Seniors and new technology used to be an unlikely pairing. Things change, and the technology age is determined to bring everyone along with it. The best free live TV streaming apps fit squarely into this category. The truth is, old technology is being outdated quickly, as advancements in nearly every corner of home entertainment make yesterday’s must-haves obsolete. As the Covid19 pandemic and quarantine showed us in the summer of 2020, as far as we have come, we still have a long way to go to truly rely on technology the way we will soon. One thing that is becoming clear to these companies is that all tech users have different sets of needs. Younger people might need or prefer one set of actions in an app, or several options for customization and need little explanation. Older app consumers might prefer a simpler app interface, and content that was made in a wider range of film and tv eras.
The great news is that as the average age of app consumers gets older, movie and tv streaming apps are responding. They are offering a product that is easy to use, affordable, and that features content targeted for the older viewer. The way things are advancing technologically, the easiest thing to do when making a move, or deciding to renew a cable subscription in many cases, is to completely overhaul the system. This means getting rid of the cable or satellite, packing up the DVDs, and simplifying with a smart TV, or a smart stick and learning the ropes of streaming.
Cable is Dead (Long Live Cable)
Cable TV service used to be the gold standard of home entertainment, but cable TV providers don’t have the best reputation, especially with senior citizens. Cable TV packages are hard to understand, with their millions of different cable TV deals and internet packages and bundles. They’re internet providers, cell providers, and TV providers all in one, but TV packages for seniors are not really accessible. Forget free cable TV – an affordable cable TV plan is unimaginable. Cable TV services may offer senior discounts, but the overall cost, especially for those on a fixed income, maybe too much.
Many cable TV providers or cable TV companies claim to offer the best cable TV deals, but cable providers like Spectrum cable TV have a monopoly in their region. That makes senior cable TV options limited. For those looking for the best cable TV packages, it doesn’t often matter whether there’s a senior cable TV plan at another company – your probably only have one or two companies that serve your area.
That’s why, if you’re looking for a TV package, especially cable TV for low-income seniors, you might be out of luck. You may get cable discounts in the first year of service, but cable packages – like those with affordable internet service and phone service – get really expensive as time goes on. So stop looking for senior cable deals. That senior discount won’t get you premium channels or free internet. Start branching out beyond the cable TV plans. Streaming apps are the future of free TV for seniors.
Out With The Old, In With The New
So if cable TV for seniors is out, what’s the alternative? Even with Cable companies offering bundled deals, and satellite dish companies throwing in a hundred or so extra channels, cable and satellite is finally not worth it. All the equipment to keep up with, the hassle when something goes wrong, and obviously the high cost are all clear deterrents.
Internet services are a lot easier to work with than cable services. As long as your home is wired for high speed internet, you can easily and effectively access to every show cable has to offer, plus hundreds of thousands of other tv shows and movies with one remote control and for free. The hardest thing to do on most of these smart TVs is getting it set up to begin with.
The best free live tv streaming apps for seniors have big, easy to see icons, straightforward language, and uncomplicated pricing. You can set the low monthly payments to come straight from your bank or credit card. When I say low, I mean under $10 per month in most cases. This is a welcome change from cable and satellite companies who charge over $100 per month. Even though the internet bill you need to power these devices can be costly, more people are seeing the internet as a utility rather than a luxury. In a world that runs on the net, having it in your home is now essentially a requirement. Shouldn’t you be able to also watch your favorite shows easily? We think so.
When it comes to watching TV and movies at home, the word streaming means watching directly from the internet. The main difference between this and downloading content, for example, is that you don’t own the media. It also means that the media doesn’t take up any space. Not on your shelf like a DVD or VHS tape, and not on your device, like the photos your camera takes and stores on your phone. A streaming device is the player, like a VCR, and the streaming app is what’s being played, like the videotape. A streaming device can be a smartphone, a smart TV, or an iPad or tablet. Since everything is digital now, there is no need to store all those movies and TV shows in your home or even on the computer. These digital samples simply “stream” to your streaming device from the internet.
Streaming apps or platforms are things like Netflix or Hulu. Most of these platforms offer 1 account holder many different access points, so that several people can share one account. As an older person, it is sometimes the easiest thing to simply add a profile to someone else’s account. That way, you can enjoy all the streaming and not worry about the bill or the account. Most of the time, it doesn’t cost any extra and even if you watch the same shows, most platforms will save your information and their information separately. So if you watch a TV show like Grace and Frankie on Netflix–an over 50s crowd pleaser–and your grown kids or great nephew also watches Grace and Frankie, Netflix will save your spot on your account, and save theirs on their account. This is just one of the many perks to account sharing. If you are wondering how Netflix feels about many users only paying one monthly bill, they love it. All accounts are designed for this now, and they even have fun with the concept on the company’s social media pages.
First, you must decide which “smart device” you wish to use. Smart, in this case, simply means accessing the internet. There are a few different avenues to take, depending on a few things. For instance, your current television must have the capability of receiving the signal from one of these devices. There are complicated cords and converters that could hook your TV up to anything, but this article is about keeping it simple. If your old TV is too old, it may be time to upgrade. Smart TVs of every size are easy to find and affordable. In many cases you can watch any movie or TV show on the internet with one simple remote and just a few buttons. Smart TVs have the internet built in, so the first thing you will want to do is connect your home internet service. It is a good idea to make sure that your internet is broadband, and fast enough to stream movies and TV shows. Unlike your ipad or tablet and your smartphone, your smart TV must be plugged into the internet and cannot operate on just a wireless signal.
There are 4 major players in the streaming device game. They are all so popular now that you may recognize their names. The Roku might be one of the most popular of the streaming devices. Roku makes a smart TV, where the streaming device is built right into the TV, minimizing the opportunity for complications. If that idea is appealing, it is the fastest and easiest way to start streaming lovely content right away. Roku TV has built in streaming apps, like Hulu and Netflix, and so many others. Roku also makes a plug-in box that offers a non-smart TV the same functions as a Roku TV.
Other Streaming Device Options
The Apple TV is just like the Roku box, but with the added advantage of easily connecting to all your other Apple products like your iPhone and iPad. Simply plug the Apple TV box into your TV and you can send the YouTube video your grandchild sent you, directly to your big screen on the wall. The Google Chromecast and the Amazon Fire Stick are similar looking, and also provide a similar service just from a different company. Both look like small USB sticks that fit in the palm of your hand. The Google Chromecast stick plugs directly into the HDMI port in the back of the TV. No wires to be hooked up or questions to be asked. The Amazon Fire Stick is exactly, except the port it uses is a USB. This is important because if you are traveling and want to take your Fire Stick with you, you can easily plug it into a laptop and keep streaming.
Each of these companies makes their product hoping that you will favor their other products too. Apple TV for example hopes you buy more Apple products, Amazon hopes you use their digital media platform Amazon Prime Video, and the Roku Channel features prominently on all Roku devices. It is a genius move, when you think about it. Sell the hardware, and feature that software that makes the company even more money. This type of movie and TV streaming software
Content For Seniors
There are tons of TV shows and movies available that cater to a specific audience. TV for seniors is no different. Brit Box, for example, is a platform that specifically streams programs from British TV, including older shows with clever humor and tame story lines. You might know a few of these shows from a public television channel in the old days. Now you would just select PBS on the streaming device of your choice. Let us share with you some other streaming platforms, or apps, that we thing are a must-have for seniors, the 10 best free TV apps for seniors. This list consists of free apps, that are easy to use and have quality content to be enjoyed by the silver web-surfers in your family.
Free TV Apps for Seniors
The Tubi app tops our list of best free TV apps for seniors because of how wonderfully their programming checks off all of our boxes. Tubi offers an easy to use platform, has a simple interface and straightforward registration process. Like all free streaming platforms, Tubi uses advertising to make their channel free to everyone. If you have ever used Tubi, however, you’ll know that the commercials come not that often and are relatively short. With access to more than 20 thousand shows and movies, you’ll never run out of great things to watch. Like most apps, Tubi is available on any device that can stream content. They also have a dedicated app just for kids, so you don’t have to worry what pops up on the TV when the grandkids come over.
2 The Roku Channel
Roku knew not to stop with making great devices for home entertainment. They introduced a streaming channel that comes installed on all of their smart TVs and devices in 2017. It is a tiered payment structure, meaning you can use the free version, which comes with advertisement, or you can upgrade to a premium subscription. The thing we love the most about The Roku Channel is their “Featured Free” section, for great TV shows and movies at no cost. Since the channel is built into the Roku device, it could not be more simple and clear to use.
3 Pluto TV
The next app on our list is Pluto TV, and for good reason. Their tag line is “Drop in. Its free.”, but we think it should be “Drop in, its easy!” because that is our overall impression. The minute you open the app their live TV feature is already playing. Scroll a bit on the app and you will notice a very familiar format. Just like the TV guide channel of yesterday, they have updated this classic look, and each square a button to push when you decide. Instead of the scrolling of the old guide channel, Pluto TV leaves it up to you to find where you want to go on the app. The only downside is knowing what to watch next. Our recommendation? Head to the menu on the left and select “Classic TV”. There you will find the Carol Burnett Show, Tree’s Company, and others all with their own dedicated channel. The formatting of this app makes it one of our favorites, and with a free price tag, it is sure to become one of yours.
As with many apps on this list, Vudu is one we love for its simple to use features. A catalogue style interface, what you see is what you get with Vudu. They list their shows they offer, with a banner across the top of the program image indicating that it is either “free with ads” “on sale” or “rent/buy”. This feature saves so much time because it is visible before you even click on the show. Since it is a TV only app, Vudu makes the information page about each program clear and season specific. The best thing about Vudu is that there are not folders within folders of content. Everything is clearly laid out on the homepage, each show’s info page has clickable season icons, a description, and play options, as well as a detailed parental guidance scale on various topics like language and drug references.
If you are a news junkie like many sliver sleuths we know, the next app is going to blow your socks off. NewsON caught our eye because it is completely free, simple and easy to use, and extremely relevant to its audience. Instead of tuning in to news that is broad and general, why not tune into your local news channel, but from the internet? But from your TV? When you register with the free NewsON app, you enter your zip code, and choose from the local news broadcasts available in your area and other favorites. After that, everytime you go in, your local news will be available, as well as other live news broadcasts that you choose. The great thing too is that you can keep up with local news from somewhere else. Perhaps you are homesick for where you used to live, or want to know what is happening where your grandkids live. This is the app for you.
6 Peacock TV
NBC suddenly pulled all of its programming from platforms like Netflix and Hulu last year, and then we all learned why. Peacock TV is NBC Universal’s newest brainchild, and we think this one is a genius. Their Channels include
- Browse – what we used to call “channel surf”, or look around at everything to be inspired what to watch
- Featured – Peacock TV’s ideas of what to watch
- Movies – If you already popped the popcorn and want a longer story
- TV Shows – If you are missing your old basic cable subscription. Remember, all the wonderful NBC shows are featured free on this app.
- Kids – For your little ones, these are shows and movies the whole family can enjoy together
- News – When you need to know, and you don’t want to wait. These are national programs from NBC and MSNBC channels.
- Sports – NBC sports has always been a leader in bringing quality sports programming. This section is no different.
- Latino – For all of you Abuelos and Abuelas out there.
Crackle has it all; free options, a simple interface, and content that anyone could love. They make it simple to find exactly what you want to watch by separating TV and Movies and showing all the titles alphabetically. In this way, they are one of the best free TV apps for seniors because you can easily choose from the content they have, instead of spending so much time figuring out how to find a show that you would enjoy.
Usually, an app can’t be all things to all people, but Hoopla is a free media app that is challenging this idea one subscriber at a time. They offer free TV and movies, but they also have content like audiobooks, music, comics, and ebooks. The way they do this is by linking your Hoopla account to your public library account. Because the media is all digital, there are no late fees. When your rental period is over, your access simply closes and you are free to check out more things. This is quite an upgrade from the old way, without sacrificing a thing.
The Kanopy app is another one that works with your public library to bring on-demand streaming video to your home entertainment center. It was developed to allow remote students in secondary schools and universities access to their school’s digital media center or digital library. What it has grown into is a free movies and TV streaming platform for consumers, and not just for students. Instead of each patron paying for access individually, institutions like public and private libraries pay for a license, and their patrons can engage with the media using their library card.
10 PBS Kids
When I was a kid, the things I watched at my grandmother’s house were not like the things I watched elsewhere. They were more educational and wholesome. They were often a combination of things I liked watching with things she liked me to be watching. The shows trended younger than I was but were still entertaining. With so many kids spending time with their loved ones at home due to Covid19, grandparents who have the PBS Kids app ready for their young family will not be disappointed to see something distasteful on the screen. PBS has always been a trusted leader in age-appropriate content. They have simply packaged all your favorite Sesame Street characters and put them on your TV or tablet for the whole family to enjoy.