It’s been hard getting great streaming content in Canada. Remember the first days of Netflix when it launched in Canada? You couldn’t watch anything.
Times have changed; many broadcasters are realizing people WANT to watch TV and movies on the go or just on their devices, so many of them have stepped up their game and delivered top content via apps for both Apple and Android.
How do I watch TV on my phone?
So how do you get all this mobile TV goodness? In most cases it’s as simple as downloading the app. But be warned; most of what’s out there isn’t free. You’ll pay a monthly fee of about $5-7 per channel or more (Netflix is substantially more expensive, while on Apple TV, you pay per episode or per TV show’s season) or in some cases you’ll need special login credentials from your cable TV provider in order to access the channels. Beyond that you just need a strong Wi-Fi or cellular data connection on your phone or tablet (Don’t forget to keep tabs on your data to avoid paying overages!).
Is my phone big enough for TV?
If you commute on transit, or travel a lot, or your phone is just the way you like to watch TV, this is one of those cases you’ll want the larger handset. We’re talking about Apple iPhone XS Max, Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, or Google Pixel 3 XL.
Of course you can also consider bringing along a tablet and watching on a way bigger screen; whether you choose the Apple iPad Pro, Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, or a Google Pixel Slate laptop-tablet hybrid.
While watching TV and videos on a small phone screen isn’t so bad in a pinch, if you do it often enough, make sure you’re not needing to squint.
Which TV apps are available in Canada?
YouTube & Netflix
It goes without saying that these two apps are the biggest players in the TV streaming game today, (and both have substantial higher resolution 4K offerings) and you probably already have them both and know all about what they do, so let’s look at some other streaming TV services you may know less about.
The granddaddy of content, Apple has a lot of premium new shows and makes it really easy to access them. You pay per episode or per season, though there’s talk Apple may be introducing a subscription service like it did for music.
Shaw cable’s FreeRange app lets paying customers watch TV on their phones, but there’s no casting or Airplay support.
Telus Optik TV
Cable Provider Telus also offers an app for customers which provides many channels included in your cable subscription including live news and sports.
Crave TV (HBO, Showtime)
Crave TV has a new look and a new PR push is on for this app, where you can purchase tiered access to the channels. You can get basic Crave, add Movies and/or add HBO to get the content you want. If you want to watch the Handmaid’s Tale as it comes out, this is how you’ll get it. Vice News shows also appear here too.
You can also download shows to watch later; perfect for travel.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is one of my favourite channels right now; I can watch on my phone, tablet or on my Apple TV and take great new shows like Bosch or Marvelous Mrs Maisel to go. If you already have Amazon’s Prime shipping option, you get the TV service for free, or you can just pay for access to the channel.
CBS All Access
This American super network is making shows like NCIS, Elementary and Survivor available to stream any time. Access is free for the first month, then you pay a small fee monthly after that.
This app houses Canuck faves like Kim’s Convenience and Schitt’s Creek, but it also allows you to watch full episodes plus documentaries and more. Plus, you can stream CBC TV live from the app. Choose a free version, or ditch the ads on “Premium” for a fee.
Watch full episodes of shows like Celebrity Big Brother, New Amsterdam and Saturday Night Live on Global’s app that also has Chromecast support for casting to your TV.
Rogers Media’s TV app lets you get A Million Little Things, Manifest and Modern Family. Chromecast support is apparently in the works so you can cast to your TV in the future.
If you’ve got kids, you probably already have this children’s entertainment portal. Sesame Street streamed? ‘Nuff said!
FX Now Canada, History Channel, A&E
If you love FX Network, this app is the home of all their programming like American Horror Story. There are also apps for History and A&E available too, though you’ll need you cable TV provider’s access credentials to get any content from them.
This channel and its app get great ratings (the same can’t be said for all streaming channels). With exclusive crime dramas, true crime TV and thrillers you can try it free for a week, then pay the monthly fee. There’s also a version made for Apple TV!
There’s plenty more apps out there; search your phone’s app store for your favourite then click on the description to see how you can access the channel. Post your top streaming channel in comments below!