The internet contains an astoundingly large collection of free entertainment. It comes in the form of movies, music, podcasts, documentaries, video clips, books, and more. This article provides links to some of the higher-quality free entertainment in each category.
Unfortunately, many free entertainment-oriented websites in recent years have been converting themselves into paid services. I'm sad to see this trend, and I'm even sadder to see the prices of many paid services increasing. Despite the fact that it makes me sad, price increases don't surprise me. Entertainment services require a lot of bandwidth, and that costs money.
I should give a word of warning here before we get into specific websites. Just because a particular website lets viewers stream music or movies for free doesn't mean it is legal to do so. The problem is that it is very difficult, perhaps impossible, for the average person surfing the internet to know what is legal to stream and what isn't. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure this out, and I have come to the conclusion that I just can't. There are gray areas in the laws. There don't seem to be firm guidelines. And, interpretation of the laws seems to be in flux. Movie and music producers seem to believe that streaming or download anything you aren't paying for is illegal, and people advocating for copyright freedom seem to think nothing is illegal. Even the major entertainment websites like Youtube have had legal trouble. If they can't figure out what is legal, who am I to try to figure it out. My guess is that the only time you can be 100% sure that something is legal is when the organization that produced the content puts it on their website and tells you it's free for you to download.
I also want to add a word about websites that require registration before downloading or streaming their content. Although you may feel perfectly comfortable in giving away your email address, personally, I don't believe it is a good idea to trust an unknown website with my email address or any other semi-personal information. Maybe I'm just paranoid, or maybe it's the fact that I hate getting lots of junk emails. So, for registration at any website that I would really like to access, I would first try a fake email address. If that doesn't work, I would try Throwawaymail. If that doesn't work, I would try giving the website an old email address that I never use.
As I present entertainment websites, I'll try to keep my descriptions short. I don't think long descriptions are worthwhile, because I've noticed that I don't seem to get much useful information from long, online reviews of entertainment websites. I just have to visit them and view some content to get an idea about whether they are worth my time.
Almost all websites that are dedicated to the downloading of free audio books provide only uncopyrighted classic literature. Here are two of the best:
Lit2go: Classic literature
The internet hosts some free websites that have fairly large collections of entertaining and informative documentaries on all sorts of subjects:
Here are some websites that let visitors download free ebooks without opening an account or buying anything:
Baen Books: Science fiction
Free-Books: hundreds of ebooks in all categories
Project Gutenberg: millions of books that no longer have copyrights
Sacred Texts: Online reading only; no downloads.
There are also several free ebook websites that require readers to open an account. A list of many of them can be found here.
Amazon also gives away many ebooks for free to those who already have an Amazon Kindle. It doesn't even have to be a working Kindle.
Free movie websites have many drawbacks. Many seem to survive by showing annoying and sometimes salacious advertisements. Often these websites are very slow or have other problems that render them essentially nonfunctional. I also have no idea whether most are legal. Depending on your internet browser and browser settings, you may or may not be able to play a video at a particular website. Thanks to the laziness of website programmers, some may only work with the Chrome browser. You may also need the latest version of a browser. If you are frustrated by all of this, you may want to avoid free movie websites completely.
I'm not including websites like CBS All Access that give you a free pass for a certain amount of time, because I don't find it acceptable to lure people into subscriptions with temporarily freebies.
Often, the latest movie-streaming websites can be found simply by typing "streaming movies" into a search engine and spending some time locating a site that works. Here are a few websites where you can stream free movies and TV programs:
Youtube: Needs no introduction. Some content on Youtube is free and some is not.
Pluto TV: Can be very slow to load. Streams both Live TV and on-demand movies. Has several live TV channels to choose from (sports, news, movies, etc.) and an amazing number of on-demand movies for a free service. A free service with such a large collection of movies can't continue forever, so enjoy it while it lasts.
BYU TV: Miscellaneous collection of family-oriented programs. Viewers may have to use the latest version of the chrome browser, because for some reason, Mormons don't seem to understand that not everyone runs Windows and the latest version of the most popular browser. Yes, as a group, Mormons appear to be technically retarded.
https://watchmoviesfree.us : Miscellaneous movies.
https://yesmovies.to : Miscellaneous movies.
Many, many websites exist for the streaming of free music. I haven't listed music websites that require the downloading applications, because there is no justification for this, given all the ones that allow you to stream music directly from their websites. Here are two of the most popular that contain a wide variety of music:
Pandora: Requires registration. This is the most tailorable of all free music streaming services. Pandora requires far more CPU power than it should and streams frequent advertisements.
Slacker Radio: Requires the Adobe Flash player.
There are also innumerable websites that exist for specific types of
music and individual radio stations. Music lovers can search for
music that appeals to their tastes on any search engine.
Podcasts are something that I've been enjoying for the last 3 years. They are both entertaining and educational, and I can listen to them whenever I'm doing just about anything that doesn't require a lot of concentration--driving, grocery shopping, waiting in the dentist's office, etc. I try to avoid podcast conglomeration websites by downloading directly from the websites of content producers. The reason for this is that the bigger an online website gets, the more likely it is to start charging for content. So, why help that process along? There are so many podcasts available now that anyone should be able to find an extremely large selection of podcasts that they like simply by opening their favorite search engine, typing in a topic that interests them, and adding the word "podcast". Here are some of the podcasts I like:
This Week In Tech: Leo LaPorte's collection of podcasts covering everything having to do with consumer computers and software.
James Potter Books: All four James Potter (son of Harry Potter) books written by a Harry Potter fan.
The Leviathan Chronicals: Science fiction with plenty of action and adventure.
Children of the Gods: Military science fiction about fighting an army of invading aliens.
Metamor City: Fantasy fiction about a city where the Earth's more paranormal citizens have collected, thanks to discrimination by the rest of the world. I'd give this a hard PG-13 rating for suggestive content.
Star Trek Outpost: Star Trek fan fiction that takes place on a space station at the edge of Federation space.
Rabbits: One of my favorite fictional podcasts about a mysterious game where players are disappearing.
Tannis: A very imaginative horror podcast about a legendary place called Tannis where all sorts of strange things happen.
Marsfall: Science fiction about the colonization of Mars.
Talk Nerdy: Entertaining interviews with scientists about their research.
Science Friday: NPR's "Science Friday" radio program in podcast form.
So much free entertainment is now available on the internet that you could literally spend your whole life watching, listening to, and reading it. Hopefully this will continue for quite a while; however, we have been seeing most of the websites that provide free movies and TV programs going to paid formats and then raising their prices. Podcasts by the hundreds are more and more being aggregated onto large websites that charge for downloads. This trend will in all likelihood continue. So, enjoy free internet entertainment while you still can.
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