Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.
In the world of online streaming, sites tend to come and go. One day, the site you rely on to find your favorite movies or TV shows is be full of easily accessible content ; the next, it has disappeared from view, never to return. As governments and copyright holders wage war against streaming sites like CouchTuner, the turnover among these free streaming platforms is incredible. But when access gets blocked by your ISP, remember there is nothing a good Virtual Private Network (VPN) can’t do to help.
Let us look here in depth at one of the most popular streaming platforms ever: CouchTuner. It may be blocked in many jurisdictions, but this site has always been a trailblazing aggregator of movies and TV shows, and people are still looking for CouchTuner alternative options – when they could just access it all the same.
We’ll have a look at the present situation of CouchTuner, whether it’s still accessible, how to use alternatives that are just as well-suited to streamers’ needs, and how using a VPN is always a good idea when streaming.
Introducing CouchTuner: What is it, and why is it so popular?
Back in 2010, streaming sites were still in their infancy. Few people had phones or tablets that could stream on the go. And laptops and domestic WiFi still struggled to handle high-quality streamed visuals.
That was the year CouchTuner debuted, and it had a huge impact on the world of online broadcasting. The idea behind CouchTuner was simple: with yet so many TV channels streaming online, and the ability to tap into P2P streams, one site should try to bring together this huge amount of content and make it all available from one sole platform.
Way before Kodi came along, sites like CouchTuner, Fmovies or the now defunct Alluc were the primary alternative to buying boxes or relying on traditional satellite TV. And that’s why the authorities quickly started to take notice.
The war begins with copyright holders
Inevitably, such a large streaming database provoked the powers-that-be into acting. Intellectual property is a huge business concern in our modern economy, with billions of dollars resting on the ability of content brokers to sell their products to different markets. Sites like CouchTuner challenged the very existence of that business model.
In 2016, Hollywood’s Motion Picture Association leaped into action, issuing injunctions against various CouchTuner mirror sites and forcing ISPs in UK, France, Australia and elsewhere to take them down. That was around about the same time Putlocker started to divide into multiple versions, and torrent databases like the Pirate Bay were coming under serious pressure to shut down.
ISPs in the UK and beyond now had the site in their crosshairs, and fears arose that any visit to mirror sites that popped up were being monitored. In the meantime, the actual quality of CouchTuner mirror sites became lower than the original, some would offer to register to access content (a big no no!), some were more often than note letting malware into your computer, and fans started to look elsewhere.
But like with many other illegal streaming platforms, that does not mean CouchTuner has been bulldozed out of existence. Far from it. CouchTuner, with its massive database of streamable content is still accessible via some of its mirrors, provided you use a VPN, and remain cautious in your interaction with those websites – I.e do not click on just anywhere, and if it asks you to register to access its content, you probably ended up on a fake mirror, just look for another one.
So let’s explore how to find a CouchTuner alternative and ways to use these sites safely without being caught.
How to access CouchTuner
As we mentioned, CouchTuner is accessible through mirror sites. The issue with that? They tend to disappear – UK ISPs like others in Europe constantly react to copyright holders complains against those mirror sites.… While writing this piece we have been able to access CouchTuner through two mirror sites among a dizain we found after a quick online search, using a VPN server that would not be located in a country well-known for its tough copyright laws:
You can find a regularly updated mirror list here, and it includes a surprisingly large number of hosts located all over the world.
Most of these mirror sites can be accessed using conventional links. Clicking on them will take you to a home page, where you can access TV series, search old TV shows, or browse new movies. The selections vary but aren’t far off from what the original CouchTuner site used to offer. So we thought we would give you a quick tour to several alternatives to CouchTuner
How to find a CouchTuner alternative
Because many will think twice before heading back to a site that’s been taken down so often, and whose mirror sites are not always reliable, it makes sense to list a few CouchTuner alternatives.
Moreover, just like with your Christmas shopping, it’s always a good idea to benchmark those sites one against the other. Content libraries vary drastically, as can do speeds and reliability. So here are a few alternatives that streaming fans might want to check out:
Offering thousands of TV shows and movies, San Francisco-based TubiTV is a commercial operation, not an illegal streaming service. But thanks to its business model, it manages to offer huge amounts of content free of charge. Partnerships with major studios like Lionsgate and Fox mean that recent cinema hits and series are available – and although you won’t find everything you could wish for, when something is on that you like, you may watch thinking that you earn a copyright karma point for it.
Now there’s a catch with TubiTV: it is technically only available in the USA. But since by now you understood that you should use a VPN anyway, just choose a server in the US, that will do the trick.
2. Popcorn Time
Popcorn Time is another cult streaming platform and is up there among the best CouchTuner alternative sites. In this case, series and movies are delivered via the Popcorn Times client using Bittorrent streams – it is still streaming, but just not browser based.
Popcorn Time, with its huge reach among the streaming fans community, combines a classic torrent client with the ability to search massive libraries of trackers and a well-designed app.
However, here again there’s a catch. Popcorn Time has been taken down before, and this has caused it to “fork” into different versions. It’s still available for download and regularly updated. But be aware that it could be a target for law enforcement, so make sure your VPN is running.
Another wide-ranging streaming library, LetMeWatchThis may not be the fastest platform around, but it makes up for this with choice and added search features. It integrates thumbnail movie and TV listings with IMDB ratings, and the ability to search by genre, country, or year.
However, access to content is uneven, and some LetMeWatchThis mirrors have already been linked to malware spreading in the past. So don’t click on any pop-ups that appear, and have your VPN client up and running before visiting.
One of the giants of the online streaming scene, Putlocker has been attacked on numerous occasions, but still endures. Totally web-based, Putlocker features a huge content database, with movies and TV for everyone, including obscure art house classics and current children’s favourites.
If you use basic security tools – VPN anybody? – when logging onto Putlocker, you should be fine. But remember, the site has been under the radar of the authorities for some time. Some users have also been prosecuted after downloading movies from the site.
However, in most cases, the offence wasn’t actually watching the film, so much as sharing it elsewhere (usually on Facebook). So if you keep things private, you’ll minimise the risk.
Another site that always pops up when we look for a Couchtuner alternative, 123Movies is (as its name suggests) centred around cinema – but has an ever expending TV shows catalogue – offering instant streams of the latest releases as well as classic titles.
Users can browse by most recent movies, highly rated films on IMDB, country or the newest additions, and there’s a special anime section as well.
As usual, let’s not forget about security. 123Movies has been targeted in lawsuits alongside Putlocker in the past. It may well be under watch as well.
Why use a VPN for CouchTuner: the stay safe rule of streaming
A Virtual Private Network encrypts securely your data, hides your IP address and if the VPN you chose is good enough, it will keep no logs of your online activity. You know that Queen song, where Freddie Mercury sings “I’m the Invisible man”? Well, with a good VPN you could be singing that tune as well.
VPNs reroute your traffic through servers around the world. Your ISP cannot see where you go, and the website you land on will only be able to localise the VPN’s server address. So that, when you log onto a streaming mirror site, you can pose as a Thai or a Brazilian user for instance. If these countries aren’t into Couchtuner hunting, you are in luck.
Streaming nowadays should never be envisaged without the use of a VPN, same as with torrenting. We would even argue that it makes no sense to simply surf the web and take the risk to expose yourself online at any time. Whatever your online activity, using a VPN is highly recommended.
Let us have a look below at a few suggestions of the best VPN providers to stream on CouchTuner.
Use a high-quality VPN
Above all, make sure that you have a VPN running before visiting CouchTuner, Putlocker, 123 movies or any other CouchTuner alternative. This will make it impossible to detect which streams you watch, and help you beat blocks imposed by countries like the UK.
When choosing a VPN, keep these factors in mind:
- Speed – streaming sites demand as much bandwidth as you can bring to the altar. Poorly coded VPNs or providers offering low numbers of servers will waste a lot of your native connection speed, making streaming movies a very challenging game of patience.
- Global network of servers – VPNs with plenty of servers across the world will make it easy to evade local blocks while giving you maximum options regarding anonymity.
- Zero leaks – If a VPN leaks your IP address, it doesn’t matter which server you are routing through. A leaking VPN is like a pierced umbrella: useless – it makes it easy to identify your location and to track what you download. So always choose a VPN provider with 100% reliable leak protection.
- Kill switches – Even the best VPN can occasionally drop guard for whatever reason. And without a kill switch you then become as exposed as in those dreams where you arrive naked at school. A solid VPN integrates a good kill switch, that will kill your internet connection if the VPN goes offline.
- P2P friendly servers – Some VPN providers are dead set against P2P downloads. As many streaming sites rely on torrents, these VPNs won’t work well (if at all) in this case. So go for a P2P friendly provider.
And do learn and remember the basic rule of the VPN world: there is no such thing as a good free VPN. It will either limit your speed or your data – defying the purpose of streaming in peace – or in worst cases, it may be actually monitoring your activity in order to sell your data. If you stream a lot of TV shows and movies, it makes financial sense to spend a few dollars a month to subscribe to an elite VPN, that will protect you even when you don’t stream.
Here are some of the best rated VPN providers on our site:
Any of these providers offer a blend of speed, high security, and value – which is exactly what you need when using CouchTuner or one of its alternative.
Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.
Mikaela is an investigative journalist that likes to cover the ever-changing world of technology. She tries to keep her finger on the pulse of digital trends and share her insights on the most relevant topics, including big tech, security, privacy, and data breaches.