10 Free TV Apps That Let You Cut The Cord And Save Money
We work hard to bring you free personal finance and business content. This post includes links to our affiliate partners which earn us a commission and help make this possible.
How much is your cable bill each month? I haven’t had cable for a long time and was surprised to learn the average cable bill is a whopping $107 per month! That’s almost $1,300 a year. For many consumers, this is a massive unnecessary expense, but there are alternatives! If you feel like you’re paying too much for cable, we’ve put together a list of awesome free TV apps that let you cut the cord and save money – and we threw in a couple inexpensive, paid options into the list as well.
Let’s Do the Math
Basic cable comes with about 20 channels, and expanded cable packages come with about 70. For those of us with expanded cable packages, which average $107 a month, we’re paying about $0.65 per channel. But how many channels do you actually watch?
Apparently, only about 10% of them – which is just 7 channels. This means you’re paying $4.55 per channel. If you could choose cable channels a la carte, which is something that should have been available years ago, you’d only pay that $4.55 for your monthly cable bill (taxes and fees not included). What would be even better than paying less than $5 a month? Paying $0 a month which is possible with these 10 free TV apps.
But, until recently, our only option has been old-school cable packages. Thankfully, the internet age has brought us some great online-based free TV apps where streaming content doesn’t cost a thing!
On top of those, if you’re willing to pay a low monthly price, there are also a few inexpensive paid tv streaming options that offer live television for a fraction of the price of conventional cable subscriptions.
Let’s start by mentioning a couple of inexpensive alternatives to old-school cable.
Simpler, Cheaper Online TV Streaming
The reason a lot of people don’t become cord-cutters is that until recently there was no reliable way to watch sports and live TV unless you had cable. Today, there are two high-quality, inexpensive options that are just as good as cable – but won’t come close to breaking the bank:
Sling TV was the first service to challenge major cable companies so they’ve had a long time to perfect their service. Sling starts at just $25 per month and offers much of what many cable companies offer including local channels and live sports. There are more than a dozen add-on packages too, for things like movie channels and premium sports channels. Sling TV offers new customers a 7-day free trial.
Sling TV is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows and Mac computers, Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, Fire Stick TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and certain LG and Samsung Smart TVs.
Philo streams live TV and offers 58 channels including cable favorites like AMC, HGTV, Discovery, BBC America, and The Food Network all for just $20 a month! That $20 includes on-demand and cloud-based DVR. What Philo does not offer, however, are sports channels – so for non-sports-fans, this is a fantastic option. Philo offers new customers a free 7-day trial.
Philo is compatible with Windows and Mac, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku.
Totally Free TV Apps
For those of you who don’t want to pay a dime for their television entertainment, don’t worry – here are some great free tv apps you should definitely check out:
Youtube is probably the most familiar name on this list. YouTube apps are compatible with pretty much all devices, and there are videos on every subject you can imagine. The app is compatible with iOS, Android, most smart TVs, Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X.
2. PBS Kids
What American kid didn’t grow up watching great PBS shows like Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood? The PBS Kids app is a free TV app that offers hundreds of hours of educational content for children. Some of the shows available on the platform include Sesame Street, Curious George, Arthur, and Curious George.
The app is supported on Chromecast, Android, Windows, and iOS phones and tablets.
3. Cartoon Network
This free TV app will make you feel like a kid on Saturday morning. The Cartoon Network app offers full episodes of many series, clips, and content only available on the app without a login. Some content is locked, but it’s clearly marked.
The Cartoon Network free TV app is available for iOS, Android, Amazon, Xbox, Roku, and Apple TV.
One of the reasons some people are reluctant to cut the cord is that they’ll lose access to local news. NewsON can fill that gap; it offers live and on-demand news broadcasts from more than 170 local news stations in 113 markets.
NewsON uses your device’s location data or an interactive map to find news streams local to you. The free TV app is compatible with iOS and Android phones and tablets and Roku. I love NewsON because I live in New Orleans so being able to access local weather forecasts is essential during hurricane season.
5. Pluto TV
Pluto TV may be the most comprehensive of the free TV apps. There are movie channels, sports channels (not mainstream sports like baseball or football though), comedy channels, lifestyle channels, and music channels.
The free TV app works on most smart TVs, Mac and desktop PCs, Android, and iOS.
6. Tubi TV
Tubi TV offers dozens of movies including big studio, foreign, and independent films. There are some TV series, but they mostly seem to be reality shows like Kitchen Nightmares, Dog the Bounty Hunter, and Hoarders.
New content is added weekly so you’ll never be without something new to watch no matter how hard you binge. The Tubi TV app works on Android and iOS, Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Samsung Smart TVs and the Amazon Fire TV.
If you like classic TV series, Crackle is the free TV app for you. You can watch shows like All in the Family, Barney Miller, The Critic, and I Dream of Jeannie among others. Crackle also offers major studio movies and a few original series (watch your back Netflix!).
Crackle works with iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, and Roku.
8. ABC and ABC Family
If you like network TV, some free TV apps have you covered. The ABC apps allow viewers to watch recent episodes and some past series after downloading the app. To access some of the content, you’ll be required to log in with through your TV provider, so if you’re a cord-cutter, you won’t be able to watch everything available, but there is still plenty of free content.
The app works with iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, and Roku.
After downloading the NBC app, users can watch new episodes of many shows eight days after they aired on the network and many classic series too. Like the ABC app, some of the content requires a login through a TV provider, but users who register through the app can watch three locked episodes for up to a month.
The app works with iOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Alexa Skill, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Samsung smart TVs, and Vizio TVs.
“Jerry, Jerry, Jerry!” If you know where that chant comes from, first of all, hang your head in shame, and then download the Nosey app. It’s a trashy talk show lovers dream come true. You’ll see episodes of classic daytime talk shows with scintillating titles like “We Had a Threesome…I’m Praying My Husband is the Dad,” Desperate to Look Younger,” and “We Tested You Six Times,” from legendary trash peddlers Maury, “You are not the father” Povich, Sally Jesse Raphael, and Steve Wilkos.
I’ll admit, this app is like a walk down memory lane for me. I watched hours of this garbage when I was in college (dating myself!). This is my favorite app on this list. It also has a selection of trashy reality TV shows, the devil spawn of trashy daytime talk shows. You can find gems like Rock of Love, Flavor of Love Girl’s Charm School, and Blind Date. The app has game shows too including Family Feud and Press Your Luck, “No whammies, no whammies!”
The Nosey app is available on iOS, Android, Apple TV, and Roku.
Cut the Cord
One thing is clear these days: traditional cable packages are a thing of the past. Nobody needs 70 channels, and nobody needs to pay more than $100 per month just for television entertainment – especially when there are top-quality tv streaming services out there that cost much, much less.
Combine those with the multitude of free TV apps listed above, you’ll find so much awesome content that you won’t believe you kept your old-school cable package for so long. Are you ready to cut the cord?