With online free TV shows, you will be able to stream and watch a lot of your favourite movies, series, music and lots more at no cost (or almost free). Some others have to work multiple odd jobs to survive. You’ll agree that we all need to take time off occasionally to recuperate and refuel.
Considering the average Canadian household pays hundreds of dollars in cable bills, that can quickly add up. So how do these free tv platforms make money since they are not getting any love from you?
The way most free tv services do – through advertisements. Since the programming they provide keeps you on their platforms for much longer, they are able to offer this time to advertisers who pay handsomely for it.
The even better news is that they’re a plethora of apps and services that offer free programming. So you have a variety of options to choose from. As long as you’re willing to tolerate the occasional ad, you’re ready to have access to your favourite movies, shows, sports, music and lots more.
Streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu’s of this world with their gradually but steadily increasing subscription are not cheap alternatives to regular television for a lot of people.
The average cable tv subscriber spends about $85/month to maintain access while for satellite tv subscribers, this amount exceeds $100/month on average.
In Canada where cord-cutting, almost always requires one to combine on-demand streaming service with an OTA (over the air) DVR option; watching your favourite tv shows and streaming online for free is one of the best options.
Life is hectic enough for you as it is. Almost everyone’s got a 9 to 5 job that they have to slave at the entire week to stay alive and self-dependent. If you’ve never heard of free tv before (it’s unlikely you haven’t), it’s time you seriously start considering it as a go-to alternative after cutting the cord.
What’s your wind down therapy? – Free TV shows or watching movies online for free?
How To Watch Free TV Shows In Canada?
To rejuvenate successfully, some people may need a whole week in the Bahamas.
For others, it may be as simple as shutting off all your devices and lounging in the sitting room as you binge-watch your favourite television series.
Maintaining access to your Direct TV, DISH, Comcast, ViaSat (or any other cable or satellite TV provider) can cost a ton. The amount adds up really quickly. That’s when watching free TV shows online comes to play.
Streaming free TV shows online is “television programming that is free”. It comes in different forms: free-to-air, free-to-view and free online streaming platforms or some sort of combination.
While all these options of free tv do not ask for a monthly subscription, free-to-air and free-to-view will require you to put down money on a decoder and set-top box.
But this is as far as your investment is required. You will now be able to enjoy every available digital tv and radio channels that are branded “free to air” as well as all free tv stations.
Free tv shows streaming online platforms are different in that they do not need any created-for-purpose physical infrastructure. You just need to visit the service via a browser or dedicated app and you’ll have access to all the programming you love.
How To Set Up Free TV Shows Online?
For each free tv service, the setup may vary.
Some free tv platforms would require an HDMI cable; an HDMI capable streaming device like the Fire TV Stick, the Android TV Box, and the Home Theatre PC, and a good remote.
Some free tv services require almost no setup; basically, just plug and play – or just play.
Either way, free tv setup cost will be nothing compared to what you would be saving by not using a conventional cable or satellite tv provider.
In Canada, you have a plethora of television channels that you can get for free, whether niche stations or general-purpose channels.
Free TV Channels You’ll Get In Canada
CBC, City-TV, Global (Dragon’s Den, Hell’s Kitchen, Desperate Housewives, Big Brother, The Amazing Race)
Treehouse, Family, YTV, Teletoon (iCarly, Dora the Explorer, Good Luck Charlie, Phineas & Ferb, Transformers)
Aljazeera, Bloomberg News, CTV News, BNN (News Hour, The Stream, Question Period, W5)
MTV, CMT, Much Music, MuchMoreMusic (Degrassi, Punk’d, Pet Heroes, The Week That Was, Jersey Shores)
HGTV, Food Network (Kitchen Nightmares, Property Virgins, Holmes on Holmes, Everyday Exotic)
The Comedy Network, A&E, Showcase, Discovery Channel, Space, OLN (The Colbert Report, Storage Wars, Ghost Hunters, Lost Girl, Doctor Who, How It’s Made)
Depending on if you’re using a set-top box, an HDTV antenna or an online streaming service, you can get most of these channels in high definition too.
Free TV Shows Online Streaming Options in Canada
So it’s all well and good everything we’ve talked about here, but which platforms or services are available for free tv in Canada.
The number of free tv streaming options within the country has burgeoned over the last decade (although still not as numerous as we’d like) and you are going to be happy with the choices.
Here we’ll just mention a few that have really struck a chord (pun intended) with users in recent history.
1. Crackle TV – Free TV Online Streaming
This online Free TV streaming service did not start under the same name.
If you’re an old head television show binge-watcher, you’ll probably remember when this service was known as “Grouper”
Since 2006, it has been one of Sony Entertainment’s products and the company embeds ads into all of the content as well as on the web pages as a means of free tv streaming revenue generation.
Relatively speaking, Crackle has the most robust programming titles in its library (less than 1000 tv titles). However, you’re bound to find some really good free tv shows on it.
Some of the titles in crackle’s free tv service include 1990s Seinfeld, or Stephen King’s It.
The free tv service doesn’t generate sufficient revenue to rival the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime in terms of original content.
However, they do show more than Sony-branded content, thanks to Sony’s wide-reaching partnerships with content makers like Paramount Pictures, TOEI, 20th Century Fox, and Disney.
Crackle also has a simple and user-friendly interface that makes it easy to navigate the platform.
You can find whatever type of content you’re looking for in whatever genre.
Crackle also doesn’t need you to create an account on the platform.
You can just visit the site and press play to begin to watch your preferred content. However, registering on the site does provide access to some bonus features.
Crackle TV also has an available that is compatible with almost any device you can imagine, from the majority of all Smart TVs to Fire TV Stick, Roku and much more.
2. Pluto TV – Watch TV Shows Online Free Streaming
When you actually Google For “Pluto TV”, the first thing that’ll probably catch your interest on this platform is how much its interface resembles that of a Smart TV, which definitely helps on the usability front.
And yes, it’s “FREE“.
I don’t see any price plans on their website, neither do I see any kinds of false promotions to attract visitors.
Is Pluto TV Really Free?
Of course yes. Whether you choose to download the App or visit their site, you’ll not find any adverts or subscription package information.
You can be assured that you won’t have to key in any card details or bank details here. Also everywhere on their website it’s mentioned “FREE TV”. You can see the FREE message even while watching Live Television on their website.
Pluto TV is positioned differently. It feels less like a content streaming platform and more like a content curation (recommendation) service.
What Channels Are Available On Pluto TV?
On Pluto’s free tv streaming platform, you’ll instantly have access to more than 100 live television channels. Also, there is also a good selection of online TV shows and movies that are already available online. You can download the Pluto TV App for Play store or App Store to instantly watch 100+ live channels on your smartphones.
Once you visit Pluto TV’s website – You’ll immediately notice two options right at the top centre of the page which says – Live TV and On Demand.
Under Pluto Live TV – You have the following categories – Entertainment, Sports, News, Binge Watch and Explore. Again, each of these categories has live channels within. So pick the category and the channel you prefer to watch.
You can watch and stream Pluto TV on the web, using their mobile app, Desktop App or on your TV by downloading the app.
Like Crackle tv, it can also be accessed via streaming platforms like Android, Fire TV, Chrome-cast, iOS and so on.
3. Yahoo View – Watch TV Shows Online Free Streaming
Unfortunately, Yahoo View is no longer available, nothing to worry, they are coming up with something new. I’ll keep this article updated once that happens.
Of course, they’re more or less a brainchild of the free tv streaming service; but no one will raise an eye concerning that when you receive enough free content to not be bothered.
Yahoo View is a collaboration between Yahoo and Hulu to be able to compete within the free tv niche.
The involvement of Hulu makes it unsurprising then that this platform is focused heavily on television programming in lieu of movies.
Of course, as expected, the service doesn’t provide access to Hulu’s original content. However, there is still a ton of premium content to select from.
Here you’ll find shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live!, America’s Got Talent, Gotham, Law & Order, Grey’s Anatomy, The Voice, Family Guy, Modern Family, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and a sea of others to choose from. Just login with your Yahoo Mail and you’re good to go.
The one thing you should know though is Yahoo View is exclusively browser-based.
This is most likely because Hulu is mainly app-based and they are trying to keep the markets of both products separate.
4. TV.com – Watch TV Shows Online Free Streaming
The name of this one is self-explanatory.
It offers free programming from some of the biggest networks like NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and so on. You’ll find a huge catalogue of television content like F.R.I.E.N.D.S, The Big Bang Theory, Criminal Minds, Frontline, CBS Evening News, Saturday Night Live and much more.
You can also keep up with the latest news on the free tv online streaming platform.
TV.com has a welcome affectional feature too – a forum.
So in its entirety, it is a platform that not only gives you access to the best shows available but provides an arena where you can talk about them with your fellow tv geeks.
5. Roku – Free TV Online Streaming
Roku has been around for a while and pioneers in the free tv streaming market.
This is why it isn’t surprising that they still lead the pack despite competition from juggernauts like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chrome-cast.
If you want to stream via your Smart TV, it’s really simple with Roku’s free tv streaming device. The package comes with a stick and a remote. Simply plug the stick into your TV, connect to the internet and set up a Roku account and you’re good to go.
By that I mean you’ll have access to over 4000 free and paid channels. These include free content like BBC Sports, Red Bull TV, TV Player, Sky News etc.
Paid channels include Deezer, VEVO, Amazon TV, Netflix, Rakuten TV, and Google Play.
Of course, you’ll be paying the required subscriptions for these various paid services like Netflix and Amazon Video. But this has nothing to do with Roku as using their free tv streaming device gives you access to these services as well as makes it easy for you to find what you want with ease.
Thanks to the Roku Search feature. Simply purchase the Roku package and that’s all you need to invest in Roku. There are no monthly fees for watching free channels or for using a Roku device. You only have to pay for subscription channels like Netflix or movie and TV show rentals from services like Cineplex Store.
And then there’s The Roku Channel, available only when using the Roku streaming device. Its wide array of free content is not something you’d want to consider leaving on the table.
What Is A Roku Account?
You need a Roku account to activate your device and access entertainment across thousands of streaming channels. There are no monthly equipment rental fees with Roku.
Adding a payment method lets you easily rent/buy movies-on-demand or subscribe to popular services like Netflix.
Why Do You Choose Roku Products?
Roku devices are simple to set-up and easy-to-use. They come with a simple remote, and powerful features like Roku Search which makes it effortless to find what you want to watch.
Roku devices give you access to 150,000+ movies and TV episodes from top free and paid channels, so you can stream almost anything.
Can I Watch Sports On Roku?
The simple answer is yes.
Roku has access to over 170+ sports channels including NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL, and beIN SPORTS plus health, fitness and yoga channels. Some are free and others require a subscription.
6. Use OTA (Over The Air HD Antenna) To Stream Free TV Channels
Perhaps you’re not interested in any of the streaming services mentioned so far or still looking for more options.
You can enjoy a good number of free local channels by simply using an over the air HD antenna.
While purchasing the setup of this cheap plastic antenna is cheap, you must remember that this restricts you from free terrestrial channels.
Sometimes, you will be able to receive signals of channels from other areas.
The number of channels you get depends greatly on your location; as a general rule, city dwellers get better reception and more channels than those residing in rural areas.
Of course, a lot still depends on what kind of antenna you buy – directional or Omni-directional – or whether it’s placed indoors or outdoors. Regardless, most over the air HD antennas have a good reception range (50 – 80 miles on average) and can be purchased for as low as $50.
There are other free tv online streaming options that are not completely free but don’t require you to spend an arm and a leg either.
I mean, would you rather spend $85 every month on a cable service or $10 for something that promises even better programming selection. Here goes.
7. Crave TV – Free TV Online Streaming
Many people call Crave (formerly Crave TV) the Canadian equivalent of Netflix – and with good reason too.
Crave isn’t a free service but speaking relatively, it might as well be.
In-order to access Crave TV’s platform’s services, you will need to part with at least $9.99 up to $19.98 per month which is cheaper than most streaming platforms.
On the surface, it feels costlier than Netflix – Netflix’s subscription options max out at $11.99 – so why do we term it cheaper?
While Netflix offers a lot of content, probably the most robust streaming library on the planet.
Crave’s free tv service is positioned perfectly because they offer a lot of premium content that you won’t find on Netflix at all.
Some of crave tv’s free streaming programs can be found on other platforms in Canada but you’ll almost always have to pay exorbitantly for them.
What’s more is that Crave tv also offers content from other premium content creators and Netflix rivals like Showtime, Hulu, and HBO.
On Crave tv you’ll find quality free tv program’s like
Comedy Central’s 0
HBO’s True Detective and Slender Man
Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale
Showtime’s SMILF and Black Monday, and
And the Crave Original Letterkenny – Valentines Day
Designated Survivor, Star Trek Discovery, Deadpool 2, Life of Pi, Million Dollar baby, Hotel Transylvania 3 and a host of other titles
Unlike most paid streaming platforms, Crave tv will allow you to browse through their entire catalogue even before you spend a dime on their service. This will help you make an informed decision about whether their service is what you’ve been looking for or not.
Crave tv can be streamed on most platforms like Android, iOS, AppleTV, Chrome-cast, Samsung Smart TVs, Xbox One and via a browser. The service is also only available in Canada.
8. Amazon Prime Video – Free TV Online Streaming
Registering and maintaining an Amazon Prime membership will set you back $79 annually.
However, this is a small price to pay when you consider the benefits.
With Amazon Prime membership status you also get access to Amazon Prime Video at no extra cost and its free!
This gives you access to a huge library of television shows and movies.
Amazon’s prime video includes access to prime Originals such as Jack Ryan, The Man in the High Castle, The Grand Tour, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Amazon Prime Video does not yet have as deep a catalogue as Crave tv or Netflix but they’re slowly catching up to the top dogs in the free tv streaming service business with their original productions and high definition streaming content.
Prime Video apps are available and compatible with Amazon Fire devices, Roku, iOS, Android, Xbox 360, and most Smart TVs.
Amazon’s service is also available at a $10 per month subscription if you do not have an Amazon Prime membership.
9. Netflix – Free TV Online Streaming
No list of streaming services on the planet would make sense without Netflix.
Netflix is the leader by a mile in this niche. In terms of subscriptions, Netflix charges Canadians $8.99 for the basic package, $10.99 for the standard option, $13.99 for its premium option.
Netflix subscription gives you access to stream on one, two, and four devices respectively.
However, Netflix subscription prices have been creeping up steadily over time but that’s not really anything to fret about for two reasons.
Firstly, Netflix (and other streaming services) are still significantly cheaper than cable or satellite providers. Secondly, the increase in subscription increment coincides with an increase in the quality content available to subscribers. So no worries here.
Canada is a firm ground for Netflix content consumption, thanks to its massive library with more than 3000 HD titles. In fact, a lot of content added by the service is already available on the Canadian library before it is added to the American Netflix library.
Netflix also boasts the largest catalogue of original programming like Stranger Things, Bright, The Do-Over, Polar, Bird Box, and Velvet Buzzsaw.
Netflix is expectedly available on a wide range of streaming devices and platforms including Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV, Xbox One, iOS, Android, Play Station 4, and Smart TVs everywhere.
They also offer a one-month free trial where you have access to their premium features.
Can You Watch Netflix for Free In Canada?
Of course, you can, Netflix offers you a free trial (first time user) which lasts up to a month.
Here are way’s you can get Netflix for free in Canada:
1. The first option, All you have to do is cancel your Netflix membership before the last day of the trial period. Netflix will usually then send out another email for a new trial period. All you need to do is patiently wait for a few months after the first trial period expires to get the email offer from them about the new trial.
2. I know, the first option is not all that great. You need to wait for the email from Netflix after the initial period expires. That’s not a sound option. But, note that there are a lot of people out there who have got up to 3 free trails in a single year.
So, in the second option what you’ll do is to go for an annual membership – If you end up paying for the Netflix annual membership after the first free trial period ends, you’ll get the first month of trial membership for free.
3. Friends and Family – That’s right.
If you have friends or family using Netflix, with 2/3 of their plans, you can create a profile and watch Netflix for free.
However, please note that you cant change the password or any of the profile settings. But who really cares, it’s free. You can also create a Guest Account and watch Netflix for free! Each of the profiles is personalized so you don’t end up screwing other profiles, which is a good thing.
10. Sportsnet Now – Free TV Online Streaming
This one is for avid sports lovers who have cut the cord and need an alternative to fulfill their sports binging needs. Sportsnet now is a platform created exclusively for sports streaming.
For a monthly fee of $27.99, you can stream all sports programming from Rogers Digital Media’s Sportsnet service.
You’ll also get access to sports news and games from the MLB, NHL, NBA, Premier League and much more.
Sportsnet Now has some interesting features like 24-hour playbacks, split-screen viewing, and on-demand streaming of programmes from Rogers Sportsnet service.
Unfortunately, for those looking for more American content, Sportsnet currently has no contract with the NFL.
To get football games you’ll need to scout for another sports streaming service.
The service is available on Android, iOS, Xbox One, Chrome-cast, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV among others.
How Safe And Legal Is Free TV Shows Streaming In Canada?
There is nothing to fear here as concerns about how legal Free TV innovation is. If it was a shady deal, then big names like Hulu, HBO and the rest wouldn’t be getting themselves a piece of the pie now, would they?
However, while it is a completely safe and legal service, there are shady platforms that violate the Free TV streaming policy and you need to be able to identify them.
A legal free tv streaming service will be showing content that has no copyright limitations.
This means that they fall under the public domain and so can be shared legally by anyone. If a legal streaming service has copyrighted content, they’ll not hide the information as to where they are getting it from.
For instance, Crackle tv gets its content from Sony Pictures, and Yahoo View gets from Hulu among others. A search on their “About Us” page or at the bottom of any web page should reveal such info.
There should also be legit and verifiable contact information including emails, phone numbers and most helpful, a physical address.
Free TV service providers should also usually have a mobile app and won’t be keen on covering their tracks. If you see that the website recommends the use of VPNs or proxies, that’s a huge red flag.
Suppose the free tv streaming service providers have a number of new movies, particularly ones still in the cinemas or just released on DVD or Blu-ray, they are mist probably a dubious service.
Most of these free tv streaming services have to run adverts on their websites as a means of making revenue to keep the service available. An absence of adverts, in this case, can be a bad thing.
Sometimes you won’t be able to check all the boxes of what a legal free tv online streaming website should feel like. In such circumstances, when in doubt, move on.
Spending anywhere from $100 – $200 monthly to maintain connectivity to a television programming provider can be really frustrating.
This is especially true if you only watch a handful of channels and have to pay that much to maintain the entire package, most of which you do not need. That’s the sole reason why streaming platforms are here to stay.
With a free tv streaming service, you can watch what you want, when you want and nothing else.
These services often offer the same programming and way better ones for a lot less, ranging from free to less than $300 annually at the worst.
It will require you to engage in slightly deeper research to uncover these free and low-cost television alternatives but they are worth every buck when you find the right fit for you. Free TV services are here to stay and it will only get bigger and better with time.
If you found this article helpful and informative, please share it on social media and help spread the word. Also, don’t forget to let me know your thoughts and comments in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!
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Sagar Sridhar is a personal finance blogger from Canada. His genuine passion for personal finance coupled with his unique style of writing is what stands out. Professionally, he is a computer engineer, agile certified and has a master’s degree in Project Management. His writing has been featured or quoted in the leading Canadian publications such as Credit Canada and many other personal finance publications. While he is juggling between his day job and blogging, he is the main author on this blog and has miles to go before making the final pit stop.