Most of us enjoy watching movies. The internet offers incomparably more comfort than going to a movie theater or watching a movie on TV, at the time and day the TV station dictates. After all, "video in demand" is the default option on the internet. If Kodi seems too complex and gives you a hard time when you want to watch movies online, in this guide you can find the easiest applications and websites for free movie streaming for PC, mobile phones, and Smart TVs.
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The many ways to watch movies online
Watching movies online should be simple and easy. It should be easier than driving to a movie theater, otherwise what's the point?
In that regard, customizing a bunch of settings on Kodi if a repository closed or a plugin was abandoned, is far from ideal. We just want to press "play" and start the movie. Is that too much to ask?
Therefore, in this guide, we will start with the top two remarkably easy programs, which almost need no settings at all. We can install them on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Furthermore, since everyone has a smartphone or a tablet, we will include a description of the top programs for free movie streaming on Android and iOS.
Be careful with the law
Through the programs in this guide, we can watch some movies online legally and some others illegally.
If you live in a country with stringent law regarding illegal movie streaming, like Germany or Japan, using such programs without a dependable and safe VPN may lead to fines over 1,000 dollars.
Free movie streaming for Windows, macOS, and Linux
As we mentioned earlier, the three following recommendations for free movie streaming apply to the most popular operating systems on our computers.
We will exclude iOS from the list because the old Movie Box that ruled on iPhone and iPad Jailbreak is no longer what it used to be.
This is a new-generation free movie streaming program. We will currently find it on stremio.com
The renewed Stremio has an even friendlier interface, and it has a large number of movies and TV series. We would say that the latest edition challenges Kodi.
The setup is fast and straightforward, and there is nothing strange regarding the process.
When the setup is complete, the Windows firewall may ask us if we allow Stremio to connect with our network. We should only select private networks.
Once Stremio starts running, we will see its beautiful interface, with hundreds of movies and TV series. At first, it will ask us to sign up using our Facebook account or to create a new one.
Easy movie search through categories
On the left part of the tab, there are the movie categories. On the right, we can type in and search for the movie we are interested in.
Once we select the movie, on the next tab, we will see the information and the IMDb score.
If we want, we can watch the trailer or add the movie to our library by clicking on the respective icon.
Automatic sync with all the devices
This action may seem very useful because once we have signed up to our account, we will be able to watch the films that we have added on all the connected devices.
Furthermore, they will resume playing from the point that we paused on the device we run Stremio.
When we select a movie or a series, on the next tab and just before the movie starts, we will see the available providers that offer the movie.
At this point, we should mention that free movie streaming on Stremio works with add-ons, just like Kodi. However, the process is much better, as there are a few add-ons, and they are all gathered in one place.
In case the setup does not add the essential add-ons automatically, we will have to add them ourselves. This way, if we want to, we can add the separate add-ons for torrents because they might come in handy at some point.
Here are the simple steps, in pictures:
The most critical add-on for free movie and series streaming is "Juan Carlos 2," which you can see in the following picture. We can add it from two different sources.
If we want, we can add the add-ons from the known torrent trackers.
Optionally, the add-ons tab has more options. They might be useful in case we want to get more involved in other movie streaming services.
Optionally, from this section, we can change the size and the color of the subtitles.
Temporary cache saving
We do not have to deal with Stremio settings at all. The program has default ones so that we can watch movies online.
Also, we must note that the process of playing the movie will gradually reduce storage. In this case, if we have an SSD disk, it is worth changing the caching drive.
Otherwise, if we do not have another disk, we can select "no caching."
Furthermore, we have the opportunity to spot those big files in the following path, to delete them when we see fit. We enter the folder of our Windows user where "user" is.
If we want to gain instant access to the "stremio-cache" folder, we can create a shortcut of it on the desktop.
Updated calendar for TV series
Another interesting and useful feature of Stremio is the calendar, which we can find at the top part of the tab.
The program allows us to find out which episodes are released each day, and all the previous ones that are instantly available.
Playback on a Smart TV
If we have Chromecast or Apple TV available, we can watch movies online directly on our Smart TV.
All we have to do is click on the icon "cast." Then, we select the respective icons on the streaming devices.
Stremio on Android
Things are simple with Stremio on Android. We can download it here.
This is a beta version which was updated very recently, and it requires Android 5.0 or later versions. It works well, but the previous version is also available for anyone who prefers it.
Once we run Stremio on our Android device, it will ask us to agree to terms and conditions. We select the following, as shown in the picture.
Next, since our Facebook account is active, we will see our libraries and the movies we have saved on our PC Stremio immediately.
Popcorn Time does not need introductions because probably most people know it already. You can find the latest version on getpopcorntime.is.
A pioneer in free movie streaming as well as torrents, it beats Stremio in appearance, but it is perhaps not as good in speed and subtitles. Popcorn time is available for Windows, Android, macOS, and Linux.
The setup of the open software on Windows is fast and straightforward, and it does not conceal any third-party program.
Undoubtedly, Popcorn has a beautiful interface, and it comes with easy-to-understand functions.
At first, the program will require us to get a VPN service, preferably its associate one.
So, if you have read our previous guides about VPN services and you are already using such a service, click on the red indication.
Easy movie and TV series search
Popcorn Time offers a simple and comfortable search. We can select the movies according to their category, score, and date of release.
The cache of the application
As we mentioned, the settings of the program are the simplest possible. There will be no need to interfere unless we want to change the size of the subtitles and the cache directory.
It is good to remember that we should track those big files in the following path to delete them when we see fit:
For instant access to this folder, we can create a shortcut on the desktop.
Popcorn Time on Android
Popcorn Time is not available on Play Store, and we have to download it from its official website popcorntime.sh, where we will find the Windows edition as well.
Once we run the program, things are simple here, too, and there is no need to adjust the settings. Here are the easy steps for free movie streaming on Popcorn Time for Android.
How Popcorn Time started
Since Popcorn Time was the first application that made free movie streaming so easy, it is worth taking a look at how it began.
The idea for Popcorn Time occurred to the Argentinian programmer Federico Adad (with the nickname Sebastian) in January 2014.
Adad was annoyed with the fact that in his country, there was no easy way to watch movies. He wanted to create a program so simple that even his mother would be able to handle it.
Along with some friends, they created the code within a few weeks. The first beta of Popcorn Time was released online in February 2014. The project was an open source one, and its first host was Github.
On March 8th, Abad mentioned in an interview on TorrentFreak that he did not think that he would have legal issues since the service was non-profit.
Not even a week later, on March 14th, the initial Popcorn Time was removed from the website and Github.
The creators mentioned that they closed down the program due to "legal threats and a dark mechanism that makes us feel as if we are in danger because we are doing what we love."
The first rebirth of Popcorn Time
Even though its creators withdrew it, Popcorn Time was open source, which meant that the source code was available to anybody. By April, two new versions had appeared, through the websites get-popcorntime.com and Time4popcorn.eu.
Soon enough, those two editions changed websites. The first became popcorntime.io and the second popcorn-time.s.e. The fact that the appearance of the two pages was identical brought about confusion to many users.
In August 2015, some of the initial programmers decided to recognize popcorntime.io as the official project of Popcorn time. But, in 2016, this website stopped working as well.
The current safe Popcorn Time edition
The open source of the project and the will of several programmers to support it meant that no matter how much companies tried to close it down, it would be tough to eliminate its branches.
However, this does not mean that all the editions of Popcorn Time are safe. It is possible that some editions may have malware or other unwanted elements.
The safest edition we know of at this moment, and the one we recommend in the guide is the one which is hosted on popcorntime.sh. If this changes in the future, we will update the post, respectively.
Alternative playback with Android on TV
If we do not have a TV box, we can play movies from the internet on Smart TV, through our Android device. We can achieve it in two ways.
Chromecast for wireless playback on TV
The little Google dongle is a good solution to have Stremio and Popcorn Time directly on our television. We do not have to deal with many settings, and there is no need for specialized knowledge either to start the streaming.
Chromecast costs less than 47 dollars. At the same time, though, we can buy a powerful TV Box that will do a much better job with the two applications.
Micro HDMI / MHL for playback on Smart TV
The second way concerns movie mirroring on TV. To achieve this, we need to connect our mobile phone with the TV via cable.
In this case, the smartphone or the tablet become remote controls. The only thing we need is the special adapter MHL micro USB, which is designed for Android mobile phones and tablets, and an HDMI cable that comes with.
We can find the adapter at a relatively decent prize on eBay.co.uk. However, we must first check on the description if it is compatible with the brand of our mobile or tablet.
Are the alternative means for free movies streaming helpful?
In many cases, Kodi is the main media for home entertainment. Still, there are alternative solutions for those who want to handle simple and fast programs.
Nowadays, there is no need to try too hard to watch movies online. We can enjoy them even more quickly, with our family and friends.
If you have any questions or if you want to share your home cinema experience and recommend other accessible applications and websites for free movie streaming, you can write to us in the comments below.
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