The number of quality programs on cable TV has declined dramatically in recent years; it is one of the reasons why cord-cutting has become so popular. However, even if you hate modern TV and you’re an experienced cord cutter, there will still be times when you want to indulge in a spot of mindless channel hopping.
If you have bought an Android TV device as part of your cord-cutting strategy, you’re in luck. It’s possible to enjoy free live TV on Android TV, completely legally, and without having to pay a hefty monthly fee to access live programming through streaming services like Hulu.
So, if you want to know how to watch free live TV on Android TV, keep reading. Here are some of the best free live TV apps for Android TV.
1. Pluto TV
Pluto TV provides more than 100 TV channels across several categories. News, sports, movies, viral videos, and cartoons are all well-represented. It even offers some channels dedicated to single shows.
The company itself has been around since 2013. In that time, it’s built up more than 70 content partners, including cable TV staples like CNBC, MSNBC, and Sky News, as well as web-only channels like CNET, The Surf Network, Classic Movies, and IGN. The app does not offer any on-demand content.
In addition to Android TV, the app is also available on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and some smart TVs. If you install it on the mobile version of Android, it is Chromecast-compatible.
Download: Pluto TV (Free)
2. Bloomberg TV
If you’re interested in the world of finance and global markets, you’ll already know about Bloomberg. Along with CNBC and FOX Business News, it’s one of the go-to business-focused channels in the United States and beyond.
However, unlike CNBC and FOX Business, Bloomberg’s output is free to watch through the company’s app. You will have access to the network’s live streams, as well as a wide selection of on-demand shows from the last couple of days.
Download: Bloomberg TV (Free)
JioTV is the best live TV app for Android TV in India. It provides access to more than 600 TV channels from India and the wider region, as well as 100 channels in HD.
You also get the ability to pause and play the live TV action and enjoy any shows you missed over the last seven days on the catch-up service.
Download: JioTV (Free)
The NBC app offers a mix of live TV and on-demand videos. In order to access the live TV feature, you need to have a TV service provider that includes NBC in your package
NBC’s on-demand content is impressively expansive, making it one of the better Android TV apps around. You can watch the latest episodes of the network’s shows 24 hours after they air on regular TV, but can also view many TV classics such as Miami Vice, Battlestar Galactica, and Knight Rider.
NBC offers support for closed-caption subtitles. As such, it’s one of the best free cable TV apps for Android for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Download: NBC (Free)
Plex is a well-known home theater app. It lets you stream content around your home, manage your media libraries, and watch content remotely.
In mid-2017, the developers introduced the live TV feature. This lets you watch local TV channels without cable in your area for free.
If you live in the United States, that means you’ll be able to enjoy all the major US networks, including ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and The CW. Plex Live TV also includes a DVR; you can pre-program recordings in advance and all the content you record will be integrated with your existing Plex libraries.
The feature is only available to Plex Pass subscribers and you’ll need to purchase a digital tuner and an antenna. We recommend the Mohu Leaf or the HDHomeRun.
In mid-2020, Plex further expanded the feature. Today, more than 80 live TV channels are available over the web; you won’t need an aerial to tune in. Some of the most noteworthy free channels are the Fubo Sports Network, Yahoo Finance, and Reuters.
Download: Plex (Free)
If you live in the UK, you can use TVPlayer to watch 25 British channels for free. The available networks include BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, CBBC, and BBC News. You’ll also get free access to less popular networks like TLC, Discovery, History, and Crime & Investigation.
For £7/month, you can watch premium channels such as Comedy Central, MTV, and HGTV.
Download: TVPlayer (Free)
7. BBC iPlayer
Another perennial favorite of cord-cutters, the BBC iPlayer app provides live access to all of the BBC’s TV channels, as well as a vast catalog of on-demand shows, classic BBC shows, and straight-to-TV movies. Like TVPlayer, you’ll need to use a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer if you live outside the UK.
If you cannot find the content you’re looking for on iPlayer, check out Netflix instead. It carries some of the best BBC documentaries and plenty of other BBC shows for Americans to enjoy.
Download: BBC iPlayer (Free)
Instead of using proprietary services to get live TV for free, you could use an M3U playlist. The playlists are comprised of links to free-to-air channels from around the world, and you can watch them all in a single app.
Many IPTV players are available, but the current market leader is Tivimate. The interface looks exactly like a cable TV interface, you can import an electronic program guide (EPG), set programs to record, and organize your favorite channels into custom lists.
The app itself does not come with any M3U playlists; it is an empty shell. You will need to find the content for yourself.
Download: Tivimate (Free)
Other Android TV Apps You Need to Install
These apps will help you watch free live TV on Android TV. Remember, if you live outside an app’s region, a high-quality paid VPN could be your new best friend.
There are plenty of other Android TV apps worth downloading, many of them that we consider essential. Be sure to explore everything that Android TV has to offer.