Life & Lifestyle

I Love My Little TVs — Now Streaming Shows and Movies at Small Screens Near You

When TV broadcasts switched to digital, my heart sank. The little portable TV with an internal antenna I happily toted with me as I diddled around the house fell into obsolescence. I quietly suffered, turning to an old boom box to listen to FM radio and CDs, instead.

Eventually, I purchased a tablet, upgraded to a smartphone, and — watching my grandchildren wander around gazing at YouTube on their devices — realized I could probably watch TV on mine.

I discovered my current TV provider had an app that allows me to stream live programs and access On Demand on any of my devices.

Through my provider, I can download apps for channels like A&E or the History Channel and watch past seasons and bonus features. You can get these apps without a provider, though they may come with limited access.

Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu are popular pay services. But there are other options depending on your interests, patience, and budget.

  • VUDU offers free older TV shows and movies with ads. They tease limited new content for free but push you to rent/purchase titles.
  • The Tubi app offers free older movies and TV shows on-demand.
  • Sony Crackle has free original programing, TV shows, and movies on-demand.

If you want specialty channels, like outdoor sports channels, some are free while others require a subscription. Just go to your app store and search for your subject. Even the American Kennel Club hosts a free channel. If you want to go the laptop route, you can search for free online TV stations or channels and find even more.

  • Xumo combines internet videos into continuously running channels on its free app.
  • Pluto TV offers more than 100 channels free with 24/7 programming.
  • STIRR TV provides 24/7 live and on-demand video from partner stations and channels for free.

I only keep two or three of these apps on my phone and tablet, and I have watched all of them at one time or the other on my new little portable TVs.

Check out one or all of them — you may get hooked!


Broc Sears

Broc Sears is an assistant professor of professional practice at TCU’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication and also works with the Texas Center for Community Journalism. He has more than three decades of experience in the news, advertising and marketing industries and earned recognition from the Society for News Design, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, APME of Texas and the Dallas Press Club. He and his wife enjoy the best days of their lives here in Dallas with their family.

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