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.
Crunchyroll is among the best TV apps for anime. It features a ton of anime shows both current and old. Crunchyroll also boasts a simulcast feature. It puts new episodes of anime on the service within hours of release on TV. It’s not live TV, but it’s as close as anime fans can get. Most of the content comes in subtitles. That helps them release it faster. The app itself also has Chromecast support, a queue to keep track of what you’re watching, and a dedicated manga app for people who like that. A basic subscription is $6.99 per month. The $9.99 per month is really only worth it for those who are really into Crunchyroll as a service.
DirecTV now 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. DirecTV is owned by AT&T. Thus, AT&T customers can sometimes get pretty decent deals on the DirecTV service. Those that can take advantage of that should probably do so, at least to try it out. It’s definitely the worst on this list, but it’s still one of only five TV apps that do live TV.
HBO Now is HBO’s standalone TV streaming app. It’s similar to HBO Go, except you can pay for this one separately. It gives you unmitigated access to HBO’s lineup of shows. That includes the venerable Game of Thrones, Westworld, comedy specials, documentaries, and more. The app itself works pretty well. It includes support for Chromecast. The streaming quality is quite good as well. It’s not bad for what it is. However, it’s also a little expensive considering that it’s just one channel. It’s okay as far as TV apps go.
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. It’s an excellent one-stop-shop. However, the prices can get up there pretty quickly.
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.
PlayStation Vue is Sony’s attempt at a live TV service. It comes with four options. The cheapest option runs for $24.99 and runs up to the most expensive at $64.99. The service is actually pretty decent. There are a bunch of channels, including live sports, movie channels, and popular live TV. The app is slowly getting there. It had a rough start. However, it’s slowly getting the kinds of features people are asking for, like Chromecast support. This is a great service if you have a PlayStation that can support it with your mobile phone as a backup. Otherwise, there may be better options for you.
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. This is the one we’d recommend using for now.
STARZ is actually a pretty decent little app. It’s cheaper than several of its competitors. The app itself also works pretty well most of the time. It offers up a variety of movies and TV shows, including originals like Ash vs The Evil Dead, Outlander, Camelot, and others. The app also lets you download full episodes for those long plane, train, or subway rides. You can also download movies, including many newer box offices successes. It’s not live TV, but it’s a halfway decent, all-around movie app with some decent original programming.
YouTube TV is going to be a big deal someday. It only has one package for $35 per month. However, that package comes with over 40 channels. That includes 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. It’s only available in a few cities right now. There’s a good chance you’re not in one of them right now. Keep an eye on this one, though. It’ll be better than pretty much all other TV apps when it’s available everywhere.
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.
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!