5 Best Free Video Streaming Sites

Online web streaming is one of the most popular Internet activities. Whether you want to watch video from across the world, news recaps, TV shows, tutorials, or funny videos, you're guaranteed to find something you like at one of the top five video streaming websites.

1. Youtube.com

YoutubeThe most popular video streaming website, YouTube, has thousands of videos on nearly every topic imaginable, all user submitted and free to watch. The videos are currently offered in widescreen format, though most videos uploaded retain the original 4:3 aspect ratio. In addition to widescreen, videos can now be uploaded and viewed in high quality.

Videos on Youtube are often short homemade movies, but many record labels are now releasing low-quality versions of their most popular music videos on the website. If you're looking for a recap of the latest sports game, news cast, or speech, Youtube is your best option.

Pros: Youtube offers: 16:9 aspect ratio; high quality video playback; support for nearly every video format; a large audience for your videos; the ability to embed videos on a blog or website; video reply feature; customizable personal video page; and the ability to limit video access.

Cons: While the website is wildly popular, it does have a few problems. There is an excess of spam comments; a video limit of 100MB; and only standard-quality videos can be embedded on blogs or websites.

2. Vimeo.com

VimeoVimeo is a sophisticated, free video sharing website. Basic users are allowed to upload up to 500MB of video content per week, or pay for an account to upload more. Vimeo attracts a wide array of video artists, and is often used to upload short movies, skits, and portfolios.

The website supports full HD streaming and widescreen format, as well as a wide array of video codec support, making it the ideal location to watch and share high-quality and HD personal videos.

Pros: Vimeo has an easy-to-navigate interface; the ability to create and moderate video groups; high definition video support; up to 1GB video uploads for premium accounts; community forums; and an artistic user base.

Cons: Because Vimeo is so frequently used to upload large movie files, it can take over an hour to convert a single video.

3. Metacafe.com

MetacafeMetacafe rocketed to popularity with their page view money earning system. Many videos on the website are duplicates from YouTube, but in addition to that content, there is a wide array of video tutorials on many subjects, including: DIY hacks; magic; and science experiments. If you're interested in making money off your video's page views, Metacafe is the ideal website to use.

Pros: Metacafe has a popular page view payment system, which allows users to be renumerated for their videos. In addition, videos can be downloaded with a link under the video or embedded on blogs or websites. The website has many high-quality tutorials.

Cons: Metacafe increased its video resolution, and many of the videos are now pixelated due to up-sampling. Many videos are clones from Youtube.

4. Hulu.com

HuluThe first website to legally offer a wide array of free TV shows, Hulu was founded by NBC and offers dozens of free TV series - both current and off-air broadcasts. Some of the TV shows offered includes: The Simpsons, Family Guy, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Bones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Office. Unfortunately, Fox and some other broadcasters have pulled some free shows from the list forcing you to upgrade to a paid version.

In addition to offering TV shows, Hulu also has a catalog of movies available to watch, including such popular shows as: Spy Game, Liar Liar, Ghostbusters, Men in Black, and The Karate Kid.

Pros: Hulu videos can be viewed in 360p for slower Internet connections. Popular clips are available for recent and popular TV shows and movies. New series are available, with new episodes appearing up to a week after being aired on cable. The website is completely free. Videos can be purchased and downloaded. A personal queue can be created for favorite content.

Cons: Videos can no longer be embedded in blogs and on websites; high definition video streaming is not available for most videos; and ads are displayed three or more times per video. Website is available to US residents only.

5. Veoh.com

VeohVeoh is a video content website, but has made a name for itself by partnering with different companies to offer TV shows for free. Offering TV shows not available from Hulu, you can watch popular shows such as: The Big Bang Theory, Friends, According to Jim, CSI, and Everwood.

In addition to a large supply of free TV shows, Veoh also offers user submitted content, including animations, home videos, and funny clips.

Pros: Videos stream in higher quality resolution. The original video files can be downloaded and saved to a hard drive for later viewing. User submitted content can be embedded in blogs and websites, shared directly with friends, and saved to a personal favorites list.

Cons: Commercial videos are only available for users located within the US.

 

More Streaming Site Options

For completeness here's a list I put together of over 40 additional streaming sites. If you can't find something you like here, you are not really trying :>)

  • ABC.com: ABC, like NBC, now offers a wide array of streaming videos, including full episodes of their most popular TV shows
  • Archaeologychannel.com: The Archeology Channel offers hours of free streaming video based on culture, humans, and archeology
  • Archive.org: The National Archives streams footage of past events and old documentaries, including space documentaries from the '70s
  • BigContact.com: Big Contact allows users to create their own channels, and offers several professional streaming channels for anyone to watch
  • Blinkx.com: Boasting over 32 million hours of video footage
  • Break.com: This video website is marketed towards men, and has a list of daily video picks on their homepage. The videos are outrageous, funny, and short
  • BroadbandSports.com: Sports videos on all types can be found on Broadband Sports, including recaps, highlights, athlete videos, and personal sports videos
  • Clipshack.com: This website features sort clips, recaps, and small videos of random content
  • CollegeHumor.com: Their version of videos focuses mainly on the humorous end and focused toward the college demographic
  • Comcast Xfinity: Comcast's fancast has been renamed to Comcast XFinity Videos. This shows a variety of free tv shows along with much content you have to be a subscriber to watch
  • Crackle.com: More of an Indy/off beat TV shows and movie website, you can watch webshows and other shows you can't find on TV
  • Current.com: Currently in Beta, this website has a wide array of modern video content, and is very similar to YouTube
  • Dailymotion.com: Dailymotion is similar to Current TV, and offers a wide range of random video content
  • DevilDucky.com: This website features favorite videos grabbed from many different sources and aggregated together. The website contains small videos, TV shows, movie trailers, news recaps, fan videos, and more
  • DocumentaryStorm. "DocumentaryStorm is a website dedicated to free full-length documentaries gathered from all over the net. The main objective is to spread knowledge, index the thousands of educational videos on the internet and an all around freedom to investigate human ingenuity." With thanks to anonymous poster Harry for this suggestion :)
  • Ifilm.com: A standard video streaming website
  • Museum.tv: Docufest is an online video archive website with access to theater reenactments, historic video and radio streams, and interviews
  • NBC.com: NBC now streams dozens of episodes for free, including Heroes, According to Jim, and the Biggest Loser
  • Newgrounds.com: An awesome and high quality website featuring user submitted satire, animation, and humor videos
  • Open-Video.org: This website is a 'shared digital video collection', and has lecture, documentary, educational, and historical videos, as well as others, for free streaming
  • Ourmedia.org: Our Media lacks a professional site, but has dozens of channels to search
  • Phanfare.com: Phanfare is a unique video sharing website, as it is meant to be used with an iPhone, and makes uploading, sharing, and viewing mobile videos easier than ever
  • Revver.com: You'll find a wide array of content on Revver, most of it high quality and serious. There video base includes interviews, skits, product reviews, movie reviews, animations, and tutorials
  • Sevenload.com: Sevenload is a sleek, professional-looking video streaming website with categories such as Music, DIY, Arts, and Politics
  • SpeedyTV:User uploaded streaming videos and movies as well as sorted videos from other locations
  • Starz Play: Starz Play is offered from Verizon, and allows users to stream hundreds of blockbuster movies and the Starz TV channel for $10 per month
  • Stickam.com. Stickam is a twist on the modern video streaming site - you can browse hundreds of live streaming video feeds and interact with the other viewers via a chat box
  • StreetFire.net: This website has thousands of videos, most of them dealing with cars in some way
  • StupidVideos.com - As the name of the website suggests, don't expect to find enlightening videos here. However, if you're looking for some good laughs, there's nowhere better than Stupid Videos
  • ThatVideoSite.com: This website pulls the most popular videos from a wide range of websites and lists them all on the homepage for your viewing pleasure
  • The News Hour The PBS News Hour. miss an important news speak, coverage, or documentary? The News Hour has regular updates of free, streaming news coverage
  • Trueveo.com: Trueveo streams content from dozens of different sites, including Hulu, Lifetime, and GQ
  • TVDuck: Provides links to other Internet sources streaming movies and TV shows
  • UStream.tv: UStream TV is another live streaming website, allowing users to chat with each other while watching and participating in live video streams
  • VideoBomb.com: The website is a basic, bland video streaming site with random videos.
  • Videosift.com: Video Sift works very similar to the popular website Digg. Users add videos, and other users 'sift' through them, pushing the good ones to the top, while the poor ones fall to the bottom
  • vids.Myspace.com: Myspace TV offers a wide array of video content, including personal videos, vlogs, and TV recaps

 

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Comments

by Juxxize on 9. November 2013 - 12:32  (112139)

I love You-tube it's full of varied videos lot's of different content but it seems google are trying to upset 90% of it's you tube users by forcing them to have a google plus pages , I can no longer comment on you tube videos until I accept the T&C's of having a google plus page which I don't even want , it's seems not enough people were using google plus so they decided to MAKE people use it ( not really the way to go )

by JJames on 20. August 2013 - 13:28  (110221)

As an alternative to youtube there's torch music ( http://music.torchbrowser.com/ ). It's a relatively new service that uses the youtube library, but it works better in that it doesn't have covers or spam stuff, and the adds don't break up the video flow. Totally free too.

by KuriousG12 on 21. July 2013 - 16:39  (109467)

This has been very helpful. Thank you,

by Panzer on 20. February 2013 - 9:24  (105570)

VideoLectures.NET is an award-winning (best educational product of the decade award from UN and UNESCO) free and open access educational video lectures repository. The lectures are given by distinguished scholars and scientists at the most important and prominent events like conferences, summer schools, workshops and science promotional events from many fields of Science:
http://videolectures.net/

by kerry2 on 18. March 2013 - 1:21  (106330)

Interesting site .. I hadn't seen that one before.

by Jake K. Simmons (not verified) on 8. October 2012 - 4:14  (100466)

Megeavideo.com is no longer. The FBI shut it down

by kerry2 on 21. October 2012 - 2:18  (101126)

Thanks Jake.

by MidnightCowboy on 15. October 2012 - 7:32  (100773)

Thank you for pointing this out. The link has been removed.

by jlokk (not verified) on 27. September 2012 - 17:21  (99863)

Nice to see Newgrounds on this list. Been a contributor since '99.

by kerry2 on 3. October 2012 - 0:53  (100144)

Thank you Jlokk :)

by Ruth (not verified) on 12. June 2012 - 11:26  (94729)

Hi there I just want to ask something. Do you know any other streaming video site with HD feature and the video is viewable for worldwide beside Youtube? I can't really find one T__T

Please reply :3 Thank you!!! :)

by kerry2 on 3. October 2012 - 0:53  (100143)

Did you try documentary.net?

by To do or not to do (not verified) on 7. March 2012 - 19:30  (90075)

Wonder if there is some audio streaming sites. I'd like to upload sound only.

by kerry2 on 2. June 2012 - 12:59  (94315)

We're focusing on video streaming sites here just to keep it focused for now.

by frid (not verified) on 28. February 2012 - 5:59  (89622)

dont forget http://documentary.net if you are into documentary films

by kerry2 on 2. June 2012 - 12:58  (94314)

Thanks, that looks like a good one :)

by kerry2 on 10. March 2012 - 18:01  (90192)

Nice, let me look into that one.

by SknyWhtDude (not verified) on 25. February 2012 - 5:13  (89440)

One of my favs is snagfilms.com - documentaries of all sorts and a nifty tag cloud to help narrow down your choices.
Enjoy!
OH, and thank you very much "Grady Zero" excellent post

by Columns (not verified) on 24. January 2012 - 15:22  (87700)

This is a nice write-up. I will spend more time exploring this topic.

by clotes news (not verified) on 5. January 2012 - 5:04  (86579)

If most people wrote about this subject with the eloquence that you just did I'm sure people would do much more than just read they act. Great stuff here. Please keep it up.

by help for depression (not verified) on 30. December 2011 - 22:16  (86246)

I was just seeking this info for some timeAfter six hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your siteI wonder what is the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this type of informative websites in top of the listNormally the top websites are full of garbage.

by world2come (not verified) on 18. November 2011 - 14:45  (83482)

I am looking for a site for mainly sports. Any suggestions?

by Seppo (not verified) on 13. September 2011 - 2:07  (79508)

Thanks for the interesting story and the streaming site list. Check out also www.streaming-guide.com that lists over 1000 free online TV shows that are legally available in Canada and/or the US.

by Camzone (not verified) on 17. August 2011 - 17:30  (77825)

Should also take a look at www.CamZone.com
Excellent live streams in HD.

by kerry2 on 17. August 2011 - 23:06  (77840)

Thanks Camzone, nice idea though the cam's seem to be limited and focused around just Los Angeles and San Diego. How many Cam's does this include?

by Whatsit2ya on 3. July 2011 - 7:21  (74683)

well if your into movies the site with all the newest is located at

letmewatchthis.ch

free and one of the best around thats truly FREE

by the streamer (not verified) on 13. June 2011 - 13:37  (73735)

NONE of the above sites are stream sites-they are vid shar sites or "tube" sites
streaming is a live thing like football sport etc justin tv-ustream-veetle are PROPER stream sites -none of the above are live interactive +ergo NOT stream sites.

by Bill Murray (not verified) on 4. December 2011 - 23:59  (84392)

Streaming doesn't have to be live, look it up!

by noyb (not verified) on 13. July 2011 - 8:43  (75376)

Exactly. This post is missleading waste of time. Should be removed completely.

by Grady Zero (not verified) on 16. August 2011 - 17:17  (77746)

You are all wrong. Streaming has nothing to do with the content. Having run one of the first Internet streaming radio stations, starting in 1998, XTC Radio, and currently working on a new project streaming HD Video music at 1080p over the Internet, XTC Music TV, I am quite versed on the subject, having done quite a bit of R & D on it. The term "streaming" refers simply to the process of moving audio and/or video data from a server or server farm to a client machine and then rendering it on the client side in real time as opposed to downloading the content and playing it offline. Nothing more! As to whether the content is live or pre-recorded has nothing to do with whether it is streamed or just downloaded. Although it would be very difficult indeed to download live content unless you saved it and rendered it offline which according to all definition whould not qualify as streaming.

Streaming, especially video to many clients (like 100s of thousands) concurrently, requires tremendous amounts of bandwidth and is a very expensive proposition. It is only for the well-funded. You're not going to do it from a home 6 Mbps DSL unless you limit you audience to 2 or 3 concurrent clients. Anyone with a DSL connection to the internet can put audio and/or video content on their computer for others to download (FTP). This requires significantly less bandwidth and that can be throttled. To the best of my knowledge, at this point in time, the only 2 video streaming technologies in common use on the Internet are Flash™ by Adobe and Silverlight™ by Microsoft. Technically, it is possible to stream any file type but bandwidth consideration are a major issue and without the special encoding provided by Flash or Silverlight, rendering of video at the client end would not be very smooth, but jumpy and require significantly more bandwidth than Flash or Silverlight. When we used to stream music radio using SHOUTcast Technology in the hayday of AOL, we streamed anywhere from 32 kbps to 190 kpbs MP3s. Those stream were prone to packet loss and latency, paticularly as the bandwidth went above 128 Kbps. That was the earliest streaming endeavor done on the Internet in any large way.

Video streaming came with Flash and then Silverlight. They provide the streamer with encoders to heavily compress the data and pick out the deltas, prior to streaming it. Recently Silverlight introduced a newer adaptive video streaming technology called "smooth streaming" which (supposedly) totally eliminates the possibility of breaks in the stream due to re-buffering. Adobe has yet to introduce its equivalent, but I'm sure they aren't far behind.

As an added note a 1080p movie streamed directly point to point without Silverlight or Flash encoding will require a constant stream rate of approximately 8 to 10 Mbps. More than most home users can handle and rendering video would require lots of processor at the client end. Once encoded in Flash or Silverlight, bandwidth requirements drop drastically, in most cases to as low as 900 Kbps for 1080p HD video. This is easily within the reach of most home DSL users, with even some bandwidth left over.
In the “old days” of the Internet (1980s and early 1990s), before Flash and Silverlight and before the introduction of broadband it was impossible to stream video or even high quality audio over the Internet. Music and Movies were downloaded and it took hours and sometimes days. Broadband changed all of that.
Today’s Internet is capable of real-time streaming of high quality content using Flash or Silverlight. While Flash and Silverlight are quite different technologies in many ways, both use a method where only "deltas" are sent from each frame. "Deltas" are only the data that change from frame to frame. If you are watching a movie at 30 fps, generally (depending on the content) less that 5% of the movie frames changes from frame to frame. This reduces significantly the amount of data that must be sent for each frame. This is why you generally only see occasional pixilation when the video scene had a lot of activity all over the screen. That raises the bandwidth requirements for the stream. For example, when a man is just talking only his voice (audio track) and the mouth movements (video track) change from frame to frame. This is why Flash and Silverlight work, they take advantage of this fact. I realize this is an oversimplification of the issue but I felt the need to bring this subject down to earth. This also explains why clients must have a Flash or Silverlight plugin installed in their browser. They need to assemble these delta packets into a whole frame based partly on the previous frames data and apply the changed pixels to the new frame. The best and most commonly known use of Flash is YouTube. The best and most commonly known use of Silverlight is Netflix.

One last point I would like to make, streaming can be costly since each client requires its own server connection, and either Flash or Silverlight still require significant bandwidth to allow availability to a large audience, concurrently. The most recent estimates that I have read in the trades are that Google uses approximately 280 terabytes of bandwidth during any given second at peak periods. Netflix uses close to 500 terabytes per second during peak times (less concurrent users but more bandwidth per user than YouTube since they are stream of average 1 ½ hour long HD Movies).
In the case of YouTube, if you use the estimated average cost of 1 terabyte per second as $ .12 (I'm guessing based on what I pay, what they really pay is a well-kept secret), multiply that by 280 to arrive at a cost of $ 33.60 a second then multiply that by the number of seconds in a day of 86,400, we're looking at about 2.9 million dollars a day in bandwidth cost alone for Google to run YouTube (Google’s bandwidth cost is probably less since I am assuming here that peak periods are 24 hours a day and I also doubt they truly pay $ .12 per terabyte/sec) but this gives you a rough idea of what it cost to stream to 100s of thousands of people at a time. Simply put, it ain’t cheap!

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