How much are you spending on cable each month?
For the average American, just a basic cable package can run close to $100 each month according to research, which means you could be spending over a thousand dollars a year to pay for your favorite TV.
Not to mention, in a time when 77% of Americans own a smartphone, if you can only watch your shows when you are in front of your TV, you’re missing out on the convenience of streaming video on mobile devices.
How can you avoid the expensive cable trap while still getting access to what you want to watch? Do what I did when I got tired of paying for hundreds of shows and channels I didn’t watch and start looking for options to stream your favorite content for free.
With free TV apps, you can watch hundreds, if not thousands, of the shows and movies you love. Plus, free television apps give you the flexibility to view content from anywhere, at any time. Try these ten free TV apps and cut cable out of your life altogether.
How To Watch Free TV Apps
The great thing about free television apps is that you can watch them from anywhere if you have the right devices.
Many of these apps can also be streamed from your desktop or laptop computer, but others are designed for just mobile devices, and typically, for Android or iOS systems. You may not want to spend hundreds of dollars on a new tablet to allow you to watch your content at home and on-the-go, so consider sites like Swappa where you can sell old devices and purchase gently used ones, all for less than the cost of cable.
The 10 Best Free TV Apps
Crackle may be the best free TV app because of the recent content it offers, which makes sense as it is brought to you by Sony. On Crackle, you can watch favorites like Seinfeld, original content, and of course, movies from the major studios.
Crackle is also device friendly; you can use it on your mobile devices, access it through smart TVs, and through streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV, Xbox, and PS3.
If you like the way cable is structured, Pluto TV may be the best free TV app for you. Content is arranged through channels that look like a cable interface, and you’ll find them featuring everything from movies to sports to news. Pluto TV now offers a video-on-demand service, with film and TV options from the major studios available.
Ads support Pluto TV, so you’ll probably have to watch one before your program, with ads also interspersed throughout like when watching standard TV.
Pluto TV’s app is probably the most streamlined free television app out there because of its structure, and the interface is clean and easy-to-use. Access content on your iOS or Android device, and through a range of streaming devices.
If you’re looking for fun streaming options for the whole family, PBS Kids offers specialized content for children with both educational and entertaining themes. With hundreds of choices and an easy-to-use interface, children can control their choices on their own.
What makes PBS Kids one of the best free TV apps for children is that there are no commercials. Therefore you can rest easy that your kids are only watching the age-appropriate programming that the app offers.
PBS Kids works on pretty much all types of smartphones and tablets, although you cannot download anything to watch offline.
If you want the best free TV app for streaming the biggest movies, look no further than Tubi TV. They have movies from all of the major studios as well as foreign and indie films, with content updated each week.
Tubi TV is supported by ads, so watching content can be similar to watching cable TV, in that you’ll see short ads every so often.
Tubi TV works on Android and iOS mobile devices and through streaming devices such as Xbox, Roku, Apple TV, as well as smart TVs.
A significant concern for those thinking about cutting the cable cord is losing access to news networks. NewsON is the best free television app out there for those who want news now. NewsON gives you access to live broadcasts as well as a library of on-demand choices, all coming from over 170 news affiliates.
What’s great about NewsON is that it will identify your location to update your local news. You can also select from different categories like breaking news or sports.
NewsON works with iOS and Android devices and Roku.
If you like to laugh, Funny Or Die’s original programming features many of your favorite celebrities at their comedic best. Funny Or Die was founded by actor Will Ferrell and comedy writer/director Adam McKay, so you know you can expect high-quality digital content – all for free.
The Funny Or Die app works on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, and can be watched from any computer. You can even participate in helping your favorite content get featured by voting “Funny” or “Die” at the end of the video which contributes to its overall rating.
YouTube isn’t just celebrities sharing stories and cat videos – you can get full-length TV shows and movies as well. In fact, YouTube just launched YouTube TV, which is a pay subscription service that allows you to get content from major networks right in your app, although it will cost $40 a month.
You do have plenty of free options on YouTube to keep you busy for the foreseeable future though. Check out channels with specially curated choices based on themes, or see if your favorite movie is available to stream.
YouTube is one of the best free television apps because it is available for use on just about any device, from smartphones and tablets to smart TVs.
A newcomer to free streaming apps, Flipps has a growing library and is a great free TV app for finding new and undiscovered shows and films. Currently, most of Flipps’ library is independent content and movies you may never have heard of, which makes it a great place to start finding new things to watch – without having to pay.
Flipps works on Android and iOS phones and tablets, and can also be used with Apple TV or Xbox. A considerable benefit of Flipps is that you can sync it with some types of smart TVs, making your phone or device an easy-to-use remote control.
Dive into more specialized streaming services with CrunchyRoll, which is the top choice for fans of anime and manga. Some of their most recognizable series include “Dragonball” and “Naruto.” You’ll predominantly find content comes from Japan, but there are also quite a few films and shows that you’ll recognize from elsewhere.
You can pay to upgrade CrunchyRoll, but you’ll get hundreds and hundreds of hours of free content without doing so.
CrunchyRoll works on Android, iOS, and Windows devices, through streaming boxes like Apple TV and Roku, and even on many gaming systems.
Parents should be aware that while the content is mostly animated, much of it is geared towards teenagers and adults, so it may not be suitable for younger children.
Rounding out the list of free television apps that can replace your cable is Twitch, which is designed for fans of gaming and online sports. Gamers and other e-sport aficionados create their own channels where you can watch them play for hours on end. With chat features, you can even communicate with others viewing the same content.
The Twitch app works on computers, Android and iOS devices, and most game systems.
Again, parents should be aware that these streams are pretty much unregulated, so there may be language or content that is unsuitable for children.
I cut the cable cord a little over five years ago, and it has made a huge difference in my monthly bills, allowing me to save more for the future. And the best part is that I can now watch my favorite shows and TV from anywhere with free TV apps. Pick and choose the ones you like or try them all, and you’ll be shocked to see how little you are actually giving up, and how much you are saving.