How to Watch North American TV for Free Online

Written by contributing writer
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Many people can remember when television sets only showed a limited selection of black and white programs. Over time, TV sets have changed from clunky boxes to thin framed screens that can be hung on walls. TV programming has evolved from being shown on televisions to also airing on computers or any device with an Internet connection. Now, North American TV shows like "Family Guy," "30 Rock," "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "America's Got Talent" can be viewed on a computer. The shows are available to watch at all hours.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Reliable Internet connection

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  1. 1

    Make sure you have a stable Internet connection. Many people rely on Wi-Fi signals to connect to the Internet. However, Wi-Fi is not stable and can be lost by simply changing locations. If you're trying to watch TV online, this type of connection can interrupt streaming and buffering. Make sure you have Internet through either a DSL, ethernet or USB connection for few or no interruptions.

  2. 2

    Visit a legitimate TV streaming website. Avoid viewing pirated sites and illegally obtained content over the Internet. Make sure the site you use is legitimate and has permission to stream its content. Go to the shows' network websites, such as NBC, TBS, Cartoon Network and Spike, to view episodes. Visit well-known legal sites like Hulu and Veoh. Avoid sites that aren't set up well and sites you are unfamiliar with in case they don't have permission to stream TV shows.

  3. 3

    Create an account to improve your viewing experience. You will be able to control video settings like closed captioning and bandwidth. Registration is also helpful because as a member of the site you'll be able to view other areas like forums. In forums, information is available if you are looking for specific TV shows or movies, or even if you're having streaming problems. Registration for these sites usually takes no more than 5 minutes and you can unregister at any time.

Tips and warnings

  • Refer to the links below for legitimate sites to start watching TV online.
  • Test your connection's speed by clicking the "Speed Test" link below. Slow speeds can negatively affect your viewing experience.
  • Watching free TV and movies online isn't illegal. However, if the content itself was obtained through illegal means, like recording or stealing copies of the original content and then displaying them for public viewing, then both the viewer and the distributor can be subject to investigation by government authorities. Monetary fines from the original content creator are possible.

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