We’re pretty convinced that watching TV on the go is, quite simply, the best thing to have ever happened to us. Here are the essential apps that ensure you can watch TV anytime, anywhere… thanks to your trusty phone.
Gone are the days of your phone being something you hang onto in case you need to make emergency phone calls. It’s now officially your go-to for literally everything.
And we mean everything: it tracks your steps, gets you up to date with all the latest news and, best of all, puts that new episode of Planet Earth in front of you whenever you want it.
Without having to move to your TV. In fact, without having to move at all, you can do one better and move anywhere and watch TV with our Mi-Fi.
Recent research we’ve conducted into mobile habits has found that smartphones are the most preferred device for video watching (especially amongst younger consumers), and that while live broadcast TV is most often done with partners, watching catch-up TV tends to be a solo activity, often watched on a tablet or phone.
The way we consume media has changed dramatically in recent years: we’re no longer constrained by schedules or platforms, and content is increasingly becoming more fluid and flexible, moving from TV screen to smartphone screen in the blink of an eye (we’re looking at you, Sky Q).
At the same time, our watching has become more fragmented than ever before, and that’s a good thing. Since we have the freedom to consume media at our own pace, we can work our way through the epic Game of Thrones in bite-sized snippets on train journeys, or devote a whole weekend to bingeing on series 1-6 of the show.
Smartphone TV watching couldn’t be simpler: you just choose your programme of choice, press play and accept that your morning commute will never be the same again. And the best thing is that with Three, you don’t even have to download it first…
If you download just one TV-watching app, it should probably be this one. Watching TV on your phone doesn’t get easier than the BBC iPlayer app. It’s free to download, allows you to catch up on the last month of content, and, once you’ve picked your programme, you can watch hassle-free at your leisure.
If you don’t have a programme in mind, you’re also just a swipe away from browsing hundreds of titles and categories to find something new that takes your fancy. The best part? You can keep programmes stored in your downloads and watch them offline, which means no interruptions when you fall out of Wi-Fi or 4G connection. Sign us up.
The 4oD app works in the same way as iPlayer, which means it catches you up on all your favourite shows from the last 30 days. With the 4oD app you also have the added bonus of watching all your faves from E4 and More 4, as well as some classic series that are there in full for your viewing pleasure (essential for all those Hollyoaks fans out there – you know who you are).
The only downside to this app is you might have to put up with a few ads now and again, but we reckon the benefits are worth it. Especially with the new “series stacking” feature, which means you can build up a whole series of missed episodes and catch up in one fell swoop. Plus, the On Now service allows you to stream live TV, too – which is ideal if you’re out but can’t bear to miss that last instalment of your fave show.
You know the drill by now: all your favourite ITV shows downloadable to your smartphone. Again, watch out for the ads on this one.
If you really enjoy ITV and hate ads, then you should think about the ITV Player Premium service for £3.99. You’ll get access to all the catch-ups you could possibly want without any of the ads. Definitely worth the cost of a coffee each month to watch endless reruns of I’m a Celebrity.
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 smartphone or tablet. It gives you live TV, as well as access to Sky’s huge On Demand library at no extra cost, putting drama, comedies, thrillers and more at your fingertips.
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 addict’s dream.
The undisputed king of online entertainment, Netflix has finally joined the ranks as a mobile entertainment provider, too. Because Netflix isn’t limited to a channel, there’s a whole host of TV shows and movies to keep you occupied for weeks on end. You may never leave the house again (probably fun, but not recommended).
If you don’t already have a subscription, then the £5.99 monthly price tag might not seem worth it, but with new shows added regularly, trust us, it’ll be the best £6 you spend each month.
Although Netflix customers can now reap the benefits of offline viewing, the best news is that with Three you can stream some of the most-loved TV shows without worrying about the repercussions. Download your show and prepare for a fabulous plane ride ahead. Just think: unlimited Orange is the New Black episodes in the bath. What more could you want?
The truly devoted are also welcome to build their own DIY “Netflix and chill” button, allowing you to dim the lights, silence incoming calls, order a binge-worthy TV takeaway and enjoy the endless hours of pleasure ahead. Pass the screwdriver, please.
Amazon may be the shopping site you frequent any time you want to buy pretty much anything, but it’s also got an impressive TV and video library, with cult favourite shows like Parks & Recreation and Scandal, in addition to critically acclaimed original programming, including The Man in the High Castle, Good Girls Revolt and the Emmy-Award winning Transparent. Essential watching for when you next need a duvet day.*
* having the app may make it more likely you’ll want a duvet day.
This playful new app is a must for hardcore TV bingers, and brings with it a social component so you can binge with friends instead of being the person who’s just watched 15 hours of telly alone. Total gamechanger. The app connects you to others watching the same show as you at the same time, allowing you to chat and react to what’s happening in the episode as a group.
Perfect for uniting hard-to-get-together pals in your like-minded TV watching pursuits, Bingee makes use of a multi-platform experience: click to your preferred show on the TV or laptop, then use your smartphone screen to get the app going. Don’t blame us if you never manage to achieve anything other than watching 1,000 box sets ever again.
Arthouse cinema buff? If your screen style veers more towards Truffaut and Wenders than Michael Bay, then this is the film app for you. With a hand-picked foreign, indie or cult classic film each day, your cinematic horizons are sure to broaden – as is your desire to be the most culturally pretentious person you know.
Main pic: Pexels via Unsplash