The way we watch TV is evolving. TV subscriptions are no longer entirely necessary. There are now a variety of ways to watch TV right on your mobile devices. That includes a new wave of live TV services. They cost a fraction of what most TV subscriptions cost these days. Those cutting the cable should definitely feel at home here. Here are the best TV apps for Android. PlayStation Vue, a former member of this list, was shut down on January 30th, 2020.
AT&T TV (Live TV)
Price: $40-$65 per month
AT&T TV is one of the TV apps that does actual live TV. The lowest tier boasts 60 channels of live television. The highest tier gets up to over 120 channels. Unfortunately, the app itself still needs a lot of work. The developers are definitely working out some bugs. Thus, this isn’t the first choice we’d recommend for an all digital live TV service. This was previous DirecTV Now and just underwent a re-branding here recently. The UI is still rather clunky and it has issues that need fixed. However, it’s a serviceable live TV service.
Hulu (Live TV)
Price: Free Trial / $7.99-$39.99 per month+
Hulu is one of the biggest TV apps out there. It has a whole bunch of older shows, older seasons of current shows, movies, and more. In 2017, they also started doing live TV. That essentially makes Hulu a cross between something like Netflix and something like Sling TV. The basic service costs $7.99 per month (limited ads) or $11.99 per month (no ads). The live TV package will run you $40 per month and includes 50 channels. You can also purchase an add-on for Showtime, HBO, and others. It’s an excellent one-stop-shop. The prices can stack up quickly, though, especially if you want extras like HBO.
Price: Free / $8.99-$15.99
Everybody knows about Netflix. It’s the place to go when you just want to turn something on and binge for hours. It doesn’t do live TV. However, it does have an absolute stockpile of TV shows. That includes current shows, old shows, and even anime. In many cases, Netflix will have most seasons. It’s a great way to catch up on some classics. However, Netflix takes a long time to get new seasons of current shows that they carry. Their Netflix Original Series shows such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and all those Marvel shows are pretty good. $7.99 gets you a non-HD subscription. $11.99 supports up to four screens and UHD resolution where available. It’s easily the most popular of all TV apps.
Pluto TV (live TV)
Price: Free (with ads)
Pluto TV is a rare free live TV service. It boasts well over 100 live TV channels and thousands of movies. The app also includes Chromecast support as well as apps for Android TV. You get a functional UI although it’s nothing special. It manages to stay free by omitting a lot of channels that require huge fees. Thus, you won’t get stuff like the Food Network or AMC. You still have to pay for those channels. Otherwise, it’s a serviceable free live TV app and there is a ton of content from all kinds of channels.
Price: Free trial / $20-$25 per month + add-ons
Sling TV is probably the best of the live TV apps right now. It’s also the most customizable. There are two basic packages that go from $20 to $25 per month. You can then add on a bunch of packages depending on your needs. They have stuff for comedy, sports, kids, and even HBO. The app is just okay. It has Chromecast support. It also has some bugs that need worked out. It’s not as stable as something like YouTube TV, but YouTube TV also isn’t available everywhere yet. It’s also available on tons of other devices aside from mobile. That makes it one of the better live TV apps.
Sony Crackle is one of the better free options for video streaming. It has a variety of movies, TV shows, and and other content. The app supports itself with adverts and there are quite a bit of adverts. The UI is manageable and the selection isn’t bad for its price tag. The Android TV version of this app is awful, though, and there are some bugs here and there that Sony should probably iron out. Otherwise, it’s good enough for a free service.
Price: Free / $9.99 per month
VRV is probably the best streaming service for indie content, anime, and other unusual types of TV. The service is a conglomeration of other services. They include Crunchyroll (anime), HiDive (anime), Rooster Teeth (indie), Geek and Sundry (indie), Nicksplat (old cartoons), Nerdist (indie), Cartoon Hangover, and many others. You get all of them for a single monthly price. With Crunchyroll simulcasting anime from Japan, this is as close as it gets to live TV for that genre. It’s otherwise an outstanding source of old and indie television. We heartily recommend it to any and all anime fans. We also recommend Funimation for anime fans. It often has simulcasts in English dubs of newer and popular shows.
Price: Free trial / $49.99 per month
YouTube TV started small but has grown into a rather good live TV app with about 70 channels. Those channels include local sports channels, popular TV channels, and more. You can also get Showtime and Fox Sports Soccer as additional add-ons for extra fees. The service also includes unlimited cloud DVR, six accounts per subscription, and some additional YouTube features. There are also add-ons for additional channels like HBO. It’s expanding quickly, but isn’t without flaws. This one is really good if you need something simple.
Sports streaming apps
Price: Free / Varies
Many major sporting organizations have their own TV apps. The NHL, NFL, MLB, and NBA are among those. There are others as well. The experiences vary from app to app. However, they all follow a basic framework. You can stream an unlimited number of out of market games (meaning, not games that air on local TV where you live) for a nominal fee every year. They typically don’t include playoff games. Those are usually subject to nationwide blackouts.. The prices are usually manageable. The apps have also been slowly improving over the years. Big sports fans may want to check these out instead of going for a huge subscription full of channels they don’t watch elsewhere.
Individual TV station apps
Price: Free / Varies
There are many TV stations with individual apps now. Some examples include ABC, NBC, the CW, CBS, the Hallmark Channel, EPIX NOW (linked), CNN, FOX Now, and many others. They all work about the same way. You can watch a bunch of shows from the network, live stream some TV shows and events, and watch the news when available. Usually, we recommend general TV apps like Sling TV, Hulu, YouTube TV, etc. However, those who really love just one channel can usually just get that channel without all of the extra fluff. The prices vary as do the features. They all have free trials, though.
If we missed any great TV apps, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists!