Free Internet TV - A Complete Guide For Canadians

freeinternettvacompleteguideforcanadians.jpg

When I first published this guide more than 5 years ago - internet TV in Canada was a primitive beast...

Canadian television networks were just starting to put full episodes online and it was only for the purpose of their cable or satellite subscribers to be able to catch up on recent shows they missed. The stream quality was often poor and laggy and few people actually knew the content existed.

Those that did know usually watched hunched over their laptops - not from the comfort of their couches using a remote control.

Times have changed.

There are now more than 30 Canadian networks (listed below) streaming full episodes of their shows online using top quality media players. Many of them even have mobile apps for viewing on your phone or tablet.

The best part is it is all free - supported by far fewer commercials that you have the "privilege" of paying to watch with cable or satellite.

When you're done reading this guide - you should be ready to cut the cord yourself. You'll know exactly where to go to get full TV episodes free and legally along with all the tools and equipment you need to make your internet TV viewing experience a pleasant one.

Want to get access to American Netflix, Hulu, and American TV Networks?

Unlocator is the best service for doing this. Try it FREE to see if you like it!

In This Guide

Can I Really Get TV For Free?

There must be a catch, right?

How can I get such an expensive service like TV for free without breaking the law or ripping off the content creators?

No catch - watching TV on the internet is 100% free, legal, and supports content creators.

The logic behind this truth is really quite simple. The lions share of the revenue to the major networks and television broadcasters comes from the sale of advertisements, not from the cable or satellite providers. The providers do often pay a licensing fee for the rights to broadcast these networks through their service, but it pales in comparison to ad revenue.

It makes sense that TV networks want to broadcast their shows to as large of an audience as possible using any medium to further increase revenue. The internet and modern high speed connections have allowed them to finally break free from using other people’s infrastructure to broadcast their content.

What better place to broadcast their own content than on their very own sites? It really is that simple.

Pros And Cons Of Internet TV

  • It is 100% free, legal and supports content creators!
  • Watch shows on your own schedule, not the TV’s schedule.
  • Pause, restart, rewind, and fast forward as you please (no PVR required).
  • Whole seasons or past seasons of shows are sometimes available.
  • Shorter and often less frequent commercial breaks.
  • Shows are often available in 720p or 1080p HD.
  • Some networks even have made for TV movies or other movies available.
  • Get everything set up the first time can be a hassle - but this guide makes it easy.
  • Even with a proper HTPC remote and good software - controlling internet TV is a little harder.
  • Streaming video can tax your internet bandwidth and breach your download cap (solution).
  • Rarely videos may skip, freeze, or be grainy - this is the exception, not the rule.
  • You can’t really “channel surf” with internet TV - but it's a time waster so no big loss.
  • Content is more spread out so it can be harder to find (see full episode guide below).
  • Some content, like live sports, is rarely available online (improving all the time).

Canadian Networks With Full Episodes Online

30+ Canadian networks stream full episodes online - that's a pretty staggering number. I never would have guessed there would be so many if I didn't go looking for them all.

If this table doesn’t provide you with enough free entertainment to keep you busy - then you're probably watching too much TV! Click the linked network names below to go directly to their full episode or video page.

Network Selection Usability Unlocked Sample Shows
A & E Flip This House | Hoarders | Intervention | Jacked: Auto Theft Task Force | Storage Wars
APTN A variety of kids and special interest programming.
Bet It's A Mann's World | Lift Every Voice | Zoe Ever After | Criminals At Work
Bloomberg News Live streaming news! USA | Europe | Asia
BNN All their business news broadcasts from every day of the week plus all of their shows as well. Very extensive library and history.
Bravo Suits | Blue Bloods | Bones | Project Runway | 19-2
CBC The National | 22 Minutes | Dragon’s Den | Heartland | Schitt's Creek | The Rick Mercer Report
CityTV The Bachelor | Modern Family | New Girl | The Mindy Project | General Hospital | The Chew
CMT Baggage Battles | Chrisley Knows Best | Ice Racer Showdown
Network Selection Usability Unlocked Sample Shows
CPAC Live streaming of Canadian political meetings as they happen plus related shows and news coverage.
CTV The Big Bang Theory | How To Get Away With Murder | The X-Files | The Voice | The Ellen DeGeneres Show | The Amazing Race | The Social
Discovery Channel Canada’s Worst Driver | Daily Planet | Gold Rush | How It’s Made | Junk Raiders | Myth Busters
Family The Xtra Factor | The Next Step | Gaming Show (In My Parents Garage) | Lost & Found Music Videos
Fashion Television Live stream only.
Food Network Top Chef | Chopped Canada | You Gotta Eat Here | Cutthroat Kitchen | The Pioneer Woman
Global News National, global, and local news.
Global TV The Good Wife | Big Brother | Chicago Fire | Madam Secretary | Survivor | NCIS | Shades of Blue
HGTV Ellen's Design Challenge | Fixer Upper | House Hunters | Caribbean Life | Beachfront Bargain Hunt
Network Selection Usability Unlocked Sample Shows
History Yukon Gold | Billion Dollar Wreck | American Restoration | Swamp People | Join or Die with Craig Ferguson
MTV Degrassi | Faking It | Awkward | Todrick | Are You The One? | Teen Wolf
Much Conan | Workaholics | Idiotsitter | Not Safe with Nikki Glasser | Broad City
OMNI The Bachelor | Blood And Water | Let's Talk English | Raccontami
Outdoor Life Network Storage Wars Canada | Get Stuffed | Mantracker | Survivorman | Polar Bear Town
ShowCase Continuum | Lost Girl | The Magicians | The Path | Outlander | Haven
Slice Money Moron | The Real Housewives of New York | The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills | Newlyweds: The First Year
Space Face Off | Dark Matter | Dr. Who
Teletoon Alvin And The Chipmunks | Inspector Gadget | Get Ace | Pokemon
Network Selection Usability Unlocked Sample Shows
The Comedy Network Just for Laughs | The Daily Show With Trevor Noah | The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore
The Shopping Channel Live stream of their broadcast.
Treehouse A variety of kids programming.
VICE Biographies | Picture Perfect | Noisey | Flophouse
W Network Quite a few shows but a terrible player and horrendous navigation.
YTV SpongeBob | The Lil' Sam & Cat Show | Pet Peeves | Every Witch Way

You'll see that I've given loose rating to each network website in 3 areas:

  1. Selection - do they offer a good number of shows with full episodes.
  2. Usability - how easy is using the site and the video player.
  3. Unlocked - are full episodes available to all viewers or just those with a cable/satellite.

Each area is given one of 3 possible ratings:

  • means the network does well in this area.
  • means the network does so-so in this area.
  • means the network does poorly in this area.

Watch American Networks In Canada

You should have plenty of content to watch via all the Canadian networks listed above, but there is a lot more content available south of the border that isn't always available to Canadians. Just like Canada - most of the networks offer full length episodes on their own websites.

I’m not going to list them all here, but I will talk about one big advantage they have over us: Hulu

Hulu is a user-friendly website that streams full length episodes from 20+ American networks. Their selection is better than any other site and their video player and stream quality is unmatched. The player uses advanced compression and buffering technology which produces much less stuttering and freezing, better picture quality, uses less bandwidth, and offers more useful features.

Recently, Hulu has been pushing their paid subscription service that costs $7.99 USD per month that gives you access to more shows and entire seasons instead of just the most recent episodes. If you want to keep it free, make sure you look for the small checkboxes marked "free" when you are browsing their content. This will make sure you are only shown shows and videos that you can stream for free - of which there is plenty.

To access all this additional content, you simply need a good proxy or VPN service. Unlocator is the best paid service for unblocking USA content that when active does not prevent you from accessing Canadian content or slow your connection down. It works on all your devices by following simple step by step configuration guides that they provide. You can even configure your router one time and then it will work on all devices connected to your home network automatically.

It does cost about $5/mth - with cheaper annual plans - but that's a small price to pay compared to a cable subscription for reliable service. They also let you try the service free to see if you like it before buying.

Give Unlocator A Try For Free!

What You Need To Get Started

To get started, all you really need is a computer with internet that is capable of streaming video.

But, if you don’t want to be hunched over your computer every time you want to watch one of your favourite shows, here are the components you will need to make that happen:

#1. High Speed Internet Connection

This is essential to ensure fluid playback and the possibility of playing HD content.

You’re going to want a minimum 5Mbps connection but more speed is always better to reduce loading times, increase stream quality, and allow for multiple concurrent streams.

You will also need unlimited bandwidth or a high bandwidth cap to make sure you aren’t dinged with a lot of extra fees. If you have a bandwidth cap or a slow connection, you may be interested in my guide to saving money on your internet costs.

#2. HDMI Cable

It used to be that HDMI cables cost $100 or more and no-one was plugging their computers into their TV.

It’s much more common now - but in case you still don’t have one you can pick up an HDMI cable almost anywhere. They even sell them at Dollarama for around $3 each. Here’s a well-reviewed cable from Amazon for $5 with free shipping.

When it comes to digital cables like HDMI, you rarely need to be concerned about the quality of the cable itself. A digital signal will come through the same no matter how fancy the cable is. The only time you might need a higher bandwidth or top quality cable is if you want to maximize the full power of your newer 4K TV or you have a very long cable run (more than 25ft).

#3. HDMI Capable Streaming Device

Normally, I would recommend a dedicated Home Theater PC (HTPC) running Windows 10 as the ultimate device for free internet TV. However, setting up such a device can be both challenging and expensive for people who are new to streaming.

So, I’ll give you a few options from Easy to Advanced that you can choose from depending on your comfort level.

Easy Setup

If you want a small, easy to use, and inexpensive device to get your feet wet streaming - then I would recommend the Roku 3. It gives you lots of streaming apps to get started with, including Netflix, but you won’t be able to stream everything from Canadian network sites like you could with an HTPC. It only costs about $100, comes with an easy to use remote, and is basically plug and play.

If you want to improve your Roku experience substantially, then I would consider installing Plex on one of your home computers to work in conjunction with your Roku - more on that later.

Intermediate Setup

A good compromise between a full HTPC with windows and a limited streaming device is an Android TV box. If you buy a higher end box, you can do most things you can on a windows HTPC and get the benefit of the huge library of apps on the Google Play store.

Here’s a powerful newer model with good reviews.

The downside here is most Canadian network sites block Android devices from accessing their streaming videos through a mobile web browser. The good news is that several bigger ones like CTV, Global, City, Bravo, Space, Food Network, and The Comedy Network all have apps that work just fine. Simply search the Google Play store for the Canadian networks listed above and you could find even more.

Advanced Setup

I use a dedicated Home Theater PC running Windows 10 plugged directly into my TV to get my free internet TV. The reasons for that are plenty...

Not only can you use a simple web browser to access 30+ Canadian network sites to stream the latest shows, but you can also easily install dedicated TV streaming software like Kodi (formerly XBMC) and Plex to make navigating content easier and for streaming your own home videos and music.

Then, you can run streaming services like Netflix and YouTube either through dedicated Windows apps or right through your web browser. If you hook up a microphone, you can even use Cortana to control many aspects of your TV with your voice.

The problem is that almost no-one sells a windows device out of the box that is perfect for this. Usually you need to start with a bare-bones system (no hard drive or memory installed), buy and install those components (very easy), and then install windows yourself (not that bad). Here are the components I recommend:

Installing the components usually just amounts to opening up the case with a screwdriver, popping the component into place like lego, and closing it back up again. Watching a YouTube video is more than enough to be able to do it yourself with no issues.

Existing Setup

If you’re not ready to buy a dedicated device just yet - then most laptops, many tablets (i.e. Microsoft Surface), some phones, and modern video game consoles are capable of hooking up to your TV and streaming video. Do a little research into your current device and see what it is capable of.

If you’re planning to use an existing computer, tablet, or phone - then getting a Google Chromecast so you can wirelessly stream video from your existing device to your TV is a super convenient way to go.

Don’t Make This Mistake

The biggest mistake you can make when buying a streaming device is to cheap out and buy a lower end model. I’ve recommended devices above that have enough horsepower to handle most things you throw at it while not breaking the bank. Don’t go any cheaper, or I promise that you’ll regret it.

#4. A Good Remote

To get the full experience, you want to be able to control your TV with a remote - not a keyboard and a mouse. Sitting on your couch with those clunky tools just isn’t that appealing. Fortunately, there have been many technological advancements in this area and there are a lot of HTPC remotes to choose from.

Designing a remote to control a computer is not an easy task and there, so there is a wide selection of devices out there that all function quite differently. After trying several remote styles myself, I personally have settled on a basic air remote with basic controls on the top and a mini keyboard on the bottom. You simply wave your hand at the screen (kind of like a Wii Remote) to control the mouse cursor - it’s pretty easy and intuitive after a little time playing with it.

Here is a model that works on Android TV boxes, Windows PCs, and several other devices. Keep in mind, both the Roku 3 and Android TV box recommended above come with remotes - so you won’t need to purchase one separately.

Useful Software To Give You More

With a little patience, using a web browser to view internet TV does work, but it definitely isn’t ideal. Fortunately, new software is continually being developed to create a better user experience. Support for Canadian content can be spotty - but it does exist.

Plex

Plex is a free media server that allows you to stream all your media files from a single computer or NAS on your home network to any of your internet connected devices from anywhere. It works on Roku, Android TV boxes, and Windows making it a great way to power up those devices.

There are add-ons for Plex that allow you to stream some content from the Canadian networks. These add-ons usually aren't officially supported by the networks themselves so sometimes they shut them down to encourage people to use their own apps and websites.

Kodi (formerly XBMC)

Kodi is a TV-friendly user interface that can be used to access both media content on your local network as well as various internet streams through their add-ons. It can be installed directly on most operating systems including Windows, iOS, Linux, and Android.

It is open source software, so there are tons of community maintained add-ons available for it. The problem is that managing add-ons and keeping them up to date can be time consuming and takes a little technical know-how. There were a couple of great add-ons for Canadian content - Canada On Demand and CanTVLive. The bad news is that Canada On Demand is no longer being supported and CanTVLive has streams stop working from time to time.

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Comments

Vaughan Killin
Vaughan Killin's picture

I see a lot of Windows.....do any of these work with Mac. OS X?

March 15, 2016 @ 9:02 pm
derrall
derrall's picture

I just checked out Kodi, because I use Linux instead of windows, & saw that there is a Mac version as well

March 15, 2016 @ 11:47 pm
Vaughan Killin
Vaughan Killin's picture

Thanks Derrall....will definitely look into KODi.

March 25, 2016 @ 4:25 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes, most of what I said above would work with both MacOS and Windows as well. I've been a Windows guy my whole life. I've tried both Linux and MacOS but have never been won over. All you really need is a web desktop/laptop web browser to access network streaming sites.

March 16, 2016 @ 10:03 am
David Orr
David Orr's picture

I'm assuming now that Netflix is geoblocking most DNS spoofers, that UnLocator is no longer a viable option.

March 16, 2016 @ 10:03 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Just tested it yesterday, still works fine. They do have a new special DNS that you have to use to specifically get Netflix working - but I had no issues with it at all. I also tested Hulu.

March 16, 2016 @ 10:13 am
David Orr
David Orr's picture

Thanks Stephen. Good to know. I'll check it out.

March 17, 2016 @ 9:08 am
Jamis
Jamis's picture

No, it doesn't. No Hulu, no Netflix. These VPNs seem to be dead in the water and it's been this way for about six months. And yes, I've tried every end-round. Until something should change they have you beat. I am getting ticked off that yourself and others are still "selling".

April 07, 2016 @ 6:25 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I just tested it for 3rd time right now and again it works fine for me. I have tested Hulu as well and it also works fine with the Beta DNS that they have a massive red box warning in your Unlocator account as soon as you log in. If you follow the steps in their guide, then it should work fine. For me, I didn't even need to go through the advanced blocking of IPs that they suggest some people need to do. I just added the one DNS server in a couple of seconds and it worked right away after flushing my DNS cache. Rebooting your computer will also flush the cache I believe.

Also, if it was not working, I don't have the resources to test this on a daily basis. I don't work for Unlocator although I am part of their affiliate program. If I find out it stops working, then I will certainly remove the parts that say that it works for Netflix and Hulu as soon as I can confirm that. Try contacting their tech support if you are still having issues.

April 08, 2016 @ 9:04 am
lifeinsurancecanada.com's picture

We use a combination of three things:
- Antennae. This provides uncompressed HiDef local channels - better than cable or satellite hi def.
- Netflix. For series and movies. I think we pay $7.99/month.
- Apple TV and Kodi for a few other things.

It was a hurdle to make the change. But the results are worth the setup pain. Watching TV where everything is 'on demand' is completely different. I can't imagine going back to cable or satellite. Our TV viewing habits have changed too much.

Plus, there's a ton of content on netflix you can't get on mainstream tv. House of Cards, Marco Polo, Better Call Saul. The TV is excellent, and not available on cable.

For those who want an easy-intermediate Kodi/internet streaming option, you can buy a raspberry pi computer for <$100. It's about the footprint of a credit card. Setup is basically:
- power on and select Kodi from the install options
- find a 'complete Kodi setup guide' and follow the directions to get a wide array of channels.
- plug in, and watch.

It'd be a few hour setup for a newb. And again, worth it.

March 18, 2016 @ 10:38 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Very useful info. I wish we had good OTA availability in my area because I heard the HD quality is excellent.

Didn't know Apple TV and Kodi were compatiable - did you have to jailbreak (or whatever it's called) the Apple TV to get that working?

I totally agree with you that the on demand convenience of internet TV is WAY better than cable/satellite ever thought of being. Even better than PVR IMO - because you don't have to think to record ahead of time.

I am aware of the Rasperry Pi angle - but I decided to leave it out of the article because it is a little more advanced and device is somewhat under powered. Want to make sure people get the easiest and best experience possible. I think paying a higher initial one-time cost is worth it for increased performance and convenience since you will be saving so much money on a monthly basis anyway. Great cheap option though for those who are willing to put in the time.

March 18, 2016 @ 11:23 am
Bernie
Bernie's picture

Is it possible to get TSN free? I would give up my satellite service if it weren't for my CFL. TSN carries all CFL games.

March 18, 2016 @ 10:41 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Unfortunately, no. They do have a live stream and some full length games available on their site but you need a cable/satellite account login to access them. You could see if any of your friends/family would share their login with you though so you could access that content without having to pay for cable/satellite. I do that with my dad's account sometimes if there is some locked content I want to watch.

EDIT: I just found out that the CFL streamed their entire playoffs free through YouTube in 2015. Wonder if they will do the same in 2016. Also, most sports leagues have streaming services where you get access to ALL the games (much better than what you get through cable/satellite). There is MLB.tv, Rogers NHL Gamecenter, NFL Gamepass, NBA League Pass, etc. So, if you only like 1 or 2 sports, you can still get access to them for much less than the price of cable.

March 18, 2016 @ 11:26 am
Matt M.
Matt M.'s picture

If you use a service that gets ESPN2, they simulcast all the TSN CFL games.

March 27, 2016 @ 5:57 am
Bonnie Lynne
Bonnie Lynne's picture

Hi again Stephen,

Just checked here to see if you had posted my comments from yesterday publically. Was glad to see that you had not! Was rambling quite abit given had been up for 30+ hours!

Will write again before end of month with specifics of Shaw negotiations!

Thanks again for this site - this section where people share is wonderful as are your very clearly written instructions.

Just a small note of disappointment: I was unable to get the free unilocator service for 7 days when I tried yesterday. They kept redirecting me to the pay for service page.

Thanks, Bonnie Lynne

March 18, 2016 @ 4:04 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Hi Bonnie - actually the comment did go up on the other article (Save Money Challenge #1: Slash Your TV Cost). When you submit a comment on my site and most blogs, they get posted immediately after you hit save/submit. I think your comment is fine, but did you want me to remove it for you?

March 18, 2016 @ 11:05 pm
Andy's picture

I agree that a dedicated PC is the best option for Internet TV but it does take more money and time set it up properly, however you only need to do it once. For those who's not willing to spend too much money and effort , Roku is a great option because it's really simple to set up as long as you have broadband Internet (Roku 2 and above are recommended). combine it with a TV antenna for live TV channels in HD, that's a great recipe for cutting your cable :)

March 21, 2016 @ 4:07 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I sure wish it was easier for the whole country to use a TV antenna Andy. I tried myself years ago but I got really crappy reception on 2 or 3 channels. You're right - the initial hassle of setting up a dedicated PC is totally worth it. It takes minimal maintenance after you get it up and running properly.

March 21, 2016 @ 3:01 pm
Rob
Rob's picture

As always the networks with the most popular shows still require a subscription to a TV provider, such as History and Showcase on your list. HBO requires a subscription. AMC as well however no Canadian providers are listed for their shows online. Is free TV on the internet really as limited as I see or am I missing something?
Thanks

March 22, 2016 @ 2:32 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

It doesn't feel that limited to me Rob - always lots of shows to watch. If you supplement with Netflix or other streaming service, it's way more than I could ever watch. It doesn't have everything, that's for sure, but I guess it depends on how much those extra shows are worth to you. Is $100 a month for Game of Thrones really worth it when you could just buy that show for download or on DVD/Blu-ray in addition to internet TV and still be way ahead?

March 22, 2016 @ 2:35 pm
Greg
Greg's picture

try [removed] USA stations and [removed] for CTV from Regina and Edmonton

March 22, 2016 @ 10:43 pm
Greg
Greg's picture

[removed] works well too for American stations. I haven't had cable/satellite for 2 years now and watch everything and more than before. [removed] has every sports event in the world, [removed] has every sports station in the world including ESPN, Sportsnet and TSN. [removed] has great American stations including History, Discovery, HBO etc plus MLB. [removed] has the CTV stations. [removed] has all the news channels, CNN, CBC Newsworld, BBC. I watch these through a laptop hooked up to the tv but have recently purchased a Goobang Doo MXQ so will be hooking that up soon. Enjoy the channels, they are all out there for free.

March 22, 2016 @ 10:53 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Thanks for the suggestions Greg. Those sites are most likely hosted internationally so they can skirt copyright laws and prosecution. Using them isn't technically illegal - but the content creators almost certainly aren't getting a cut from viewership through those sites. I try to stay with the official sites myself but everyone has to make their own choice on these things.

EDIT: I am removing the names of the sites Greg listed because I tested one of them and it was filled with spyware and malicious code that tries to get the user to take actions that could compromise their computer.

March 22, 2016 @ 11:07 pm
Walter
Walter's picture

I also use [removed]. It works okay for movies and television but content availability and quality will be disappointing for those interested in live sports.

March 25, 2016 @ 11:58 am
Louis
Louis's picture

Hi Stephen,

Over the air TV (OTA) is a good option for free TV if you live within the coverage area of the TV stations. As already told in this thread, all you need is an antenna and the picture will be top quality.

More : if you want to skip the ads, there are a few Personal Video Recorders (PVR) that enable you to. These are not cheap, their cost is similar to the ones of the cable/sat companies. Just take a look at the Tablo TV, I bought their PVR a few months ago and I am satisfied with it. From time to time they have refurbished units that are cheaper, I bought one. By the way they are in Kanata ON.

To locate the local stations, try this tool : http://www.tvfool.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29

March 24, 2016 @ 6:55 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes, I really wish that I lived an area that had better access to OTA channels. Here in the Maritimes we have really few channels available with very spotty coverage. I have used TV Fool before to locate towers, but in the end it wasn't worth the effort for me.

I have written a bit about OTA in my main guide to saving money on TV.

March 25, 2016 @ 10:24 am
cheekysaver
cheekysaver's picture

I have been streaming tv for almost 10 years now. If I pay for cable to get all the tv I am getting it would cost over $100 a month and I would have to watch commercials. It is worth the time it takes to learn how to use it.

March 25, 2016 @ 2:08 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Absolutely - $100 is fantastic recurring savings!

March 25, 2016 @ 10:24 am
Lynn Oliver
Lynn Oliver's picture

I am currently a cable subscriber, but love the thought of saving money, but am concerned that I would lose the golf channel, tsn, sportsnet, and the food networks - can u confirm that I would still receive them

March 25, 2016 @ 10:47 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Unfortunately sports is still a tough things to get through legal free internet channels. You are able to get it through some sketchier sites that basically rebroadcast cable or satellite feeds. If you live in major metro area, like southern Ontario, then going with Over The Air (OTA) would give you access to some stations with sports. However, I don't think TSN, golf channel, and sportsnet specifically are broadcast OTA.

CBC does stream the odd sports coverage online. They were doing Hockey Night In Canada online some Saturdays in the 2015/2016 season. Check out the online schedule here:

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/broadcast

March 25, 2016 @ 10:54 am
Justme
Justme's picture

Hi,

I see you don't list The Travel Channel. Does that mean it isn't available?

Or National Geographic? I tried to access one of their programs online, and couldn't, even if I get it through Bell Fibe. I emailed them and got no answer. I think you can only do that from the U.S.

What about the international channels, like the BBC and al Jazeera?

March 25, 2016 @ 11:05 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Those two are not available to my knowledge. I think The National Geographic channel does stream online in the USA, but you need to log into with a TV subscription account to get access.

All the BBC channels do appear to be available live although they "recommend" you have a TV subscription to watch them. No sign in is required though.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/live

March 25, 2016 @ 12:18 pm
Antoinette Starratt
Antoinette Starratt's picture

Except there is this message when you click on that link:

BBC iPlayer TV programmes are available to play in the UK only. Find out why.

If you are in the UK and see this message please read this advice.

March 26, 2016 @ 2:09 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Aha - I guess I must have had my Unlocator account active when I clicked the link myself and not realized it. Unlocator truly is a useful program as it positions you in the correct country depending on which site you are viewing automatically. It only does this for media sites with video, so you will still be treated as a Canadian on all other sites.

March 26, 2016 @ 8:26 pm
Claire
Claire's picture

Hi Stephen,

I'm looking at cutting the cord from Bell, to really cut cost down from the very basic satellite Bell package (which is getting way to expensive for seniors on a fixed income), to watch only free TV online, no netflix, no sports or paid content. This would replace what we watch now on CBC, CTV, Global and PBS. I've tested CBC online and we can get everything we want online, so it's the American content that I'm after, to replace American shows on CTV, Global and mostly PBS. We're located in Quebec and there is no OAT reception here.

Would you be so kind as to clarify a few points for me...all that I have been reading and researching these past few weeks is still not completely clear for me.

1) By installing a DNS proxy on my laptop (connected to TV with HDMI), would I have to make changes to the DNS settings on the computer every time I want to switch between watching American channels and CBC/or other Canadian web content?

2) Is there any obvious difference between unlocator and unblockus if I want to stream through my laptop or eventually /maybe through a ROKU?

3) When looking at both unblockus and unlocator, would I be able to get ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS and CW on either proxy, on my windows laptop for free, not 7 days only viewing or such limitations? Would I be able to get these channels on a Roku?

Thanks in advance

March 28, 2016 @ 3:39 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Hi Claire,

I'm glad you're able to find most of the content you want online already. I think you would be able to get the rest of the American stuff using a proxy like you're trying to do.

1) With Unlocator, I'm pretty sure that you'll never have to touch your DNS settings again unless Unlocator updates their DNS for some reason. They only route you through the United States (or other country) when you are viewing well known website that serves video streaming content. Otherwise, you will always appear as Canadian, which includes all the Canadian network websites. They even let you control your setting on a site by site basis for some sites where you might want view content from multiple regions like Netflix. You get different content if you are American vs Canadian, so you can switch back and forth as you please using your Unlocator account. UnblockUS doesn't mention any of these things on their homepage and I don't remember it working that way when I tested it a while back. I'd stick with Unlocator for the added convenience and features.

2) I have the most experience using Unlocator and highly recommend them. They provide detailed easy to follow instructions for setting up each of your devices, or you can make a one time change to your router and then all devices connected through your router (wired or wireless) will automatically work including Roku. The only thing with Roku, is that it might depend if you register with them as a Canadian or an American. I'd test it using the Unlocator 7 day free trial just to be sure it will work.

3) There is a $5 monthly cost for Unlocator, but as long as you pay that then your access will not have limitations. There are also no limitations on the 7 day free trial - full immediate access. Getting channels on a Roku is difficult because Roku has "apps" and you can only view content from apps they support. I don't know if Roku natively supports all those channels, I don't think so. You might be able to get a little more on Roku in conjunction with Plex, but I haven't tested that.

March 28, 2016 @ 10:38 pm
Claire
Claire's picture

Thank you so much Stephen for such a quick reply and for clarifying all this for me.

Knowing that I don't have to switch DNS settings on my laptop once it's set up, and that ROKU doesn't easily stream the channels we're looking for and might not anyway, really simplifies things...I'll stick with the laptop and forget about spending on the ROKU. I'll just set up a very clear favorite list of channels and shows that we watch on the laptop...we don't actually watch that much TV and don't channel surf.

Thank you for recommending Unlocator for their ease of setup, use and features, I'll go with them and set up the trial on the laptop only, when I know I'm ready to do some final testing...sooner than later. Last year I cut the cord on the phone with Bell and set up with voip.ms and it is working so beautifully, I wouldn't want to take any chances and mess it up by fiddling with the router/modem.

So I now have another question for you Stephen. One to make the experience even more comfortable :)

I have been using a cordless mouse and one remote for the amplifier, to control the sound volume and mute commercials :) ..and actually another remote to turn the TV on, since I've never got around to integrating the two remotes.
You suggest an air remote, which I've looked at on Amazon. If I understand well, it would replace the mouse (I haven't used a keyboard in the tests I've done but it might come in handy?)
...and could I integrate my other two remote functions, TV on/off, volume and muting as well, and have only one remote to do everything? ! :)))))))))))))))

Thanks in advance Stephen

March 29, 2016 @ 12:28 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I used to recommend the Logitech Harmony line of remotes as a single remote that can (theoretically) control everything. At the time years ago when I did this myself they didn't have an "air mouse" version. You had to use arrow keys on the remote to control the mouse cursor which was a major pain. I also needed to use a USB infrared receiver to receive commands from the harmony remote because that was its main method of communication.

I'm thought harmony would have something better now, but I just checked and they still don't have an air mouse type function. Using the harmony software to recognize and configure all your devices is a challenging task anyway. If you want it to operate everything with a single button click like "watch TV" that turns on your computer, turns on your receiver, turns on your TV to the correct input, sets the volume, etc the programming can be tricky and error prone. If one command doesn't get through to a device, then you're left trying to get that one device up and running.

Although, stuck with multiple remotes, I still recommend the air remote control option like I recommended in the article. If you're happy with a mouse, then just getting a remote that can control your TV, receiver, and any other devices would be the best option so you only have 2 remotes/devices to worry about.

March 29, 2016 @ 2:20 pm
Claire
Claire's picture

Thanks for replying Stephen.
I don't think I was clear in my question, so I'll give it another try...words are not my best way of expressing myself :))

I don't expect one button click to do more than one action and I really like the idea of getting rid of the mouse and I plan on continuing to turn the computer on and off manually, so the the air remote with the flying mouse that you recommend is extremely interesting to me.

I was just wondering if the 5 IR programmable buttons on the GooBang Doo MX3, can be matched individually to actions on the TV (turning it on/off) and an amplifier/receiver (muting the sound) that has infra red capabilities.
Does that make more sense? I so appreciate your wisdom.

Thank you in advance

March 29, 2016 @ 8:22 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes your question does make more sense now, but I just threw in the "one button click" stuff as extra information that you may not have known was possible.

In terms of if you can control your receiver and TV with the GooBangDoo remote, I'm not 100% sure. I have a similar remote I bought a while back from another company and I wasn't able to get it to do something like that. However, I see in the item description for this model it does specifically say it has an IR learning functionality that allows it to control up to 5 buttons on your TV remote. To me that would indicate that you could train it to control both your TV on/off and receiver on/off.

March 30, 2016 @ 2:56 pm
Claire
Claire's picture

Thank you Stephen, I value your expertise.
Many blessings

March 30, 2016 @ 5:43 pm
Looweez
Looweez's picture

I just bought a Roku today in southern Ontario hoping this would be a way to get rid of cable. Unfortunately, it would be wonderful for movie watchers, but I can't see that it replaces any of the channels my husband watches. He likes his sports and BNN, and I don't see any replacements for that. Re the sports, we got NHL for free, and I understand it allows him to watch any hockey games even if they would be blacked out in our area. But he said, hockey's almost over, what about baseball, and I couldn't find any baseball channels for him. So if you're looking for specific channels, Roku doesn't do it.

March 31, 2016 @ 4:29 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes, Roku is a little challenging for streaming TV. The reason I have it listed under the easy setup is because it is really easy to get up and running with little technical know-how or patience. However, for what you get in convenience you pay for in available content. Most of the network streaming sites aren't available. You may be able to get some of them using a hookup with Plex.

Roku is supposed to support most of the sports streaming subscriptions I mentioned a few comments above yours (of course you have to pay yearly subscription fees for those). However, I'm not completely sure they work in Canada. They should because most of those streaming services are supported in Canada, but I haven't tested it myself.

March 31, 2016 @ 9:13 pm
David Anderson
David Anderson's picture

Hi Stephen. I'm very tempted to give your suggestions a try. Does the recent crackdown by Netflix affect your recommendation to explore Unlocator?

David

April 04, 2016 @ 12:41 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

No, I've tested it after they started blocking proxies more and it still works fine. It is possible that they could somehow stop Unlocator in the future permanently, but it will still work for other sites like Hulu and American network websites. Still worth it IMO. Also, you can cancel anytime. If you're concerned, give the free trial a go and see how it works for you. Important - you do need to use their new DNS server settings specifically to get Netflix working though. They give you a big warning in your account settings about this so it is hard to miss.

April 06, 2016 @ 11:01 am
Tammy
Tammy's picture

Great article. How are you accessing Hulu? I have been set up to watch US (or any other country) Neftlix for quite some time but have never been able to access Hulu as it requires a US credit card when you sign up for their monthly plan.

Knowing how you achieved this would be most helpful.

Thanks!

April 04, 2016 @ 10:33 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

You don't need a USA credit card to stream the free content. You just need to find the well-hidden free checkbox that shows up when you are browsing content. I usually use the Popular Shows view to browse. Once you check that off, it will show you the video available to everyone without a paid subscription (still a lot).

April 06, 2016 @ 11:11 am
Dominique
Dominique's picture

Thanks Stephen for this info. Is there a lot of french shows and movies on internet tv ? Cause Crave tv and netflix does not offer much.

April 13, 2016 @ 7:21 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Hi Dominique, you'd have to check and see if French-specific channels are available...Unfortunately that isn't something I've gone looking for 

April 15, 2016 @ 11:27 am
steve
steve's picture

Ok.I need some basic help. we want to cut the cable but I need a recommendation as my tech knowledge is very limited. I want to watch netflix, nfl games and hbo. I have an older sony bravia which i have apple tv connected to but dont use much as bell fibe has netflix. I desperately want to cut the cord but want to transition in a smart way. Any suggestions which android tv box to buy? my wife is not tech savvy either. Thanks

April 14, 2016 @ 8:52 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Well, you've got Netflix covered. Most devices can do Netflix no problem. If you want to watch NFL games, I'd look into a NFL Gamepass subscription - right now that's showing as $49.99 (rest of season) for me but I think the price changes depending on how far through the season it is.

Getting HBO might be a bit harder. You can subscribe for it online in the USA I think but not in Canada. I think there are ways using Unlocator and maybe a USA credit card to sign up for HBO USA service if you are in Canada - but that isn't something I've tried. Would you consider just buying the shows you watch on HBO directly either on optical disc or through Google Play or Apple iTunes?

The Android TV box I mentioned in the article above should be plenty for your needs. You get access to all the apps in the app store which includes the NFL app and the HBO app if you are able to get the USA version working.

April 15, 2016 @ 11:32 am
Jim
Jim's picture

Stephen;
Is it possible to have TV and Telephone (what happens to my email?) through the internet? As of now I have internet, telephone and sat TV all with one company for $191.00 per month. I am 76 on fixed income and just cant afford it! I do not want Netflix, sports channels etc. We like news, history, PBS, national geographic etc. US channels would be a bonus. I want to send the TV (wirelessly) from my computer to my Samsung 40" TV. It is a HDMI-Type un40eh5000-Mod un40eh5000fxzc. I also need something like a link stick--wis12abgnx/xaa, but cant find one. If you can help me I would be MORE THAN THANKFUL.

Jim PS I live I BC. Postal code V0K2G0. Hope this helps.

April 22, 2016 @ 5:10 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Jim, if you want to use your existing computer, then I would suggest a ChromCast for streaming from your computer to your TV using hte Chrome web browser.

You'll have to check and see if there is enough content on internet TV to keep you happy. Some live news coverage might be harder to get. Just play with the list I've provided above and see if that is enough for you.

You can use magicJack or Ooma for your telephone - just wouldn't trust it in an emergency. If you have a cell phone backup then it's fine.

May 10, 2016 @ 2:57 pm
Jim
Jim's picture

Stephen; One thing I forgot, is can my wife watch TV and can I be on the internet at the same time? My hobby is genealogy. I need the internet for that. Once again THANK YOU.

Jim

April 22, 2016 @ 5:27 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Sure, with different computers on your network no problem. You just have to make sure your internet speed is fast enough to handle it. 10 MBps+ should be more than enough for you.

May 10, 2016 @ 2:58 pm
Yvonne
Yvonne's picture

My Apple TV is a few years old, will it still work or am I better off to get GooBang Doo First Generation XB-I Quad Core Android TV Box 2GB RAM 16GB ROM + 4335 Wifi Module(Support 802.11AC) + Newest Kodi with All Preloaded Add-ons?

How does my iPad configure into this? I currently watch shows on Netflix via my iPad while on treadmill in a room with no TV. I'd like to maintain that.

Yvonne

May 10, 2016 @ 1:29 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

There's nothing wrong with AppleTV and the list of Canadian apps they support is growing. However, with an Android box you get the full Play store, whereas with Apple I believe they have a restricted store that is only good for AppleTV.

No reason you can't continue to use your iPad in tandem with whatever other device you buy. You could also consider AirPlay to get content from your iPad to your TV. I don't use Apple products personally so it is possible that they can do more than I give them credit for.

May 10, 2016 @ 2:53 pm

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