Best Free Online TV Viewer



This area is still quite new, but in the last year it has 'exploded' with content and applications. There are still very few standards, so you will end up having several viewer programs if you want to access a wide variety of shows. 

What I was looking for was a replacement for cable TV. Once I started finding TVoIP programming I discovered that this just isn't cable TV like I was used to. For one, my favorite cable channels are nearly impossible to find eg A&E, Showtime, PBS Kids, Spike TV, CBS, FOX, Comedy Central, C-Span, HSN, The Sci-fi channel and Nick.

The Movie channel can be found on one service or another. CBS, Fox and CW have made reruns of their past shows available. Not so much ABC or NBC. I also found many independent and international networks that just aren't carried by the cable companies.

When you find shows on the Internet, they will be in one of three forms:

  1. A live video stream, which is like over-the-air broadcasts. In fact many TV stations are making their over-the-air broadcasts available as live streams. When you connect to a stream, it is like tuning into the station over the air. You join the broadcast in progress. You can't pause it or rewind it (unless you have some sort of PVR software). Many network stations consider streaming video an experiment, so the quality can be variable.
  2. RSS feeds, which are better known as video Podcasts or Vcasts. You don't need an iPod to enjoy them. There is software available to receive and watch them on your computer.
  3. Video on demand, which is self-explanatory, connects you to a video server and allows you to choose the program you want to watch by using a menu or channel guide.

A quick search will turn up many free Internet TV viewers, but most are cut down versions of a paid software. However, there are a few that are not. Some of my favorites are recommended below.


Rated Products


If you know where to get your video, you may like Miro

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Open source)
Does live streams, but also does RSS.
Makes heavy use of your hard drive and Internet bandwidth because it wants to download everything to your hard drive, TIVO style.
Read full review...


A video on-demand viewer doesn’t offer anything that you can’t get elsewhere

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
Video on demand viewer, doesn't offer anything that you can’t get elsewhere.
Have to buy the premium content.
Read full review...


An on-demand viewer re-streams available video on the Internet

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Re-streams video from the Hulu website and CBS content (allowable) and others, tap into the available amateur video on the internet.
Not all feeds worked for me.
Read full review...

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Just went to JLC's website to D/L the player. The website states that he is no longer hosting the site nor is he offering support. The site is unofficially dead.
~/Lee the Geek.

It's true. I second that. And it's been like that I think over an year already.

Just d/l'ed and installed JLC's Internet TV. At startup, the program offers to update channel list but fails to contact the update server repeatedly. Went to their page to see if I could do a manual download, clicked on their Forums page, got a phpBB : Critical Error Could not connect to the database. Guessing that means I'm SOL on this one.

From their website: "NOTICE:TVU Networks shut down service to the TVU Player on February 25,2013."

Thank you, I've removed TVU from our listing.