Law-abiding citizens that we are, we've ruled out downloading pirated movies and TV shows. However, there is a new legal way to watch movies and TV shows without spending a cent.
HitBliss is a new service that offers the opportunity to watch ads in order to earn credits that you can spend to watch a movie or TV episode on the site. The process is surprisingly painless. And unlike with Hulu, you can watch your shows without commercial interruptions.
At its foundation, HitBliss is like most on-demand video sites. You have the option to pay for a movie with Visa or MasterCard, but by watching less than 10 minutes of big brand ads, you can earn $5 of credits and watch a movie with credits to spare.
But HitBliss has a couple of critical limitations that you should know about before you get too excited. First, the service works on computers only, meaning no mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. You will download the program to your desktop or laptop. (However, the company has plans for both iOS and Android apps, spokesman Eric Gonzalez told us.)
Second, you really have to watch the ads to prove it throughout the viewing period. Miss a prompt and you'll have to start over.
Privacy may also be a concern, and if that's the case for you, you'd be better off paying money to watch movies and TV. [Read more: Is Online Privacy Worth Paying For? ]
Because you're "paying" by watching ads, you'll need to submit personal information to the site. The more information you're willing to give, the faster you'll earn credits.
HitBliss offers three levels, from "Earn slower" to "Earn fastest." To earn at the fastest rate possible, you'll give access to your location (IP address), Web browsing history and Web search history, as well as age, gender, income bracket, education level and the ages of your children if you have them. Watching ads at the highest earning level means you'll accrue credits about two times faster than those who disclose only their name and associated email.
The HitBliss selection is pretty good, especially if you prefer current hits and some popular classics, such as "Lord of the Rings" and "The Godfather" — no Netflix -style independent films here. The company has agreements with Warner Bros., Universal, Paramount and others.
As for TV, again the offering is good. HitBliss has the first three seasons of AMC's " The Walking Dead ," seasons 1, 4 and 6 of "Big Bang Theory" and many other popular shows.
You can browse all of HitBliss' listings and then decide if it's worth a few minutes to earn viewing credits. Compared with Netflix and HuluPlus, at $8 apiece per month, you may find HitBliss is a good value — and at a minimum, you're less likely to succumb to binge viewing.
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