known video platform has content that is geographically locked to different countries
How to use a VPN to stream free TV shows and movies
A VPN will help you securely access almost any free TV streaming service. Below we explain how to set up and run a VPN to change your IP address and watch free streaming sites for TV shows and movies.
Here’s how to use a VPN to stream free TV shows and movies:
- First, sign up for a VPN service of your choice. NordVPN works well for most streaming services, although Surfshark and ExpressVPN are reasonably-priced alternatives.
- Download and install your chosen VPN app onto the device you plan to use for free streaming. Unfortunately, most VPN services have no available app for some popular TV-connected devices (like the Roku) and most gaming consoles.
- Connect to a VPN server in the country where the free streaming services you want to use offer on-demand or live content. Most options we’ve listed geo-block any IP address outside the US, but there are several that US customers won’t be able to access without a VPN.
- Once connected, visit the streaming service website or app and try to load a stream. If it plays, you’re all set!
There’s a chance your streams won’t play on some devices despite a VPN connection. You may still get a message stating that your access is blocked. If that happens, try launching the website in a private web browsing instance (such as Incognito mode in Chrome). Additionally, delete cookies, clear your browser cache, and turn off browser or device location requests.
Why do I need a VPN for free TV streaming?
Most free streaming services are ad-supported. Ad-supported models typically result in lower profit margins, so services are usually forced to impose geographic content restrictions as part of the licensing agreement.
A VPN will allow you to easily bypass these geographic content restrictions while traveling abroad. A VPN allows you to connect to an internet server back home in a country where the service is available. And thanks to anonymization technology, the VPN will prevent the streaming service from detecting your real location and identity.
There are hundreds of VPN providers on the market. Picking one that works to unblock free streaming sites and protect your privacy can be a challenge given how dense the market is.
The best VPNs for free TV streaming should meet the following criteria:
- Offer high-speed servers in dozens of countries (especially the US)
- Utilize well-respected privacy and security measures to protect your identity, particularly by providing a no-logs policy and data leak mitigation
- Provide multiple pricing options with discounts for longer service periods and a money-back guarantee
- Effectively works with the service you want to use
- Provides fast customer support and multiple ways to contact customer support
- Has app compatibility with multiple devices and operating systems
As an added note, we recommend you avoid free VPNs. They’re less secure, track your data, may sell your data to third parties, may display advertisements, usually have slower server speeds, and importantly, have data caps that make it impossible to stream TV shows and movies for more than a few minutes.
Best free streaming sites for TV shows and movies
We searched through hundreds of TV and movie streaming options to discover which services had free tiers, ad-supported subscription models, or free-to-air content. The following list comprises the 20+ services that have the best free streaming catalogs across a wide variety of genres. Some are not geo-restricted anywhere; however, most will require you to have a US IP address or a VPN that will give you one.
If you’re hungering for TV news programs, you can’t go wrong with ABC News Live. The service provides completely unrestricted access to live news content directly from ABC News and operates 24/7.
This is a single-channel option for individuals who want to watch US news. What’s more, you don’t need a VPN to watch ABC News Live, regardless of where you live. It’s a truly free option for US news, without restrictions. ABC News Live is even accessible without a VPN in China, which often restricts content from Western countries like the US.
This site puts ads on all video content, which is to be expected. You can stream ABC News Live through its dedicated app on Android, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV, or you can watch using any modern web browser.
2. Adult Swim
Originally part of Comedy Central, Adult Swim is now its own, separate TV network currently owned by WarnerMedia. The WarnerMedia ownership gives Adult Swim access to not just a selection of Warner’s content, but a fairly large library of TV shows that you’ll only find on Adult Swim—including the ever-popular cartoon action-comedy, Rick and Morty.
This service has 100+ titles available on-demand. Much of its content library is offered free-with-ads, while many episodes require you to log in with a cable TV service provider, such as Hulu + Live TV. In both cases, you’re trying to stream Adult Swim outside the US.
If you try to connect from outside the US, Adult Swim will display a message that says “BLOCKED: Sorry, there must be some sort of restriction on the content we are streaming here. Come back later or select another stream”.
If you see this message from your location, use NordVPN to connect to a US server so you can acquire a US IP address and zoom right past the geographic content blocking. We’ve found NordVPN easily unblocks what Adult Swim offers for free.
Charge! is one of several genre-specific TV streaming provides that focuses on 24/7 live streaming with an ad-supported model. Charge! is geared toward fans of action TV, although it does offer some sports content on occasion.
To reiterate, this is not an on-demand streaming service. All of its TV shows and movies are broadcast live. Its model means it operates like traditional over-the-air TV stations, except that its content streams online.
If you try to connect from outside the US, Charge! will display the following message: “This stream is not available in your area”.
Connecting to a VPN server in the US easily bypasses this message and allows you to watch all content streaming live through Charge!. If you don’t want to use a web browser, there’s an iOS app available that you can pair with a VPN app for iOS devices.
If you think Comet looks familiar, you’re right. It’s owned and operated by Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which also owns and operates Charge! The only difference between Charge! and Comet is that Comet is focused on science fiction TV shows and movies.
To that end, everything we said about Charge! above applies to Comet, right down to how it operates and where you’ll find available apps for watching it outside of a web browser. You’ll even see the same location-based blocking message if you try to stream Comet from outside of the US. NordVPN easily unblocks content streaming free through Comet as long as you’re connected to any US server.
CONtv began its life in 2007 as the streaming service Viewster. Content distributor Cinedigm purchased the website in 2019 and rebranded it. Alongside a new name, CONtv also upended the content library. What was once a free service focused on anime is now a free service focused on action and US-based cartoons.
The bigger change that occurred with CONtv, however, was the newly implemented geographic content restrictions. As Viewster, the service was available to stream anywhere. As CONtv, however, you may not be able to access the service everywhere.
That said, CONtv’s FAQs explain that it is only available in the US. We’ve discovered that’s not actually true. Through testing, we’ve found CONtv works in many other countries outside the US, including Canada, the UK, and Germany. It’s possible that some of CONtv’s content is blocked due to licensing agreements, but we did not find any among the titles we tested (and we did not test every TV series and movie on the site for accessibility). If you do find blocked content, a VPN to a US IP address will likely unblock it for you.
This service has apps for Android and iOS devices.
Crackle was previously owned by Sony (and previously named “Sony Crackle”) until Sony sold a majority stake of the service to the company Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment. The same company behind the well-known self-help book of the same name, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment immediately went to work by changing the name (back to Crackle) and ramping up the original content production.
This service now has 1300+ titles available. Crackle lost most of its top-rated Sony content with the ownership change. However, its library still has a wide range of ad-free, on-demand streaming TV shows and movies across different genres.
If you try to visit Crackle from outside the US, you’ll see this message: “Thanks for visiting. Unfortunately, we’re not currently available in this region.”. Connect to a NordVPN server in the US to get a US IP address and bypass Crackle’s geographic content blocking.
Crackle has a large number of apps on almost any device you may want to use, including most that also work with separate VPN apps.
7. CW Seed
The CW has some of the best TV show content available in the US, especially if you’re a DC Comics fan. Impressively, The CW also provides much of that content available for free through its ad-supported streaming service, CW Seed. The company even advertises the service with the tagline “Free For All”.
This service offers 80+ titles available on-demand.
You’ll see the following message if you try to load CW Seed TV shows from outside of the US: “Due to licensing restrictions this content is only available in the US”. That’s pretty self-explanatory. Using NordVPN and a connection to a US server, you can easily bypass that message and access both the on-demand and live content available through CW Seed.
If you plan to download the app on an Android, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV, there’s a NordVPN available on all of those devices that will still allow you to bypass geographic content blocking for the service.
This ad-supported streaming service is unique in its content is only available through its dedicated apps. And its app library is fairly limited.
You can stream Fawesome’s 250+ titles on Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices, using its Windows app or using an app for LG smart TVs.
Fawsome has some excellent content available, despite inflexibility on how to watch it. Its multi-genre library includes major TV and movie hits, like Third Rock From the Sun and The Contract.
No VPN is required as far as we can tell, but blocking may be imposed if you’re in a country known for blocking American content, such as China.
9. FilmRise (via YouTube)
FilmRise is a content distribution company that acquires licenses for various TV shows and movies. FilmRise content is available on a large number of different streaming services, but you can access most of it through the company’s YouTube channels or its dedicated iOS, Android, and streaming device apps.
This service carries 1500+ titles in its library.
Geographic content blocking on FilmRise is a real hit-and-miss. We’ve found that some TV shows and movies on its YouTube channel are blocked to non-US users, while others will play almost anywhere.
For example, FilmRise has full episodes of the US TV show 21 Jump Street, but you can’t watch those episodes through FilmRise’s YouTube channel if you’re a country outside the US, such as Canada, the UK, or Germany. Instead, you’ll get YouTube’s standard content blocking message: “Video unavailable. The uploader has not made this video available in your country”.
Grab a US IP address by connecting to a NordVPN server located in the US to bypass any content blocking you might find when using FilmRise. If you’re in the US and you see a geographic content blocking message from FilmRise, you will also need a VPN. However, you may need to do some trial and error by connecting to servers in different countries to determine where that content is available.
Anime fans worldwide can rejoice that Funimation offers its content completely for free with an ad-supported model. The company makes the free tier hard to locate on its website, but you can find it if you go to the sign-up page and scroll all the way to the bottom. From there, locate and click on “Sign up for a free account” under the subheading “Not ready to commit?”.
This service has 700+ titles available to stream.
We’ve found that Funimation is available in a large number of countries, including the US, Australia, and the UK. But in many other countries, such as Germany, its content is blocked. If you do find Funimation is blocked, you’ll likely see the following message: “Sorry, but this content isn’t available in your country”.
If you see that message, connect to a VPN server in one of the countries where Funimation is available (US, UK, or Australia, for example). The site will register your new IP address and allow you to stream without restriction.
11. IMDb TV
IMDb is one of the most widely-respected sources for information about movies, TV shows, and all things Hollywood. It launched its own streaming service a few years ago, which then came under Amazon’s ownership after Amazon purchased IMDb. It’s now one of the best free streaming sites for TV and movies thanks to a high percentage of AAA content.
This service carries 200+ titles in its library.
IMDb TV content is only available in the US. If you try to go to IMDb without a US IP address, you won’t even see a link to IMDb on its homepage.
If you do manage to get to IMDb TV’s content library, trying to play TV shows and movies from outside the US leads to the following blocking message: “IMDb TV is only available to U.S. customers at this time. Check out our guide to see what else is on TV and streaming for you”.
We’ve found that connecting to one of NordVPN’s US VPN servers not only gives you the US version of IMDb’s website but also allows you to stream IMDb TV’s content library without any hassle. The service is also available as a free standalone app on Amazon Fire TV devices or as a channel in the Prime Video app, both of which can be unblocked using a VPN app.
The Kidoodle.TV streaming service has an ad-supported “freemium” version and a paid version that has a few additional features, including an ad-free experience. Similar to HappyKids.tv, Kidoodle.TV has very few geographic content restrictions in place.
The company states its service is available in over 140 countries, so you’ll likely find it works just fine wherever you live. If you find you’re getting blocked, we recommend you try to connect to a VPN server in a country where it’s likely to be available, such as the US, Canada, the UK, or most EU countries.
Also similar to HappyKids.tv, Kidoodle cannot be streamed using a web browser. However, there are apps available for most Android and iOS devices, several smart TV brands, and popular TV-connected devices, including the Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Apple TV. Just note that there is are no VPN apps for Roku devices or smart TVs, so if you do find the service blocked in your country, the simplest workaround is to use a different device.
Often considered the US version of the BBC, PBS does have one distinguishing factor: You don’t need to pay a TV license to access much of its content. That means it’s a legitimately free streaming service. PBS does lock some of its content behind a donation paywall, but a fair amount is freely available.
This service has 190+ titles in its content library.
PBS employs content blocking across its site. In some cases, you won’t be able to see available episodes for a show’s page. If someone without a US IP address does manage to get access to an episode’s page, PBS will display this message on the stream: “We’re sorry, but this video is unavailable”.
A VPN connection to a US server is required to access PBS on-demand TV shows and documentaries from outside the US. Note that PBS will also give you varied content based on your location if you’re trying to use the live option. The server you choose will impact what content you get in that case.
As a counter to Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access), NBC launched its own streaming service called Peacock. Peacock chose to go a different route than its competitor, however, and provides an ad-supported free tier for subscribers.
This service offers 1300+ titles in its free library.
The free content available through Peacock comes with two conditions: 1) You need to create an account, and 2) You must be in the US (or have a US IP address). These are easy hurdles to jump, but if you’re outside of the US Peacock will block your entry completely. Going to the website with a non-US IP address yields the following message: “This service is unavailable in your region”.
Grab a US IP address using NordVPN, then load up the Peacock website. From there, you can register using any email address and some other basic information. Peacock does not ask for credit card details for the free account, so anyone can sign up to use it.
This service is also available via apps for most popular devices, many of which can be paired with a VPN app where available.
Plex has been a longtime media server app that allows users to access their own, downloaded content from anywhere. The company also now operates a free TV and movie streaming arm that includes on-demand and live TV channels. The best part is that free streaming content from Plex is available almost anywhere in the world.
This service offers 7100+ titles on-demand.
However, Plex will serve different content libraries and live TV channels to different users based on geographic location. So while it doesn’t use content blocking, you may want to install and load up a VPN, then connect to different servers worldwide to unlock the full library of free content Plex offers.
The service also has apps for popular operating systems and devices where VPNs will unblock content, including Android, iOS, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.
This service was one of the first to start offering free, ad-supported live TV channels streaming over the web. It’s now among the largest and best free streaming sites for TV and movies thanks to an extensive amount of corporate from 170+ content providers, including Lionsgate, MGM, and many US cable TV networks.
PlutoTV carries 6800+ titles on-demand.
The good news is that PlutoTV is available almost anywhere in the world. The bad news is that the complexity of its content library means it displays different content to different people based on location. NordVPN works with PlutoTV and allows you to access its content libraries anywhere its available, including the US, Canada, UK, and EU countries such as Germany.
The Pluto.TV app is available on devices that also have a working NordVPN app: Android, iOS, and Fire TV.
This service is a fairly generic free TV and movie streaming site. There’s nothing flashy about it, but it does carry an excellent variety of TV shows and movies across every popular genre.
There are 1300+ titles available through this service.
From what we can tell, it does not impose a site-wide content blocking. In fact, the ads it plays on videos are localized based on your IP address. Live in Hong Kong? You’ll get ads for Hong Kong residents. Live in Canada? You’ll get ads for Canadian products and services.
There might be some title-specific geo-blocking applied, as this is common when sites like this have licensed content. However, we did not see any during testing. If you do find any content that’s blocked, we’ve verified that Popcornflix does work with a VPN.
If you plan to watch Popcornflix on devices outside of a desktop or laptop computer, its Android, iOS, and Fire TV apps can be paired with VPN apps for those devices.
SBS On Demand is singlehandedly one of the best streaming sites for TV shows and movies anywhere in the world. It carries top-rated streaming from around the world, including many Oscar-winning titles.
There are over 11,000 hours of content available through this service.
SBS On Demand is based in and serves the Australian market. Accessing its impressive content library requires an Australian IP address. If you try to go to the SBS On Demand website from outside of Australia, you’ll see the following message: “Content unavailable in your location. Most of our content is only available to stream within Australia due to publishing rights”.
We’ve found this service does not block VPNs. Connect to a VPN server in Australia to get an Australia-based IP address and stream SBS On Demand from anywhere, including from the US.
19. Sling TV
Although it’s known more widely as the second-cheapest virtual multichannel video programming distributor in the US (Philo takes the top spot there), Sling TV has an almost hidden free streaming section that anyone with a US IP address can take advantage can use, even without creating a Sling TV account.
The free version offers 550+ titles on-demand.
Sling TV imposes site-wide geographic content blocking. Even trying to access its homepage will give you the following message: “We’re sorry. Sling TV is only available inside the US. Thank you for your interest”.
To get rid of this message and get to the free content, connect to a VPN server in the US. Sling TV will then let you right in and allow you to enjoy its free TV shows and movies.
Stirr offers free TV and movies to anyone, but you’re going to be extremely limited if you’re outside of the US. Stirr takes a unique approach by mixing your free channel and movies based on what US city you live in, and not by country. If you try to use Stirr with an IP address from outside of the US, the service will show you its “National” package of content, which is almost nothing.
Connecting to a US VPN server through NordVPN or other VPN providers is necessary to gain access to Stirr’s content libraries. But you may also want to hop around to different servers in the US to see what type of content you get.
That recommendation also applies to US users, as well. Since Stirr will show you different channels based on your city, you may want to use a VPN to get the full benefit of the service.
Stirr has apps several devices that also work with VPN apps: Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV.
Tubi’s winning free-with-ad model allowed it to grow to become one of the largest and best-streaming sites for TV and movies. It also caught the attention of Fox Corporation, which purchased the site in 2020.
This service carries 28,000+ titles in its content library.
Tubi was previously available in multiple countries and offered different libraries where available. Now, however, its expansive library of top-rated TV shows and movies is only available to those with a US IP address.
If you try to stream from outside the US (but from a non-EU country), the service displays the following block message: “Content unavailable. Sorry, this video is not currently available”.
And if you try to connect from an EU country, you’ll get this message: “I’ll be back.
– Terminator. Tubi is the largest free movie and TV streaming service in the US. We are not available in Europe due to changes in EU laws. The GDPR went into effect on May 2018; Tubi is working on compliance and planning to re-launch in European countries soon”.
There may be hope in the future that Tubi will bring its services overseas. For now, a VPN works well to bypass its existing content blocks.
Tubi is available through multiple apps for devices that work with a VPN, including Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV.
Although it primarily operates as a service for buying and renting digital TV shows and movies, Vudu also carries many free titles that are supported by advertisements.
You can watch 8700+ titles through Vudu.
The service is only available in the US, however. It doesn’t even both to provide an IP block message. If you try to access the site from outside of the US, you’ll just see an HTTP ERROR 400 page.
Connect to any US VPN server to get an IP address and bypass this restriction. You can also watch with a bypass on multiple devices thanks to a large library of dedicated apps for Android, iOS, Apple TV, Fire TV, and more.
Although most of the best free streaming sites for TV and movies are locked to the US, there still many options available elsewhere. Watch4 is an EU-based streaming website primarily serving German speakers across Europe. It also has an English-language version called W4Free that’s only available in the UK.
While both sites will let you make a connection if you’re outside of their respective licensing zones, the content libraries will be mostly blank. We’ve verified that a VPN connection using NordVPN will work with both services, regardless of where you’re located.
XUMO is owned by Comcast and was designed to take on PlutoTV. It utilizes the same style and concept that PutoTV developed, but carries some notable differences. The biggest distinguishing factor is probably the most important one: XUMO has a notably different package of 24/7 channels and on-demand TV shows and movies. That means you’ll find enough difference between XUMO and PlutoTV that it’s not really an either/or situation; both will have value for you.
This service provides 10,000+ in its on-demand library.
None of that matters if you can’t access XUMO’s content. XUMO is currently restricted to US IP addresses. If you attempt to access XUUMO from outside the US, you’ll see the following message: “We’re sorry. XUMO is currently only available in the United States. If you’re in the United States and are having problems accessing this site, please visit www.xumo.com/support”. XUMO will then automatically redirect you to its corporate site.
We’ve found VPNs work to bypass Xumo’s geographic content blocking, but the service uses fairly effective anti-VPN countermeasures. You may need to contact your VPN provider’s customer support to determine which VPN servers effectively bypass its content blocking.
Although it’s available almost everywhere, YouTube’s content is not universally available. Many content uploaders place geographic content restrictions when they upload the content. YouTube then employs its own software to enforce those restrictions by detecting each users’ IP address to determine location.
YouTube’s content licensing arm offers 270+ titles on-demand, alongside the millions from its userbase.
FimRise (mentioned above) is just one example of a channel that uses geographic restrictions. Given its size, there are hundreds, if not thousands more that also block content. Thankfully, a VPN will work to bypass any geographic content restrictions you find through YouTube.
Best free streaming sites: FAQ
What are the best free streaming sites?
This depends on what type of content you're looking for. If you want variety and well-known titles, SBS On Demand and Tubi TV are hard to beat. Both have the best quality of content we've found. You'll also find that their libraries don't intersect too often, so there's value in using both services instead of one or the other.
Is 123movies safe? Is 123movies legal?
While it's a popular go-to for people who want free TV shows and movies, 123movies is neither safe nor legal. It does not maintain any licensing agreements with copyright holders for any of the content you will find on the website. And as a pirate streaming site, it also does not have any reason to protect users from malware or other threats. We do not recommend this site for streaming. The options listed above are all free, just like 123movies, but without the privacy, security, and legality risks.
Where can I stream for free?
Any option on this list will allow you to stream for free. Crackle, Tubi TV, YouTube, Peacock, SBS On Demand, and all of the others are ad-supported streaming providers. Most do not even require an account.