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.
DirecTV Now (Live TV)
Price: $40-$75 per month
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.
Price: Free trial / $14.99 per month
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 (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 trial / $7.99-$11.99 per month
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 (Live TV)
Price: Free trial / $24.99-$64.99 per month
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 isn’t on a ton of other platforms. However, it does cover the PS4, mobile, and it has casting support. The app had an incredibly rough start. It is starting to recover, though, and it’s definitely an improvement from its early days.
Sling TV (Live TV)
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.
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 Crunchryroll 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. They lost Funimation, perhaps the largest collection of dubbed anime, but Funimation still has its own streaming service as well.
YouTube TV (Live TV)
Price: Free / $39.99 per month
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. 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.
Most major sports apps
Price: Varies, but it’s a monthly or yearly subscription for all of them.
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, 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.