Great Apps for Watching TV on Your iPhone

The golden age of television has reached the iPhone and iPad

Two smiling older people watching something on their iPhone

Television fare isn't limited to your TV anymore. IPhone and iPad users can enjoy mobile television thanks to apps from cable companies, TV networks, and online video providers like Hulu and Netflix. Some of these apps are free, and some require a subscription. Some require that you are signed up with a certain cable company. One way or another, you have plenty of options for getting TV programs to your iPhone. You won't ever be able to say "there's nothing to watch" again.

A&E

A&E app logo

What We Like

  • Many episodes are unlocked automatically.

  • Easy-to-navigate interface.

  • Includes deleted scenes.

What We Don't Like

  • No way to skip ads.

  • Excessive and repetitive ads.

  • Requires cable subscription with participating company.

Get your fill of A&E reality shows like Live PD and The First 48 with this app. You'll have access to deleted scenes and exclusive clips along with full episodes. You'll need a cable subscription with a participating provider to view episodes, but you can get some shows without logging in, which is somewhat uncommon. Logging in to your cable company account unlocks extra episodes. 

Free app, but it requires a cable subscription with a participating company

ABC

ABC app icon

What We Like

  • Shows grouped by genre.

  • Extra clips with most shows.

  • News specials.

  • Live streaming of local ABC station.

What We Don't Like

  • Some live events are not available in all areas.

  • Lengthy commercial breaks.

  • Includes only selected episodes for some shows.

ABC's app requires that you log in with your cable company account, but you'll find a host of interesting things when you do. There are all the free TV shows, of course, but there's also live streaming TV in many metropolitan areas. Plus, you can watch on the go. You can use the app to share video clips and discuss episodes on Facebook and Twitter while you watch.

Free app, but it requires a cable subscription with a participating company

Amazon Prime Video

Prime Video app icon

What We Like

  • Movies and shows recommended based on viewing patterns.

  • Live sports events.

  • Personalized watchlist.

What We Don't Like

  • Vast amount of content is overwhelming.

  • No option to stream downloaded content to TV.

  • Offline downloads are at 480p.

Anyone with an Amazon Prime account can use the Prime Video app to stream thousands of free movies and TV shows. The app recommends shows for you and offers original programming such as "The Grand Tour," "The Man in the High Castle," and the kid series "Tumble Leaf." Download movies and TV shows over a Wi-Fi or cellular connection to watch wherever you go.

Free app, but it requires an Amazon Prime account 

Bloomberg: Business News

Bloomberg app icon

What We Like

  • Bloomberg TV breaking news and interviews.

  • Focuses on financial and political world.

  • Professional analysis and market insights.

  • Chromecast compatible.

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive pay wall.

  • Free app includes only 10 free articles per month.

  • Obtrusive ads in free version.

Keep up to date with the world of business and high finance using the Bloomberg Business News app. The app does more than provide 24-hour live access to Bloomberg TV and selected clips. You can use it to access stock market info and news on the economy, technology, and politics. It even offers tools for tracking your investments. 

Free

Bravo

Bravo app icon

What We Like

  • Live shows, full episodes, and clips.

  • Watchlist.

  • Cast shows with Airplay and Chromecast.

  • Three-episode free pass.

What We Don't Like

  • Clips only for earlier shows in a season.

  • Previous seasons not always included.

If you want to keep up with "Real Housewives," "Top Chef," "Million Dollar Listing," or any other Bravo series, the Bravo app is the place to do it. You have to log in to your cable account, but the app offers polls, trivia, photos, chat, and Bravo's watch-along system, SYNC, in addition to the TV programming. 

Free app, but it requires a cable subscription with a participating company

Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network app icon

What We Like

  • Colorful, easy-to-use interface.

  • Includes shows that are no longer on the channel.

  • Most episodes available the day after they air.

What We Don't Like

  • No search bar.

  • Doesn't carry all Cartoon Network shows.

  • Not every season is offered.

If you're hankering for some of the delightful weirdness or high adventure available in the lineup of Cartoon Network shows, you'll love this app. It's chock full of episodes of "Ben 10," "ThunderCats," and much more, but it's not all happy-happy-joy-joy: you must be a cable subscriber to watch full episodes and log in using your cable account. You can only watch shows if your cable company has a deal with Cartoon Network. 

Free app, but it requires a cable subscription with a participating company

CBS

CBS app icon

What We Like

  • Most current episodes available the next day.

  • Free section simplifies content search.

  • Personalized notifications.

What We Don't Like

  • Ad-supported.

  • Doesn't display full screen.

  • Some seasons not included.

  • All Access pass subscription necessary for most content.

The CBS app is a bit different from that of the other TV networks. CBS offers free episodes of its shows — but only a few at a time. You might only be able to get the two most recent episodes of "NCIS," although push notifications let you know when a new episode is ready so that you won't miss it. If you subscribe to CBS All Access for a fee, you get access to new episodes on demand the day after they air. You also get live TV from some local stations, complete runs of current series, and over 6,500 episodes from the CBS archive of shows like "Star Trek," and "Big Brother." 

Free app 

Comedy Central

Comedy Central app icon

What We Like

  • Extensive library of shows.

  • New shows available the day after they air.

  • Some content is available without a cable subscription.

What We Don't Like

  • No search bar.

  • Repetitive ads.

  • Only a few episodes from each season available.

The Comedy Central app provides something that not all TV apps do. It allows you to watch episodes of shows live on your iPhone as they air on TV. You must be logged in to your cable account, but then you'll enjoy live streaming shows and access to a huge library of previous comedy programs and standup programming. 

Free app, but it requires a cable subscription with a participating company

Cox Contour

Cox app icon

What We Like

  • Live TV and On Demand movies and shows.

  • All On Demand movies are free.

  • Channel Guide for Live TV.

What We Don't Like

  • Requires user's location and Cox sign-in credentials.

  • Doesn't support external devices.

If you are a Cox Communications subscriber, you'll want to download the Cox Contour app to watch live TV and on-demand shows at home or away from home. You can watch any channel you subscribe to using the app. You can also control your DVR. 

Free app, but it requires a Cox subscription

Sony Crackle

Crackle app icon

What We Like

  • Everything is free: movies, original content, and TV shows.

  • New movies each month.

  • Watchlist with free log in.

What We Don't Like

  • Frequent ads.

  • Grainy video quality.

  • Limited TV show selection.

  • Library changes frequently.

Sony has a huge library of content, and Sony Crackle is the way to access it. Everything offered here was produced by Sony, from TV shows such as "Seinfeld," "Shark Tank," and "Wheel of Fortune" to movies such as "The Amazing Spiderman 2" and "Robocop." You'll find original content, too. Best of all, watching doesn't cost a thing.

Free app

Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll app icon

What We Like

  • Tons of top-notch anime from Japan.

  • High-quality visuals.

  • Huge selection.

  • Free access to most content.

What We Don't Like

  • Free access is ad supported.

  • Paid account necessary to remove ads.

  • Few dubbed episodes.

The Crunchyroll app is heaven for anime fans. Crunchyroll's subscription service delivers more than 25,000 episodes from series such as "Attack on Titan" and "Blue Exorcist." Crunchyroll offers a free, seven-day trial, but after that, you need a subscription. The higher-level, all-access membership removes ads, provides access to new episodes one hour after they air in Japan, delivers content in HD, and lets you watch on PlayStation, Apple TV, Xbox, and other media devices.

Modest fee for the standard subscription, slightly more for an all-access membership

The CW

CW app icon

What We Like

  • Free with normal commercial breaks.

  • Personalized notifications.

  • No cable subscription needed.

  • No in-app purchases.

What We Don't Like

  • Carries only recent episodes.

  • Cumbersome interface.

  • No search field.

With the CW app, you get on-demand access to the CW's hit shows such as "Riverdale," "Supergirl," "Legends of Tomorrow," and "Reign." Beyond TV, you'll also be able to stream original web-only series from CW. Best of all, you can watch the shows without a cable subscription.

Free app, no cable subscription necessary

DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket

NFL Sunday Ticket app icon

What We Like

  • Live streams every out-of-market football game.

  • Smooth, sharp video.

  • Displays all games in progress with current scores.

What We Don't Like

  • In-market games are blacked out.

  • Can't pause or rewind.

  • Expensive subscription.

NFL fans know about DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket offering that allows them to watch every football game played every week. A much smaller number of gridiron junkies know that Sunday Ticket is available for iPhone without a full DirecTV subscription. This means you can get all the football you want without installing a satellite dish at your home. Warning: This isn't one of the cheaper subscriptions. 

Free app with subscription

Discovery GO

Discovery Go app icon

What We Like

  • Full seasons of shows.

  • Easy-to-use interface.

  • Personalized notifications.

  • Chromecast compatible.

What We Don't Like

  • Ad-supported.

  • Can't pick up where you leave off in an episode.

Keep up with "Deadliest Catch," "Naked and Afraid," "MythBusters," and other Discovery Channel programming with the Discovery GO app. You get full episodes, live TV, short video clips, and a schedule of what's being broadcast on Discovery.

Free app

DISH Anywhere

Dish Anywhere app icon

What We Like

  • Schedules DVR recording from anywhere.

  • Program guide for 7 days in advance.

  • Excellent picture quality.

What We Don't Like

  • Requires DISH Hopper HD DVR.

  • Fast internet connection needed.

  • Slow file transfer speed.

DISH isn't a network like NBC or ESPN. It's the equivalent of a cable company. Its app gives you access to virtually anything available from DISH on your iPhone, including live TV, sports, news, and shows on the major networks. Use the app to schedule your DVR up to seven days in advance and to transfer recordings from your DVR to your iPhone for viewing. There are a lot of requirements, though. You'll need Hopper with Sling, a Slingloaded DVR, or another DVR with Slingbox features a DISH network subscription, and one of the following receivers: 512, 522, 612, 622, 625, 722, 722k, 922, Hopper, or Hopper with Sling.

Free app

DisneyNOW

DisneyNOW app icon

What We Like

  • Original movies, live TV, and episodes of popular shows.

  • Personalize with Disney emoji.

  • Games and activities.

  • Junior mode.

What We Don't Like

  • Inadequate parental controls.

  • Ad-supported.

The Disney Channel app offers live TV and on-demand streaming of TV episodes, as you'd expect. Where the app becomes cool is with the extra features it adds. The app offers built-in games that feature Disney Channel stars and gives users access to stream Disney Radio. If your kids are young, you'll appreciate the ability to set the app to Disney Junior Mode, which limits the app to only Disney Junior shows.

Free app, but it requires a cable subscription with a participating company

Verizon My Fios

FiOS TV app icon

What We Like

  • Featured movies, trending shows, live sports, and breaking news.

  • Hundreds of channels.

  • Verizon Wireless data customers stream data-free.

What We Don't Like

  • Complicated user interface.

  • Unresponsive technical support.

This app allows you to stream live TV, view on-demand video and download shows to take with you wherever you are if you subscribe to Verizon My FiOS and internet service. The app can also be used as a remote control for your TV. It can manage your DVR, and you can watch local TV channels in several metropolitan cities. You need a FiOS Wi-Fi router to stream TV to your phone in your home. 

Free app, but it requires a Verizon FiOS subscription

Food Network

Food Network app icon

What We Like

  • Awesome source of new recipe ideas.

  • Tips and recipes for cooking for children.

  • Shows live TV.

What We Don't Like

  • Difficult to navigate and search for shows.

  • Too many commercials per show.

Series like "Chopped," "Barefoot Contessa," and "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" are available through the Food Network app. Logging in unlocks the full library of episodes. The app can also sync your progress in each episode to other devices via iCloud so you can pick up where you left off even if you're no longer watching on your iPhone. AirPlay support video streaming to an Apple TV.

Free app, but it requires a participating cable company

HBO GO

HBO GO app icon

What We Like

  • Streams HBO shows anytime, anywhere there is an internet connection.

  • Huge catalog of entertainment programming.

  • Owns exclusives you can't see elsewhere.

What We Don't Like

  • HBO subscription required.

  • Stable, fast internet connection needed.

  • Only contains HBO-owned shows.

A lot of people subscribe to HBO for its original shows like "Game of Thrones," "Vinyl," and "Ballers." Thanks to this app, you don't have to be near your home cable box to watch them on your iPhone. As long as you're an HBO subscriber, you have this app, and your cable company has a deal with HBO to allow it, you can watch full episodes on your phone. 

Free app, but requires HBO and cable subscriptions and a participating cable company

HGTV

HGTV app icon

What We Like

  • Shows available the day after they air.

  • Streams HGTV live.

  • All previous seasons of popular shows.

  • Some shows available without signing in to provider.

What We Don't Like

  • Low-resolution over cellular connection.

  • No casting capability.

  • Repetitious commercials.

If you're a subscriber to one of eight major cable companies, the HGTV app delivers the latest episodes of major home-related series such as Fixer UpperFlip or Flop, and Property Brothers. You can subscribe to shows, destinations, hosts, and interests to ensure that you are notified about episodes that interest you. The app also supports AirPlay so that you can stream episodes from your iPhone to your Apple TV.  

Free app, but it requires a cable subscription with a participating company

History

History Channel app icon

What We Like

  • Exceptional historical and present-day programming.

  • Includes all episodes of many shows.

  • Bonus videos and clips.

What We Don't Like

  • Requires frequent reauthentication.

  • Repetitious commercials.

  • Only include recent episodes of some shows.

The History app offers a limited number of free episodes along with deleted scenes and exclusive clips, even if you don't have a cable subscription. More episodes are unlocked if you have a subscription, however. Use this app to enjoy shows such as "Forged in Fire," "American Pickers," and "Ancient Aliens." 

Free app, but it requires a cable subscription with a participating company for the most episodes 

Hulu

Hulu app icon

What We Like

  • Huge content library.

  • Lots of current cable TV shows.

  • Exclusive original content.

  • Live TV on 60 channels with premium subscription.

What We Don't Like

  • Paid subscription required.

  • No offline viewing options.

  • Must pay extra to avoid commercials.

Hulu has been offering tons of great free TV shows since 2007. Unfortunately, the "free" part doesn't apply to iPhone, iPad, and iPod users. You're limited to paid Hulu services on iOS. You can select a plan that includes Hulu's entire streaming library or opt for live and on-demand options.

Free app, but it requires a monthly subscription

Lifetime

Lifetime app icon

What We Like

  • Carries full episodes of current and previous seasons.

  • Easy-to-understand interface.

  • Some content available without signing in to provider.

What We Don't Like

  • Paid TV provider or cable service is required for most content.

  • Excessive advertisements.

The Lifetime app offers the same type of deal as A&E and the History app. You get a few free episodes, deleted scenes and some clips without logging in to your cable account, and you get a lot more episodes when you do log in. You'll find all the popular Lifetime shows like "Dance Moms" and "Married at First Sight."

Free app, but it requires a cable subscription with a participating company

Max Go

Max Go app icon

What We Like

  • Unlimited access to Cinemax content.

  • Streams content from iPhone to Apple TV via AirPlay.

What We Don't Like

  • Cinemax subscription required.

  • No Chromecast support.

Cinemax subscribers may want to check out this companion app. It streams original programming from Cinemax, Hollywood movies, and behind-the-scenes content. There isn't a Cinemax app for the Apple TV, but Max Go supports AirPlay so you can stream its content to your Apple TV.

Free, but requires Cinemax and cable subscriptions and a participating cable company

MLB at Bat

MLB app icon

What We Like

  • Real-time MLB game scores.

  • Live out-of-market games.

  • Free MLB Game of the Day.

  • Comprehensive app with extensive features.

What We Don't Like

  • Most features require a subscription.

  • Can't mirror content to a TV.

  • Difficult to search.

Major League Baseball has long been a leader in offering its game digitally. Its MLB.TV service was the first live-game streaming offered by a major pro sports league in the U.S. With the MLB at Bat app, you can watch live games, classic matchups, and highlights with a subscription. Subscribe month-to-month or for the entire season to save some money. You sign up via in-app purchase.

Free app, but it requires a subscription 

MTV

MTV app icon

What We Like

  • Full episodes of current and classic MTV shows.

  • Unlocked content includes MTV News videos, select full episodes, and clips.

  • Chromecast ready.

What We Don't Like

  • Ad supported.

  • No continue-watching option.

  • Ad volume louder than show volume.

MTV's app delivers all the content you'd expect and then some. If you have a cable subscription, you can get original MTV series like "Teen Wolf," "Teen Mom," and "Scream." You'll also get original web series, online exclusives, live coverage of music festivals, and events like Comic-Con, and more.

Free app, but it requires a cable subscription with a participating company

NBA

NBA app icon

What We Like

  • Watch live games or replays later.

  • Flexible monthly and annual subscription options.

  • Some free content.

What We Don't Like

  • Subscription package necessary for most content.

  • Some games are blacked out.

  • Annoying ads.

The NBA app lets you follow the excitement and drama of the NBA regular season game by game on your iPhone. You can choose to watch every game or follow five teams you select. Pricing for these options differs, of course. You subscribe from the app using in-app purchases. A subscription also gives you the opportunity to watch classic games and condensed versions of the current season's contests.

Free app, but it requires a subscription

NBC

NBC app icon

What We Like

  • Full seasons of current shows.

  • Extensive selection of classic series.

  • Watch free shows with or without a TV provider.

  • AirPlay and Chromecast compatible.

What We Don't Like

  • Frequent plugs for current NBC shows.

  • Limited sports events.

  • Live streaming limited to locales with an NBC affiliate.

Keep up to date with your favorite NBC shows like "The Voice," "Blindspot," and "Saturday Night Live" with the NBC app. It offers video clips, photo galleries, trivia, and more, in addition to episodes. Catch up with entire seasons and check out classic shows.

Free

Netflix

Netflix app icon

What We Like

  • Huge collection of TV shows and movies.

  • High-quality original programming.

  • Ad-free streaming.

  • Reasonable price.

What We Don't Like

  • New content of current shows not available right away.

  • No notification about changes to content availability.

  • Netflix subscription required.

Netflix is the biggest name in streaming video, and its app offers a robust library of TV shows and movies available over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi. Although the library of shows available for streaming is a fraction of what's available on DVD/Blu-ray, there's always something on. This makes Netflix an excellent way to watch TV on your iPhone. If you've heard about "Stranger Things," "Bright" and "Glow," check them out here.

Free app, but it requires a Netflix subscription

You can watch Netflix offline by downloading videos from the service. Learn more in How to Download Movies From Netflix onto Your Mac or iPad.

NetTV Plus

Net TV app icon

What We Like

  • More than 200 channels.

  • Each channel has its own electronic programming guide.

  • Lots of international TV programming.

What We Don't Like

  • Predominently non-English programming.

  • Ad-supported.

NetTV Plus is a less well-known option, but if you want to keep up with live TV, especially international TV, it's a great choice. Instead of striking streaming deals with TV networks and production companies, NetTV scours the web for free and live video feeds from TV channels. Then it aggregates them in its app. The number of channels available fluctuates as networks end or move their web streams. Viewing time may be limited. 

Free 

PBS Video

PBS app icon

What We Like

  • Outstanding content.

  • Curated playlists and collections.

  • New videos added daily.

What We Don't Like

  • Non-members limited to recently aired shows.

  • Carries local programming only for "home" channel.

If your idea of watching TV on an iPhone involves slightly more refined topics and series, you'll rejoice at the appearance of the PBS Video app. It offers full-length episodes of shows such as "Poldark," "Wolf Hall," "Downton Abbey," "Nova," and other series created by PBS. No login to your local cable company is required, which is a bonus.

Free

Pluto TV

Pluto TV app icon

What We Like

  • 100+ free TV channels with electronic viewing guides.

  • Everything is free including thousands of on-demand movies and TV shows.

What We Don't Like

  • Movie library is dated.

  • Searching content is confusing.

With the Pluto TV app, you get access to more than 100 live channels and thousands of movies from NBC, CBS, Bloomberg, Paramount, and Warner Brothers. Exclusive channels include the Pro ​Wrestling Channel and Anime All Day. It's all free. This app even has a "Not on Netflix or Hulu" category that comes in handy when you are looking for something new.

Free

Showtime Anytime

Showtime app icon

What We Like

  • Stream entire seasons of original series.

  • App included in Showtime subscription.

  • No commercials.

  • Watch live or on demand.

What We Don't Like

  • Weak privacy policy.

  • Lack of genre categories in movies makes search difficult.

Just like with HBO GO, you can catch up on your favorite original Showtime series via your iPhone if you subscribe to the premium pay-TV channel. The app requires that you're a Showtime subscriber with a participating cable company. You'll get access to Showtime series like "Homeland," "Shameless," and "Ray Donovan."

Free app, but it requires Showtime, a cable subscription, and a participating cable company

SprintTV

Sprint TV app icon

What We Like

  • Instant access to popular shows from CBS, NBC, USA, MTV, and others.

  • Live broadcasts and special programming.

  • 1 free show and 1 free live channel.

What We Don't Like

  • Formerly free content is now fee-based.

  • Works only with a Sprint monthly phone plan.

  • Must have data plan.

IPhone users with Sprint get access to Sprint TV for a small fee as part of their monthly service plan. The SprintTV app offers channels of live news and sports, and on-demand access to popular shows from CBS, NBC, USA, MTV, and more. Upgrade packages are available at modest cost that adds more channels. Shows are available over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi.

Free app, but it requires a Sprint monthly phone plan

Spectrum TV

Spectrum app icon

What We Like

  • Filters live TV by category.

  • Offers live TV and on-demand content at home.

  • Lots of sporting events.

What We Don't Like

  • Best program options available only when using Spectrum internet Wi-Fi at home.

  • Subscription package required.

The Spectrum TV (formerly Charter TV) app is offered by cable provider Spectrum. It is not a network, so it features live TV from more than 80 channels on your iPhone instead of just one network's available shows. You get over 250 channels when you're home and access to thousands of titles anywhere you have an internet connection. You can even download movies and TV shows to watch offline.

Free app, but it requires a Spectrum subscription

Starz

Starz app icon

What We Like

  • New streaming content added each week.

  • Full downloads of original series and movies.

What We Don't Like

  • Requires Starz subscription.

  • Not available through Comcast/Xfinity.

Gain access to Starz programming on your iPhone with the Starz app, including original series like "Power," "Vida," and "Outlander," along with hit Hollywood movies. Subscribers can watch on up to four devices at once, and the app now supports Google's Chromecast. Nonsubscribers may want to check out the app, too, because some original programming is available for free. 

Free app, but it requires Starz and cable subscriptions and a participating cable company

Watch TBS

TBS app icon

What We Like

  • Streams popular TBS shows and original content.

  • Carries live sports and blockbuster movies.

  • Supports casting.

What We Don't Like

  • Substandard live sports quality.

  • Annoying ads.

  • No announcement for departing content.

If you like to laugh, you may be a fan of TBS original shows like "Conan" and "Ground Floor." You can watch them and more on your iPhone while you're out and about. As with many other TV network apps, this one requires that you sign in with your cable account username and password. It checks to see if your cable company has a deal with TBS. If it doesn't, you're left with the clips, photos, and social features.

Free app, but it requires a subscription to a participating cable company

TLC GO

TLC Go app icon

What We Like

  • New episodes posted the day after they air.

  • Previous seasons of popular shows.

  • Streams live TV.

What We Don't Like

  • Many annoying commercials.

  • Access to some shows limited by some TV providers.

With the TLC GO app, you can watch selected full episodes and video clips of TLC shows like "Say Yes to the Dress," "Cake Boss," and "Long Island Medium." Social sharing features allow you to enjoy the shows with friends. 

Free, but requires a TV subscription.

TruTV

TruTV app icon

What We Like

  • Some content available without a login.

  • Live streaming of truTV programming.

  • Includes clips and full episodes of shows.

What We Don't Like

  • Clunky user interface.

  • Contains advertisements.

The TruTV app offers all the shows you'd expect from the network — "Impractical Jokers," "Hardcore Pawn" and "Hack My Life" — and it adds a live stream of the network's show premieres and sports feeds. Some content requires a subscription.

Free app, but some content requires a subscription with a participating TV provider.

USA Network

USA app icon

What We Like

  • New shows available the day after they air.

  • Includes original series, clips, interviews, and behind-the-scenes videos.

What We Don't Like

  • Glitchy when casting.

  • Excessive advertisements.

You can enjoy USA Network original shows like "Suits," "Mr. Robot," and "Queen of the South" when you have the USA Network app. All users can watch some episodes and clips even without signing in to an account, but you unlock a larger library of full episodes when you sign in. 

Free app, but it requires a subscription to a participating cable company

Univision

Univision app icon

What We Like

  • Spanish-language shows, movies, and radio.

  • Includes Univision news, sports, and entertainment.

What We Don't Like

  • Offers only partial seasons of many shows.

  • Intrusive advertisements.

Get the leading Spanish-language TV network in the U.S. on your iPhone with the Univision app. Not only can you watch clips of Univision's news, sports, and entertainment programming, but you'll also have access to print articles, sports scores, horoscopes, and weather forecasts.

Free

U-Verse

U-Verse app icon

What We Like

  • Streams live and on-demand shows and movies from multiple networks.

  • Guide for locating and scheduling new recordings.

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't access local channels.

  • Inconsistent performance.

AT&T's U-Verse app is a TV and internet access offering that's open to anyone in certain regions, not just U-verse customers. This app lets you watch live TV as well as shows on demand. Channel offerings include ESPN, Fox Sports, MTV, Disney Channel, Comedy Central, and more. Users can watch shows over 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi.

Free app, but a monthly subscription is required

Viewster

Viewster app icon

What We Like

  • Excellent selection of anime.

  • Every movie is free.

  • Powerful filtering options.

  • Parental control feature.

What We Don't Like

  • Default resolution is 360p.

  • Ad-supported.

  • Doesn't cast to some TVs.

With the Viewster app, you can stream full-length anime, TV shows, and movies from its huge library of content. The app contains extras such as news, snippets, movie trainers, and actor biographies. New shows are uploaded weekly. This app supports several languages and is the leading free online video service in Europe. 

Free 

ESPN

ESPN app icon

What We Like

  • 24/7 access to live streaming feeds.

  • Includes Monday Night Football, Wimbledon, The Masters, basketball, soccer, and more.

  • Easy-to-search functionality.

What We Don't Like

  • Not full screen on iPhone XR.

  • Access not supported by every internet service proveder.

Stay in the game whenever and wherever you are with the WatchESPN app. It offers live video from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, and ESPNU, among others, for viewers who subscribe to those channels as part of a cable package. As you may have guessed, this is another app that requires that you log in with your cable company information to get access to the videos. You'll find a ton of original ESPN shows and games when you do. 

Free app, but it requires a subscription with a participating cable company

Watch TNT

TNT app icon

What We Like

  • Easy-to-navigate app with gorgeous graphics.

  • Love of live sports programing.

  • Includes original content, shows, and movies.

What We Don't Like

  • Limited back catalog of previous seasons.

  • Frequent reauthentication necessary.

  • Too many ads.

If you're a fan of the drama of TNT's original programming —shows like "Claws," "Animal Kingdom," and "Major Crimes" — the Watch TNT app lets you enjoy them on the go on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. It's subject to the same restrictions as its sister app from TBS, however. You must have a cable subscription, and you won't get full episodes if your cable company doesn't have a deal with TNT. 

Free app, but it requires a subscription to a participating cable company

Xfinity Stream

Xfinity app icon

What We Like

  • Streams 200+ networks and live sporting events.

  • Watch downloaded content offline.

  • Supports Siri shortcuts.

  • Watch and browse at the same time with the mini-player screen.

What We Don't Like

  • Must be a Comcast Xfinity TV customer.

  • No chromecast support.

  • Can't set recording remotely.

Xfinity Stream is the iPhone app from cable giant Comcast. Log in to the app if you're a Comcast customer, and you can watch TV and movies from channels like TNT, TBS, HBO, Showtime, and more. You must have those stations in your cable package, of course. As with other cable company apps, you can also control your home DVR and on-demand options from your phone. Xfinity TV requires Wi-Fi. 

Free app with a Comcast subscription

YouTube TV

YouTube TV app icon

What We Like

  • More than 65 channels.

  • One simple plan.

  • Up to six accounts and three simultaneous streams per subscription.

  • Lots of sporting events.

What We Don't Like

  • Missing a few popular channels including A&E, Discovery, and Food Network.

  • Doesn't support Amazon Fire TV.

  • No major league baseball coverage.

  • Available only in selected metropolitan areas.

The YouTube TV app offers cable-free live TV. Stream shows from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, AMC, and others, including kids' channels, local sports, and news networks. The app comes with access to a cloud DVR without storage space limits. Each household can have up to six YouTube TV accounts so everyone gets their own ​login, DVR, and recommendations. This app has it all, but it comes with a hefty monthly subscription fee. This relatively new option is available in most metropolitan areas as of 2018 with plans to expand.

Free app, but it requires a subscription.