Best streaming-video apps for Android

We take a look at some of the best non-YouTube apps on Android for streaming TV shows, movies, and other videos from around the Web.

Jaymar Cabebe Former Associate Editor
Jaymar Cabebe covers mobile apps and Windows software for CNET. While he may be a former host of the Android Atlas Weekly podcast, he doesn't hate iOS or Mac. Jaymar has worked in online media since 2007.
Jaymar Cabebe
3 min read
Netflix for Android
Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

Netflix (free)
For many avid watchers of television and movies, Netflix is a godsend. To start, it's got a smooth set of controls, reliable performance, and a clear picture with no blips, glitches, or freezes to speak of (in our tests, anyway). But most importantly, the Netflix app lets you access the service's full catalog of streaming content, which is chock-full of videos ranging from classic TV shows to documentary films to recent popcorn flicks. While the app doesn't let you manage your DVD queue, its high-quality streaming should be more than enough reason to download it.

Netflix for Android is free to download, but of course, the streaming service does require a monthly subscription, which costs about $8 a month.

Hulu Plus for Android
Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

Hulu Plus (free)
While Hulu Plus for Android is free to download, if you are not a Hulu Plus premium subscriber, then the app will give you only a tiny taste of the popular Web site's video catalog.

On the other hand, if you are a paying subscriber, then Hulu Plus gives you an extensive video catalog that is particularly good for TV fans. With the app, you can watch several of the more popular shows that are currently on air, as well as a number of classics like "ALF" and "Doogie Howser, M.D." And of course, Hulu has its share of movies too. Altogether, the Hulu Plus app offers high-quality video, stable streaming, and a simple browsing experience so you can easily find what you're looking for.

TED for Android
Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

TED (free)
If you're not familiar with TED, it is an esteemed nonprofit organization with a video-driven Web site that produces conferences covering topics like technology, entertainment, design, science, and social justice. Each of the speakers at these conferences is recorded, and oftentimes, the resulting videos gain wild popularity on the Web.

With the official TED app, you can browse and watch more than 1,000 of these 18-minute inspirational speeches, all while on the go. But more than that, the app has a suite of features that makes for one of the best streaming-video experiences I've had on a mobile device. Not only does TED let you stream videos instantly, but it also lets you bookmark videos, share videos, create a queue, and even download videos to watch while offline. TED for Android is completely free, and it doesn't even make you sit through ads in order to access its content.

Vevo for Android
Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

Vevo (free)
Because Vevo is focused on official music videos, live concerts, and similar content, the app is arguably an even better destination than YouTube for this type of content. If you don't agree, try running a search for a song on YouTube. You'll get thousands of search results, a large number of which are amateur cover performances, parodies, and other things that you probably weren't looking for. Meanwhile, the same search on the Vevo app will likely yield the music video that you're looking for, in addition to other related content that might suit your musical taste. What's more, picture quality in the app is incredible, whether you're in portrait mode or full-screen landscape.

Vevo is free to download on Google Play, but the app is ad-supported, so be prepared to sit through the occasional commercial while you use it.

Showyou for Android
Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

Showyou (free)
Showyou for Android offers a unique mobile streaming experience, as it finds videos that are shared across a number of different social-networking services and aggregates them into a single feed. It makes it easy to not only watch content that your friends have posted, but also discover new sources of content that you might have missed otherwise. With so much content being posted across your networks every day, Showyou is a great tool for getting past the status updates and snarky tweets and right to the videos being circulated on the Web.

Of course, to take full advantage of Showyou's aggregating powers, you'll have to sign in to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social accounts from the app. But if you don't want to give it full access, you can always just follow other users on Showyou.