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How to stream movies and TV shows for free on Android

People have been saying that the best things in life are free for a long time, but it's only now that we live in the app era that I've started to truly believe it. For example, there's a huge number of apps that let you stream movies and TV shows for free on Android. We've gathered the best of them together for you here.

CBS

With the CBS app, you can stream as much as you want without having to verify your cable TV subscription credentials. It comes with episodes of shows like The Big Bang Theory, Criminal Minds, Elementary, The Good Wife and Two and a Half Men, plus late night hits like The Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. 

cbs
Watch hits like The Big Bang Theory on the CBS app. / © CBS
CBS Full Episodes and Live TV Install on Google Play

The CW Network

With shows like America's Next Top Model, Arrow, Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries, the CW doesn't disappoint with fun content. You don't have to verify your cable TV subscription credentials, but you do have to sit through ads. All in all, this is a good app (if you like the content) that runs smoothly.

cw
The CW Network has a super line-up of shows. / © The CW Network
The CW Install on Google Play

History

The History Channel's app offers some fun reality shows like American Pickers, Gangland, Mountain Men, Ice Road Trucker and old episodes of Top Gear (which recently moved to Amazon Prime under the name The Grand Tour). The History app allows you to search shows by topic, like WWII or Ancient History, which is a neat feature. The only downside is that there are several ads shown per episode. 

history
History has all your favorite reality shows and informative programs. / © A&E Television Networks
HISTORY Install on Google Play

Crackle

Crackle is a hugely popular free app, 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, the trade-off for which is that you get an excellent selection of media and an app that functions far better than some of the other TV service ports on the list.

Crackle, like Netflix or Amazon, has picked up some original content that's getting more popular. The most famous of these is 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee' starring Jerry Seinfeld. It's on it's eighth season and has featured some major guests like Will Ferrell, Ricky Gervais and Barack Obama.

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Crackle - Free TV & Movies Install on Google Play

Hulu

Hulu lets users watch premium TV shows and movies on their smartphones or tablets without paying a subscription fee. It's packed with current and classic shows, Hulu originals, movies and plenty of kids' shows, making it a perfect family tablet companion.

If you want full access to the Hulu library you will need to pay $7.99 a month with limited commercials and $11.99 without commercials, but there are plenty of gems in the free version too. If you're willing to be patient then you'll be able to find some great shows for free.

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Hulu offers a free and paid service for online video and movie streaming to Android users. / © Hulu
Hulu: Watch TV & Stream Movies Install on Google Play

SPB TV

The Android SPB TV app is not region-specific and offers content from around the world via a selection of weird and wonderful stations. From the NASA channel to Comedy for Women, this app gives you a pretty healthy mix of content. 

You won't find the latest Hollywood blockbuster, NBC or Showtime on SPB TV, but if you want to take a chance on a wild card, this is the app to use. 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).

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The SPB TV app features a number of international and independent TV stations. / © AndroidPIT
SPB TV - Free Online TV Install on Google Play

#Toonmania

For your anime needs, it's hard to beat Toonmania, which offers a huge selection of the dubbed cartoons. Everything is easily navigable thanks to the app's clean and intuitive layout, and you can browse shows sorted by popularity or most recently added. There's also an exhaustive list of filters, so you can narrow down your search to find exactly what you're looking for.

This app isn't available from the Play Store, but if you head to mobi24, you can download the APK file. Just make sure you head to Settings > Lock screen and security and enable Unknown sources before trying to install the file. Once you're done you'll have access to everything in the library.

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You can get some great Anime on Toonmania / © AndroidPIT

Crunchyroll

Another excellent Anime streaming app is Crunchyroll. And this one is available through Google Play. It has a huge selection of the best Anime available free. The app is quite popular with over five million downloads and gets a decent rating.

Running the app is quite simple. Just browse through your favorite shows and they will run with subtitles. The default is English so you won't have to mess with the language. You'll have to watch some advertisements but mostly for the premium service it offers. Basically, you're paying $4.99 so you won't have to watch Crunchyroll advertisements.

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Plenty of free Anime for the Crunchyroll app. / © AndroidPIT
Crunchyroll - Everything Anime Install on Google Play

FilmOn

FilmOn streams a broad range of channels from around the world live, as well as a variety of classic/B-movies; mostly a bizarre but entertaining mix of horror and Kung Fu movies. But the sports channels are the most impressive. You can check out some pretty interesting live events on this app.

FilmOn is a free service supported by ads and doesn't have the same clout as Netflix or even Hulu, but the live TV streams work well, and it's a great option for streaming a number of well-known channels. Make sure you browse for a while and see what's available, you may be surprised at what you can find.

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For a free app, the number and quality of the channels available in LiveNow!TV is impressive. / © AndroidPIT
FilmOn Free Live TV & RECORD Install on Google Play

Those are just a few suggestions for how to stream free movies and TV shows on your smartphone. If you tried any of these apps, what did you think of them? Are there any of your favorite apps we've left off this list? Share them with us in the comments.

This article has been rewritten since first publication. Comments below may not reflect current content.

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  • Thank’s Dude. This is really interesting and very useful

  • CW network I will try it and let you know

  • where can i find soap operas on my android box. TIA

  • FazliCF 4 months ago Link to comment

    Mobdro also a good apps to stream movies n shows, including sports

  • sometimes I think transferring via USB is better and faster

  • from these app i can download shows or not.

  • Mark G. 6 months ago Link to comment

    Showbox is not a legal streaming/download app, it's run by Russian gangs.

    Most of the apps mentioned above are USA only...

  • Once you figure out how to get useful streams you can do cool things like watch movies that are still playing in the cinemas.

    The program isn’t useless, but if it’s too technical for you then fine, move on. Don’t diss the program its very powerful.

    • yeah i am new to the android box and gosh for my age and brain can not seem to learn quickly enough all about it, lol

  • Terrarium is good for TV shows and movies

  • Dane 8 months ago Link to comment

    I can't believe you left out Show Box

  • I guess I am behind the times, but I have limited data on my internet wifi. Don't these programs need data from either phone or internet to use>

  • If you want to download shows and movies from Tubi TV , you can use Allavsoft ,it is very good

  • I've recently released Synctrix, which provides streaming of video/audio files to Android TV. Might be another good option, plus its free (synctrix.com).

    • Hi Saul, I just followed your link then downloaded from Googleplay. I haven't had time to work with your app as of yet, I've just signed in and connected to Google drive (Which went very smoothly) and got back to you.
      This fills a gap in the market perfectly, which I've been looking for sometime as I've uploaded hundreds of movies into Google drive but unfortunately unable to load up the movies poster's , and i'am struggling with putting TV seasons together and in order, also renaming some title's which just come with a reference number.
      From the quick look I gave your app, it appears to cover all these (so thank heaven's). I will get to know how it functions and leave you fair feedback, unlike unfortunately some have and don't know what it's for! I hope you make a paid one so people have the choice to get rid of the ads, and I hope you keep this up/in development as it serves a great purpose, and as more individuals come across it will appreciate it as an indispensable tool.
      Can't wait to start reorganising the dreadful mess which I'm currently in, and have a ordered movie streaming platform of my own, great idea this app of yours, I hope it works out and you don't mind me reporting any bug's.
      All the best for New Year.

  • Jason Loy 9 months ago Link to comment

    showbox is far good than any other app for movie streaming. try it: www.showboxappz.com

  • If the admin doesn't mind, i'd like to add tvrill.com to watch free tv shows for free online, it's 100% ad free. Check it out for yourself you won't be disappointed.

  • How good is the app moddro and is it recommended?

  • Flávio Jul 9, 2016 Link to comment

    Ip Tv = cancer. Most channels don't stay up for a day

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