Streaming Video Sites in China

Over the last few years online video sites led by Youtube have turned into the biggest websites on the internet. Every day millions of new videos are uploaded featuring content on more topics than you can imagine, from Techno Viking to free piano lessons. The combination of a library of millions of clips and instant-on playback make streaming video a perfect compliment to the internet and as such, it’s playing a bigger role in society – from U2′s free and live-broadcasted Youtube concert to the most recent Presidential debates.

Youtube

Too bad, then, that we can’t access the most important one – Youtube – because we run the risk of being corrupted by villainous monk propaganda. With Youtube being king of the streaming video jungle, it is sorely missed. As matter of fact, of all the sites that we have to tolerate not being able to access this one, along with Facebook, has to be the hardest to swallow.
Techno Viking doesn't dance to the music, the music dances to Techno Viking

Techno Viking doesn’t dance to the music, the music dances to Techno Viking

Fortunately there’s a way around this and you can learn more by reading our article. Unfortunately the staggering wealth of information on Youtube is inaccessible to virtually all of China.

Tudou

Streaming more than a petabyte a day – that’s a thousand terabytes, which in turn is a thousand gigabytes – Tudou (“Potato”) is one of the worlds largest bandwidth users. 60 million videos are streamed daily to a mostly Chinese audience although recently it’s starting to catch on in the West due to American TV shows which play in their 30 or 45 minute entirety. Things like copyright and ten minute limit on videos don’t exist on Tudou and you can find anything in Chinese you can think of if that’s your thing. Inside China the videos stream instantly and without pause, feature relatively unobtrusive advertisements, and good all around production values. Following Youtube’s lead, they’ve recently added a HD streaming service called Heidou (“Black Bean”) which streams higher quality videos – great for watching movies on your PC.

Youku

Like Tudou, Youku (“Excellent and cool”) has no limit on the length of uploaded videos and turns a blind eye toward copyright infringement. And also like Tudou, it streams million of files a day and is popular among foreigners due of its comprehensive collection of American TV shows. Actually, there isn’t a lot to separate Tudou and Youku aside from the HD option since they largely share the same content. Registered users can upload as many videos as they want of any length.

Hulu

Hulu is the first legal streaming site to feature full TV shows directly from NBC, Fox, ABC, and others. All of the most popular shows are here and it all streams instantly with two caveats: Hulu doesn’t allow streaming overseas due to licensing issues and will report an error when you try to stream content from from outside of the United States. You can bypass this restriction by accessing Hulu through Hotspot Shield Freedur.

You'll meet this error message if you try streaming on Hulu in China

You’ll meet this error message if you try streaming on Hulu in China

The Others

There’s 56.com, Ouou.com, and a string of other followers which mostly offer a slightly different way to access the same content, so Tudou and Youku will probably have what you’re looking for whether it’s Chinese programming or high profile shows from the US & UK.

In addition to these sites there’s also software like PPStream which streams content straight to its dedicated media player which you can download to your Windows PC. Western programming requires paying a membership fee (thanks Callum).

Have your own experience or anecdote to share? Leave a message in the comments

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About Charlie

Having lived in Chengdu for seven years, Charlie has traveled to every corner of China and back again, calling the Yulin neighborhood of Chengdu his home. He's a part time DJ and full time iPhone game developer, too.

15 Responses to “Streaming Video Sites in China”

  1. I watched Lord of the Rings last night on Youku. the quality isn’t great but it’s watchable.

  2. Hulu! Great! I’d already given up on trying to watch legit American TV online.

  3. 我们要金珂垃

  4. I use youku a lot. There is also m1905.com, but usually I use PPS. It’s a downloadable media player that has a nice list of movies and TV series for viewing that you can select right from inside the player. No need to surf around on the net etc. Sadly they have just slapped on a membership for viewing western content. Maybe for licensing issues.

    • I watched some of Inglorious Basterds last night on Youku. The quality was surprisingly good, but I found that when I access the videos through a proxy located in the US it says my region is blocked.

      Thanks for the tip on PPStream, I added a link.

  5. If you want to watch Hulu, iBBC Player, or Youtube from China VPNinja is also highly recommended. http://vpninja.net

  6. Is there a way to stream live, American NCAA football here in China? ESPN and others don’t seem to offer any support to China just yet. Any ideas?

  7. Hello, just wanted to say, I loved this post, and these streaming service that are available in China. Thanks!

  8. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% positive. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks

  9. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site thus i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things
    to improve my site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

  10. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with
    the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Cheers!

    • Hi Kristan,

      Yes, just look for a link at the bottom of the subscription email. It’ll say “To manage your subscriptions or to block all notifications from this site, click the link below:”.

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