The Top Ways to Watch TV on Your iPhone

In this on-demand society we live in, watching TV via any other means than watching it the first time it’s broadcast over the television airwaves has become extremely popular. People have replaced their VCRs with DVRs, but if they forget to record a show, all is not lost. Within twenty-four hours, they can find the show they missed somewhere on the Internet. Not only is this content available on computers, it’s also available on iPhones.

There are several options out there, with the options out there for watching TV on an iPhone increasing regularly with technology. Big television fans will have the most success with Hulu+. The app is free, and with it comes a free week of subscription service. After the week, it costs $7.99 a month. It may seem like a lot, but it’s much cheaper than cable, and many people are dropping cable, deciding they can wait a few hours to watch their favorite shows, and saving themselves a lot of money.


While on a computer you have a choice of the free Hulu service or paid Hulu+, on the iPhone and other devices, only Hulu+ is available. You also need a computer to sign up for the service, yet once you do so, you’re open to watching TV content on your iPhone. Even with Hulu+, you’re still subjected to ads.

Hulu+ has more full TV episodes and more movies than Hulu. However, reading the alphabetical list of movies through the letter C, I never found anything I was dying to watch. Most I haven’t even heard of. Yet, many first run TV shows are available, from both network TV to cable stations, yet there are some shows that aren’t available. It’s an ever-changing list, however, with more being added all the time.

If you’re completely against paying for TV on your iPhone, is a good choice. It offers much the same content as Hulu+, yet doesn’t include movies, and doesn’t include as many full episodes of series. It features content from CBS, the CW, Showtime, and Classic TV. Like Hulu+, you can have it follow your favorite shows (providing they’re on the prescribed networks), and have them readily available for you when you need or want them.

Netflix is of course another paid service, and there isn’t a free option. Yet if you’re one of the tens of millions of subscribers of the movie service, using it to watch TV, as well as movies, on your iPhone is a possible way to go and won’t cost you any more. Even if you aren’t already a subscriber, it still might be a good option. Like Hulu+, it also costs $7.99 a month, and the movie options aren’t even comparable. If you’re more of a movie fan than TV fan, but want both options, this would be a better spent $7.99 than Hulu+.

While this won’t lead to an all-around solution for watching TV on your iPhone, apps for cable providers can also be a good option. Like, they have certain networks and cable stations that work with them. U-Verse has their own iPhone app with a growing list of content, Comcast offers the Xfinity TV app, and Time Warner Cable offers their own app, with some networks balking at the inclusion to the free app originally.

Of course many networks have their own apps, and some of them even include full episodes. HBO and ESPN are new to the game. With the HBO app, you have to already be a subscriber, yet with ESPN, it allows you live streaming access to some of the ESPN channels, however, whether or not you can watch the content depends on your cable provider. Search the App Store for your favorite networks and cable stations to see if they have an app for watching free content.

While there is no perfect solution out there that will allow you to watch everything you want, whether a paid or free app, the TV app market is definitely on the rise and headed in that direction. It could be the way of the future, as the more and more people who decide to forego cable prices to watch on their phones, tablets, and computers, the more content will become available, possibly making cable TV obsolete someday.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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