There are a wide variety of Apple TV apps that you can use to fill in the gaps after you cut the cord. In addition to popular paid streaming services that reproduce the live cable TV experience for a fraction of the price, there are also several excellent on-demand services that give you the ability to watch thousands of different movies and TV shows whenever you want. There are quite a few free TV apps to explore, as well.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to cut the cord with Apple TV.
Live TV streaming services
Just about any cable TV channel you can think of can now be streamed live without a traditional cable subscription. Here’s a quick overview of the most popular live TV streaming services that are available on Apple TV.
If you like watching TV but hate sports, Philo could be the cord-cutting solution for you. Philo’s base subscription costs only $16 and it comes with 44 live cable TV channels. The fact that none of those channels are sports channels is one reason why Philo can afford to offer such incredibly low prices.
7-day free trial
Surprisingly, Philo has a very competitive set of features. You can record as much TV as you want to Philo’s unlimited cloud DVR and you can stream to up to three different screens through one account at the same time. Sign up for Philo’s seven-day free trial and see what you think.
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fuboTV is different from other streaming services because it caters specifically to fans of sports that your local cable company probably doesn’t cover well– or at all. If you’re into college basketball, for example, there’s no better streaming service out there. This year, fuboTV is broadcasting all of the March Madness games. Soccer is another sport that fuboTV has cornered.
fuboTV’s base subscription costs $45 and has 90+ channels, roughly half of which are sports channels. fubo Extra costs $50 and has 110+ channels.
Another thing to like about fuboTV is that it’s the only live streaming service that supports 4K. Currently, only a few of fuboTV’s channels broadcast in 4K, but that will likely change as the streaming service continues to improve its 4K support. That’s definitely something to think about if you own an Apple TV 4K. Click the image below to get your seven-day free trial.
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Sling TV is one of the most customizable streaming services on the market– and it’s also one of the least expensive. Prices start at $25 and go up from there, depending on which channel add-on packs and features you want. The base plans cost $25 and come with over 30 channels each.
Great Value$40.00/ month
Sling Orange + Blue
Once you get at least one base plan, you can customize your TV experience with over 20 different channel add-ons packs. The $10 Sports Extra add-on comes with sports channels like NFL RedZone, NBA TV and more. The Kids Extra add-on costs $5 and comes with Nicktoons, TeenNick and several other kid-friendly channels. There’s a seven-day free trial available, so try it out for yourself and see what you think.
PlayStation Vue isn’t a gaming app– it’s a streaming service that offers excellent features, reasonable subscription prices and a generous menu of channels. There are four base plans to choose from, the cheapest of which is $45. Features like unlimited cloud recording and five-device simultaneous streaming sweeten the deal. PlayStation Vue’s free trial lasts five days, which is just enough time to try out everything Vue has to offer. If you’re looking for a full-featured, all-in-one cable replacer that works with Apple TV, PlayStation Vue is definitely worth a look.
Google’s YouTube TV offers unlimited cloud DVR recording, reasonable prices and a strong lineup of sports channels. Because YouTube TV has signed deals with almost all the local broadcast affiliates, subscribing makes a lot of sense if you like to watch local TV but lack a TV antenna. The base subscription costs $40 and includes 60+ channels.
Hulu with Live TV
Hulu with Live TV is the only streaming service that lets you stream to an unlimited number of devices at the same time. This makes it an ideal streaming service to get if you have a large family or intend to share your account with your roommates. Another perk: all Hulu with Live TV subscribers get full access to Hulu’s massive on-demand video catalog.
On-demand streaming services
Over the past several years, a number of new on-demand video services have opened for business. Some specialize in blockbuster movies and popular TV shows, but others occupy more specialized niches. Though each of the services listed below is different, they all have one thing in common: they give you the ability to watch what you want, when you want.
CBS All Access
When you subscribe to CBS All Access for $6 per month (or $10 per month if you want to cut out the commercials), you get not only the ability to stream your local CBS station but also over 10,000 on-demand episodes of CBS shows. Some of those shows– like Star Trek: Discovery and Twilight Zone— are CBS originals that you won’t find on any other on-demand service. It’s not a bad app to have, especially if your streaming service doesn’t carry your local CBS station.
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21-year-old on-demand video pioneer Netflix is still a must-have video service for cord-cutters. Its 139 million subscribers give it the ability to produce high quality, award-winning originals like Orange is the New Black. A basic subscription only costs $8, but if you have an Apple TV 4K you may want to consider getting the $12 Premium subscription, which includes support for 4K.
Amazon Video is the best on-demand streaming service that you may not even realize that you have. Any Amazon Prime subscriber can watch thousands of TV shows and movies just by using your Amazon credentials to log into the Amazon Video app for Apple TV. You can even subscribe to live sports channels through the Amazon Video app. Amazon Video comes with Amazon Prime, which costs $99 per year. If you only want Amazon Video, you can subscribe to it separately for $9 per month.
In addition to watching on-demand episodes of popular HBO shows like Game of Thrones, you can also tune in live to watch some HBO shows live through HBO Now. A $15/month subscription to HBO Now gives you access to HBO’s excellent catalog of original shows, including Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Silicon Valley, Westworld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Girls, The Sopranos, The Wire and many others.
If you’re a fan of cult hits and indie movies, you may want to download MUBI. An 11$/month subscription gives you access to a hand-picked selection of critically-acclaimed movies and art films. One of the best things about this on-demand service is that there is always something new to watch. Each movie that appears on MUBI disappears after 30 days and is replaced by something new.
Fandor is very similar to MUBI in that it specializes in arty, obscure films. What sets Fandor apart is that its video library is a bit larger. At the same time, its subscription fees are less expensive. A $6/month subscription gives you access to over 3,000 independent movies, documentaries and international films.
The makers of Shudder boasts that it offers “the largest and fastest growing selection” of horror movies on the internet. Horror movie experts and guest curators like Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett and Rob Zombie of White Zombie fame help you sort through it all with hand-picked lists of movie recommendations.
Starz’s $8/month streaming service gives you access to not only thousands of popular movies and shows, but also a growing number of originals like American Gods, Black Sails and many others. Check out the seven-day free trial to find out what it’s all about.
Showtime is yet another premium cable channel that recently threw its hat into the streaming service arena. In addition to movies and TV shows, Showtime subscribers can also watch Showtime Championship Boxing matches.
Free entertainment options
On a tight budget? All of the apps listed below don’t cost a thing.
The open source media server Plex lets you stream video content from your computer directly to your Apple TV. Setting it up can be a bit complicated, but once you’re up and running it’s very easy to use.
Pluto TV is a massive collection of free live TV channels. There are over 100 ad-supported channels to choose from. Content ranges from sports and movies to cartoons, music, viral videos and more. You’ll even find a few popular news channels in the menu, including MSNBC, CNBC, CBS and others.
Tubi TV is a totally free, ad-supported Netflix alternative that offers a surprisingly huge selection of movies and TV shows. There are over 50,000 titles in its massive library. You might have to dig around a bit to find something that you actually want to watch, though.
Hoopla is an innovative, free paid service alternative that lets you stream all the movies, TV shows, music and audiobooks that your local library has on its shelves. All you need is a library card to get started.
Kanopy is similar to Hoopla in that both streaming services offer streaming video access through libraries. The main difference is that Hoopla has more of a pop culture focus. Kanopy places a greater emphasis on educational content, documentaries, independent movies and classic films.
The most unique thing about Crackle is that it’s one of the only free streaming services that create original content. One of the service’s most high profile titles is Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, a talk show created by Jerry Seinfeld. Snatch— a TV series based on the cult movie of the same name– is another Crackle original.
Vudu– an on-demand streaming service owned by Walmart– has a collection of free movies called “Movies on Us.” Paid movies often become available before they arrive on Netflix, DVD, Redbox and other similar services.
Fans of CW superhero shows like The Flash, Supergirl and Arrow may want to check out The CW’s free app for Apple TV. On-demand episodes appear on the service the day after they air live.
Even though you need either a cable subscription or a streaming service to access most of the Cartoon Network’s content, the app offers more free episodes than most. If you subscribe to PlayStation Vue, you can unlock the rest of the content.
Hardware and accessories
Ready to get even more out of your Apple TV? Here are some Apple TV-compatible gadgets and accessories that will make it even easier to cut the cord.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to plug a TV antenna directly into an Apple TV. However, there’s a workaround: HDHomeRun. HDHomeRun can snatch TV signals from the air and stream them directly into your Apple TV. Apple TV apps that work with HDHomeRun include Channels for Apple TV and InstaTV Pro.
If you want to watch over-the-air TV on your Apple TV, you’ll need one other piece of hardware: a TV antenna. Mohu made a name for itself among cord-cutters with its high-quality HD TV antennas, some of which are made from recycled materials. The low-profile Mohu Leaf model is designed to mount on a wall or on a window. Mohu Curve, on the other hand, can sit on a shelf or any other type of flat surface.
Alex Munkachy is a freelance writer, game developer and hobby robotics enthusiast. You can find his blog about robotics news and reviews at robotfanatics.com.