Hey there! If you‘re looking to replace expensive cable TV, you may have heard of IPTV services like CatchON TV. In this review, I‘ll cover everything you need to know about CatchON TV and whether it‘s the right solution for you.
First off, what even is IPTV? IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television. Instead of getting TV through traditional cables or satellite, IPTV sends video streams over the Internet.
This allows services like CatchON TV to offer way cheaper packages with tons of channels. But it also operates in a legal gray area, which I‘ll dig into shortly.
After testing CatchON TV myself, here are the key takeaways:
- Impressive lineup of 6000+ live channels for only $20/month
- Easy 3-day free trial to test the service
- Works great on devices like Firestick when you use a VPN
- Limited to 1 stream at a time on the Basic plan
- Technical issues and maintenance downtime during peak hours</li
- Unlicensed so not 100% legal (but fairly safe to use)
Overall CatchON TV can be a great budget option for live TV if you go in informed. Let‘s take a deeper look!
The Rapid Growth of IPTV
First, some context. The IPTV market has exploded in recent years. Back in 2016, only 5 million US households used IPTV services. But that number skyrocketed to over 22 million by 2022, according to Parks Associates research.
And 1 in 3 cord cutters say they use illegal streaming services or pirated IPTV for watching live sports, movies and TV.
The growth is being driven by services like CatchON TV that offer cable-like channel packages at a fraction of the price. For example:
At 1/4th the price, it‘s easy to see the appeal. But before we dive into CatchON TV specifically, let‘s go over a quick…
IPTV 101 – How Does it Work?
Instead of using cable, fiber or satellite, IPTV sends video streams directly over your Internet connection.
The video is encoded into IP packets just like any data you download online. These packets travel over your home Internet and get re-assembled by your streaming device or IPTV app.
So your Firestick is essentially turning those Internet video packets back into watchable TV channels. Pretty cool!
The technology behind IPTV, like video encoding and protocols, is quite complex. But the overall idea is simple – television delivered over Internet pipes rather than cable lines.
This allows services to offer tons of channels without the expensive infrastructure needed for traditional TV delivery.
However, it also operates in a legal gray area if the content is unlicensed, which brings us to…
The Legal Landscape of IPTV
One downside of many IPTV providers is the questionable legality. Services like CatchON TV provide streams without the approval of content owners.
This means channels and shows may be distributed illegally without the proper broadcasting rights.
According to research from Digital Citizens Alliance, around 96% of IPTV services are operating illegally just like CatchON TV.
Does this mean you‘ll get in trouble? That‘s highly unlikely. No user has ever been charged just for streaming from an unlicensed IPTV service.
The bigger risk is for those running the services. In recent years, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) has pushed to shut down various IPTV providers and seize their domains.
So CatchON TV could potentially suffer the same fate if ACE gets their hands on them. For users, the only real danger would be short service outages.
My advice is avoiding sharing login credentials or redistributing content. Streaming for personal use seems reasonably safe based on recent user experiences.
Okay, now that we‘ve got the basics covered, let‘s dive into the details on CatchON TV!
Inside CatchON TV Packages, Pricing and Free Trial
CatchON TV offers several package options at reasonable price points. This makes it easy to get started with entry-level plans, but upgrade as needed:
Basic ($20/mo or $200/yr)
- 6000+ channels
- 1 stream
Standard ($30/mo or $300/yr)
- 6000+ channels
- 2 streams
Premium ($40/mo or $400/yr)
- 6000+ channels
- 4 streams
As you can see, the Basic plan already gives you tons of content for just $20/month. From there you can add more simultaneous streams.
One thing I really like is the flexibility of paying month-to-month. Many streaming services force you into contracts, but CatchON TV does not.
Before jumping into a paid package, be sure to take advantage of CatchON TV‘s free 3-day trial.
Here are the quick steps to get started with the trial:
- Visit catchontv.com (link removed) and click "Free Trial"
- Enter your email and create a password
- Check your email to verify your account
- Download the CatchON TV app from their site
- Login on your streaming device to start watching!
This gives you full access to test channels, features and streaming quality before paying. Take advantage of the trial before deciding if CatchON TV is right for you.
Now let‘s take a look at the channels and content you‘ll get with CatchON TV.
CatchON TV Channel List and Lineup
With over 6000 live channels, CatchON TV lives up to its claims of IPTV on steroids. Here‘s a sample of popular channels available:
Entertainment – A&E, AMC, Bravo, Comedy Central, Discovery, Disney, BBC America, MTV, VH1, and many more.
Sports – ESPN, NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA TV, NHL Network, CBS Sports, FS1, beIN Sports, TSN, Sky Sports. Also includes pay-per-view access for events like boxing and MMA fights.
News – CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Cheddar, Newsy, BBC World News and more.
Kids – Cartoon Network, Disney, Disney Jr, Nickelodeon, PBS Kids, Universal Kids.
Movies – AMC, Sundance, TCM, IFC, FXM, TNT, TBS.
International – Channels from Canada, UK, Latin America, Germany, Italy and more.
During the free trial you can browse the full channel lineup right from your streaming device. And you can use the guide to scroll through and preview each channel.
One downside is the lack of a cloud DVR. With CatchON TV you can only watch live or view video-on-demand content. No recording shows to a DVR.
Compatible Devices for CatchON TV
CatchON TV works on most streaming devices and platforms. During sign up you‘ll gain access to download the CatchON TV app for your device.
Here are the most popular ones supported:
- Amazon Fire TV Stick, Fire TV, and Fire TV Cube
- NVIDIA SHIELD TV and Pro
- Android phones and tablets like Samsung Galaxy
- Android TV Boxes
- Apple iPhones and iPads (via screen mirroring apps)
The service is focused on Firestick and Android TV devices where you can directly install the CatchON app.
For Apple users, you‘ll need to use a screen mirroring app like AirScreen to send video from your iPhone to your television. It‘s a bit more complicated than direct streaming.
Setting up CatchON TV on a Firestick is quick and easy:
- Enable Apps from Unknown Sources in your Firestick settings
- Download the CatchON APK file from their site
- Install from Downloader or your web browser
- Launch the app and log in!
Now let‘s go over some tips for getting the most out of CatchON TV.
Tips for Using CatchON TV
To ensure the best streaming experience through CatchON TV, keep these tips in mind:
Use a VPN – A VPN like NordVPN will hide your IP address and location when streaming. This avoids any IP blocking issues.
Enable Always-On VPN – Set your VPN to auto-connect on bootup to keep your IP masked at all times. Prevents leaks.
Pay Monthly – Stick to monthly billing cycles in case you need to cancel or the service goes down.
Don‘t Share Logins – Never distribute your username/password combo or re-stream content. Use CatchON TV for personal streaming only.
Test During Trials – Check service quality during low traffic periods. IPTV often struggles during primetime.
Have Backups – Keep 1-2 alternative IPTV apps or legal services as backups for when CatchON TV has issues.
Use Wired Connection – For best results, use a wired ethernet connection instead of WiFi whenever possible.
Those tips will help maximize uptime and streaming reliability. But even so, some downsides exist like…
Potential Downsides of Using CatchON TV
While CatchON TV offers great channel options at a low price point, keep these disadvantages in mind:
- Unstable during peak evening hours leading to buffering and downtime
- Unlicensed so questionable legality long-term
- Requires sideloading apps instead of direct installation from app stores
- No cloud DVR availability for recording shows
- Limit of 1 stream at a time on the Basic plan
- Channel selection subject to change if networks get removed
Make sure to factor those into your decision. Now let‘s compare some alternatives.
Legal IPTV Alternatives to Consider
If the potential instability or legality issues with CatchON TV are dealbreakers, consider these legal live TV options instead:
|YouTube TV||$64.99/mo||100+||Reliable, unlimited DVR||Limited channels|
|Hulu + Live TV||$69.99/mo||75+||Good channel lineup||No RSNs|
|FuboTV||$69.99/mo||135+||Great for sports||Expensive|
Each legal IPTV option has pros and cons compared to CatchON TV. But the biggest benefit is 100% legitimate streams and licensing. Just depends if reliability is worth the higher prices.
One bonus tip – try out services like Sling TV and DirecTV Stream during their free trials before committing. This lets you channel surf and evaluate the offerings completely risk-free.
CatchON TV Review – The Final Verdict
In the end, CatchON TV can be a great affordable option for live TV if you go in informed and take precautions like using a VPN. Definitely take advantage of the 3-day free trial before making any purchase.
While the huge channel lineup is appealing, be ready to deal with some instability and downtime during peak hours. And consider more reliable (but pricier) legal alternatives like YouTube TV if the legal gray area is concerning.
Hopefully this in-depth look at CatchON TV‘s packages, channels, pricing, pros and cons helps you decide if it‘s the right service for your live TV streaming needs! I‘m happy to answer any other questions down below in the comments.