You need TV apps in your life and on your device.
TV apps allow you to cut the burdensome cord to your television without cutting off your access to television content. Some of them are free, some are premium, and some expand the capabilities of television beyond what you’d expect.
Whether you miss TV-like content delivery or just want to watch your favorite shows as they air, TV apps can help bring you the best of television without the worst of television.
So without further adieu, here are the best free and premium TV apps for iPhone and iPad in 2019.
Best Free TV Apps
In terms of free TV apps, there’s nothing quite like PlutoTV.
What is PlutoTV? Well, it’s a free TV service that allows you to access a variety of channels. Most of these channels are based on themed content. It’s actually very similar to most premium TV services in that respect.
The difference is the channels themselves. You’re not going to get the usual suite of TV channels you get with premium services. There are some familiar channels on Pluto, but most of them are more “indie.”
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. From action and horror movie channels to channels that only show Mystery Science Theater, PlutoTV impresses through the variety of its offerings. There’s almost always something on that’s worth watching no matter what your tastes are.
While Pluto suffers somewhat from content repetition and a lack of live event availability, there’s no reason not to download this incredible free TV app. It’s one of the best on the market in its class.
Crackle has long been an interesting service that many cord cutters have come to rely on.
To be clear, Crackle isn’t a TV app like Pluto or YouTube TV. That means it doesn’t let you watch live TV, and it doesn’t let you watch curated TV channels with rotating content. It works more like Netflix and Hulu.
So why is Crackle on this list? Well, it’s because Crackle has one of the best lineups of TV shows for a free streaming app. From classic programs to more modern series, Crackle is really one of the only free streaming services that allows you to access a respectable lineup of TV series.
Again, manage your expectations, but there are few reasons not to download Crackle.
Much like Crackle, TubiTV is a Netflix-like streaming service that offers a preset collection of content that includes movies and TV.
So let’s get this out of the way once again: TubiTV isn’t going to replace the premium services in your life anytime soon. That’s not really what it’s for. Its selection just isn’t as robust and fresh as what you get from those premium services.
However, TubiTV is still worth checking out even if you have a premium streaming service. Why? Well, for one thing, its curation system is arguably better than that of Netflix, Hulu, and similar services. The app breaks down all of the content into very specific sections. This makes it easier to find not only what you’re looking for, but new content as well.
TubiTV is another free TV app that won’t waste your time even if you don’t stick with it for long.
NewsON is the free TV app that you need in your life if you’re looking to catch up on news television.
One of the things you miss when you cut the TV cord is access to local news. You can invest in a digital antenna, but that might be overkill for that particular service.
Well, NewsON simply lets you access those local news stations via your device. Yes, you simply use this app to watch news broadcasts as they happen. You can even watch previous broadcasts up to 48 hours after they have aired.
The scope of NewsON is limited, but it certainly fills a void in cordcutters’ lives.
Best Premium TV Apps
It’s hard to ignore Sling TV. Sling has gone out of their way to promote their service via any avenue they can. Honestly, it’s hard to blame them.
Sling’s big selling point is a la carte TV. What that means is that you can “build” a premium TV package comprised of the channels you want. It doesn’t work quite as well as you may hope due to content restrictions, but it’s a fantastic option for those looking for a few key channels.
On top of that, Sling offers more traditional TV packages that come in a variety of flavors. Those packages are fairly reasonably priced and include a variety of worthwhile channels. Best of all, Sling offers a generous trial and reasonable initial pricing options.
Sling is a trendsetter in the TV app market that should be the first destination for cord cutters looking for TV options.
You already go to YouTube for many of your entertainment needs, but did you know it’s also one of the best sources for live TV?
YouTube TV is one of the simplest apps of its kind. For $49.99 a month, you gain access to a variety of TV channels available via traditional TV services. That includes sports channels, news channels, and even some “premium” channels. Basically, you pay $49.99 a month to move your TV service to your mobile device and TV app.
While that may sound like trading your cord for an app, it’s not quite that simple. YouTube TV also allows you to access DVR services (a welcome feature) and family sharing. You can even cancel it whenever you want. Best of all, YouTube TV eliminates the fees that drive up your current cable plan.
This is just a tremendous almost 1 to 1 at a discount alternative to traditional television.
Yes, traditional TV providers are moving into the app universe. No, that doesn’t mean you should ignore AT&T TV.
AT&T TV basically lets you access AT&T TV services via apps. Prices of various packages range from $50 a month to $135 a month and include various channels. We imagine that might not sound appealing to people who want to move away from such services, but AT&T TV offers a few appealing features.
Namely, it allows you to easily access an appealing selection of TV titles at a pretty good price. You’re not tied to your TV with this service, and it isn’t nearly as expensive as it was in the past due to the pressure of increased competition.
This is a pretty easy way to get back into the TV ecosphere while enjoying modern benefits.
Despite the presence of PlayStation in the name, PlayStation Vue isn’t playing any games when it comes to TV streaming.
Like many competing services, PlayStation Vue allows you to access a variety of TV channels for a monthly price. Said channels can be viewed via a variety of devices that include your favorite iOS device.
PlayStation Vue separates itself through its features and selection. With Vue, you get cloud DVR, multi-screen streaming on Apple TV, and streaming capabilities on up to five devices. You also gain access to an impressive array of channels at various subscription tiers.
If you have Apple TV and are willing to spend a bit more on the premium tiers, this is a fantastic TV app that ranks among the best on the modern market.
Hulu Live TV
When it comes to the major streaming services, Hulu is really the only one that also functions as a viable TV app.
Hulu Live TV is an extension of Hulu’s base streaming service. It lets you watch live TV channels for an additional monthly fee (about $45 a month, based on offers and packages). It’s very much like the other services we’ve talked about on this list in that respect.
Where Hulu Live TV distinguishes itself is through its association with the base Hulu service. For roughly the same price as competing TV apps, you get live TV streaming and access to the ad-tier of Hulu. Even though Hulu Live TV may lack some of the features of other services, that bundle makes it one of the best content offerings of all the TV apps out there.
The truth of the matter is that most people cut their cable cords because cable became too expensive. There were other downsides to the industry, but that was a big drawback.
Philo offers a simple TV app for those who don’t want to spend too much on television. For $20 a month, it gives you access to AMC, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and 55 other TV channels. That’s an incredible price for that cost.
The trade-off with Philo is that it just doesn’t offer as many channels or features as the competition. However, for those who are interested in the channels, it does offer and want to expand the entertainment they have access to, it’s an incredible option for a great price.