Android is one of the best mobile device operating systems in existence. And, as it it happens, it’s one of the best streaming platforms, too. See, your Android tablet or phone is capable of streaming all kinds of amazing content, from on-demand shows and movies to live TV. Yes, you can watch live TV on Android – and you don’t need cable to do it. Below, we’ll lay out the different types of services that you can use to watch live TV on Android, and we’ll run through the specific services that you may want to try out. Here’s how to watch live TV on Android.
How to Watch Live TV on Android
You’ll find a lot of great apps on the list below, but most of then can be slotted into a few basic categories. Rather than repeat ourselves a bunch of times, then, we’ll start by explaining generally what these types of services are.
The first handful of apps you’ll see below are called live TV streaming services. These are pay TV services that offer live network channels (the ones you already know from cable and satellite). So what’s the difference between a live TV streaming service and cable? Well, live TV streaming services stream over the internet, of course. And – perhaps more importantly – they tend to be a whole lot cheaper than cable. That’s in part because they trim the fat on cable’s notoriously bulky bundles, which has earned this group of services the nickname “skinny bundles.”
We’ll also cover a few standalone apps, including apps that offer live TV from single channels. After that, we’ll tackle sports league streaming services.
League streaming services allow you to subscribe to a service that offers live games in your favorite sports league. The catch is that these services (usually) don’t cover games that would normally air on TV in your area. That means no playoffs, no nationally broadcast games, and no local teams. For out-of-market fans, though, these services are wonderful.
That’s enough of an introduction – let’s learn how to watch live TV on Android!
DIRECTV NOW is a live TV streaming service. AT&T’s take on live TV streaming offers subscribers their choice of bundles that range from small and cheap to huge and, well, less cheap. But they’re all cost-effective solutions that allow you to watch live TV on Android, from the $35 per month “Live a Little” bundle on up. You can read our review of DIRECTV NOW here, or you can just check it out for yourself: the service offers a seven-day free trial.
fuboTV is a live TV streaming service that was built with sports fans in mind. Its main English-language offering is fubo Premier, which costs $39.99 per month (unless, that is, you live in a region served by the MSG family of networks – if that’s the case, you’ll pay $44.99 per month instead and will get MSG’s New York-area regional sports networks in exchange). fuboTV makes a great way to watch live TV on Android. You can read our review of the service here, or you can explore it for yourself by taking advantage of the free trial offer (the link is below).
Hulu with Live TV is a skinny bundle from Hulu, a brand that is already well-known and well-respected for its streaming chops. Hulu’s on-demand streaming service has long been a hit with cord cutters, and its $39.99 per month live TV streaming service is doing quite well, too. You can read our review of Hulu with Live TV here, or you can use the service’s week-long free trial to check things out for yourself.
No, you don’t need a PlayStation 4 to watch PlayStation Vue. The multi-platform service also works as a way to watch live TV on Android (or on a whole lot of other platforms, for that matter). PlayStation Vue offers a range of bundles, starting with “Access” ($39.99 per month) and increasing in size and price from there. You can test PlayStation Vue out by taking advantage of the service’s five-day free trial – the link is below.
Sling TV is the most customizable of the skinny bundles. Start with Sling Orange ($20 per month) or Sling Blue ($25 per month) – or both ($40 per month). Then add your choice of “extras,” add-on bundles that offer a handful of similar channels each for a few more bucks each. You can also add premium channels like HBO ($15). All in all, Sling TV makes it easy to design a custom skinny bundle and create an extremely cost-efficient way to watch live TV on Android. You can try Sling TV for free for a week by taking advantage of the service’s free trial offer.
We’ve left YouTube’s live TV streaming service out of this article for now, as it has not yet been released nationwide. But YouTube still offers occasional live streaming TV. It’s not unusual to see channels like C-SPAN offer live broadcasts of large events that don’t involve network exclusives. If you want to watch the President’s State of the Union address live for free, for instance, you’ll almost certainly be able to do so on YouTube.
CBS All Access is CBS’s standalone streaming service. It costs $5.99 per month after the free trial ends, and it features a ton of on-demand content from CBS. More importantly, for our purposes, it offers a live stream of CBS – but only in select markets, unfortunately. If you are in one of the participating markets, though, CBS All Access makes a great way to watch live TV on Android.
MLB.TV is a league streaming service, which means you’ll get live broadcasts of regular-season games that aren’t airing on pay TV services in your region. MLB.TV is a fantastic service that offers all kinds of cool perks, including the ability to sync live game radio broadcasts to live game TV footage. It’s a great solution for MLB fans who want their live TV on Android to come with a baseball focus.
MLS Live is the league streaming service offered by North America’s top-tier soccer league, Major League Soccer. MLS Live is pretty standard in some ways, and sub-par in some others, but it offers one thing that the other league streaming services can’t match: some clubs allow you to watch games that are airing in your local market, making MLS a partial exception to the frustrating rule of blackouts on league streaming services.
NBA League Pass is the league streaming service that will appeal most to fans of pro basketball. This streaming service offers live regular-season NBA basketball games that are not airing on TV in your local market. The NBA has a pretty impressive set of deals with cable channels, so the blackout rule can be a bit rough with this one, but it’s a solid service.
The NHL has a league streaming service, too. It’s called NHL.TV, though we reviewed it back when it was called NHL GameCenter Live (why did they ever drop such a catchy name?). NHL.TV is pretty standard as league streaming services go: you’ll get live regular-season NHL games, but games airing on TV in your region will be blacked out on the service.
Please like us on Facebook to keep up to date on what's new in the world of cord cutting: