Top 10 Free Apple TV Channels

America’s top 10 free Apple TV channels in 2023.

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Craig Hanks
Aug 17, 2023
Icon Time To Read7 min read

If you've got an Apple TV, then you can buy all sorts of premium paid apps. But if you want to stick with the free stuff, I can help you with that too.

So let's talk today about the top 10 free apps for your Apple TV. Let's dive in.

Top 10 Free Apple TV Channels: Overview

So the first thing that we're going to do before we get to the top 10 free apps is show how to download them.

If you've had your Apple TV for a while, or if you've used Apple devices before, this might look pretty familiar so feel free to skip it if you want to. 

But we're going to go up here to the app store and we can search for whatever we want, or we can check out the apps that they recommend. We want to go into this app category. They're going to give you a lot of great options for you to explore, but a lot of those are going to be paid.

So if you know that there's a free option that you want, and you just want to bypass all this, just go to the search and you can find whatever you want. I'm just going to randomly pick a letter and yeah, you can see there's plenty of options for stuff that you can search for here on the Apple TV.


When you find something that you do want, let's say you wanted to download this one. You just get to this page, hit get.

Then depending on your settings, you might have to put in a password or fingerprint or whatever, and you'll be able to get that app.

So let's go back to our homepage now, and talk about the top 10 free apps. You can see, I've actually got an entire folder here labeled free apps.

These are the ones that we're going to talk about, but the first one I'm going to point you toward is actually here with my premium apps.


You can see there's a lot of options for free news and national news, but this one here, NewsON, is the one that I recommend for news junkies, or just people who enjoy local news broadcasts.

Because with this one, you can see it searches for local stations based on my location. So I'm here in the Salt Lake City area. Oh yeah, here we go right down here, stations near me.

But it's also going to pull in stuff from other local markets nearby. So stuff from Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, whatever. So wherever you live, it's going to have some cool local content.

And not only is it going to have your stuff, but you can go up here to by location and you can search pretty much every state and every market within that state, it's going to have some affiliates from those markets. So if I go over to, oh, I don't know, South Carolina, I've got Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and it's got affiliates from each of those markets that you can tune into.

When you pick one, let's pick the ABC affiliate here. Not only are you going to be able to watch live feeds from these stations, but you're going to have on-demand feeds from previous broadcasts, so I can see yesterday's stuff. I can see today's stuff.

When it's done, it gets uploaded here and you can watch it here on NewsON it's a fantastic app, highly recommended.

Stirr, Pluto TV and more

So this is where we're going to get into a few different categories of things that you should know about. The first one I'm going to talk about is Stirr, and we'll get to Pluto TV, it's going to be pretty similar.

But these are your cable and satellite imitators. So these ones, yeah, they've got some on-demand content. And we'll talk a little bit more about that with Pluto TV.

But what it also does is right up here at the top, you've got a channel guide and that channel guide is going to look, and smell, and feel a lot like your cable or satellite channel guide that you had when you had cable and satellite.

The only difference here is that the channels themselves are different. So we're not talking about the channels that you're used to. You're not going to get TBS and TNT, and USA, and HGTV, whatever else you were used to, these are going to be the stepchildren of those premium channels. I call them premium channels, you know what I mean. Anyway, so they do have a lot of really good content. It's just not the content that you're used to, but that doesn't mean it's not worth watching. So check out Stirr for that sort of thing.

And I also mentioned Pluto TV. It's going to be very similar just with a different selection of channels. And I would argue a slightly better one, but it's also going to have that on-demand stuff that I was talking about. So the on-demand section, I'm pointing this out on Pluto TV specifically because they actually have a really good on-demand section.

Okay. So if I go to on-demand then they do have a lot of really good titles. Not as many as you would find, obviously on like a Netflix or Hulu, what have you, but definitely some notable titles here. With all of these free apps, the watch word here is going to be commercial supported. So when you see all of this free content, whether it's the live stuff or the on-demand stuff, just know that you are going to be watching commercials.

Netflix Imitators

Okay. So let's go back and let's get into, now that we've talked about some of the cable and satellite imitators, let's talk about the Netflix imitators. The first one that came up years ago is Tubi.

Tubi, as you can see, as I'm scrolling through here, looks and feels a lot like Netflix with the thumbnails of the different titles sorted by category. But again, this is going to be commercial supported and they are going to have a different library than you would find on Netflix.

So Tubi, like I said, was one of the first and continues to be regarded as one of the best. They do have a very good library.

The one thing that they are lacking is something that you can find on another app that I'll show you here. And that is Crackle also known as Sony Crackle, if you're trying to find it online or something, but we can just call it Crackle all these days.

Again, this is going to look and feel a lot like a Netflix with the different categories and the different thumbnails. But when we go into Crackle and whether we're sorting by shows or movies, if we scroll down a bit, we're going to come to Crackle original.

This is something that Tubi doesn't do, Crackle does. They make their own shows, stuff that you're not going to find anywhere else and stuff that's not going to cycle in and out of the library here on Crackle.

Now it's not HBO level amazing premium content, but that doesn't mean it's not good and not worth watching and worth checking out. So definitely do that with Sony Crackle. Next up is PBS, there's PBS and there's PBS kids. This is kind of a twofer. With PBS, once you log in, it's going to pull content from your local PBS station and the nationwide stuff.

So basically if you can watch it on PBS where you're at, you can watch it here on the app. They'll have live stuff that you can watch, or you can scroll through and watch by category, whether you want documentaries or what have you.

Again, I'm located in the Salt Lake City market. And so I get PBS Utah. So anything that airs on PBS Utah, I'm going to be able to watch here. And it's the same thing with PBS kids. I just don't have that app right here right now. I use that on the Roku, in the house for the kids.

Kanopy and Hoopla

Let’s talk about Kanopy.

There's actually, again, this is a twofer there's Kanopy, and then there's one called Hoopla, H-O-O-P-L-A.

So Kanopy or Hoopla. For me, it's Kanopy.

And what these apps do is they pull in free content for you to watch that is available at your local library.If you could borrow the DVD from the library, then you can actually just go onto one of these two apps and watch it here. You can stream it here. You just have to log using your library card, your number for that.

And so once you get in, you can see that there are some excellent excellent titles. Again, it's whatever is available at your local library, you'll be able to get here.


All right, we're coming up on the end. We've got just a few more to go through. Let's talk about YouTube. Obviously you're watching this, well I should say, you're probably watching this on YouTube already.

That's where we upload our content, so I know that you love YouTube, because that's where you get me.

No, but I want to point out YouTube for a very specific reason. Obviously. It's great, depending on the YouTube content, it's great to be able to watch it on the big screen sometimes, but there's also something else that YouTube does. And that's right up here, you can see these categories recommended, news, music, gaming, and so on. If you go to the news section, I already pointed out NewsON which is going to be your go-to source for local news.

But if you want bigger national stories and you're not looking for the shout fest that you just left on cable or satellite, the cable news programs, then you can come in here. And if there is something going on, if there's a big press briefing, or if there's something like the January 6th siege of the capital, or some event going on and you want to keep up with it, you can actually go into YouTube and there will be live feeds that you can tune into from those national news providers.

And you can check that out right here on YouTube for free, not bad, right?


Spotify should be familiar to most people.

I think it's a big enough name now that most people will know what this is. Even on your TV here, it's going to have your entire personal library, all of your playlists, all your podcasts, everything there, you can get it on your TV.

So if you've got your TV on, but you don't want to watch it, maybe doing the dishes or whatever, then you can listen to Spotify right from your TV.


The last one is Twitch.

I want to point out Twitch for all of the gaming fans or people who have gaming fans in the house. Twitch is predominantly streaming video games. So anybody can go on and start streaming themselves playing video games. There is a little more than that, but that's what Twitch is famous for.

So you can come down here and choose your favorite video game, or you can choose your favorite streamers and tune into feeds for those.

Wrap up

So there you have it, the top 10, or I think it was maybe 11 or 12, goodness, bonus for you guys, but the best free apps on your Apple TV.

Hopefully there's something here that will really reach out and grab you. I think there's a lot worth having that you don't even have to pay for.

So good luck out there. Happy streaming.

Let me know if you enjoyed this video by hitting that like button, don't forget to subscribe and hit the comments below with your suggestions on free apps that you have enjoyed if you already do on your Apple TV. So thanks for watching everybody. I'll see you next time.

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Craig Hanks
Written by
Craig Hanks
Craig is a long-time writer, presenter, and podcaster, and he now runs the YouTube channel, where he strives to be far more charming and presentable than he is in real life. Within the umbrella, he has accidentally become a streaming expert after covering the streaming wars for almost three years. Craig is also the founder and host of The Legendarium Podcast, his outlet for his love of fantasy and sci-fi literature.

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