4 Best Resources for Streaming Chinese TV Online

TV streaming services open up the world of broadcast television for our learning and entertainment. 

They give us access to TV that in the past we would have to travel abroad to watch. 

This is especially useful for language learners who want to practice their listening skills and pick up new vocabulary in an engaging and enjoyable way. 

In this post, we’ll share four of the best resources for streaming Chinese TV online and how you can curate your viewing experience beyond live TV.

The best part? Some of them are totally free to enjoy!


1. YouTube


Yes, we have to include one of the biggest video websites around, don’t we? A simple search on YouTube for “Chinese TV” or “中国电视” (zhōng guó diàn shì — Chinese television) can bring up a ton of fantastic content.

From quick video clips to full episodes of Chinese dramas (the ones there legally, of course) to Chinese YouTubers doing their thing, there’s a ton of great Mandarin-language content on YouTube. There’s also quite a bit of content available in the form of video lesson plans, Chinese-learning tips and tricks, videos about Chinese culture and much, much more.

Maybe you already knew all that, but did you know that many China-based news channels live stream their own broadcasts on YouTube using the site’s “live” feature? And it’s all free. Everything’s better when it’s free.

It’s important to keep in mind that while YouTube is free and convenient, there’s no guarantee that Mandarin content will include English or even Chinese subtitles. With a little bit of searching, though, you’re sure to find the ideal content for your learning level.

We suggest:

2. Sling TV


Sling Television, aptly nicknamed “a la carte TV,” is a streaming service that, like Damai Television, is available as a streaming box setup or as a Roku channel.

Their Mandarin television section boasts over 50 different channels.

Sling also offers 8-day replay, so you can catch your favorite Mandarin television shows on your time. Most of their channels offer Chinese and English subtitles as well. This streaming resource is great because you can enjoy non-Chinese channels and films as well, making this a sort of “all-in-one” selection that’s great for learning Chinese and also for watching other types of media.

Sling TV offers a free 7-day trial so you can decide whether the service is right for you. After the trial, Sling TV costs $15 a month at its most basic level.

We suggest:

  • 凤凰卫视美洲台 (Fèng Huáng Wèi Shì Měi Zhōu Tái — Phoenix North America Channel) — One of the biggest Chinese-American channels in the United States. You can find tons of great Chinese and American content on this channel.
  • 湖南卫视 (Hú Nán Wèi Shì — Hunan TV) — Tons of dramas as well as breaking news, so you can mix or choose between politics and pleasure.

3. Youku


优酷 (Yōu Kù — Youku) is a video hosting service from Beijing. Not only is it one of China’s biggest online video and streaming service platforms, but it could be considered the YouTube of China. In addition to awesome dramas, news and chat shows, Youku also has a user platform similar to YouTube through which members can upload their own vlogs and individual content. They even have a Virtual Reality (VR) section.

Many of the videos on Youku are short clips, making them great for binge-watching without wasting a whole day. Unless that’s your thing. We won’t judge you.

Youku is free to use and the website is entirely in Chinese, so make sure you have a good grip on hanzi or a translator ready so you can navigate the site. Many of the videos on Youku, including short clips, feature Chinese subtitles.

Again, Youku is definitely more on the video clip YouTube-ish side of live broadcasting, but you can still use it to find extremely varied content. Finding full chat shows and film broadcasts is fairly easy. Just search through the 剧集 (jù jí — “Film),” 电影 (diàn yǐng — “Drama”) and “综艺” (zōng yì — “Variety Show”) sections underneath the header.

We suggest:

4. Phoenix Television


鳳凰衛視控 (Fèng Huáng Wèi Shì Kòng — Phoenix Satellite TV) is the last streaming service on our list, but it’s certainly not the least. This Hong Kong-based broadcaster is one of the biggest television channels in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. They produce both Cantonese- and Mandarin-language content.

Phoenix Satellite TV provides a very rich and diverse mix of programs, including news, talk shows, films, music videos and mini-series. They’re also the main Chinese broadcaster of United Nations affairs in China.

You can enjoy most of Phoenix Satellite TV’s content through their browser for a true streaming experience, all for free. This channel also offers Chinese subtitles for most of their content.

We suggest:

Bonus: FluentU

You can’t stream full episodes on FluentU, but the embedded learning tools and hundreds of available videos make it an excellent video-based learning resource. 

FluentU offers clips from authentic Chinese media such as scenes from TV shows, movie trailers and more. Each video comes with subtitles available in Chinese, pinyin and English.

As you watch, you can hover over any word in the subtitles to see useful information like the translation and part of speech. 

FluentU Chinese Clip

When you click on a word or phrase, you’ll see example sentences and other videos where it’s used. You can also play its audio pronunciation at normal or slow speed.

The program’s flashcard feature and personalized vocabulary quizzes will make sure you’re learning new words as you progress through the expansive video library, with new Chinese videos being added all the time. 

How Streaming Chinese TV Can Teach You Mandarin

  • It features realistic spoken Chinese for various situations. By listening to scripted or unscripted Chinese speech through all different kinds of TV shows (rather than just the fictional movies and series you find on some streaming sites), you can get the hang of how Mandarin sounds and the speed at which it’s spoken.
  • You can get exposed to Mandarin spoken with different accents and dialects. Mastering listening skills and speaking skills in Chinese doesn’t just involve mastering speech speed. It requires mastering context clues, tones and the ability to listen to Mandarin speakers who may have varying accents. Watching Chinese TV can definitely help with this.
  • It’s an entertaining way to practice Mandarin listening skills in your free time. Who doesn’t love vegging out with a great show and some takeout? You can get the benefit of practicing Chinese while also getting some leisure time by watching Chinese TV. And when it comes to watching live Chinese TV, you don’t even need to decide what to watch.


This is quite the selection of resources for Mandarin streaming TV!

Don’t feel too overwhelmed: Simply pick your preferred resource or channel from this list, jump on the couch and start watching a new show in Chinese.

You may find your new fave right here!

And for more entertaining Chinese content available online, check out Chinese movies you can rent on Amazon Prime and the best TV shows to learn Chinese.

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