Best apps to stream TV
Mobile devices are playing an increasingly key role in our viewing habits. In fact, Ericsson’s ConsumerLab TV and Media Report 2017 found that approximately 70% of consumers now watch TV and video on a smartphone, double the figure in 2012.
We’re now spending around six hours a week watching TV and video via mobile, with smartphones accounting for a fifth of total viewing. But mobile’s dominance doesn’t stop there. By 2020, Ericsson predicts that half of all viewing will take place on a mobile screen.
If you want to free yourself from the TV, here are the best apps you should download to watch your favourite programmes on your mobile device:
The BBC’s iPlayer app has been around for a while now, and it is one of the best apps on the market.
You can watch live TV or catch up on the BBC’s TV and radio shows, save shows, get recommendations, and auto-play lets you binge on your favourites.
If you know there’s a chance you’ll lose signal while you’re out and about, you can download the shows you want to watch before you leave home.
ITV Hub provides full access to all of ITV’s channels, including ITV, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, CITV, and ITV Be, and lets you catch up on aired content.
Similar to the iPlayer, the app lets users stream live TV and catch up. But, if you want to download and store shows, and watch content without ads, you’ll need to pay an extra £3.99. If you watch a lot of ITV content, you might find that worthwhile.
Under All 4, users can watch live content from Channel 4, E4, More4, Film4, 4 Music and 4seven.
Simply sign up for an account and you’ll get free access to all Channel 4’s content, including free box sets of their most popular comedy, factual and drama series. You can also download any content to watch offline.
Sky Q/Sky Go
Sky is undergoing a change at the moment, so its app offerings are a bit confusing. If you’re a Sky subscriber you can use the Sky Go and Sky Q apps to watch TV. So, what’s the difference and which one should you download?
Sky Go is the older app, allowing users to watch any subscribed channels live, view movies and sports (if you have packages), watch shows on-demand, watch boxsets, and more.
Sky Q is a newer app that is the companion to the premium Sky Q service Sky is currently rolling out to customers. However, as T3 notes, you need a Sky Q box at home in order to get the app to work as it needs to connect to your home network to transfer recordings. It also does the same as the Sky Go app.
Sky will be shifting everything to Sky Q eventually, but for now the app you use will depend on the Sky service you have.
Virgin TV Anywhere
If you’re a Virgin media subscriber, you can access Virgin TV Anywhere. The app will connect to your box, enabling you to manage your recordings and tune into content, either live or on-demand.
The downside to Virgin TV Anywhere is that it requires a Wi-Fi connection, so you can’t use your phone’s data to watch TV when you’re out and about.
Of course, no streaming list would be complete without Netflix. It is, after all, the world’s leading subscription service for watching TV and films.
You can download the free app as part of your Netflix membership, giving you access to Netflix’s huge catalogue of box sets, films, and critically acclaimed original content.
Remember, if you want to watch live TV or watch a BBC programme (live or on catch-up), you’ll need to make sure you have a TV licence, regardless of the device you’re using.