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.


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.


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.


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 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,, 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

15 thoughts on “Streaming Video Sites in China”

  1. I use youku a lot. There is also, 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.

  2. 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?

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