Mega-broadcaster Sinclair’s side bet on streaming lets you watch local news and a handful of live streaming channels, some of which mirror the digital subnetworks you might get from cable or an antenna. There’s a small selection of on-demand video as well, but the focus is mainly on live TV. [Stirr]
Notable programming: Buzzr for retro game shows, Comet for classic sci-fi
Devices: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, iOS, Android, Fire tablets, web
Even if you can’t get your local PBS channel from an antenna, you can still watch most programs on demand for free through the PBS and PBS Kids apps. New episodes arrive on the same day as their broadcast premieres, and you can also access a free livestream in certain markets. [PBS, PBS Kids]
Notable programming: Masterpiece, Austin City Limits, Sesame Street, Wild Kratts
Devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, iOS, Android, web
Want to watch live-streaming weather forecasts without cable? You could pay for an entire TV bundle just to access the Weather Channel, or you could download WeatherNation, which provides a similar meteorologist-on-a-green-screen experience for free. [WeatherNation]
Devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku, Samsung TVs, LG TVs, Vizio TVs, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, iOS, Android, Fire tablets, web
Similar to Pluto TV, the Comcast-owned Xumo app offers a lineup of round-the-clock streaming channels, separate from the ones you’d find on cable. The biggest difference is its focus on video from traditional print brands such as Sports Illustrated and Bon Appetit, which you otherwise might only watch in a web browser. [Xumo]
Notable programming: Arcade Cloud for amusing video-game videos, The Hollywood Reporter for celebrity interviews, Austin Music Live for concerts.
Devices: Roku, LG TVs, Samsung TVs, Vizio TVs, Comcast X1/Flex, iOS, Android, web
True to its name, Documentary+ is a streaming service just for nonfiction films. It’s the product of documentary studio XTR and arrived this year seemingly out of nowhere, with a surprisingly deep selection. [Documentary+]
Notable programming: Being Evel, The Maurice Sendak biography Tell Them Anything You Want, the grunge documentary Hype!, The Aristocrats
Devices:?Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, iOS, Android, web
It can seem like a well-kept secret, but each of the major broadcast networks—ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and The CW—offers its own streaming app where you can watch recent shows for free. You might just have to be a little patient, as some shows have a delay of around one week for the latest episodes.
Keep in mind that CBS’s app is separate from Paramount Plus and doesn’t have a subscription fee. And for older CW shows, check out the separate CW Seed app instead.
While you’ll still need a big pay-TV package for cable news channels such as MSNBC and Fox News, there are plenty of other ways to watch the news for free:
Haystack News offers live news from several sources, including CBS News, ABC News Live, and Newsmax. It also offers local news clips, weather forecasts, and other stories based on your interests.
Likewise, Amazon News pulls together various live streaming news sources on Fire TV devices, including CBS News, Bloomberg, and Cheddar. Local news from a growing number of cities is on the way as well.
NewsOn provides local news from stations around the country.
Other apps mentioned above have news channels as well, including Pluto TV, Tubi, Stirr, Xumo, the Roku Channel, and Peacock.
While services such as Spotify or Apple Music might be your first choice for tunes, you might also check out a couple of other apps that are great for tuning in through your TV. Both of the apps below are available on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV:
Xite is like a modern version of what MTV used to be, letting you watch music videos based on genre, decade, or mood.
Dash Radio approximates the experience of the “Music Choice” channels you had on cable, with genre-based stations and no commercials.
This article was originally published in February 2019 and updated in March 2021. Sign up for Jared’s Cord Cutter Weekly newsletter for more news, tips, and insights on cutting cable or satellite TV.Tag: xumo apk