How to watch TV on your mobile.
Last updated: 21 January 2016
Smartphones are great. They can help you stay in touch with family and friends, and pretty much organise your life. But it’s the apps, the gaming, the browsing and the streaming that make mobiles fun and exciting.
Entertainment on the go is now more accessible than ever. Download these TV apps, make sure you’ve got a decent mobile signal (lucky for you Three has been rated the UK’s most reliable network by YouGov*), and you can watch all your favourite shows whenever you like, wherever you go.
Here, we check out some of the best apps for bringing the small screen to your smartphone:
With the BBC iPlayer app you can watch all the best of the BBC at a time and place that suits you. Stream live TV (including BBC Sport if your device has access to it) or catch up on shows you’ve missed over the last 30 days.
This app is great to look at and user-friendly - you can easily browse through the genres and channels and find exactly what you’re looking for. But maybe the best part of this app is that when you download programmes you can watch them offline whenever you’re ready, so you don’t need to rely on a Wi-Fi or network connection.
4oD has a wide selection of the best content on Channel 4, E4 and More4, including some of the most memorable shows from the last 30 years, like Friends. And you get 30 days to catch up, so there’s more than enough time to watch your favourite shows.
There’s now also a feature on certain programmes called ‘series stacking’ which means that some episodes are available for download beyond 30 days. You’ll get a fair few ads, but you can download the content for free on iOS or Android, and watch whenever and wherever you like, so this kind of makes up for it. The On Now service allows you to stream live TV too – which is great if you’re out but can’t bear to miss that last instalment.
As with the other apps, ITV Player lets you catch up on shows that have broadcast over the last 30 days on all the ITV channels. This includes ITV1, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV - which is perfect if you’ve got kids.
An extra bonus is the fact that you can stream live TV too - so you can watch exactly what’s going out on air on your TV. And if you’re happy to pay £3.99 a month you can get your hands on the ITV Player Premium service which gives you access to all the catch up you could possibly want with no ads within the programmes - definitely worth considering if you love ITV but don’t love the ads.
If you’re a Sky subscriber this app is a no-brainer. From Sky Atlantic to SyFy, you get access to loads of channels on your phone or tablet. It gives you live TV, as well as access to Sky’s huge On Demand library at no extra cost. If you want to go one step further, you can pay a small subscription for Sky Go Extra which lets you download programmes so you can enjoy saved shows anywhere, even without internet. It’s every TV addicts dream.
Netflix is one of the world’s leading subscription services for watching TV shows and movies on your phone or tablet. For £5.99/mth you can watch as many films and shows as you like, as often as you want, any time you want.
New episodes are added regularly, so you’ll never be short of something to watch. And with the app you can rate what you’ve watched, and then be presented with suggestions based on what you’ve watched before.
This app brings the Freeview experience to your phone or tablet. You can watch live TV online from 60 channels, including BBC One, ITV1 and Channel 4, over your network or via Wi-Fi.
It’s really user friendly with a great interactive TV guide, and you can search by channel or genre, including entertainment, kids, music and news. If you sign up to TVPlayer Plus (only currently available on iPhone) you get 25 extra channels.
TVCatchup - iPhone (free)
TVCatchup streams live TV to your phone or tablet. It’s really easy to use and you’ll never miss your favourite shows again. There are 27 channels to choose from and the TV Guide is really easy to browse through.
Will watching TV on my mobile use up my data?
If you’re using the apps above to stream or download TV shows and movies, you will use up some of your data allowance. But if you’re on an all-you-can-eat data plan with Three, you won’t have to worry too much.
There are plenty of apps to choose from - all you need is a reliable network to enjoy TV on your phone. So it’s good to know that Three has been voted the most reliable network in the UK by YouGov* for calls, texts and data. Just sit back and enjoy.
*Three was rated the most reliable network against EE, O2 and Vodafone by customers in a YouGov Survey in March 2016 until June 2016.