The good news is that you can watch recent episodes of “America’s Next Top Model,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “Blue Bloods,” and several other shows on your Android phone, all without paying a dime.
The bad news? The pickings are still a bit slim, especially compared to the iPhone and iPad.
So far, only CBS and The CW offer official Android apps with full-length episodes. NBC promises full episodes are “coming soon” to its Android app, but has yet to deliver. TNT and TBS stream full episodes through their respective Android apps, but only if you have an existing cable subscription. Meanwhile, ABC, Fox, and PBS are still missing in action as far as Android is concerned.
Still, there is at least some free network TV to be had for Android users, no subscription (cable or otherwise) required.
Two more caveats before we begin: First, we’re not (typically, anyway) talking complete seasons here; in general, expect a handful of the most recent full episodes. Second: get ready to sit through plenty of unskippable commercials.
So, ready to tune in? Let’s start with…
1. TV.com (Download)
Here’s you home for full streaming episodes (plus commercials, unfortunately) from CBS, including “The Good Wife,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Blue Bloods,” and “CSI: NY.” Not bad, although I didn’t see any full episodes of such popular CBS shows as “The Big Bang Theory,” “NCIS,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Person of Interest,” or “The Mentalist.”
Also on tap are daytime soaps and game shows like “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Price is Right,” late-night laughs from David Letterman and Craig Ferguson, and snippets of shows from other CBS-owned networks like Showtime, The CW, and CNET.
2. The CW Network (Download)
The CW offers a generous helping of recent, full episodes from shows like “90210,” “Gossip Girl,” “America’s Next Top Model,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Nikita,” “Supernatural,” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
You’ll also find plenty of brief video clips, photo galleries, Facebook and Twitter updates, and frequent commercial breaks.
3. Crackle (Download)
Lots of obscure and animated shows, but you’ll also find a few diamonds in the rough, like “Rescue Me,” “Seinfeld,” “Married with Children,” “Sanford & Son,” “All in the Family,” “The Dana Carvey Show,” and “Good Times.”
Also included: a grab bag of free movies, such as “Step Brothers,” “The Fifth Element,” “Boyz in the Hood,” “District 9,” “Stranger than Fiction,” plus plenty of grade-Z selections, like “Frankenfish,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The New Generation,” and “Vampires: The Turning.”
And yes—expect your view pleasure to be interrupted by ads, early and often.
Not satisfied with the selection of apps above? You can always install the free Netflix and Hulu Plus apps for Android, which boast thousands of streaming TV shows for $8 a month. The Google “Play” store also offers à la carte TV shows that you can purchase and download to your Android handset.
Looking for more Android tips? Click here!