We show you where to find all the movies, music, videos, phone calls and software you’ll ever need online – and you won't have to pay a penny for any of it
There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there’s still quite a lot that’s available for nothing – if you know where to look.
Indeed, the online world is awash with free stuff, from latest pop-music hits to Hollywood movies.
But we’re not talking about dodgy websites that host links to suspect downloads offered by random Bittorrent users. Instead, we thinking of countless legitimate sources offering endless amounts of free stuff.
Put another way, it really is possible to get almost anything you want free online, without breaking the law. Time it right and it’s even possible to chance on physical freebies, though acquiring such items obviously requires more than a mere download.
So, read on to find out how to get anything free online – just don’t complain to us if you exceed your broadband download limit as a result.
TV AND VIDEO
The BBC is arguably the best TV broadcaster in the world and its online TV and radio service is unbeatable. Some of the content isn’t actually free by our definition, since it’s illegal to watch live TV broadcasts online without a TV licence.
However, ‘catch-up’ programmes are exempt from this law and BBC programming from the past seven days is available for streaming (with many shows in high definition). Download the free BBC iPlayer Desktop application and you’ll even be able to access programming from the last 30 days.
The selection is still enormous and remember, as long as you stick to watching catch-up content, no TV licence is required.
ITV Player, 4OD and Channel 5
Programme delivery works in much the same way (with similar legal issues) with UK commercial terrestrial broadcasters. Channel 4’s 4OD service is probably the best in terms of catch-up selection: programmes can be streamed from the past month, along with a large selection of complete series and archived material (all of which is available from the free 4OD app for Apple iOS devices, too).
ITV Player also has the last 30 days’ programming online (seven days from its free iOS and Android ITV Player apps). Channel 5 has a free Demand 5 iOS app but, as with its website, it only offers catch-up viewing for the past seven days and a very limited range of older programmes.
Anyone of the opinion that all modern TV is rubbish is well served by online freebies and the BBC has one of the best free offerings. The BBC Archive offers an extensive collection of factual programming and old documentaries from throughout its history.
Few complete series are available (though Tomorrow’s World fans are in for a treat), but programmes can be browsed by broad subject matter (art, sport and so on) or selected ‘collections’, so it’s easy to see what programmes are available about James Bond or Doctor Who, for example.
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