Putlocker made quite a splash back in 2011. The movie streaming network attracted millions of users who were eager to find and stream high-quality movies - many of them the top Hollywood films from recent archives and recent releases.
As the name implied, it was a place to discover movies “stored in a locker” that were easy to stream from any device. Users were able to find obscure movies and then use third-party links to stream or download the content. The site went belly up a few years ago, but users still have fond memories of the service.
Fortunately, since Putlocker doesn’t exist anymore, there are ridiculous amounts of TV streaming services that provide some of the same movies and show discovery features, and they are completely legal.
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Modern streaming services these days tend to de-emphasize the social media aspects, likely because Twitter, Facebook, and other apps have that covered. While you will see comments and posts for some competing services these days, the discussion and comments have essentially moved onto social media platforms (sometimes integrated into the service itself).
Comments are still common on some of these sites. However, it is more typical to tweet out a comment from a movie discovery platform than to interact directly within the website itself.
Some users prefer to maintain anonymity, accessing services over a Virtual Private Network (VPN), and won’t leave comments - at least not on the actual sites. Many of the services also support the suggested content based on your previous viewing history.
We've hand-picked the streaming services that provide a few extras beyond just a place to grab movies. They include summaries of the content, ratings, and extra features to help you find the content you want.
Our favorite legal alternatives to Putlocker
Sling TV started out as a service that allowed you to watch your own cable or satellite television feed from anywhere. You can now use it to access movies and shows without a set-top box. You can combine Sling services for local channels, premium movie channels, and major networks. Sling TV is also highly secure and legal for all of the devices, although the membership typically dictates that you can only use one device at a time to watch the content.
If there is a service that shows quality content is available through an app, it’s Hulu. With original programs available, shows from every major network, and plenty of Hollywood movies to choose from, there’s a bit of everything - our round up of the best Hulu shows and films demonstrates that in abundance. Hulu recently entered the market of live sporting event streams as well. Costs tend to be lower for Hulu, perhaps because the original shows are not as extensive as Netflix.
There is YouTube -- and then there is YouTube TV. They are completely different in all aspects. YouTube is a haven for user-produced content such as game reviews and goofy pranks. YouTube TV is a far more legitimate movie and television streaming service. For local broadcast television, YouTube TV provides all of the major networks like ABC and CBS for a monthly fee. Meanwhile, many of the most popular cable networks like HBO, FX, and Hallmark channel are also available -- plus movie networks like TNT and Turner Movie Classics.
One of the most popular, legal, and free movie-and-television streaming apps, Pluto TV is a surprising find. Users don’t even have to register or log in, and you will find Pluto TV on mobile devices but also on popular devices like Amazon Fire TV. You can find live television feeds including sporting events, and there are movie channels to rival HBO. Curiously, the service is owned by ViacomCBS but caters to those who are averse to commercial services.
As anyone who has followed the ESPN sports app over the years knows, the service now caters as much to sporting events (streamed live) as original programming, including dramas and news shows where anchors debate the movers and shakers in professional sports. The ESPN+ app is also unique in that you can find live streaming events for many major sports, including some exclusive games in the app that you can’t find on broadcast television feeds.
ESPN+ is also remarkably cheap, with prices starting from as little as $5.99 per month.
For anyone who likes HBO content -- including award-winning documentaries, original shows, and a massive archive of movies -- HBO Now is the app you want. Unlike the similar service HBO Go (which uses your cable television login), HBO Now is an independent service similar to Netflix or Hulu in that you don’t need to have cable or satellite. It works on its own when you subscribe as an app that’s available on any device. For those who prefer the HBO Go app, you may already have access if you are a cable subscriber. To find out, try the app and look for your cable or satellite provider and enter your login details.
This app, now owned by Walmart, also has an extensive library, but the interface is the main selling point. It’s remarkably easy to find movies and shows by searching, and the comparison engine -- suggestions for the content you already like -- works like magic. Like the FandangoNow service, Vudu tends to make Hollywood movies available right away. Vudu also supports 4K movies and HDR color-formatting. The app is available on every major platform like iOS and Android, and with easy access from a browser window as well.
What’s so impressive about FandangoNow is that the best movies pop up so quickly for streaming or download -- including for-purchase films and rentals. There is an extensive library of films and television shows as well, including all seasons of Doctor Who. Movies can be streamed at 4K resolution, and the quality is quite impressive even compared to Blu-Ray discs. FandangoNow also tends to support the latest audio and video features. For example, many of the 4K movies support surround-sound and HDR for better color formatting.
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