Enjoying some good TV shows at the end of the day or on the weekends is the perfect way to unwind and recuperate.
However, if you are working multiple jobs to make ends meet or trying to save more money to meet long-term financial goals, subscribing to expensive cable TV might not be within your budget just yet.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you should deprive yourself of entertainment. Free streaming TV in Canada is still something you can enjoy, provided you know where to look. With online free TV shows, you can stream so many of your favourite movies, TV shows, and much more, virtually free of cost.
Free streaming TV in Canada is now at the point where you might not even need to consider subscribing to a cable TV service. This free streaming TV Canada guide will show you how to do exactly that.
Can You Really Enjoy Free Streaming TV in Canada?
I know that it might sound too good to be true, but it is actually possible to watch your favourite TV shows online in high quality, practically free of cost. Many of these options even offer you the chance to enjoy the content on your smartphones and tablets, with far fewer ads than you might expect to see from a traditional cable TV subscription.
By the time you’re done reading this free streaming TV Canada guide, you will know exactly what to look for so that you can enjoy full TV episodes for free without worrying about their questionable legality.
If it seems too good to be true, let me assure you that it isn’t. In today’s day and age, you can enjoy TV for free without ripping off the content creators who work so hard to produce the shows for your consumption.
But What Is the Catch?
There is none. It is legitimately possible for you to enjoy TV shows on the internet for free without worrying about the legality of it, and you can continue supporting the content creators while you’re at it.
If you’re wondering how it’s possible, the idea behind it is pretty simple. All the major television broadcasters and networks get most of their revenues through advertisement sales and not through subscriptions from cable or satellite TV providers.
Sure, the providers pay a licensing fee to the networks to get the rights to broadcast the networks and shows through their service. However, the licensing fee they pay is practically a fraction of the ad revenues that these networks rely on for income.
These networks and showrunners want to maximize their reach so that a large audience can watch their shows, thereby increasing their ad revenues. The best way to make it possible is to allow viewers to enjoy the shows over the internet through various mediums.
With high-speed internet becoming more commonplace today, free streaming TV in Canada is becoming more profitable for networks and more convenient and cost-effective for viewers.
If all this sounds familiar, that’s because it is. YouTube content creators already rely on this model to make income, with the popular video streaming platform having become a huge source of free internet TV itself.
Pros of Free Streaming TV in Canada
- It is 100% free for viewers, is legal, and supports content creators.
- You get to watch your favourite TV shows on your schedule.
- You can pause, rewind, and forward the shows whenever you like.
- Commercial breaks are less frequent and often quite short.
- Your favourite shows are available in high-quality video and audio formats.
- Some networks have even made movies and shows that are made exclusively for TV available to watch online.
Cons of Free Streaming TV in Canada
- Without a proper guide, setting everything up to start watching free streaming TV in Canada can be overwhelming (but that’s what this guide is here for).
- You may find yourself using up much more of your internet bandwidth.
- You might occasionally run into videos that don’t offer the best quality.
- You lose the common timepass of channel surfing with internet TV.
- Content like live sports matches is rarely available online, especially for free.
- Most of the largest providers have put the best content available behind paywalls.
Since the free platforms are successful in keeping viewers, they can easily offer advertisement sales that generate significant revenue. As long as you don’t mind watching the occasional ad, you can get access to your favourite content online without having to pay a dime.
Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+ are just some of the platforms that have become increasingly popular alternatives to traditional cable TV. The average cable TV subscriber can spend around $85 per month, while satellite TV subscribers typically spend over $100 to enjoy the services.
How To Watch Free TV Shows in Canada
Watching TV shows and movies is one of the best ways to wind down, but it can be costly to pay for your subscriptions. Depending on the number of services you subscribe to, you can end up taking a sizeable chunk from your paycheck just to pay for them.
Streaming free TV shows online is possible in different forms, like free-to-air, free-to-view, free online streaming platforms, or a combination of them. While these options don’t require monthly subscriptions, free-to-view and free-to-air options will still need you to pay for a decoder and a set-top box to set everything up.
Fortunately, that is all the money you will have to spend on them. Once you set things up, you can enjoy all the free-to-air TV channels for free.
Platforms offering free streaming TV in Canada have a different structure because they don’t require any additional hardware. Watching your favourite content can be as simple as using a dedicated app or going to the website through a browser.
Free TV Channels You Can Enjoy in Canada
This section of my guide will briefly discuss the different TV channels you can watch for free in Canada without subscribing to an expensive cable TV service. These channels range from niche stations to general-purpose channels with diverse content. I will also mention some of the amazing content you can watch on each channel to give you an idea of what you can enjoy.
Global TV, CBC, Citytv
- Dragon’s Den
- Desperate Housewives
- he Amazing Race
- Hell’s Kitchen
- Big Brother
Treehouse, YTV, Teletoon, Family:
- Dora the Explorer
- Phineas & Ferb
- Good Luck Charlie
CTV News, BNN, Bloomberg News, Al Jazeera:
- News Hour
- Question Period
- The Stream
Much Music, MuchMoreMusic, CMT, MTV:
- The Week That Was
- Pet Heroes
- Jersey Shore
Food Network, HGTV:
- Property Virgins
- Everyday Exotic
- Holmes on Homes
- Kitchen Nightmares
Showcase, Discovery Channel, OLN, CTV Comedy Channel, A&E, Space:
- How It’s Made
- Storage Wars
- Ghost Hunters
- Doctor Who
- Lost Girl
- The Colbert Report
Depending on whether you are using an HDTV antenna, an online streaming service, or a set-top box, you can watch most of these TV channels in HD as well!
Services That Offer Free Streaming TV in Canada
The number of free streaming TV options in Canada has increased significantly over the last ten years. As the trend continues, I am sure that plenty more platforms will be available in the coming years.
For now, I will list down some of the best internet TV streaming options that many Canadians have been enjoying in recent years. All of the options I have listed below offer completely legitimate services. Most of them are free, while others are practically free compared to what you might expect to pay for a traditional cable TV or satellite subscription.
1. Pluto TV
- Is available as an app on iOS, Android, and desktop
- Offers access to over 100 live TV channels and over 1000 movies and TV shows
- Has an easy-to-use and intuitive interface
- Is a completely free service
Pluto TV is a completely free platform that may seem too good to be true but is really not. A first glance at its interface will remind you of something you can expect to see while using your Smart TV. Its intuitive interface makes it considerably easier to use, especially if you’re using a Smart TV to access the platform.
I don’t know how or why the platform is free, but I did not find any ads or subscription packages mentioned on Pluto TV. It might seem questionable, but the platform is legit and legal.
On the whole, Pluto TV looks and feels more like a content recommendation service than a streaming platform. It gives you access to more than 100 live TV channels. There are also plenty of TV shows and movies that you can watch. On the website, Pluto TV mentions two options: Live TV and On Demand.
Live TV offers categories like Sports, News, Entertainment, Binge Watch, and Explore. Each category boasts several live channels that you can watch based on your preference. You can even access the platform as a desktop website, as a desktop app, as an app on your TV, or as Android and iOS apps to watch over 100 live channels for free.
- Is a leading free TV streaming provider
- Offers a convenient plug-n-play setup
- Offers access to over 4,000 free and paid channels
- You only need to pay subscription fees for paid channels
Roku is a big name when it comes to free streaming TV in Canada. Capable of delivering high-quality service that can compete with giants like Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV, Roku’s free TV streaming service comes with a stick and remote.
Setting it all up to stream free TV shows is as simple as plugging the stick into your Smart TV, connecting your TV to the internet, and creating an account. And that’s it!
Once you set up your Roku account, you will get access to more than 4,000 free and paid channels available on the internet. BBC Sports, Sky News, TV Player, and Red Bull TV are just a few of the free TV channels available through Roku. You can also access paid providers like Rakuten TV, Netflix, Amazon Video, and VEVO.
While you may have to pay subscription fees for services like Netflix, it has nothing to do with your Roku device itself. You can choose to pay for those services and use your Roku device to enjoy content from the likes of Netflix and Amazon, alongside a ton of other free content available through the device.
Apart from the cost of purchasing your Roku device, you won’t need to pay to watch free channels unless you want to subscribe to services like Amazon Video and Netflix.
3. Crackle TV – No Longer Available
- **NOTE: No longer available in Canada, but accessible if you have a VPN that connects to the U.S **
- Has a simple and user-friendly interface
- Is available as an app on iOS, Android, and desktop
- There’s no need to create an account to use the platform
- Offers a completely free service
Crackle TV, formerly operating under the name “Grouper”, is one of the best platforms if you want to enjoy free streaming TV in Canada. It has been one of Sony Entertainment’s products since 2006, and the company has embedded ads into all of its content to generate ad revenue and keep its platform entirely free.
With less than 1,000 TV show titles, Crackle might not boast the same extensive selection that some of the top-paid streaming platforms offer. However, you can be sure that you will find some fantastic free TV shows on the platform, such as Seinfeld. Crackle doesn’t generate enough revenue to support a lot of original content, but it still boasts a wide selection of content.
Crackle offers content outside of Sony Entertainment as well, thanks to Sony’s partnerships with prominent names like Disney, 20th Century Fox, and Paramount Pictures.
4. Over the Air HD Antenna
- Offers access to local free channels
- Is an affordable setup
- May give you signals to channels from other areas
- Can access several free channels, depending on your location
If you don’t find any of these services interesting, or you simply want to view some local channels, you always have the option of using an over-the-air (OTA) HD antenna. Setting it up is cheap and can give you access to many free local channels that you can watch on your TV without paying for a cable TV subscription.
The amount of money you spend on setting up an OTA HD antenna can make a world of difference in how many channels you can watch. Depending on your location and your OTA HD antenna’s range, you can get good reception to several channels. However, you might not find this option as comprehensive as the others I have mentioned in this list.
5. Crave TV
- Provides significantly lower-cost service
- Offers a lot of high-quality content
- You can browse through the entire selection before paying for a subscription
- Is available on most platforms exclusive to Canada
If you’re already aware of Crave, formerly known as Crave TV, you might know that many Canadians call it the Canadian equivalent to Netflix. Now, this is not a completely free service. You still have to pay a monthly subscription fee to use this platform. However, the fees make it much, much cheaper if you compare it to traditional cable TV or satellite TV subscriptions.
The platform comes with packages ranging from $9.99 to $19.98 per month, making it significantly more affordable than cable TV and most other streaming platforms. While Netflix charges much less for its subscription, Crave offers better value. The service offers loads of premium content in its catalogue that you will not find on Netflix or other platforms.
You can find some of the content from Crave on other platforms, but they charge much more. You can also find content from other premium content creators like Showtime, HBO, and Hulu.
Unlike most paid providers, however, Crave TV lets you browse through its entire catalogue of titles and TV shows before you even pay a dime. It means that you can easily browse through the catalogue and decide whether it could be worth the investment before you pay for it.
6. Amazon Prime Video
- Offers a massive library of TV shows and movies
- Has plenty of original and exclusive content
- Is compatible with Amazon Fire devices, iOS, and Android devices
- Is a lower-cost alternative to traditional TV subscriptions
If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber and are already paying $79 per year to enjoy all the perks, Amazon Prime Video is one of the several advantages you can enjoy. Considering its immense benefits, $79 in annual payments is already a steal for an Amazon Prime subscription.
Amazon Prime Video boasts a massive selection of TV shows and movies, including some popular Amazon Prime Video Originals, like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Grand Tour, and Jack Ryan.
Amazon Prime Video might not have as extensive a catalogue as Crave or Netflix right now, but it is relatively newer and will eventually catch up through its growing selection of original productions. Prime Video is available on several platforms. You can watch it through its app on Android and iOS devices, most Smart TVs, your Xbox 360, and Amazon Fire devices.
You can even get access to the amazing service and selections offered by Amazon, even if you aren’t an Amazon Prime subscriber. The $10 subscription per month for Amazon Prime Video is practically free, considering the amount of high-quality content you can access.
- Is a leading online streaming service
- Offers a free trial period of 30 days
- Boasts a growing number of 3,000+ HD titles
- Is a lower-cost alternative to traditional TV subscriptions
Any list of streaming services would be incomplete without Netflix. The world’s most popular streaming platform has been a leader in the industry for several years now, and it has changed the entertainment landscape. It is by no means a free service, but it offers a lower-cost alternative because of all the content you can watch for a bargain subscription fee.
The basic package costs $9.99 to stream on one device, the standard package costs $14.99 to stream on two devices, and its most expensive option costs $18.99 to stream on four devices. However, most people can make do with its basic package.
Netflix subscription costs have been rising over the years, but it remains significantly more affordable than cable TV or satellite TV subscriptions. The increase in charges has also come with a world of difference in the quality of content available on the streaming platform, especially in recent years.
With a rapidly growing library of over 3,000 HD titles, including Netflix Originals and other high-quality content, Netflix is the top dog among paid streaming services. It has countless titles like Bright, The Do-Over, Stranger Things, and many more that you can enjoy for a bargain compared to traditional cable TV and satellite TV.
8. Sportsnet NOW
- Is an ideal platform for streaming sports programs
- Is a lower-cost alternative to traditional TV subscriptions
- Is available on Android, iOS, Chrome-cast, Fire TV, and other platforms
- Boasts several powerful features like 24-hour playbacks, split-screen viewing, and more
While finding online streaming services that let you watch your favourite sports programs is difficult, it is not impossible, thanks to providers like Rogers Digital Media’s Sportsnet NOW platform.
The platform does not come at a very cheap cost. However, true sports fans might find the $19.99 per month subscription fee worth every cent if it lets them get access to their favourite sports programs without the exorbitant costs of a cable TV subscription.
The platform was created exclusively for sports streaming to bring all your favourite sports programs together in one platform. You can watch games from the Premier League, NHL, MLB, NBA, and much more on Sportsnet NOW. The platform also gives you plenty of sports news that you can watch to catch the latest updates.
Sportsnet NOW also has features like split-screen viewing so that you can enjoy multiple games at the same time. Not only does it have 24-hour playbacks that let you catch any of the action you missed earlier, but it also has on-demand streaming of programs from Rogers Sportsnet Service.
The only drawback with this platform is that it doesn’t yet have a contract with the NFL. You might have to look for other sources if you want to watch more American content.
Is Watching Free Streaming TV in Canada Safe and Legal?
Some of the biggest names like HBO and Hulu have become a part of the free streaming TV industry in recent years. That fact alone should easily do away with your concerns about the safety and legality of free internet TV.
I have done my best to research and list down some of the best free TV streaming services and platforms that you can use in Canada. However, I did encounter countless platforms that I didn’t mention in my guide because not all of them are compliant with the rule of law surrounding free TV streaming.
While the list I have provided above should eliminate your need to search for more free streaming TV platforms, you can still try and find something I might have missed.
How to Tell If a Free Streaming Platform Is Legit?
When you search for free platforms to stream TV shows in Canada, you might come across many shady platforms. I will tell you how to identify the illegal services so that you can avoid getting into trouble.
A completely legitimate and free TV streaming service will only show content that comes without copyright limitations. It means that the content falls under the public domain, making it legal to share the content with anyone. Many legal streaming services also show copyrighted content, but they usually explicitly mention where they get the content from to remain legally compliant.
For instance, Yahoo View displays content from Hulu, while Crackle shows content from Sony Pictures. Perusing the platforms’ websites will show you that they clearly mention where they source the content from.
Streaming platforms that provide a perfectly legal service will never hesitate to publish verifiable and legitimate contact information, including their physical addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. If a platform doesn’t publish this information, it may be to avoid legal action, which is a red flag that you cannot ignore.
Another major red flag is when the platform highly recommends using proxies or VPNs to view the content. Any legitimate free TV streaming service provider will not be looking to cover its tracks. Many of them will even come with mobile apps.
Suppose that you come across a free TV streaming platform with all the latest movies available in its selection, including movies that have just been released in the cinemas or are available on Blu-Ray and DVD. In that case, you should avoid using it because it is probably an illegitimate platform.
Most of these TV streaming services rely on running ads to generate income and keep their services free. If you see that the platform charges nothing and is completely free, you should consider other options.
In some instances, you might not be entirely sure if the platform you’re considering is offering a completely legal free streaming TV service. In such scenarios, I strongly suggest doing more research to find out whether it is legitimate. If it does not check all the boxes for what a legal service should be like, simply move on to other options.
Paying $100 or more every month for a subscription to a TV provider can be frustrating and counterproductive if you’re working hard to earn and save money. It can be even more frustrating if you only get to enjoy watching shows on a handful of channels. After all, why pay for an extensive package when you are only using a few of the channels available?
Fortunately, several providers understand this predicament and offer free streaming TV in Canada to counteract this problem. With the right free streaming service, you can watch whatever you want, when you want, and without paying exorbitant monthly subscription fees. These low-cost and free services are here to stay and offer an excellent way to save money.
If you found this article helpful and informative and are looking for more ways to cut costs, check out my guide on “How To Save Money in Canada”.
You can also check out my guide on frugal living tips in Canada that can help you learn how to save more money, with cutting off your TV subscription being one of them.