Where to Watch DramasAugust 7, 2015
For the die-hard drama addicts, gone are the days when we relied on borrowing VHS, VCDs, and DVDs from family members and friends or renting from a video store. Actually, for those in America, this was not even possible as Asian dramas were not even heard of at that time. But for the newbies who are just entering the Asian drama world, you’re in luck! Online video streaming has become so popular all over the world and it has helped spread awareness of dramas internationally, boosting their popularity. Because of this, dramas are very accessible online. I’ve compiled a list of websites to watch dramas and most of them are free. All you need is a fast and stable internet connection to watch.
In addition to Korean dramas, Viki also offers Chinese and Taiwanese dramas, movies, music shows, as well as TV shows from other parts of the world. Thanks to their diverse community of subbers, each drama has a multitude of subtitle languages to choose from. Sign up for a free account to keep track of the last episode you watched and join in discussions. Register for the Viki Pass to watch in HD and without video ads (free trial available).
I always thought Soompi was just a Korean entertainment news website and forum. Now they stream dramas too at SoompiTV! Browse through their variety of Korean dramas and movies. Sign up for Premium to watch in HD with no video ads.
Originally a place to watch anime, Crunchyroll has now expanded by offering Japanese dramas as well. Some new shows are simulcast which means they’re available on the site for Premium members as soon as it’s available in Japan. The rest of the members must wait an extra week for the newest episode. Do you have a smart TV or a mobile device? You can watch Crunchyroll on those devices even if you’re not a Premium member! You just have to sit through the video ads. But at least you can watch on the big screen.
Surprise! Korean dramas are so popular that it has its own section on Hulu. While they don’t seem to have any other Asian dramas right now, you’re able to watch American dramas, cartoons, and other TV shows. Please note, some shows are only free on its initial run and then they are made subscriber-only. But that doesn’t seem to be the case for Korean dramas. Also, some Korean dramas are licensed before they start broadcast in Korea so they’re not available in the three sites listed above but they might be available on Hulu.
I don’t have Netflix so I cannot comment on its quality or variety as it seems to be a subscriber-only service. But it seems to have a variety of Korean dramas in addition to some other Asian dramas and of course, American shows. With its established streaming system, subscribers are able to watch it on any device with no video ads.
Updated 2/28/2018: I now have Netflix and watching dramas has never been such a breeze. There are a few popular Asian dramas and movies as well as Netflix Original dramas not available anywhere else. How can you beat that? Not to mention, there are also a variety of American dramas, movies and TV shows to choose from so you will never get bored. Each subscriber allows at least two separate accounts and you can set different language subtitles on each of those accounts. Video quality is also excellent. Surround sound is available with select shows with the proper home entertainment setup. Best of all, no ads and no buffering (with a good Wi-Fi or ethernet connection that is).
Well, I hope that helps! There are certainly more options out there but these are some of the more well-known (and legal) ways to watch. If you have a favorite website to watch dramas that is not listed here and is just as good, please don’t hesitate to share it in the comments. Start off with one of my recommended dramas for guys and enjoy!