Live Streaming TV via Mobile Apps

February 27, 2015

Our children may not believe us, but there was a time when we only watched television on a timetable dictated by the broadcasters. Today we have a huge variety of services that let us watch programmes and movies at any time and on any device. No longer are we imprisoned in the living room, because mobile devices keep us entertained and informed on the go.

Indeed, live streaming TV app downloads grew 44% year-over-year. The worldwide growth was due to a number of factors: in China, for example, there was increased availability of high-speed data, while Netflix added more local programmes for its European viewers. However, many households gained larger screens, as networks worked toward diversifying their content, and some sports apps owners like NFL Game Pass, BoxNation, and At Bat distributed their content without third-party limitations.

That is why it was only a matter of time before NBC joined the range of services offering live streaming content to audiences via smartphones and tablets. Recently NBC released the update to its iOS and Android apps that allowed cable subscribers to watch its programming live online. This novelty keeps NBC in the race with competing networks ABC and CBS.

Here we’ve gathered top live streaming TV apps for you to be more familiar with this special category of mobile products. Let’s have a look!

Netflix iPhone | Android

Netflix - screenshotNetflix is one of the most popular subscription services for streaming TV shows and movies on iPhone or Android device. Netflix membership gives access to unlimited TV shows and movies. Parents can choose TV episodes and movies just for kids. A great feature of the Netflix app is the ability to start watching on one device, and resume it on another. A free one-month trial is available for all new members.

WatchESPN Android

WatchESPN - screenshotThe WatchESPN app is ideal for sports fans. When it’s connected with Chromecast it turns into an even better experience, because it even allows you to watch a few games simultaneously. The WatchESPN app offers live streaming access to thousands of games and events on the ESPN networks. It is free, but if you would like to watch just about anything in the app, you’ll need to have a cable subscription.

Plex iPhone | Android

Plex for Android - screenshotTo stream videos to your iPhone or Android device via the Plex app you need your home computer to run the Plex Media Server. Plex organizes your video, music, and photo collection and streams them to all of your screens. It also allows you to share your media with friends and family. The app offers access to online content like TED Talks, Vimeo, and more. The latest updated version of this app lets you send content to your Chromecast.

HBO Go iPhone  | Android

HBO GO - screenshotHBO Go also requires a subscription to HBO through your television provider  that allows you to stream your favorite HBO shows and movies anytime on your mobile device. HBO Go features comedy episodes, sports, documentaries, and behind-the-scenes extras. You can easily create a customized watchlist, so you can catch up on your favorite shows and movies at your convenience.

Crackle iPhone | Android

Crackle - Movies & TV - screenshotCrackle is an excellent option for those who don’t feel like paying for a subscription. This app lets you enjoy watching free content on your iPhone and Android device (it occasionally features video ads). The app also offers movies and series created by Crackle.There are more than 25 million fans who downloaded the iOS version of this app!

Hulu Plus iPhone | Android

Hulu - screenshotJust like with Netflix, users will need a subscription to instantly stream live TV episodes and movies. With the Hulu Plus mobile app, you can watch current season episodes of hit shows like Empire, Parks and Recreation, The Bachelor and many more. Hulu Plus also allows you to resume watching from where you left off on your TV or other supported device. This app only offers a one-week free trial.

Take-away for developers and advertisers:

As we can see, the improved quality of mobile streams lets users watch their favourite shows on their mobile devices as they usually do on their TVs. That is why live streaming TV via mobile apps has become quite a big business in recent years, with services such as Netflix rapidly becoming more and more popular. Improvements in streaming technology and app development make this trend likely to go further, opening new ways for advertisers to interact with consumers. Looking at the possible evolution of live streaming TV can help you to see how your business can engage with potential customers in the future. We do believe that this trend will thrive in the near future as networks are looking to increase the number of mobile-optimized live streams they provide.