Today, you have more people staying and working from home. It is convenient and saves you a lot of time. As people have more free time at their disposal, the demand for live streaming channels has increased manifold.
When you speak of streaming sites, the first ones that come to mind are YouTube, Twich, Disney+, Hotstar, and Netflix.
While the sites mentioned above are legitimate, you have numerous illegal live streaming sites beaming live content worldwide. It can be tempting to watch illegal content, but they come at a price that is not worth paying.
We shall discuss some of the best live and legitimate streaming sites in this article.
Before doing so, here is a gentle warning for those who feel tempted to watch illegal streaming content.
The perils of watching illegal streaming sites
Movie buffs enjoy watching films before they are officially released in cinema theaters. It gives them a unique thrill as they search for illegal torrents worldwide and download the content on their devices. However, such people should be ready to face the repercussions.
- Illegal video streaming sites are those that infringe upon copyright laws and beam illegitimate content. Downloading and watching such content is illegal and harmful. You could end up in jail.
- Secondly, illegal streaming sites come with irritating pop-up ads. Clicking on these ads can offload harmful viruses on your network PCs leading to malware and ransomware attacks.
- Usually, streaming websites require you to register by providing specific details. Illegitimate sites can be dangerous because they do not care much about customer privacy. There is a massive risk of compromising on confidential information leading to the hacking of your accounts.
How to protect yourself from illegitimate live streaming sites
You can avoid these risks and be safe if you exercise care and protect your devices.
- One should use a VPN when watching live streams.
- If you experience pop-up ads coming frequently, you can be sure that the site is illegal.
- Install robust antivirus software on your network systems.
- Refrain from clicking on suspicious links.
- It can prove dangerous to share data with unknown platforms.
- Ensure that you watch content from legitimate live streaming sites alone.
20 Legitimate Live Streaming Sites
Here are some excellent legitimate live streaming sites (paid and free) available on the internet.
Disney+, Disney’s dedicated video streaming site, delivers owned content in attractive interfaces with excellent features like 4K streaming, personalized recommendations, and offline downloads. Disney+ is a paid service with its subscription costing US$ 7.99 per month.
Annual plans are available at a discount. However, Disney+ has now discontinued its 7-day free trial.
Though Disney+ is a separate live streaming site in the US and other parts of the world, it is available as Disney+ Hotstar in India.
With Disney acquiring 21st Century Fox and planning to take over Netflix and HBO Max shortly, you can expect it to become the next biggest thing in live streaming globally. Even today, Disney+ offers an exciting range of content, including movies, live sports action, TV shows, and serials in various languages, depending on the country you live in.
Disney+ has drawbacks, such as expensive premier access, split content with Hulu, and most of its original content from existing franchises.
In India, Hotstar is available as Disney+ Hotstar, whereas it is a separate live streaming site in the US. It is available on the Android platform in the US. Those using iOS and Apple TV can access Hotstar by visiting the official website.
Indians living in the US and elsewhere love Hotstar because it features content from a massive library of Indian movies, dramas, soap operas, and TV shows. Besides, you can watch live sports action, news and current affairs programs, infotainment content, and even cartoons and animation films. Hotstar also offers an exhaustive range of international movies.
In India, you can access all the Star TV channels in various languages like Hindi, Tamil. Telugu, Marathi, etc., on Hotstar.
Hotstar is a paid channel with a monthly subscription of $9.99. Discounts are available if you opt for an annual subscription.
Netflix remains the go-to channel if you are looking for on-demand video streaming services because of its exciting range of top-notch content. While Netflix offers the latest content on TV, you can never be sure because it might not be available the next time you stream it.
One of the advantages that Netflix has over Hulu, its nearest competitor, is that it offers season-complete content. On the other hand, Hulu offers only the recent episodes for viewing. It can be difficult for you to catch up if you fall behind.
Besides, Netflix also produces feature films, documentaries, and comedy specials. Netflix is available in almost all countries but with different pricing. In the US, you have various plans, with the cheapest option being $8.99 a month.
The standard plan of $13.99 per month includes HD content, supports simultaneous streaming, and allows downloading on two devices at a time. The $17.99 per month option allows Ultra HD 4K streaming, four concurrent streaming facilities, and simultaneously downloads up to four titles.
While you get high-quality streaming without ads, there are drawbacks like high pricing, no trial period, and little information about changes to content availability.
4. YouTube TV
While various live streaming services offer only original content or on-demand video streaming, YouTube TV can replace your cable TV subscription by offering content in almost all genres. As of date, YouTube TV offers more than 80 channels, including sports programs, news, and entertainment content in a single package.
YouTube TV is available on almost all mobile and web platforms like Android, iOS, and media streaming devices like Amazon FireTV Stick, Chromecast, and Apple TV. It is also available on smart TVs like LG, Samsung, Sony, etc.
One should know that YouTube TV is different from the YouTube you watch for free on the internet. YouTube TV is amongst the most expensive live streaming channels, with a monthly subscription of $64.99. However, content-wise, YouTube TV ranks amongst the best in the business with its extensive range on offer.
While it offers robust and user-friendly DVR features with an intuitive interface and excellent platform support, it does not provide strict parental control options.
5. Yupp TV
Yupp TV is an exciting platform to watch Indian content, including movies, TV shows, and other live content. As this channel offers content in various Indian vernacular languages like Hindi, Tamil, Bangla, Telugu, Marathi, and Malayalam, etc., this live streaming site is widespread globally.
It is available in countries like the USA, the UK, Malaysia, UAE, Australia, Canada, and Singapore.
Yupp TV is not a free channel, but platforms like Reliance Jio offer it for free as part of their monthly packages. Yupp TV is an ideal live streaming channel for the Indian diaspora living abroad.
Unlike other live streaming platforms like Disney+ Hotstar, Yupp TV offers a 7-day free trial, after which it charges $6.99 for the initial month. Subsequently, the subscription amount drops to $3.99 per month.
Just as Yupp TV is a great location to watch Indian content, USTVGO is the site to go to if you want to watch US TV programs. One of the exciting features of USTVGO is that it comes with a user-friendly UI and fewer ads than many other streaming sites.
It offers quality content in almost every genre by beaming channels like Cartoon Network, Discovery, ESPN, CNN, WWE Network, Fox, HBO, and many more.
Besides, USTVGO offers a quickly-loading video player and offers a buffer-free streaming experience.
USTVGO is a free live streaming website that enables you to stream any live TV content from the US. If you reside outside the US, you need a VPN Extension with a USA Proxy for accessing the site and streaming live TV channels.
Hulu intensifies the competition between live streaming sites as it offers an exciting combination of live TV streaming and quality on-demand library content. Besides, it offers broad platform support that makes it a joy to watch Hulu even though it only offers recent TV series episodes.
While offering a range of TV content, Hulu also produces and creates original content. Besides, Hulu beams live TV content like sporting events, news programs, etc., through channels like CNN, CNN International, ABC News, ESPN, CBS Sports, Animal Planet, Discovery, and many more.
Hulu offers a range of subscription options, with the ad-supported on-demand streaming plan available at $5.99 per month. The $11.99 a month package does not have advertisements. Bundled options like Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ are available for $13.99 (with ads) and $19.99 per month (without ads). College students get the ad-free version for $1.99 a month.
If you want live TV content as well, you can go for the ad-supported $64.99 per month or the ad-free $70.99 a month offers. The high cost is one of the discouraging factors of Hulu.
Peacock, launched by the NBC network, offers a wholesome collection of movies besides presenting the popular NBC network shows. The positive aspect of Peacock is that it offers access to various popular movies, live sporting action, original TV series, and a lot of NBC network shows.
Its attractive pricing structure is also one of its plus points, whereas it lacks some of the features offered by its top competitors like Disney+, Hulu, etc.
Peacock offers two different pricing structures. The free tier can enjoy up to 13,000 hours of entertainment, whereas the premium section can avail up to 20,000 hours. The quality content from other network channels and live sports are restricted to the premium subscribers alone.
Many of the shows available on the Peacock platform are available on other TV and live streaming channels.
Peacock has an ad-supported free version that offers on-demand shows and movies and some selected live sports action. The second tier with a subscription fee of $4.99 per month offers more content but with advertisements. The top tier $9.99 per month structure offers the full array without ads and all sporting activities.
9. Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is a popular live streaming site globally. It has also picked up in India recently with the telecast of many OTT shows and movie content. The exciting aspect of Amazon Prime Video is that it supports 4K HDR streaming and offline downloads. Besides, it has an impressive catalog of movies and TV shows available for purchase or rent.
Besides the regular movies and TV shows, Amazon offers global sporting action, news channels, entertainment, and information channels like Discovery, National Geographic, and Animal Planet.
Amazon Prime Video has a straightforward UI that looks pleasing to eye and comfortable to operate. It is not available for free as an Amazon Prime Video subscription costs around $8.99 a month. One can avail of the annual payment option to get a discount and uninterrupted services.
Other benefits include free shipping and unlimited music streaming. Besides, a Twitch Prime membership is also available on offer.
Prime Video has the edge over competitors like Hulu and Netflix because it allows you to buy or rent TV shows. You can download the purchased or rented content within 30 days but have to view it within 48 hours of the download. Prime Video is also available as a mobile app that is distinct from the Amazon shopping app.
10. HBO Max
HBO Max is the third video streaming service with the HBO name after HBO Go and HBO Now. If you feel confused about the official HBO channel, HBO Go is winding up its services by July 31, 2021, and moving all its customers to HBO Max. So, HBO Max is the prime video streaming service for watching HBO’s original content.
HBO has a massive library that equals Disney+’s library in size and quality. Besides the classic HBO shows, you can watch Warner Bros, The Turner Library, CNN, etc.
One of the advantages is that Warner Bros will debut 17 films on HBO Max the same day they are released in the US theaters. You do not have to pay anything extra to watch these movies, whereas Disney+ requires you to pay a one-time to do so.
Besides movies and TV shows, HBO Max also offers sports content that includes NFL games, PGA tour events, and NCAA basketball coverage.
HBO Max has a two-tier subscription feature, with the ad-supported version costing $9.99 and the one without ads at $14.99 per month. Annual subscription offers are also available with concessions.
The drawback is that Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ offer similar content at much lesser prices, do not include ads, and support 4K streaming.
UStream is a free live TV streaming website based in the US. Today, it is known as IBM Cloud Video. This live streaming site offers more than 200 premium channels from almost all genres, including movies, entertainment, sports, current affairs, and much more.
Channels like ESPN USA, Disney Jr, NBA, Sky Sports, and others provide wholesome sporting entertainment by streaming live action from sports events globally.
As this platform is a free streaming site, it is accessible easily. However, you can experience pop-up ads and click ads frequently. One should avoid clicking on such ads.
At times, users find that the stream does not load. Under such circumstances, you can try disabling the ad blocker for the particular site and refresh the content. It will start loading again. It is also advisable to use a VPN to access this streaming site.
12. Sling TV
Sling TV is a reliable option if you wish to do away with the cable TV connection. This live streaming site offers exciting content from various platforms like ESPN, TNT, CNN, History Channel, Cartoon Network, Fox News, and many more.
Sling TV offers two plans, the Sling Blue and Sling Orange. Both these plans cost $35 per month. The difference is that Sling Blue supports one simultaneous stream, whereas Sling Orange supports three. Besides, they offer content in different categories.
While Sling Orange does not have much sporting content, Sling Blue is not the best for entertainment. If you want a wholesome entertainment package, you can opt for the combined Sling Blue and Orange Plan costing $50 per month.
Besides, it also offers add-on packages for kids and sports fans, with each of these packages costing $6 per month. Sling has recently introduced a new app to improve user experience significantly. It is available on your smartphones, streaming devices, Xbox console, and the web.
13. Pluto TV
Pluto TV is a free-to-air live streaming channel that can replace your cable TV connection and offer you much more content. This free ad-supported service offers more than 190 channels, but they do not include the ones you watch on your cable TV connection.
You can watch channels like CNN, NBC News, Comedy Central, Paramount Movie Channel, and BET Pluto TV.
Pluto TV does not require signing up for an account to start streaming. Hence, you get unlimited streams, unlike other live TV streaming services that restrict the number of devices you can use simultaneously.
Pluto TV has a dedicated app for Android, iOS, Roku, and Apple TV devices. While it is suitable for watching on-demand free movies, it offers few live TV channels. Besides, you have to contend with long video ads.
14. Airtel XStream
Initially, Airtel XStream, an Indian OTT service, was released for smartphones. Subsequently, Airtel has introduced a web version that offers movies, live TV entertainment, and other TV shows.
You can access more than a hundred live TV channels from various premium networks like Zee TV, Sony, etc.
You get general entertainment, sports content, news, and movies free on the Airtel TV Web, but you need an Airtel SIM to verify your credentials with an OTP. Airtel XStream is a popular live streaming platform in India offering various content, including cartoons and TV shows.
It offers various Indian movie content in Indian vernacular languages like Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Bangla, and Telugu.
It is a free but restricted live streaming site because you require an Airtel phone connection with a specific data package subscription to access it.
Indians are movie fanatics and love to watch different types of movies. While you have live streaming sites like Disney+ Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix offering movies and other content in India, the Indian TV viewer can digest more content comfortably. Hence, you have exclusive live TV streaming channels in India, like Zee5, Sony Liv, and many more.
Generally, Zee5 is offered by various service providers like Reliance Jio, Videocon, and others. Besides, anyone can directly watch Zee5 by paying a nominal subscription of Rs 99 per month. If you opt for an annual plan, you have to pay Rs 999.
You can watch exciting movie content in various Indian languages, including Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telegu, Malayalam, and many more. Besides movies, Zee5 offers TV shows, original web series, news channels, and live TV.
If Zee5 offers you entertainment and news channels, Sony Liv goes a step further to offer various sports channels that allow you to watch exciting sporting content from global events. Generally, the sporting events available on the Star Network are not available on Sony, but there is no shortage of sporting events in the world at any given time.
Like Zee5, Sony Liv offers various content, including movies, TV shows, web series, cartoons, and news channels. Indians love this channel because it offers its programs in multiple Indian vernacular languages.
The channel also beams dubbed versions of popular movies and TV shows in popular languages like Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada.
Sony Liv is a subscription-based channel starting at Rs 299 per month. Annual payment options come with exciting concessions. The best aspect of Sony Liv is that a user can create up to five profiles and watch content on multiple devices simultaneously. The annual package does not include the offline download feature.
Sony Liv is available in all countries except the US, the UK, and Europe. Sony Liv Premium is only available in India, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia as it is a channel primarily for the Indian diaspora settled in these countries.
17. MX Player
Initially, a Korean live streaming channel service, MX Player, was bought by India’s Time Group. It is one of the most popular media player apps for Android TVs.
The Indian viewership consists of more than 400 million active users. Hence, any OTT service beaming quality entertainment content has a fantastic market opportunity in India.
MX Player is a free app that enables viewers to enjoy movies, web series, MX original content, TV shows, and live TV with ads. You can enjoy content from more than 180 free-to-air live channels across various genres like movies, music, news, etc. Indian viewers can benefit the most as they get content from all regional channels free of cost.
The advantage is that MX Player has a clean UI and offers a range of fascinating Bollywood and regional movies. However, the drawback is that it beams free-to-air content alone. You need a VPN or a Proxy to access this service from outside India.
18. Facebook Live and Watch
We have discussed the regular live streaming channels that offer movies, sports, and other live TV content. Today is the social media age where people globally are perennially using social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many more. Social media provides excellent media for sharing video content.
Facebook Live is similar to the YouTube channel that people use most frequently. This channel allows individuals, businesses, and organizations to post content for free.
Facebook offers Live and Watch options for businesses to host on-demand or telecast live content. The live streams can be hosted on personal profiles and groups, whereas the Watch videos are only published on Facebook Pages.
The advantages are that the app is free. Viewers are comfortable using the app, and it promotes live engagement. The negatives are that the live videos have time limits. There are no monetization options.
The younger generation is more into online video games. This category would love to watch video game content on Twitch, a consumer-grade platform for independent streamers.
This platform enables gaming enthusiasts to reach out to others in their genre. It is a social networking channel primarily for Esport streaming.
The benefits of Twitch are that it is affordable and accessible for beginners to use. It is an excellent tool for community interaction. However, it has limited monetization tools and is not designed for professional use. It also requires some encoding tools for its functioning.
20. 123TV Now
If you are looking forward to watching a live streaming channel that does not require registration and display irritating advertisements, you have come to the right place, 123TV Now.
This channel resembles YouTube because it has a similar video player. Besides, this site offers a schedule of current and upcoming shows.
This live streaming site features most of its content from the US and UK. You can access various genres like news, entertainment, kids, sports, movies, and others. The best aspect of 123TV Now is that it does not display any advertisements.
The benefits of 123TV are that it does not require any subscription and offers free premium live TV channels.
Though hundreds of live streaming channels are available worldwide, we had to restrict the list to twenty. This list contains primarily international live streaming channel services with a couple of Indian sites thrown in to cater to the interests of the Indian diaspora that makes for a prominent percentage of TV viewers in the world.
We have also included a social media-based free live streaming service in Facebook Live. When you have entertainment options available throughout the world, it does make life enjoyable.
No moment is dull when you have these exciting live streaming sites beaming fresh and meaningful content 24x7x365.
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Srinivasa is Vsbytes’s Editor-In-Chief. He Is A Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert And Has Been Interested In Computer Hardware, Software, And Gaming Right Since The Time He Was A Child.