This is one of those “I know it’s not breaking news – but maybe you didn’t know about this yet” kind of posts.

So did you know that YouTube hosts full-length movies and TV shows? And I don’t mean the ones that people illegally upload (chopped up in sections and all pixelated), but official decent quality versions published on YouTube by studios and distributors.

I remember that when hulu first went online I thought that it seemed like a silly idea to pull all the NBC content off of the popular YouTube and show it exclusively only on hulu. Who would go there to watch anything? Everyone is just on YouTube – and no one will watch NBC stuff online anymore.

Haha, I was proven wrong within a few very short weeks. I’m on hulu all the time now, watching more shows than necessary (catching up no a mediocre 3rd season of Heroes right now) and never turn on the actual television set anymore. Who wants to be slave to a broadcast schedule when you can decide when you want to waste a perfectly good 42 minutes on some brain popcorn? We only use the TV set as a monitor for the laptop, the PS3/BluRay and the DVD player. Well, and actually also when we play CDs – for some reason the audio for the DVD/CD player is currently wired through the TV. Someone’s going to fix that soon though, I’m sure…

So now that hulu has proven to be such a success, YouTube is the one that is trying to catch up and started hosting feature films, documentaries and old TV shows. Just like hulu, you can watch whenever you like, whatever you like. Just that the selection isn’t quite as up-to-date.

But where else do you get the chance to watch the brilliant classic Koyaanisqatsi for free? The only catch: you can’t embed the videos on your own site, like you can with regular YouTube posts. Bummer.

Other great sites to watch documentaries for free online:
SnagFilms – free documentaries
Frontline – previously aired on PBS with lots of extra material

And then there’s the giant of finding shows and movies online wherever they may be lurking around (legal or illegal): Surf The Channel. I dare you to stump this directory. They list everything! Often with Korean subtitles. But hey, if you need to watch that episode of Buffy because that borrowed DVD is skipping…

Of course, there’s always Netflix and iTunes – but neither of them are free. Soon there will also be the launch of Epix HD a film site owned by Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM… await to be wowed.

And in case you want to watch current TV shows that are not hosted online anywhere in decent quality and you’ve got some patience for going the BitTorrent way: EZTV seems to be the way to go. Of course, that might cross your legal/ethical ground rules. I’m going to remain silent on Pirate Bay all together.

So where do you like to watch?

2 Replies to “Online Movie Giants”

  1. oh cool, good to know (hahaha, like i "know" anything about watching TV on the internet). but . . we are trying to catch up on "madmen" and this might be a good way to do it . . .

  2. I'll have to give "Mad Men" another shot. Saw the first episode and was immediately turned off by the misogyny. But so many smart people, including smart women, recommend it.

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