Welcome to television online. This how-to article is devoted to explaining how to find and watch free television programs via the Internet. Most of the websites will provide full episodes of your favorite shows - although the most recent episodes are usually posted 1 to 2 days after the original scheduled airdate.
Keep in mind that nothing is ever truly free - this programming is free to you because paid advertisers will interrupt the programs. You cannot fast forward or push past the ads, but generally they are short and there are not very many. Certainly there are fewer than on regular television.
Also note - I have never had to "sign in" or register to use any of these websites - that may change in the future but as of July 2008, I've been watching TV online through these websites for over 6 months.
Network: ABC - American Broadcasting Company. Go to: http://abc.go.com/player/
The list on the left shows all the shows they offer online - click on the name of the show and it will open an episode list on the right. The episodes are listed with the newest one at the top. Click on the "watch now" button and the show should start. If it is your first time using ABC player - you may have to download their software - just follow the onscreen instructions.
Warning - at the top left there is a title area that has four options:
"What's On" "Shows" "Full Episodes" and "Community" - clicking on three of these will navigate you away from the ABC player - the "Full Episodes" will provide a drop down box listing all the programs available (it is the same as the list on the left side of the page).
Network: CBS - Go to: http://www.cbs.com/video/
CBS is kind of hit and miss with their postings - many of their current running programs only provide "clips" of their episodes (20 seconds or more). However, they do offer full length "TV Classics" such as "MacGyver," "Perry Mason" and "The Love Boat."
On the left of the screen, click on the "TV Classics" banner and a list will come up of shows you can watch. Click on a show title and the episodes will appear on the right. Click on the picture and the show should start. If it doesn't load right away, then the link is probably broken and you will have to choose a different episode or show.
Network: FOX - Go to: http://www.fox.com/fod/
Fox is one of the most intense sites - they try to be fancy with their graphics - so you will get a lot of screen motion connected and controlled by your mouse.
If you choose a show name from the bottom of the main screen - the most recently posted episode for that program will begin playing (after a short advertisement). Once the episode player has launched - any older episodes for that program are listed at the bottom of the screen. It is highly advisable to pause the video before scrolling down to look at the list of older episodes.
Network: NBC - Go to: http://www.nbc.com/
NBC is the most convoluted site of them all. Don't let yourself be distracted. Hover your mouse over "watch video" near the top of the screen - it is just below the advertisement and two words to the right of the "search" box on the left.
Click on the name of the show you wish to watch (do not worry about the blue arrows). A new window will come up - hover your mouse over the images at the bottom of the screen to get details on the episodes and click the one you want to watch. Then the video should load.
Sci-Fi Channel: Go to: http://www.scifi.com/rewind/
USA Network: Go to: http://www.usanetwork.com/fullepisodes/
Click on the show/episode you are interested in.
These are just a few of the most common/popular television stations that offer online viewing.
As I was researching for this article, I also found a site called "Fancast" at http://www.fancast.com/ - which is in BETA stage. Basically, this site has just gone out and gathered links like the ones I've shown you above and put them all in one place. You can simply look at all the titles and click to watch.
Good luck and enjoy your show!