Anyone can kill time but it’s the Android users who get to kill quality time. These days we get stuck traveling or waiting and there is no better way to spend idle time than by watching TV. Sure the big bulky TV always sits smugly in our living rooms but thankfully we can take our Android devices with us. With the combination of fast internet connections and an Android device, you will be watching the lazy-tube in no time at all. We have selected the best apps to help you watch live TV on Android, and yes this means you can catch the ball game anytime, anywhere.
Waiting for the doctor or traveling to work suddenly becomes more tolerable when you have Homer Simpson to give you company. Catch an episode of Family Guy while your dinner is getting ready. Is the professor late again? We suggest you take a peek at the latest Game of Thrones episode.
Warning: All of the apps in the top 10 apps to watch live TV on Android require an active internet connection. Data charges from your network will apply if you use 3G/4G LTE connectivity.
Note: All of the apps in the list are tested on a Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone running on Android 4.4 Kit Kat based ROM. The apps were tested on a 3G network as well as standard WiFi internet connection. Some apps may have trouble running on specific smartphones. We also tested the apps on an Asus Nexus 7 tablet. The apps performed fine with minimal picture degradation and no force-closes.
1. LiveNow! TV – Free
LiveNow is the only app that runs fine on almost any smartphone or tablet. Sure it may lack some fancy features but the only thing we value is stability and reliability. No one likes to start an episode again after the app failed to respond. LiveNow! Is the best app to watch live TV on Android because it is stable and offers a wide variety of TV channels for you to watch. That’s not all though. The app allows you to record interesting shows so you can watch them later at your own convenience.
- A robust list of channels available for free.
- Fast and speedy streaming.
- Buffering is relatively fast.
- Videos On Demand are also available.
There is a wealth of channels to choose from in this great live TV app for Android. From sports to local channels, all are bundled in a nice, clean package.
2. Viki – Free
Viki doesn’t offer much when it comes to American entertainment. Sure there are some popular TV shows included in the app but the American offerings are limited. So why is it ranked second on our top 10 apps to watch live TV on Android list? This is purely because of the streaming quality of the app. Viki has the best possible viewing experience we have seen on a free app. The videos are of extremely high quality and stream very fast. If you want to expand your entertainment horizons and are open to check out what other countries have to offer, this is the best app you can possibly find. With subtitle support you will be enjoying quality TV from other parts of the world. A word of caution though, you will fall in love with Korean love stories.
- A great seamless interface.
- Fast streaming and full screen support.
- Subtitles available for almost every video.
- Classic Japanese anime is amazing.
Viki provides the best video quality which streams in almost no time. Even while using the wonky connection of 3G network, the app worked like a charm.
3. Watch Free TV – Free
Free is always better
The game says it all: Watch Free TV is all about watching free TV. This app is one of the best available to watch live TV on Android and it shows with its vast palette of local and international TV channels. To be honest there are some prominent similarities between this app and the app at number one. For example the record system in the first one is exactly the same in this app too. But we consider it a good thing because if one app fails to run on your particular smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S4 has problems), the other app will take care of your boredom.
- Solid and simple interface.
- Multiple channels from US and UK.
- Live sports are a great thing to have.
The app allows you to record the streams making them re-watchable. Now you can show your friends that final touchdown again and again.
4. TV Live – Free
Some international taste sir?
Now that we have listed two great apps to catch some good old American TV shows, let’s focus on some international diversity. TV Live may have some negative reviews but during our testing the app performed well and did nothing out of the ordinary. There are almost 200 international channels for you to watch and this excludes channels from Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and Georgia. Frankly speaking, after watching some of the shows the Russians have to offer, American TV seems tame in comparison.
- Simple interface with channel logos.
- Good streaming, not the best but serviceable.
- Large selection of channels.
This app allows you to “pop up” the video. This means the video is displayed in a small moveable window which can be placed anywhere on the screen. You can then do whatever you want to do on your tablet or smartphone while the video continues to play.
Update from Editor (November 08, 2014): TV Live app is removed from Google Play. May we suggest you try Watch Live TV Online from Google Play instead.
5. Crackle – Free
Crackle with laughter
This app allows you to watch some great comedy entertainment while on the go. It is not necessarily a live TV app but it does list amazing TV shows. From Seinfeld to Pineapple Express there is always something funny for you to watch. The app gets regularly updated with new content. So if you want to watch some quality TV shows or even catch a movie, Crackle will sure crack you up.
- Sleek and stylish interface.
- Good streaming capabilities.
- Classic TV shows for you to watch.
- Tons of movies available for free.
The app has some of the best funny movies listed for free. We especially liked the underrated Joe Dirt.
6. Netflix – One month free/subscription
Net flicks…get it?
Without a doubt, Netflix is the leading subscription based service for watching TV shows and movies. Granted they are not live programs but they are none the less TV shows. If you want to catch the greatest TV shows at your own leisurely pace, this is the app made for you. Netflix may not allow you to watch live TV on Android but it will provide high quality streams directly to your devices. This app is recommended if you like to run TV show marathons and watch full seasons on one go.
- Fast and reliable interface.
- Stream quality is phenomenal.
- Accessing unlimited TV shows for one fee is great.
The amount of TV shows hosted on Netflix is astounding. Streaming full seasons while you sip coffee the whole weekend never gets old.
7. HBO GO – Subscription
Even Jon Snow knows this
Game of Thrones is bigger than any TV show we have ever seen. We love it, and we are sure that you love the show too. The acting, the story, the production value is absolutely breathtaking. If you want to catch the latest adventures of the Imp, Jon Snow or Arya Stark you will need HBO GO on your side. This great app allows you to watch new episodes of your favorite TV shows as they air. With shows like True Detective and Silicon Valley, it is a no brainer to indulge at least once.
- All the latest episodes at one place.
- Watch and re-watch as you please.
- Can stream old shows like The Sopranos.
The new episodes of the shows you love will hit simultaneously on the app as they premiere on the TV channel. In a way this app allows you to watch live TV on Android.
8. Justin TV – $4.99 – Discontinued
Just in time for the show
Justin TV is a handy app for those who are looking for quality entertainment. There are hundreds of Justin.TV channels available on the app and those too with HD quality streams. The best part is that you can chat with the broadcaster as well as the viewers in real-time. It is interactive live TV and once everything clicks, it’s an exciting prospect. There is something great about telling the caster they suck. It is downright rewarding sometimes.
- HD quality where available.
- Find and follow favorite broadcasters.
- Channel filtering by language.
- Discover new streams every time.
The chat feature makes this app unique in the top 10 apps to watch live TV on Android list.
Note from Editor: Justin.tv; the website, the app and the service are down. Read more about this at http://www.justin.tv
9. Hulu Plus – Free trial and Subscription
Who watches TV under the sea?
Hulu is a dedicated streaming service and has exclusive rights to some of the best shows on today’s TV. Community, Family Guy and Glee (not so great) are a few examples of TV shows the app provides. That’s not all though, Hulu also has something for the kids in the house. Kung Fu Panda, Rabbids Invasions and our personal favorite show about a yellow sponge and his star-shaped friend. From classic shows like Lost and Arrested Development to some of the finest movies, Hulu has something for everyone. Again this is not a live TV app but the wealth of TV shows on this one is too large to ignore.
- Dedicated kids programming.
- Some of the best TV shows around.
- Movies are also available.
Hulu may not be the app to watch live TV on Android, but it has some amazing TV shows. Watching Troy and Abed in Community will always bring a smile to your face.
10. IMDb – Free
The database is here
The last app on the top 10 apps to watch live TV on Android is not a streaming app. It is not even an app that shows TV shows. So why it is on the list you ask? It is here because it allows you to select the best TV shows and know when they are going to air. With a vast sea of TV programs being released, it is sometimes hard to keep track of things. Especially in the off-season when there is nothing great to watch, an app like IMDb comes in handy. I discovered Boy Meets World thanks to this app and am currently on the last season (weekend marathon).
- A robust rating system.
- Lists all the TV shows ever made.
- Gives amazing suggestions.
- Tells exact times of premiers and whatnot.
IMDb is an essential app for anyone who likes TV shows and movies. This app is the one handy guide you will ever need.
While not all the apps in the list will provide you with live TV on Android, many of them are sufficient in giving wholesome entertainment. The first app 3 apps alone are sufficient for all your live sports, news and TV shows needs. But if you are looking to stream True Blood for free, it will be very hard to do so. New shows rarely end up on live streaming apps so it is advisable that you turn to apps like Netflix and Hulu. I found Rick and Morty thanks to the mindless surfing which was done in the name of research. If during your adventures you stumble upon an amazing show, do tell us in the comments below. You might even check out our article on watching all TV (live and non-live) here.