By Broc Sears ~
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!