The number of quality programs on cable TV has declined dramatically in recent years.
Global stalwarts like the BBC are still churning out incredible documentaries at a phenomenal rate, but the overall standard has unquestionably deteriorated. Perhaps that’s why cordcutting has become so popular.
However, even if you hate modern TV and you’re an experienced cord cutter, there will still be times when you want to indulge in a spot of mindless channel hopping. And if you bought an Android TV device as part of your cord-cutting strategy, you’re in luck. It’s possible to enjoy legal, live TV on your Android TV device.
Here are seven Android TV apps that will let you enjoy free shows on your Android TV gadget.
1. Pluto TV
Pluto TV provides more than 100 TV channels across several categories. News, sports, movies, viral videos, and cartoons are all well-represented. It even offers some channels dedicated to a single show.
The company itself has been around since 2013. In that time, it’s built up 74 content partners. Channels include cable TV staples like CNBC, MSNBC, and Sky News, as well as web-only channels like CNET, The Surf Network, Classic Movies, IGN, and World Poker Tour. The app does not offer any on-demand content.
In addition to Android TV, the app is also available on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and some smart TVs. If you install it on the mobile version of Android, it is Chromecast compatible.
Download: Pluto TV (Free)
2. Bloomberg TV+
If you’re interested in the world of finance and global markets, you’ll already know about Bloomberg. Along with CNBC and FOX Business News, it’s one of the go-to business-focused channels in the United States.
However, unlike CNBC and FOX Business, Bloomberg’s output is free to watch through the company’s app.
You will have access to the network’s live streams, as well as a wide selection of on-demand shows from the last couple of days.
Download: Bloomberg TV+ (Free)
3. SPB TV
SPB TV is similar to Pluto TV in that it offers a wide selection of legal channels rather than just being a one-channel app.
Formerly called MobiWorld Media, SPB TV is headquartered in Zurich but has offices in Russia, the United States, Brazil, Switzerland, Singapore, and Thailand.
At the time of writing, it boasts more than 200 channels. They include international channels (both premium and free-to-air) and some exclusive channels. Some of the most well-known channels that are available include France 24, Fashion TV, Deutsche Welle, and Russia Today. All the channels are available in high-definition.
Download: SPB TV (Free)
The NBC app offers a mix of live TV and on-demand videos. In order to access the live TV feature, you need to meet two prerequisites:
- Have a TV service provider that includes NBC in your package
- Live in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C., Hartford, Dallas, Miami, San Francisco, or San Diego
NBC’s on-demand content is impressively expansive, making it one of the better Android TV apps around. You can watch the latest episodes of the network’s shows 24 hours after they air on regular TV, but can also view many TV classics such as Miami Vice, Battlestar Galactica, and Knight Rider.
Furthermore, unlike the other three apps we’ve covered so far, NBC offers support for closed caption subtitles. As such, it’s a great live TV app for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Download: NBC (Free)
5. LiveStream TV
From all the apps on this list, LiveStream TV offers the most extensive selection of channels.
Much of the availability depends on your location. The app includes local channels from the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Asia, and the Middle East, but they are almost all geo-blocked.
On the positive side, if you are fortunate enough to live in one of the app’s markets, you’ll be able to access all the free over-the-air (OTA) channels for the region.
And remember, if you don’t live in one of the supported countries, you can use a VPN to circumnavigate geographical restrictions. One of our favorite options is ExpressVPN.
Even if you don’t live in a supported area, you’ll still have access to some content. The app offers more than 200 web-based live TV channels and a vast library of on-demand content. Categories include sports, news, soaps, comedy, films, music, and children’s TV.
Download: LiveStream TV (Free)
6. Cumulus TV
Cumulus TV doesn’t offer any TV channels natively. Instead, it’s an IPTV app
IPTV apps are empty shells. To use them, you need to load an M3U playlist or an HLS file. In basic terms, M3U and HLS files point the IPTV app to the location of online video feeds.
Depending on your location, some OTA channels might make their feed publicly available, thus allowing you to add it to your app. If you’re struggling, a simple Google search will bring up hundreds of ready-made playlists.
There are lots of IPTV apps available, but Cumulus TV is especially impressive on Android TV thanks to its integration with the platform’s native Live Channels app. If you don’t need the integration, check out Perfect Player IPTV.
Download: Cumulus TV (Free)
Plex is a well-known home theater app. It lets you stream content around your home, manage your media libraries, and watch content remotely.
In mid-2017, the developers introduced a live TV feature. It lets you watch all the local OTA channels in your area for free. If you live in the United States, that means you’ll be able to enjoy all the major US networks, including ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and CW.
Plex Live TV also includes a DVR. You can pre-program recordings in advance and all the content you record will be integrated with your existing Plex libraries.
Download: Plex (Free)
Which Android TV Apps Do You Use?
These seven apps will help you watch free live TV from your Android TV device. But they’re certainly not the only ones out there, and we want to hear from you.
What are your favorite Android TV apps? Do you think they’re a good replacement for cable? Share your recommendations and thoughts in the comments below.