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What Is FilmOn.TV?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (December 24, 2013) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to

Q. A friend of mine told me about an Internet TV service that had hundreds of live TV channels without a subscription. Is that true? Is it legal? What's the deal? I think it's called Film On or something like that. -- David, Gaithersburg, Maryland.

David, I think you are referring to FilmOn.TV, an Internet TV service that has been involved in several legal scrapes with the broadcast networks. At one point, FilmOn, which was created by Alki David, a wealthy businessman and sometime actor, was broadcasting local TV channels without the networks' permission.

See an update on this story.

In September 2013, a federal judge issued an injunction blocking the company from offering the channels and accompanying DVR service. FilmOn.TV claimed the broadcast of the networks was a system error. Okay...

However, FilmOn.TV has carried on with a web site that offers an explosion of live TV channels and On Demand content.

The live channels include such obscure fare as KDOC-TV in the Los Angeles, an independent channel that serves up syndicated shows such as Seinfeld; After Dark TV, which features beautiful women in little clothing; boxing and soccer channels; and a bunch of services featuring amateur talent doing, well, amateur things.

On the VOD menu, you'll find programming from PBS, CNN and TMZ, among other more mainstay networks. FilmOn.TV claims more than 500 VOD channels.

The site will not go down in history as contributing to TV's golden age, but it can be irresistible to watch. For at least a few minutes at a time, that is. And it's free, albeit it in standard-definition. (There are some HD channels available for free on the site, but you'll have to hunt long and hard for it.)

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at or at 703-505-3064.

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