Are you hooked on Korean TV and looking for tips to find your next obsession?
Or maybe you’ve been searching for a fun, cultural method to give your Korean studies a boost?
If so, you’ll love what we have in store for you.
We’ve got tons of handy advice to help you improve your Korean while watching authentic Korean TV online.
Watching Korean TV is a tremendous learning strategy that won’t just improve your listening abilities but will also expose you to a rich variety of words, expressions, grammar and even Korean accents.
And because mastering the Korean language requires more than just theoretical studies, watching Korean TV online can help you grasp the nuances of speech when non-verbal elements like gestures, bows, gazes, expressions and lip movements come into play. This is truly a complete approach to your Korean language studies.
You’ve probably wondered where to watch Korean TV online or even how to even do it.
Well, read up and enjoy!
The Top Tips for Watching Korean TV Online
- Make sure you have a fast Internet connection. Browsing South Korean sites from overseas can be painful if you don’t have a solid, reliable connection. If that’s your case, be prepared to wait! There could be several reasons why the page load time for these sites is slow, including the bandwidth of the network connection, the server load or the rendering of the fonts. Make sure that you have a high-speed connection in order to enjoy the best possible streaming experience.
- Choose a Korean TV show—or a few!—that you’ll enjoy. The easiest way to make the most out of learning Korean with Korean TV shows is to make sure that you like what you’re watching. If something is boring, you’re less likely to learn something from it. You need a show that’s binge-worthy—one that will even make you forget that you’re studying at all!
In fact, the Korean TV show landscape is so varied that there’s something for everyone as shown in this video from FluentU’s Korean YouTube channel.
Whether you like dramas, fantasy shows, comedies or shows set in interesting locations like Korean hospitals, there’s sure to be a Korean show that meets your tastes. Besides, you don’t even have to choose just one: you can decide to keep up with multiple Korean shows at once. That way, you can learn Korean from the various topics explored in each show and have a lot of fun along the way.
Check out this channel and many more like it on FluentU’s Korean YouTube channel.
- Use headphones. Listening to a foreign language can be difficult as it is, so be sure to secure every possible advantage when watching Korean TV online. Wearing your headphones will make it easier to really focus on the language and detect every little sound until your ears grow completely accustomed to the sounds of Korean.
- Opt for live streaming if you lack content idea. The advantage of live streaming is that videos and shows play continuously, without the need for you to take any action. This removes the need to actively spend time looking for shows, or even to make a choice if you hesitate between multiple streaming options. It’s also a fun, serendipitous way to discover interesting shows that you may really enjoy.
- Choose VOD (Video on Demand) to focus more closely on studying. Live streaming is terrific, but if you’re a beginner or even an intermediate student, it may be a bit frustrating for you. That’s because you can’t replay portions of a show with live streaming, so you can’t go back to try to understand something you missed. This also makes it challenging to take notes and verify complex vocabulary. VOD, however, allows you to do just that. Plus, you can select specific shows based on your unique interests and fluency level.
- Use FluentU for even more intensive learning. For a specially curated library of real-world online content—like movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks—that’s been turned into personalized language lessons to maximize what you can get out of it, check out FluentU.
The 3 Best Ways to Watch Korean TV Online for Free and on the Cheap
1. Watch Korean TV Online Via Individual Channel Websites
TV조선 (TV Chosun)
The channel TV Chosun is operated by Chosun Broadcasting Company, a South Korean cable TV network owned by the popular Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo.
With a strong emphasis on news, the site features 24/7 Live TV accessible for free without registration. The On Air video browser details the show that’s currently playing along with the next three shows, so you can easily determine whether or not you want to continue streaming.
If you’re looking to pick and choose your programs, don’t leave just yet. Browse the VOD section of the site. It includes a large selection of programs recently broadcast in Korea. We recommend you try “살림9단의만물상” (9th Grade General Store Housekeeping), a lifestyle show that discusses positive news and topics including health, food and families. There’s also “내몸사용설명서” (My Body’s Owner’s Guide), a health-first program centered around preventative and Eastern medicine.
Primarily aimed at English-speakers in Korea and Korean natives looking to improve their English skills, Arirang is a South Korean cable channel operated by the Korea International Broadcasting Foundation. News and current affairs dominate the editorial content of this site, but social and cultural topics also appear in a fair share of the programming.
You’ll find Live TV streaming Arirang’s TV bilingual content (“World”) and native Korean content (“Korea”). Any shows that incorporate interviews in Korean are all accompanied by English subtitles, making it a great option for beginner and intermediate learners looking to be exposed to proper Korean pronunciation at a natural yet approachable pace. Note that the player features the name of the show being streamed as well as the next four shows.
Head over to the VOD section where you’ll find more exciting shows on demand. Just keep in mind that they don’t archive their Korean-language shows. You can watch videos in English and read the accompanying text descriptions in Hangul by clicking “Korean” on the right-hand side of the video player. Some good choices include “Chef’s Foodcation,” which will delight foodies with succulent videos about Korean food, and “Showbiz Korea,” a show about Korea’s glitzy entertainment industry.
Founded in 1927, the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) is the national public broadcaster of South Korea and one of the country’s leading channels. Let’s just say this: you need to watch KBS online if you wish to gain a better grasp of the Korean language and culture.
Luckily, the broadcasting giant is making it easy for you. Foreigners can watch KBS’s Live TV for free and without any registration. Simply click on On Air/VOD on the left-hand side of the site header and click KBS1 or KBS2. However, be aware that you may experience intermittent service occasionally. If this happens, try logging in at a later time.
You may also access the site’s VOD section for popular archived shows. Be sure to allow pop-ups on the site to watch videos.
Head over to KBS America if you encounter difficulty streaming Korean videos. You’ll be able to enjoy “오마이비너스” (Oh My Venus), a romantic comedy that follows the adventure of a fit trainer and his childhood love who’s now an overweight lawyer, and KBS America News, a complete news report focused on the United States and delivered entirely in Korean.
Yes! Top News, also known as YTN, is a modern news site and the only South Korean channel bringing real-time news coverage.
You’ll get hooked on their Live TV player, which will rapidly become your go-to information source for breaking news about the Korean peninsula. While more serious news take the center of the stage, you’ll also appreciate their coverage of sports, science and society news, perfect to really acquire a diverse range of vocabulary.
Don’t forget to check out their VOD section to review past news reports broken down into mini-clips and organized by ever-changing categories, including 이시각 리우 (Rio Now) or 좋은뉴스 (Good News).
You may struggle quite a bit with this authentic content in the beginning, so don’t hesitate to read the mini-descriptions that follow each video and to research new vocabulary in Naver’s bilingual online dictionary.
2. Watch Korean TV Online Via Netflix
Netflix offers a limited yet solid selection of authentic Korean videos in Korean and with English subtitles. If you already have a Netflix account or are considering signing up, this may be a huge plus for you. Keep in mind that their movie and TV show selection changes constantly and may vary country by country, but here are some interesting titles worth streaming:
- “내일도칸타빌레” (Tomorrow’s Cantabile): This is a popular series adapted from the Japanese manga Nodame Cantabile by Tomoko Ninomiya. It follows the adventures of two gifted students at Korea’s Han Eum Academy of Music as they develop a romantic relationship. This is a great show to learn the vocabulary of music along with plenty of action verbs.
- “빠담빠담” (Padam Padam): Named after the iconic song by French singer Edith Piaff, this show will delight romance and fantasy lovers. It’s about a man who was just released from prison and meets a person who claims to be his guardian angel. Stream it to learn lots of colorful idioms and expressions that will help you convey your feelings with great accuracy.
- “12년만의재회” (12 Years Promise): This endearing family show follows the adventures of Jang Gook and Yoo Joon-soo, whose one-night stand results in an unexpected pregnancy. They marry to please their parents, eventually separating, only to reunite 12 years later. This is a terrific show to discover Korean humor and learn 반말 (informal speech).
- “투비컨티뉴드” (To Be Continued): Have you ever wondered what could happen if you were transported to another era? This show is all about that! It tells the story of a boy band that suddenly slips back in time while at the top of their game. This will teach you how to use the appropriate formality level of speech based on context along with numerous descriptive adjectives.
3. Watch Korean TV Online Via DramaFever
If you find yourself constantly searching for Korean TV shows online, you’ll love DramaFever. This gem of a streaming site offers a huge selection of content in Korean, some of which may include subtitles.
To get started, sign up for a free account which offers you a limited selection of videos along with ads. You may also upgrade to one of their premium accounts at any time if you’re looking for more features or less ads.
Here are some of the titles that you can view:
- “치즈인더트랩” (Cheese in the trap): Inspired by a webtoon, this hilarious drama shows the relationship between a poor but bright college student and a rich, handsome boy with a dark side. This is the show you need to watch to acquire vocabulary related to education and to discover the many facets of the South Korean university system.
- “이웃집꽃미남” (Flower Boy Next Door): In this romantic TV series, a discrete South Korean girl suddenly finds herself surrounded by fun, cool male neighbors who help her leave her shell and take her on exciting adventures. You’ll discover vivid expressions to discuss personality traits along with descriptive verbs to add depth and precision to your language.
- “신데렐라와 네 명의 기사” (Cinderella and Four Knights): What girl doesn’t want to be a princess? This drama uses a common Korean storytelling plot to tell the story of an orphan who regains her love of life while living with four handsome men in an imposing mansion.
- “닥터스” (Doctor Crush): What’s better than a great doctor show? A doctor show with a great romance plot. This is about a girl who has managed to overcome her life challenges by becoming a doctor, and who strives to make the world a better place through her work. Along with the obvious medical jargon, you’ll learn numerous action verbs and expressions you can use in an office setting.
There you go!
Now that you know just where to watch Korean TV online, we’re convinced that you’ll rock your Korean studies.