Where is all the free content available to watch on Android TV box, and how do you get access to it?
When you are considering cutting the cable cord and moving to streaming, everyone tells you how much money you will save as now you can just stream all the entertainment you want to watch online.
When you actually make the switch, you often find that it is a much more complicated proposition. If you want access to premium content, you need to pay for it.
Maybe you subscribe to Netflix for their latest original content and to HBO to rewatch Game of Thrones and get the news from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. For access to all the Marvel and Star Wars content, you need to subscribe to Disney+, and then you might have a live TV streaming app subscription to watch all your favorite sports teams and record games when you aren’t at home.
When you add up all those subscriptions, things can get pretty expensive. So, where is all this affordable or free content everyone has been talking about?
That’s what we are going to talk about today. We’ll look at how people get access to movies and TV shows for free on their streaming device and talk about some of the risks involved.
We’ll also share a list of apps you can use if you do want to go down this road to get the content you want and tell you about a few additional things you will need to complete your Android TV setup to do this safely.
Free Movies & TV Shows On Android TV Box
OK, so all those people who seem to have unlimited free access to all the latest entertainment content, where are they getting it?
They will be using one of a variety of apps that are designed to scrape the internet for existing entertainment streams and repurpose them for other viewers to watch. These will either be apps that search the internet live or curated applications that put all that content into an interface that looks a lot like your old cable TV interface.
The former are usually called APKs, as they are non-app-store apps you need to sideload onto your device, and the latter are usually referred to as IPTV services.
Is watching movies and other content in this way legal? While you will find varying opinions out there, the short answer is no (read our complete long answer here).
While the specific laws depend on the country in which you live, in most places in the world, gaining access to copyrighted content without appropriate permission is illegal.
There are arguments that can place this activity in a legal grey area. Specifically, the content doesn’t exist on specific servers anywhere and hasn’t been downloaded, so it has not technically been pirated. But I doubt you will want to be making these arguments if the authorities come knocking at your door.
Watching these streams is relatively low-risk to the end-user. Those watching are small fish, and authorities will be more interested in stopping the people who are providing the streams. But that doesn’t mean that there is no risk. Depending on where you live, you could be subject to the fines and jail time associated with pirating.
This is low-risk, but you do need to be aware of the risks and also decide for yourself in general whether you are comfortable with streaming in this way.
If you decide that you are, then make sure you always protect your anonymity by using a VPN. This can protect your identity and your data from both the authorities and the people providing access to the streams.
Best Apps For Free Movies
OK, while the rest of this list is in alphabetical order, we have listed Kodi as the first option, because it is probably the most well-known and the best application for gaining access to free movies.
Kodi is just a media library application that lets you organize media content from a variety of sources, including your own personal hard drives, free content services such as YouTube, and any paid-for streaming services that you pay to subscribe to, such as Netflix.
So, where do the free movies come in? A variety of Kodi add-ons exist that scrape the internet for content in the way discussed above.
If you aren’t a Kodi expert, the best thing you can do is install Kodi Builds that have been created by others. Installing a Kodi Build is basically installing someone else’s pre-existing Kodi settings with the add-ons that will get you access to the best content already available.
Cinema is quickly becoming one of the most popular apps on the market for watching movies, but it isn’t available in the Google Play Store, so you will need to sideload the APK onto your Android TV box.
The app works in a similar way to Kodi in that it acquires links to streams from other sources, but provides you with an interface to search and then play those streams. This means you will be able to find all the latest releases in HD but not 4K.
Cyberflix TV is another free movie and TV show app that acts in a legal grey area, so you won’t find it in the Google Play Store. But the free APK is available for their website, and they guarantee that it is free from malware and viruses.
It offers 4K and HD videos with subtitles available in more than 250 languages. You will find most of the latest shows and movies that are also available on premium streaming services, all with no subscription fee and no ads.
If you can’t choose between the various options available, then you might want to go with Filelinked, which is kind of a bundle package of various streaming services.
Rather than being a single APK you install, it is an interface that lets you install and manage a variety of streaming APKs. So, while you might start off with your favorite options for movies and TV shows, later you can easily add APKs that are optimized to let you watch your favorite sports teams or other content.
Stremio is a bit different from the other apps we have looked at in that you have to create an account. You can then sign into this account and sync your content across your devices. Watch something on your smartphone on the commute, and then finish on your TV in the evening. You can sign up anonymously; it just requires an email address.
As well as streaming, Stremio also supports torrenting if you prefer to get your content that way. It also stands out because, while you can sideload from GitHub, it is one of the few options in this category that you can also download from the Google Play Store.
TeaTV was popular some time ago but then fell out of favor. However, it was recently updated and now has one of the best collections of streams that you will find.
There are also lots of nice features that make watching feel slick. You can favorite content for easy navigation, download content to watch offline, and also apply subtitles in an impressive choice of languages.
If being able to find 4K content is a priority for you, then you might be interested in Viva TV, which tends to offer up more potential 4K streams than many of the other options out there.
This APK offers one of the most “cable TV-like” experiences in terms of things like its guide and search options. There are also features that allow you to do things such as send your content to an external player or apply any subtitles that you might want.
Android TV Box Setup For Free Streaming
So, do you need a special Android TV box to access this free content? No. In theory you can get these APKs running on any Android TV box. But there are a few things to bear in mind.
1. Is Your Android TV Box Up To The Job?
Streaming is a fairly simple task, but running these scraping and streaming APKs requires a little more heavy lifting. Not a lot, but enough that if you have a cheap box with only 1 GB of ROM, you will probably get frustrated by loading times.
Ideally, you should be using an Android TV box with at least 2 GB of ROM and a quad core to ensure it can handle this type of activity without being too slow.
2. Can You Download Unauthorized Applications?
The majority of applications you will use to access free content aren’t available in the app store. You need to be able to sideload apps, which means going in and playing with your settings.
This is easier on some Android TV boxes than others. For example, Android TV boxes that aren’t from the big brands tend to run the original Android operating system, and it is fairly easy to authorize unknown applications on this kind of device.
But some of the devices made by bigger names, while they run the Android OS, might also run other operating systems on top. The most obvious example of this is Fire TV. While you will still be able to sideload apps onto this device, it is a little more complicated.
3. Are You Using A VPN And Antivirus Software?
We have already said this, but it is worth saying again. If you are going to access this kind of content, you need to be using a VPN. This protects your anonymity and your data.
This not only offers you a level of protection from authorities. You don’t know the people who have created the various APKs and add-ons you are using, and unlike apps that are in the Google Play Store, they have not necessarily been approved by a trusted source.
This is a very good reason to protect yourself with a VPN. Find our recommendations for the best VPNs to use with Android TV here.
The same logic holds true for Antivirus software. You have no guarantee that the items you are downloading aren’t bringing malware with them. Minimize your risk with decent antivirus software. Find our recommendations here.
While many streamers tell new cord-cutters they can get access to even more content than they have with their cable subscription for next to nothing with an Android TV box, they rarely go into detail about how exactly that can be done.
In this article, we have taken a look at how you can get free access to movies, TV shows, and other entertainment on your Android TV box, and looked at some of the risks involved. We have also shared a list of some of the best apps to use if you do want to do this.
Do you watch free movies on your Android TV box? What apps do you use and love? Share your experience with the community in the comments section below.