It’s easier than ever to watch on-demand TV shows and movies on your Android device. But what about live TV?
Yes, there are services like Sling and YouTube TV. However, if you know where to look, you don’t need to subscribe to their expensive plans. You can use free IPTV instead; you just need an IPTV app and an IPTV source.
But which is the best IPTV app for Android and Android TV? Keep reading to find out.
What Is an IPTV App?
IPTV apps are a bit like Kodi; they are empty shells that can’t stream any content without some user input. You have the responsibility for adding channels, playlists, and other sources.
Typically, you cannot use the apps to watch Netflix, Hulu, or direct content from other third-party providers. You need to grab an M3U file, which you add to the IPTV app.
1. IPTV Smarters Pro
If you have ever subscribed to a paid IPTV service, there’s a good chance the provider gave you access to a branded version of the IPTV Smarters Pro app. It’s the software of choice among many distributors.
However, you don’t need to rely on a branded version. As long as you have an M3U URL from your provider, you can add it to the app and enjoy all the same features. Better yet, this “white label” version of Smarters Pro can accept multiple logins, while the branded versions typically cannot.
The app supports on-demand movies and TV shows, as well as catch-up channels, if your provider offers them. It even integrates with external video players (like Perfect Player and VLC) if you would rather use their respective interfaces.
IPTV Smarters Pro is great on mobile devices, but really shines on a TV. It’s definitely one of the must-have IPTV apps for Android TV.
Download: IPTV Smarters Pro (Free, premium version available)
2. Lazy IPTV
Lazy IPTV supports M3U playlists in open-view, ZIP, and GZ formats. The app can also read playlists in XSPF (XML Shareable Playlist Format).
Adding new content to Lazy IPTV is easy. You can access media on your local file system, as well as pasting URLs directly from the web or your device’s clipboard. The app works with HTTP and UDP streams and can play videos directly from YouTube and social network VK. There’s also a built-in audio player for internet radio channels.
Importantly for an IPTV app, Lazy IPTV supports electronic program guides (EPGs). It can read XMLTV EPGs saved as open-view, ZIP, or GZ.
From a usability standpoint, Lazy IPTV lets you add favorites, supports nested folders, and allows you to create playlist groups. You can export your playlists if you ever decide to switch to an alternative app. The app’s home screen is also fully customizable, providing the option to add shortcuts to your most-watched channels and change how the content displays.
Lazy IPTV is great for mobile devices. It is less well-suited to the larger screens of Android TV, however.
Download: Lazy IPTV (Free)
In our opinion, TiviMate is comfortably the best IPTV app for Android TV. It’s not available as a mobile version.
The app supports multiple playlists, renaming of channels and categories, and hidden categories. You can import your own channel logos, customize the order in which channels appear in the TV guide, and take advantage of the search feature (which works for both channel names and currently playing shows).
The free version of TiviMate will suffice for people with one playlist who don’t watch too often. If you’re an IPTV power user, it’s worth upgrading to the pro version. This costs $4.99 per year and allows you to install the app on up to five devices.
Download: TiviMate (Free, subscription available)
4. GSE Smart IPTV
GSE Smart IPTV is one of the most popular IPTV apps in the Google Play Store, and for good reason. First, it’s one of the best-designed IPTV apps for Android. Its crisp design and cable TV-like EPG layout make it easy to forget you’re even using an app.
Second, GSE Smart IPTV is available on far more platforms than most of its competitors. You’ll find versions for Android, Android TV, iOS, and Apple TV. The app is also Chromecast-compatible. And remember, you can even install Android apps on Amazon Fire TV devices if you know how to sideload APK files.
Feature-wise, GSE Smart IPTV supports EPG content in the XML, ZIP, and GZ formats. It also offers native parental controls and subtitles (SRT files) support. It can play live streams from HTTP, HSL, M3U8, MMS, RTSP, and RTMP sources. The app is ad-supported and suitable for both Android TV and mobile Android devices.
Download: GSE Smart IPTV (Free, premium version available)
5. Perfect Player IPTV
Perfect Player IPTV is another hugely popular app. It’s especially popular among Android TV users looking for an alternative to the native Live Channels app.
The app supports M3U and XSPF playlists. And if you want to add an electronic program guide, you can use XMLTV (ZIP, GZ, XZ) and JTV.
There are also a few different decoder options to choose from: Native, Software, Hardware, and Hardware Accelerated. Other features include the ability to watch locally saved content, UDP-to-HTTP proxy server support, and automatic syncing with the desktop version of the app for a consistent experience.
Like GSE Smart IPTV, Perfect Player uses a theme that’s easy on the eyes and draws its design cues from cable and satellite TV EPGs.
Download: Perfect Player IPTV (Free, premium version available)
The straightforwardly named IPTV app is one of the most-downloaded IPTV apps for Android, with more than 10 million installs.
As you’d expect, you can add both M3U and XSPF playlists to the app. EPG support comes in the form of XMLTV and JTV. If you have a UDP proxy (installed via your local area network), you can use the IPTV app to play multicast streams.
The app offers some customization options too. It can display the channels you’ve added in a list, grid, or tile view, depending which you prefer.
Finally, if you have a dedicated Android set-top box that you use for watching IPTV, it’s worth upgrading to the pro version. It includes a feature that allows the app to auto-start when its host device boots up. The pro version also removes ads and adds a “resume watching” feature that can auto-play your most recently watched channel.
7. OTT Navigator
OTT Navigator is the biggest IPTV rival to TiviMate on the Android TV platform. Like TiviMate, it is popular among power users.
There is little difference between them; the two apps share a lot of similar features. OTT Navigator supports filters (by channels, categories, genres, seasons, years, favorite channels, rating, and country), customization of channels and categories, and a search tool.
In our view, the TiviMate interface is slightly more modern and the UI is a little more user-friendly, but you might think differently. Make sure you check out both options before deciding on which is the best IPTV app for your needs.
Download: OTT Navigator (Free, in-app purchases available)
What About Free IPTV on Kodi?
In this roundup, we focused on apps that specialize in IPTV. Kodi can play IPTV content, but also does so much more that we didn’t feel it was a fair comparison.
If you prefer to use Kodi, you won’t need to install any third-party Kodi add-ons. M3U playlist support is a native part of the Kodi app—you just need to add the right component. To get up and running, head to Add-ons > My Add-ons > PVR > PVR IPTV Simple Client > Configure. Enter your M3U playlist address when prompted.
To learn more about this topic, check out how to watch free TV on Android TV.
Read the full article: The 7 Best Free IPTV Apps: How to Watch Live TV on Android