Practical Techie: Watch free live streaming TV via the web

There are free and legal ways to watch TV from around the world through the internet. (Credit: Michael Zech | Dreamstime.com)

We all know about the new streaming services that let you watch live TV, but almost all are pay channels. If one subscribes to the paid TV streaming apps they may include Sling, Hulu, Apple TV, YouTube TV, Live TV, and many more.

But there are free and legal ways to watch TV from around the world through the internet. Let’s see some prime options, especially for cybernauts who are news junkies

INFORMATIVE — Most available free channels are newsy and European. The major provider is the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), with content from all over the world. The BBC makes all its licensed TV channels available for free via the iPlayer service. You can watch BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC 4, BBC News, BBC Parliament, BBC Alba, CBBC, and CBeebies. Another UK-based service is Sky News. This streaming service can be viewed from anywhere on Earth with an Internet connection.

If sports are a preference, then Eleven Sports — also a British network — is the choice. Launched in 2015, the channel has the broadcast rights for the North American Soccer League (NASL), the World Rally Championship, the Can-Am Baseball league, and some eSports tournaments. Also, the Big Sky Conference, Spain’s top basketball league (Liga Endesa), plus the Swedish Hockey League.

Most of these streams are viewed through Pluto TV which is currently unavailable in Puerto Rico but will be soon. It is offered anywhere on the US mainland.

NETWORK ITV is another British network that offers six options: ITV 1, ITV 2, ITV 3, ITV 4, CITV, and ITVBe. Unlike the BBC, ITV is independently owned. The network makes its channels available for free online to anyone with a UK-based IP address -the Caribbean included- with the usual mix of news, drama, talk shows, and children’s programming. Sports addicts can enjoy La Liga, UEFA European Championship, the FIFA World Cup, the Rugby World Cup, the Six Nations, the French Open, the Tour de France, and the Cheltenham Festival.

FRENCHY — If the viewer is a Francophile, or likes to watch TV channels from around the old world, France 24 is worth checking out because it has four different versions. The French edition, one in English, Arabic, and Spanish broadcasts. France 24 is a state-owned national broadcaster with a focus on news and magazine content.

US LIVE — There are at least five TV channels you can watch for free on the US stream. The other four are CBS, PBS, MyTV 9, and CW. All these stand-alone channels are only available in standard definition.

ABC, as an American network focuses on talk shows, dramas, lifestyle shows, and news. Il also provides a smattering of sports. ABC broadcasts international versions, yet the US edition of the network for free online, you can do so via the USTVNow service.

According to Makeusof.com, the online ABC live stream channel is only officially available to American citizens living abroad. And of course, there is CNN for free. The free option is a bit different from regular CNN content available on most cable providers.

Yet, if the viewer is on US soil, the domestic version of the TV channel is available as a live stream through Pluto TV

In terms of sports content, Fox Sports is another internet TV channel available online for free, although in a lighter version of the same channel offered via a cable subscription. Most of its content is on the same schedule as Fox Sports 1.  

Smart Samsung and Vizio TV sets come with Fubo Sports installed for free. It is a sports venue launched in June 2019 and is also available via the Plex, Pluto, and Roku devices. Also check out the NFL Channel, also via Pluto TV.

Web navigators with children on board, have Nick Jr, a specially adapted version to anyone living in the US, parts of the Caribbean, the UK, Germany, or Austria. Kids’ programs include Dora the Explorer, Wallykazam, Peppa Pig, Bubble Guppies, and Nella the Princess Knight.   

There is also live PBS Kids, also offered through its website on smartphones and desktops.

BIZ — And of course, there is business news available for free live streaming. A top provider is Bloomberg Television News. All its four channels are online, via Bloomberg’s website. Bloomberg is a leading US source for business and market news produced via the four channels, Bloomberg US, Bloomberg Europe, Bloomberg Asia, and Bloomberg Australia.

Author Rafael Matos is a veteran journalist, a professor of digital narratives and university mentor. He may be contacted at cccrafael@gmail.com.

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