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What's Worth Watching Online?

Check out these sites for great alternatives to TV programming

Another interesting spot for free movies is PopcornFlix.com, a site specializing in free independent movies. You probably won't recognize most of the film names, but you'll certainly know many of the performers, including Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken and William Hurt. A fair number of not-in-a-million-years films are included, but I spotted some well-reviewed flicks too, such as Battle in Seattle and Equinox.

Hulu and Hulu Plus offer movies and TV shows, though the focus is really on TV. The basic Hulu service is free, supported by advertising that's not horribly intrusive. Hulu offers a mixed bag of current and older network and cable shows, though most recent episodes are only available 30 days after they air, and you can only watch on a computer. Hulu Plus charges $7.99 a month for a wider programming selection, high-def video and compatibility with many phones and tablets, gaming consoles, smart TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes. There's a free one-week trial offer at www.hulu.com/plus.

If you're an HBO and/or Cinemax subscriber, you may be eligible to stream both current and older programming to your computer at no additional charge — a great way to catch up on all those True Blood episodes you missed, including prior seasons. Your cable or satellite provider has to be part of the HBOGo and MaxGo system for you to have access — check the list at www.hbogo.com and www.maxgo.com.

For sports fans, the NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL offer subscriptions to watch current-season games online. These services include games not broadcast in your area, the option to watch on a variety of devices, and archives of past games. Prices can change from season to season, but as an example, NFL Game Rewind offers a $39.99 season pass or a $19.99 monthly subscription. Marriage counseling not included.

Another option for watching a variety of college athletics, soccer and more obscure sports (dart championships, anyone?) is the WatchESPN service, but like HBOGo and MaxGo, your cable provider has to be a participant. You'll find the list at the espn.go.com website.

 

Next: YouTube is still the cat's pajamas. >>

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