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Great Apps for Watching TV on Your 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.


What We Like

  • Live shows, full episodes, and clips.

  • Watchlist.

  • Cast shows with Airplay and Chromecast.

  • Three-episode free pass.

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


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

DISH Anywhere

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.


What We Like

  • Full episodes of current and classic MTV shows.

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

  • Chromecast ready.

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


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.

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


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

YouTube TV

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.

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