The adage that best things in life are free has existed for a long time, but it's only now in the app era that it's begun reaching its full meaning. For example, there's a great number of apps which let you watch movies and TV shows for free on Android. Here, we've painstakingly gathered the best of them for you.
A note on Popcorn Time
You may have heard of Popcorn Time, a Netflix-like app with an even bigger selection of more current movies and TV show, but sadly we cannot sanction the use of this app. Popcorn Time is illegal folks: try out some of the other options below instead.
The stand-alone app corresponding to arguably the greatest TV network on the planet has had a bit of a shaky start in life, with many users reporting that they've been having trouble starting it on launch day (at the time of writing, it also didn't work with rooted devices).
But if you can get it to work, then you gain access to the greatest TV catalogue in history (for $14.99 after a 30-day trial). Big-hitting shows include Game of Thrones, The Wire, True Detective, The Sopranos - for those alone, it's worth the gamble, right?
It was only in recent months that Hulu brought its streaming service to Android, which lets users watch premium TV shows and movies on their smartphones or tablets without paying a subscription fee. Hulu comes packed with current and classic shows, Hulu originals, movies and plenty of kids' shows, making it a perfect family tablet companion.
Of course, if you want full access to the Hulu library you will need to pay a 7.99 USD monthly fee, but there are plenty of gems to find in the free version too.Hulu
Canada / U.S.
Crackle is a hugely popular free app available in the US and Canada which is updated monthly with new TV shows and movies. Created by Grouper but later bought by Sony, the app features ads which run at regular intervals throughout the content, but as a compromise you get an excellent selection of media and an app which functions far better than some of the other TV service ports on the list.Crackle - Movies & TV
This catch-up service has been going strong for a number of years now and the slick Android app is a great way to watch TV series and movies. It doesn’t have a huge archive to sift through, but the iPlayer catch-up service was extended to 30 days last year, meaning you have a month to catch up on almost anything played on the BBC in the past month.BBC iPlayer
The ITV Player app suffered a woefully bad introduction to the Play Store with it being essentially broken on many devices. But, after turning many corners, it's finally in a decent state. The ITV Player app let’s you stream ITV channels live to your device, as well as catch up on any shows you may have missed from the past week.ITV Player
All 4 (4oD)
The recently rebranded 'All 4' - formerly know as 4oD has a fantastic selection of shows, aimed at a slightly younger crowd than BBC iPlayer. Frustratingly, many users are still reporting crashing and inconsistent performance, but it's free and has some great content, so don't let that put you off. Featuring interesting experimental shows like Black Mirror and Utopia, as well as the inimitable British comedy, Peep Show, All 4 is the place to go for the best of British offbeat TV.All 4
Channel Five’s premier catch-up service Demand 5 is also now available on Android. The updates aren’t as regular as we would like, but nonetheless Demand 5 offers a wide selection of Channel 5 shows and archived programmes to re-watch on your Android smartphone or tablet. The programming quality is arguably lower than the standard offered by Channel 4 and the BBC, although a bit of American Horror Story, or reality cop shows never goes amiss.Demand 5
The Android SPB TV app is not region specific, offering content from around the world via a selection of weird and wonderful stations. It’s not the kind of app you will use to watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster, and you won’t find NBC or Showtime on there, but if you want to take a chance on a wild card then this is it. A few of the stations definitely appear to be of a more adult nature (how you choose to use that information is up to you).SPB TV
LiveNow!TV offers a broad range of channels from around the world to stream live, as well as a variety of classic/B-movies; mostly a bizarre but entertaining mix of horror and Kung Fu movies. LiveNow!TV is a free service supported by ads and of course it doesn't have the same clout as something like Netflix or even Hulu. However, the live TV streams work surprisingly well, and it remains a great option for streaming a number of well-known channels.
Those are just a few suggestions for finding TV shows and movies on your smartphone. Do you know any others?
Updated by Robert Zak on July 17, 2015