The way we consume media has changed drastically in the past ten years. Internet streaming services have become one of the most popular ways for people to watch their favorite TV shows and movies. With mobile telephone carriers offering unlimited data plans, you no longer have to be tethered to your home to get your entertainment fix.
But with so many streaming services charging top dollar to use their services, cinephiles and telephiles can rack up hefty charges to get their fix. Luckily there are numerous Android apps that not only offer great content but do so free of charge. Here’s our picks for the best free Android apps to get your TV fix.
The app formerly known as Watch ABC is now known simply as ABC. The official app of the American Broadcasting Company boasts a wide variety of shows from their current line-up. These include reality mainstays from “Dancing with the Stars” to award-winning comedies like “Black-ish.” Users also have access to ABC’s “Throwback” collection, featuring older shows like “Ugly Betty” and “Felicity.”
Unfortunately you won’t be able to binge every episode. Instead, ABC has made the last five episodes available to stream, barring access to the most recently aired episode. The only exception to this is late night programming like “Jimmy Kimmel Live” which does the opposite. In this case the newest episodes are locked, whereas older episodes are available. In addition, the app also features original content under the ABCD banner.
CBS is currently pushing its very own full-fledged subscription streaming service called CBS All Access. Unfortunately, this means a lot of content listed in the official CBS mobile app is locked under the premium All Access moniker. That being said, the CBS app does still offer quite a bit of content without forcing users to open up their wallets.
If you stick with the free offerings, you’ll be able to stream full episodes of CBS shows the day after they air. In addition, you’ll be able to watch some classic shows like “Star Trek” and “The Brady Bunch.” Be aware that the number of episodes available to stream tends to fluctuate. Some shows only offer a couple of episodes, whereas others have significantly more available. If you decide to pony up the cash, All Access boasts over 8,500 episodes of the network’s “top” shows. Currently there are two different pricing options: $5.99/month with commercials, or $9.99/month without them.
The CW is home to a number of popular shows like “iZombie,” “Arrow” and “Riverdale.” Like the other big networks, The CW has an app that allows users to stream those shows directly to their mobile devices. The big difference between The CW and the others is that everything is completely free. There are no logins and zero “premium” features. While this may be a breath of fresh air, be aware that The CW does limit the number of episodes available to stream. You’ll find the five most recent episodes of the current lineup of shows.
If that’s not enough, you can also check out CW Seed. This is a separate app that has complete series of shows like “Hellcats,” “666 Park Ave” and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” CW Seed also has a DC spotlight featuring shows based on DC Comics like “Constantine” and “Vixen.”
Can’t get enough of the unusual junk people horde away in their sheds? We’ve got good news for you: full episodes of “American Pickers” are available to watch on the History Channel app. More of a fan of the quirky stuff sold to make a quick buck? Don’t worry because episodes of “Pawn Stars” are available too.
While the History Channel’s historical value may be questionable, the app offers a wide variety of content. Breaking from the status quo, the History app doesn’t give you access to the most recent episodes of shows. Instead, they offer up the first five episodes of the first season. This is great if you want to try a show on for size, but isn’t ideal for those looking to stay up to date. While you will find most of the network’s most popular shows, there are some glaring omissions. If pillaging and conquest is your thing, you’ll have to tune in to “Vikings” at its regularly scheduled time.
The Fox Now app is a bit of an outlier when it comes to the big networks. Fox Now doesn’t have an extensive free library of content available to stream right off the bat. Instead it relies on your cable provider login to unlock content the vast majority of its content.
There is, however, a silver lining to this. Fox Now does allow you to stream the latest five episodes of series in their first season, like “Lethal Weapon.” For returning shows like “The Simpsons,” the most recent episode is unlocked eight days after it originally airs.
While the heyday of NBC’s “Must See TV” may be a thing of the past, there is still a lot to watch with the official NBC app. The app offers a good balance of new and old shows, ranging from comedies to reality TV. For current shows like “Superstore” and “The Voice,” the most recent five episodes are available to stream for free, as per usual. Unfortunately, like Fox Now, the most recent episode is unavailable until eight days after its original broadcast. If you’re into classic shows like Miami Vice then you’re in luck. The NBC app gives you access to many episodes of older shows for no extra cost.
There is a decent amount of late night TV available as well. However if you want to watch Jimmy Fallon struggle to contain his laughter or watch Melissa McCarthy’s latest turn as “Spicey,” you’ll have to settle for older episodes. The most recent ones are kept under lock and key unless you have a cable or satellite login.
Do you use any of the apps mentioned above? Are there others that we missed? Let us know which Android apps you rely on to get your TV fix in the comments below!