Forget YouTube. Forget network webisodes. To find streaming video of almost any new and old TV show or movie, you only need to visit the underground site, TV Links. If any site can make a TV exec wet his pants and scream about copyrights, this is it.
Digital Journal — Providing links to shows such as The Office, House, South Park and 200 others, it’s amazing the appropriately named TV Links has flown under the radar of both network and movie execs. But in the online underground scene, it’s attracted enough attention to make it one of the top sites for free media entertainment.
The site not only links to TV shows, but also to countless movies, many of which are not even out on DVD yet. Without a question, watching theatre releases like 300, are not a pitch-perfect experience; you’re trading instant accessibility for grainy visuals you wouldn’t get from a DVD playback. But the fact this content is online without the stamp of a studio will no doubt make Hollywood execs scream bloody murder.
When you do a WHOIS on TV-Links, the site ending in the British suffix “co.uk” actually returns ping results from the Netherlands. Using a smart loophole, the site avoids legal ramifications by merely linking to other sites carrying content, such as Paris-based Dailymotion or Veoh. TV Links doesn’t support downloading or torrents, stressing in their FAQ: “Do NOT ask [to download an episode], do NOT mention it.” As the FAQ writers explain, they are not doing anything illegal, but instead simply linking to other sites’ content.
Along with TV programs and films, TV Links also provides instant access to dozen of music videos, anime programs and full sports matches. The site is also full of old-school entertainment — episodes of Mr. Bean and The Twilight Zone, for instance, plus classic flicks like Rain Man and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. And you can’t go wrong with a site that lets you watch all 18 seasons of The Simpsons.
Did I mention the site is free? And did I mention there’s no registration or email log-in required? Should you mention this to your local TV industry watchdog? No, of course not, because that would only hurt the people the site supports most — you (and me, I love it).
When a link-hub like TV Links comes along, the public benefits by having a central network of everything and anything that could delight us for an afternoon. There’s no commercials or eyesore banner ads. Dare I say TV Links is almost a godsend for those of us without time to watch TV, or who balk at paying $12 to watch a movie in a theatre. Although the site may be shady in some people’s eyes, it is truly a one-stop hotspot for media junkies.
And for that reason alone, TV Links should inspire copycats who can imitate the streaming-media link-heavy one-site-fits-all. While YouTube offers us slices of film and television, TV Links dishes out complete entrées, on the house.