Best apps for streaming video on Android

Streaming videos, movies, or TV shows on your Android device is getting better and easier all the time. Here are seven apps you can use right now.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
4 min read
Jason Cipriani/CNET

When the smartphone craze first started, the thought of being able to stream a movie or TV show while commuting into work or waiting at the airport was simply a dream. Screens were small, coverage was spotty, and it was hard to find shows you actually wanted to see. Fast forward to today, and streaming content on the go is genuinely good.

We rounded up seven apps that provide a great streaming experience on your Android device, whether you're sitting on the couch with solid Wi-Fi or out and about with a 3G or 4G connection. Here they are.

Crackle is great for one main reason; it's completely free. You're able to stream a healthy list of TV shows and movies. You won't find blockbuster-grade movies or shows, but there's more than enough in the app to keep anyone entertained. Rick Broida did a great job in this post giving you a rundown of the type of content you can expect to find in Crackle.

Download Crackle for free from Google Play.

HBO Go provides users with access to its original programming and an impressive list of hit movies. The only drawback to the app is that it requires you be a current subscriber to HBO through your cable provider. Before you can access the HBO Go content, you'll have to sign in to your provider's service to prove your worth.

Once you confirm that you have an HBO subscription, you'll be able to stream HBO content anywhere you have a 3G signal, for no additional charge.

Download HBO Go for free from Google Play.

Max Go
Max Go, the streaming app for Cinemax, has the same requirements the HBO Go app does -- you need to be an active subscriber to the channel through your cable provider. If you are, you'll gain free access to Cinemax's movie catalog and original series on your Android device.

Download Max Go for free from Google Play.

Now, Dropbox may not be a streaming service that comes to mind, but hear me out.As I told you awhile back, with the latest update to the Dropbox app for Android, users on Android 4.0 can now stream video stored in their Dropbox account to their device over 3G. If you have your own movies, videos, and shows you want to watch anywhere, anytime, but don't want to hog the storage on your Android device and have some room to spare on Dropbox, you're all set.

Download Dropbox from Google Play for free.

If you're constantly looking to learn something new or be inspired by unexpected people and topics, TED is for you. The popular TED talks are available on your Android device. According to the listing there are a total 1,200+ videos, with more talks being added weekly.

Download TED from Google Play for free.

Netflix has become a staple for streaming content. Whether you want to stream on your computer, Xbox, Apple TV, or smartphone, Netflix has you covered. The catalog of movies, shows, and documentaries is impressive and growing. The app itself is free, but you'll have to subscribe for $7.99 a month in order to stream content on any device, not just your Android.

Once you get set up, you can stream from anywhere so long as you have a 3G connection.

Download Netflix from Google Play for free.

Hulu Plus
Hulu Plus is another great streaming service that provides access to the most current seasons of select TV shows. As with Netflix, the Hulu Plus app is free but requires a monthly subscription of $7.99 to get access with "limited advertising." If you haven't used the service before, you can get a one-week trial before committing to the monthly fee.

There's a list of devices the app is compatible with on the Google Play page, make sure you look it over before signing up.

Download Hulu Plus from Google Play for free.

Keep in mind

When streaming over your carrier's data connection, be it 3G or 4G, you're going to be eating into your data plan. If you're on an unlimited plan, you have nothing to worry about, but if you're using a tiered data plan you'll want to keep your streaming in line with your data cap.

The list of apps to stream with on Android doesn't stop with these seven. If you have an app you use and swear is the best, make sure to let us know about it in the comments. We are always looking for new apps to try.