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The ways we consume media content are always evolving. While cable and satellite TV are less popular these days, some consumers still pay for service. On the other hand, many Canadians are now streaming and downloading their content straight from the internet, where you can watch all the TV you want for free if you know where to look. 

However, it can be a tad confusing to set up a proper way of watching content without interruptions. Keep reading to find out how you can get free internet TV in Canada.

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Can You Get Free Internet TV in Canada?

As long as you have internet access, there are ways to get legal, free television on your computer, laptop, gaming system, or mobile device. In fact, more than 20 different networks now offer streaming and downloading services in Canada. These services exist to generate more revenue in an era where cable and satellite are on the decline. 

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Here’s what you’ll need to start viewing free video content online: 

  • High-Speed Internet Connection – The most important thing to have is good internet. Although you may be able to stream and download TV with a basic package, it’s usually easier and faster if you pay extra for better bandwidth. This is especially true if you have other internet devices connected at the same time.
  • HDMI Cable – Generally speaking, you’ll need an HDMI cable to project content from an internet device onto your TV. Alternatively, you can buy a Smart TV, which would allow you to download apps directly onto your television. You can buy an HDMI cable for under $20 from almost any store that sells electronics.
  • HDMI Capable Streaming Device – If it has the right connector, your computer, laptop or tablet is probably the best and fastest way to stream or download shows to project onto your television. You can also connect certain devices to a Bluetooth adapter or wireless box (Google Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, etc.).
  • Membership(s) – In order to stream TV content that’s 100% legal, you’ll normally have to create a membership with whatever network(s) you want to watch shows on. Some streaming services, like Amazon Prime, HBO and Crave are only free for limited periods (often several weeks to one month).

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Free TV Networks in Canada

As mentioned, not every streaming service is free, so be sure to do research and read the fine print carefully before you fork over your credit card information. Nonetheless, there are plenty of networks that do offer free TV in Canada, including but not limited to:

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Discovery Channel

By subscribing to Discovery GO, you can stream premium content from Animal Planet, Discovery, Discovery Science, Discovery Velocity, and Investigation Discovery. The network currently offers regular high-resolution on-demand or live-stream programming and will soon be available in 4K. 

Food Network

Featuring shows like Chopped, You Gotta Eat Here, and Iron Chef, the Food Network offers free TV streaming with your membership. You can also access these shows from your television service, by subscribing to StackTV (available through Amazon Prime) or by downloading the Global TV App.

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Global News

With a subscription to Global News, you can access plenty of on-demand and live-stream programming related to all sorts of subjects (politics, entertainment, world news, etc.). You can even watch shows that are specific to Montreal, like Global News at Noon, Global News Morning, and Focus Montreal

MTV

Home of popular reality shows like Teen Mom, The Hills, and Jersey Shore, MTV has been around for a long time and can normally only be viewed via your television service or by paying for various membership packages. However, you can access a lot of the same content for free through CTV.

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CTV

If you subscribe to CTV, you’ll be able to watch tons of shows, movies and on-air content from past or present, such as Grey’s Anatomy, Dr. Oz, and The Voice. Just sign in to your account and scroll through their various subcategory channels to find the videos you want (Sci-Fi, Drama, Movies, Kids, etc.).

CTV Comedy

One of the most popular CTV channels is their comedy network, which features content like The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, as well as standup routines by Anthony Jeselnik and Jim Jeffries. You can also find lots of comedy content on CTV Throwback, MUCH, Comedy Central, and CTV Movies

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CBC

With a CBC Gem account, you can view any local or global content that the network can provide, including The National, Canada Tonight, and Just For Laughs. Additionally, you can use the CBC app to watch live news, current affairs and sports programs from specific cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Edmonton.

APTN

Stationed in Winnipeg, the Aboriginal People’s Television Network offers shows and movies for all audiences, from indigineous-produced series such as Amplify and Dream Big to mass content like Riverdale and Wentworth. They also have content for kids, as well as the latest First Nations, local and global news. 

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A&E

Another major network that has been producing video content for decades, A&E features tons of popular shows, such as Intervention, Storage Wars, and The First 48. While the network focuses mainly on true crime, reality and mystery series, they have a lot of historical and autobiographical content too.

Pros and Cons of Free Internet TV Networks

Despite the convenience and variety that free internet television can offer up, there are a number of downsides to this type of programming, so take a look at the following benefits and drawbacks before you start downloading or streaming video in Canada:   

Pros

  • It’s Free – Clearly, the best part about watching video content online is that many networks offer free shows, movies and news updates with your subscription.
  • It’s Legal – As long as you’ve signed up with accredited networks like those listed above, any television content you stream or download should be totally legal. 
  • Fewer Ads – Typically, online TV networks are supported by less advertising and have shorter commercial breaks than you’ll find on a cable or satellite channel. 
  • Variety of Options – Not only can you watch videos whenever and however you want, but there are also thousands of great free shows, movies and networks out there. 
  • Good Quality Video – If you have the proper viewing device, internet and connector, you can stream 720p, 1080p and 4K video directly onto your TV. 

Cons

  • Difficulty Setting Up – If you’re not accustomed to streaming or downloading TV, it can be annoying to set up the right devices, connections and accounts. 
  • No Channel Surfing – Content is specific to the provider, so you may not find every movie, show or channel that you want on a single streaming network.
  • No Remote Control – Depending on your chosen viewing device, you may have to live without a remote or buy a streaming box that includes one (Roku, etc.). 
  • Connection Problems – If you don’t purchase high-speed internet or there’s a problem with your router or network, you may have trouble streaming clear video. 
  • Unskippable Ads – While there are fewer commercials on internet TV, may not be able to completely skip them like you could with a cable or satellite recording. 

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Searching For Free Internet TV in Canada?

Then don’t worry, because there’s a near-infinite amount of free international and domestic video content available through hundreds of networks across the country. All you have to do is create the right account(s), install your streaming device and buy a good internet package.     

Bryan Daly avatar on Loans Canada
Bryan Daly

Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and travelling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer.

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