Keeping in Touch: Streaming TV Series in China

Keeping in Touch: Streaming TV Series in China
Dec 02, 2013 By Tobie Taljaard , eChinacities.com

Living in China, you can often feel a little cut off from the world and feel out of the loop when you get back home. While all your friends are discussing what happened in the last episode of Breaking Bad, you have to do the ‘block-your-ears-la-la’ dance to avoid having the dramatic finale spoilt for you. Yes, you could always spend a couple hundred kuai on buying the box set at the local DVD store, which is usually up to date with the latest and greatest shows on television. Alternatively, you could just watch it on one of China’s many online streaming sites, and while the quality is sometimes quite poor, the speeds aren’t bad.

Although the quantity of shows available on the remaining sites is in decline, there are still ways for you to enjoy your favorite TV shows online in China. Most of the sites are in Chinese, but you can usually search in English and, with some common sense, navigate your way to an episode relatively easily. Although the selection process of these sites is unclear in terms of which shows they choose to make available, at least one of them should have what you’re looking for.

Laptop on Coffee Table
Series Watching Set-Up. Source: cogdogblog

1) PPS TV
The slogan for PPS TV is ‘watch what you want to watch’. Although this might not be entirely accurate, the selection of TV shows they offer is pretty good. For example, you can find the entire Breaking Bad series or seasons three, seven and eight of How I Met Your Mother. If you’re looking to entertain yourself for a brief period, you can always watch some of the numerous old Simpsons episodes available. The most frustrating thing about PPS is that most of the series they offer are incomplete. You’ll find a full season one and three of a particular show and then just half of the episodes of season two.

2) Youku/Tudou/Soku
These three sites are very interconnected (Youku and Tudou are now one company); You can start on one, and through the search function portal be transported to one of the other two without much notice. For example, when I searched for Entourage on Tudou, the results page was on Tudou but when I selected the series I wanted it took me to Soku. But no matter what site hopping journey you get taken on, you will inevitably reach your chosen show.

3) Baidu
In the end, because one site has this series and another has that one, one of the best options is merely to Baidu search engine. Once you have Baidu open, click  频 (shipin) as this will take you to Baidu video searches (if you don’t read Chinese it is the second from the right just above the search bar).

If you just type the name of the TV show into Baidu’s search bar, often the top search result will be the Baidu Baike (encyclopedia) page for the series you searched for. Subsequent results will be the ones you’re looking for. A few good sites that come up from Baidu searches but are difficult to navigate themselves are movie.douban.com, mianbao.com and wokan.com.

Your life will become a whole lot easier if you can type in the Chinese names for shows, so here is a list of popular TV shows with their corresponding Chinese name. You’re welcome! This is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you know the Chinese name of a TV show, add it as a comment below.

2 Broke Girls - 2打破了女孩
American Horror Story - 美国恐怖故事
Boardwalk Empire - 海滨帝国
Breaking Bad - 绝命毒师
Californication - 加州迷情
Community - 废柴联盟
Cougar Town - 熟女镇
CSI - 犯罪现场调查
Dexter - 嗜血法医
Eastbound and Down - 体育老师笑传
Family Guy - 恶搞之家
Game of Thrones - 权力的游戏
Glee - 欢乐合唱团
Homeland - 国土安全
How I met Your Mother - 老妈老妈浪漫史
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia - 费城永远阳光灿烂
Mad Men - 广告狂人
Masters of Sex - 性爱大师
Modern Family - 摩登家庭
New Girl - 杰茜驾到
Parks and Recreation - 公园与游憩
Sons of Anarchy - 混乱之子
South Park - 南方公园
Suits - 金装律师
The Big Bang Theory - 生活大爆炸
The Newsroom - 新闻编辑室
The Office - 办公室
The Simpsons - 辛普森一家
The Walking Dead - 行尸走肉
Two and a Half Men - 好汉两个半

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Keywords: Streaming Series in China Series in China Watching TV shows in China

4 Comments

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1

RobRocks
comment|47810|270246

I would rather just get the dvd

Jun 24, 2014 14:31 Report Abuse

2

Finbar
comment|41753|257437

I was actually pleasantly surprised by some of the streaming websites, as they offer a lot of shows and movies in pretty decent quality (most seem to be 360p, though there's plenty of HD-quality stuff out there, too). The drawback to the sites offering nice quality footage is the fact that you get forced to watch 60 seconds of commercials. This might not sound like a lot, but it can be a pain in the ass if you're unsure at which episode you left off (and thus need to load and reload several videos in order to find the right one). In addition to this, a lot of videos have both Chinese and, for some reason or another, English subtitles stacked on top of each other. I can understand some people might enjoy the Chinese subtitles for learning purposes (I'm guessing Chinese might like the English subs for the same reason?), but the lack of an option to turn them off can cause some annoyance, as I tend to automatically read subs and miss out on what's actually going on in the show. On another note, I tend to use Baidu in order to find out shows' Chinese titles (as using the Chinese title of a show and Chinese way of labelling episode numbers tends to yield much better results), as you can usually find the Chinese name to a show among the first three or so results, often written in <<Title>> format. Once you copied the title, you can just slap it into your preferred streaming website's search box, as this too provides better results (Baidu searches often have a lot of trailers/interviews and whatever else clogging up the results). Finally, here are some additional websites you might want to consider if the sites mentioned by the original poster somehow aren't enough: qire123.com, 370kan.com, 51rrkan.com, and iqiyi.com. iQiyi also has a pretty decent iPad app on which you can stream stuff (not sure about iPhone/Android versions, haven't tried). Not sure whether all of this goes against eChinaCities site policy, as I believe a lot of these websites operate in some grey area of the copyright law, but I figured it might be helpful to some people out there.

Dec 03, 2013 15:44 Report Abuse

3

carlstar
comment|41720|5289

just make sure you never download anything they say you need from these Chinese sites. You will regret it. The fact is that you will be better off using a torrent.

Dec 02, 2013 01:21 Report Abuse

4

Finbar
comment|41752|257437

Yeah, watching a video through Baidu had me install the Baidu Player plugin. This was recognised by Ad Aware as a tracking cookie (or some kind of malware, I don't remember exactly which). Worse yet, it messed with my settings and assigned itself as my default media player without ever having asked. Finally, the uninstall option mentioned about a dozen boxes which you can choose to tick, as well as 2-3 buttons on the bottom of the menu, which make uninstalling it way more complicated than it should be (as it's all in Chinese).

Dec 03, 2013 15:27 Report Abuse