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How to stream movies and TV shows for free on Android

Update: Anime-streaming app added

Authored by: Scott Adam Gordon — 2 months ago

People have been saying that the best things in life are free for a long time, but it's only now 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.

Best apps for movie streaming 4
Make the most of that ever-expanding screen. / © ANDROIDPIT

A note on Popcorn Time

You may have heard of Popcorn Time, a Netflix-like app with an even bigger selection of current movies and TV shows. Sadly we cannot sanction the use of this app, because Popcorn Time is illegal. Try out some of the other options below instead.  

Stream movies in the US

HBO NOW

The stand-alone app corresponding to arguably the greatest TV network on the planet had a bit of a shaky start in life, with many users reporting that they'd 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 catalog in history (US$14.99 a month after a 30-day trial). Its big-hitting shows include Game of Thrones, The Wire, True Detective, The Sopranos – it's worth a gamble for those alone, right?

androidpit hbo now
Who cares if it was launched as a buggy mess? Just look at that line-up! / © HBO NOW
HBO NOW 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 US$7.99 a month, but there are plenty of gems in the free version too.

androidpit hulu plus
Hulu offers a free and paid service for online video and movie streaming to Android users. / © Hulu
Hulu Install on Google Play

Stream movies in Canada / the US

Crackle

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, 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. 

androidpit crackle
Crackle offers Android users a bunch of modern and classic Hollywood movies, for free! / © Crackle
Crackle - Free TV & Movies Install on Google Play

Stream movies and TV shows in the UK

BBC iPlayer

This catch-up service has been going strong for a number of years 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.

androidpit bbc iplayer
The BBC is home to many much-loved British shows such as Dr Who and The Apprentice. / © BBC
BBC iPlayer Install on Google Play

ITV Player

The ITV Player app suffered a woefully bad introduction to the Play Store (it was essentially broken on many devices) but it's finally in a decent state. The ITV Player app lets you stream ITV channels live to your device, as well as catch up on any shows you may have missed from the past week.

androidpit itv player
The ITV Player app has had its problems but seems to have improved with recent updates. / © ITV
ITV Hub Install on Google Play

All 4 (4oD)

The recently rebranded All 4 – formerly known as 4oD – has a fantastic selection of shows, aimed at a slightly younger crowd than BBC iPlayer. Many users have been reporting crashing and inconsistent performance recently, but it's free and has some great content, so don't let that put you off. 

Featuring interesting experimental shows such as Black Mirror and Utopia, as well as the inimitable comedy, Peep Show, All 4 is the place to go for the best of British offbeat TV.

androidpit all4
The All 4 app includes TV shows from Channels such as E4, More4 and 4Music.  / © Channel 4
All 4 Install on Google Play

Demand 5

Channel Five’s premier catch-up service Demand 5 is 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 programs 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.

androidpit demand 5
Cop chases, Big Brother and other guilty pleasures populate the Demand 5 app. / © Channel Five
My5 Install on Google Play

Stream movies and TV shows worldwide

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.

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).

androidpit spb tv
The SPB TV app features a number of international and independent TV stations. / © SPB TV AG
SPB 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 makes sure you head to Settings > Lock screen and security and enable Uknown sources before trying to install the file.

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Toonmania is the best app on Android for watching anime. / © ANDROIDPIT

LiveNow!TV

LiveNow!TV 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. 

LiveNow!TV 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. 

androidpit livenowtv
For a free app, the number and quality of the channels available in LiveNow!TV is impressive. / © Live Now!
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. Do you know any others? Share them in the comments.

Originally from the UK, Scott graduated in Popular Music Studies at Newcastle University and attributes most of his success there to his beloved Samsung Galaxy S2. A dedicated Android fan, Scott has never owned an Apple device, of any kind, and doesn't see this changing anytime soon.

Readers' favorite comments

  • Lee Oct 14, 2014

    For Movies and TV Shows ShowBox 📺 👍😊

  • Mel 8 months ago

    Great list! TubiTV.com is also another awesome free movie streaming website and app that has thousands of movies and tv shows, and it's 100% legal... check it out.

  • Tyler Derden 9 months ago

    Ok guys I'm gonna be cool and let you all have a little secret treasure, which I probably shouldn't be doing because atm there is a lot of effort going into to shutting live streaming sites down. I know everyone rants about the "SHOW BOX" app, and "POPCORN TIME." But in all actuality, those apps are well under par. To avoid being a "technology pirate" we now watch live streamed movies: not illegal, saves memory, saves time, saves the HASSLE. But what most people don't know (which took me an exhaustive research Binge to find out,) is that there is 1.. yes ONE single site that will give you ALL the most up-to-date streaming sites. And for your commitment to the androtech community, I will now give it to you all FREELY. It's called nosubscriptionrequired.net : and just because I'm feeling extra generous this morning, I'll go ahead and give you 3 of the best sites to be found in the near 100 site long list. Yes I said 100 FREE STREAMING SITES. My top 3 are: movienight.ws , moviehut.co , and film-streamingx.com ... any one of those sites will offer TV, New release, movies by date, and even movies still in theaters with usually hd-1080p clarity. Oh by the way there's no sign-up or login, and everything is FREE!!! To top it off it usually takes less than 10 secs for the movie to start up with no lag, skipping, or poor quality. MY GIFT TO YOU! For working so hard to find the answers to the same things I thoroughly enjoy searching for myself :-). Enjoy, and like or comment back if this helped you.. thanks.

108 comments

Write new comment:
  • www.freefullmovies.tv Best site for Android !!!

  • If you want the best stand alone app for T.V and movies download showbox. If you want a multi media centre at the touch of a finger then download KODI. KODI runs alot of different add-ons like; live sport, live T.V from multiple countries, music, pictures. It can access just about anything. You can access youtube, shoebox, BBC iPlayer, ITV, ch4 etc. Its not hard to use and there is millions of you tube videos to help you.

  • Alex R. 1 month ago Link to comment

    I hope Popcorn Time gets legal!!

  • There is one more App, Popcornflix, legal & free, has a large database...!

  • Mikaael 1 month ago Link to comment

    1. Showbox 2. Popcorntime 😊😊😊

  • I was able to access Hulu from Canada for a while using Hola and Chromecast, but it's a dicey business - don't like the ads. I notice that SnagFilms has an app, has some unusual foreign stuff. American PBS has a lot of offerings online. Canada's National Film Board (NFB) also has an app with good though often dated documentaries and animations.

  • Gerald R. 2 months ago Link to comment

    Lots of good information

  • ok got it

  • Furtive 2 months ago Link to comment

    thanks for this 👌

  • Thanks a lot given me use full tips

  • what about crunchyroll ? it offer free streaming to some of its content , mostly anime though...

  • Add Searcheng to the list: www.searcheng.io or visit: slideme.org/application/searcheng. It works seamlessly with Chromecast too!

  • Karen J. 3 months ago Link to comment

    I'm trying to ask here about Showbox installation as I thought it would be quicker but I could have searched the net or YouTube by now & had a new version installed.
    The one I had installed was missing a few episodes from one of my fave shows & I'm finally fed up...

  • Please consider adding "SantaSeries" to the list.
    It's a new website with no ads, no registration and no annoying surveys.
    You can stream there online in high quality and tv show!

    Check it out:
    (Search "SantaSeries" in google - first result)

    Contact us at:
    santakaki@walla.co.il

  • Nothing to compare whit showbox and videomix the best ones

  • Julie M. 5 months ago Link to comment

    I would love some of these channels but they are not available in the USA. :(

  • Informative and helpful.
    Unfortunately many apps do not work for Indian viewers.
    You can add History TV 18 a favourite channel for viewing many enjoyable programs.

    A. S. Bhasker Raj
    Bangalore
    India

  • Why has Kodi not been mentioned?

  • Great post, Adam. My favorite app for Android to stream movies is ShowBox. The HBO Now is also a good one, but doesn't have a good library as Show Box. I vote for Show Box :) You can download it from: downloadshowboxapp.com

  • Good info on how to stream via apps...but... We need info on options to input the streaming to our tv's,audio systems via the hardware to allow it.

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