How to Watch Free TV on a Mobile Phone

As smartphone displays continue to grow larger and the devices themselves become more powerful, they are increasingly useful for watching movies and television shows. A number of apps available for platforms such as iOS and Android allow for streaming live TV or on-demand content from various cable networks and services.

Television production concept. TV movie panels
Explore apps and services for watching TV on the go.
credit: scyther5/iStock/Getty Images

Network Apps

Quite a few television networks offer apps in which you can stream live television from the channel or watch on-demand television episodes for free. Some examples of these apps include Watch ABC, Watch Disney Channel, Watch TBS and Fox Now. Some do come with certain limitations though. Apps like Watch TBS and Fox Now require that you create an account and sign in first. All of these apps are available on both iOS and Android.

Cable Provider Apps

Many cable providers offer apps for Android and iOS for free alongside your existing cable package. These apps can stream content from dozens of television networks and on demand. A free app from Comcast called Xfinity TV Go does just this. As long as you can log in with your Comcast account, you can stream television shows from your mobile device. AT&T U-Verse and Dish Anywhere are a couple of other examples. You'll need to log in with your existing accounts to use these apps as well.


Crackle is a unique app in that it's completely free and provides movies and television shows for streaming. You don't need to log in with a cable provider account and you don't have to already be paying for an entertainment service. It's completely legal as well. The catch is Crackle's content selection is limited and most of what is available for streaming is relatively old, but it's still a viable option for those looking for something truly free.

Subscription Services

Some people pay for subscription services specifically so they can get access to the mobile apps for streaming television shows and movies. If you're already paying for a service, it's worth checking to see if mobile TV comes free with it. Examples include Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go and Amazon Instant Video. HBO Go is free with an existing HBO account and Amazon Instant Video is a free service bundled with Amazon Prime. These apps are in the iOS App Store and Google Play.