Popcorn Time, Silicon Valley screenshot
Media productions ranging from "Silicon Valley" to "Two and a Half Men" are available through Popcorn Time (shown here) and other illicit streaming websites. Popcorn Time

It’s a problem that’s almost as old as the Internet itself. Whenever one website that distributes free movies and TV shows go down, dozens pop up in its place. And with the brief outage of Project Free TV, one of the most influential TV streamers, other sites might want to start preparing for an influx of traffic.

Social media was on fire from late Thursday into Friday when Project Free TV, which has been around since 2007, suddenly went dark. Instead of the usual rotating list of fresh and upcoming TV shows, Project Free TV showed only a basic “Goodbye!” message. Nerves began to settle when it became clear that the site had just moved, though hundreds of users on Twitter, Reddit and elsewhere had already flocked to other piracy streamers to binge-watch the latest episodes of “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones.”

Be warned: While popular, these sites are also notorious harbors for malware, so surf safely folks:


Vidzi (ranked as the 4,241 most-visited site in the U.S.) will never challenge the streaming dominance of Project Free TV (ranked at #505 in the U.S.). When Internet pirates click on a PFTV episode link, they aren’t redirected to just one outside site, but a handful that sometimes work and sometimes don’t. Of those sites, Vidzi is the best.

Vidzi requires users to sign up with a username and password but, once you’re in, you can choose to watch in either standard or high definition. There’s also a surprising lack of advertisements, which is especially refreshing in a world when hackers and shady ad companies increasingly trick streamers into clicking links infused with spyware or phishing software.

Popcorn Time

Simply the best. True, Popcorn Time is technically a torrent service rather than a streaming website, but the quality of the video files available far exceeds any of the websites mentioned on this list (even Project Free TV).

The service has barely been around for a year but has attracted scores of media attention and famously (well, infamously) earned the nickname “Netflix for pirates.” By now, that nickname is as cliché as it is deserved. Popcorn Time enables users to download all the episodes from dozens of series, from cheesy network comedies to the hottest shows on cable.


It’s hard to picture a world in which some combination of Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu and illegal torrent downloads don’t eventually kill TV streaming sites. You can’t say the same thing for streaming live sporting events.

Take the recent boxing event between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao as an example. HBO charged fans $100 to watch the fight on pay-per-view and did very little to police the hundreds of illegal streams that surfaced. When high prices combine with easy online access, you can bet that sites like VIPBox will be there to fill the demand.

Not only does the site point visitors to boxing, baseball and football, it’s also become to go-to streamer for badminton, horse racing and cricket. You can even find links to live-stream darts competitions or table tennis.


For the little kid (or the stoner) in all of us. WatchCartoonOnline’s popularity has soared as “Adventure Time,” “Rick and Morty,” and other Adult Swim favorites have gripped the popular consciousness.

As the 967th most popular site in the U.S., WatchCartoonOnline isn’t exactly moving the meter when it comes to replacing Saturday morning cartoons. But the site has a sizable following on Reddit and other discussion boards, and it’s provided a point of entry for adults trying to catch up with the animation craze without the hassle of cable.

“I’ve used it numerous times in the past few months with no issues,” wrote one Reddit user. “It has a TON of old toons that you just can’t find or buy. The quality isn’t great, but everything has been thoroughly watchable, even in full screen.”