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Can I Watch TV on My Laptop, Computer, Phone, or Tablet?

Find out how you can watch cable, satellite, and streaming TV on your favorite devices.

Just a few years ago, watching shows and movies on your television was the norm. Today, however, it’s more common for people to watch TV on their computers, smartphones, and tablets.

While Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and live TV streaming services make it simple to watch certain programs on nearly any connected device, what about cable television? The short answer is that it depends on the TV provider.

For the long answer, keep reading. This article will take a look at the most popular TV providers and their streaming capabilities.

DISH Anywhere app

DISH makes it easy for customers to watch live and recorded TV on smartphones, tablets, Kindles, computers, and laptops with its DISH Anywhere app. As long as you have a connected Sling Adapter and a Wi-Fi or 3G/4G connection, you can watch live sporting events, news, popular shows, and on-demand titles.

Using a broadband-connected Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR with a Sling Adapter, you can also manage and set new recordings and transfer select DVR programs to your connected device. The DISH Anywhere app is free to current customers, and users can even create multiple profiles so that children can only access safe, kid-friendly content.


Watch DIRECTV on any of your connected devices with the DIRECTV app. You can access more than 5,000 movies, 10,000 TV shows, and exclusive live events right from the app.

Or to watch DIRECTV on your computer, visit a channel’s website and sign into your DIRECTV account. While you can watch any channel live on a connected device via your home Wi-Fi network, you can only stream select channels when using a 3G/4G connection or a Wi-Fi network that isn’t the one connected with your HD DVR receiver.

AT&T TV app

AT&T TV customers have access to the AT&T TV app. Through the app, you can watch live or on-demand programs, control TV viewing from your connected device, watch your DVR recordings, and more. AT&T TV NOW users can also use the app to access their content.

The app works on a wide variety of devices—Amazon, Android, Apple/iOS, Google Chrome and Chromecast, Roku, and Samsung Smart TVs. This is great news for AT&T U-verse customers currently migrating over to AT&T TV since the U-verse app was more limited in that area.

Cox Contour app

The Cox Contour app allows you to access your favorite shows and movies from your smartphone or tablet, stream from anywhere in your home, or take your programming with you.

Cox also participates in the TV Everywhere system, giving subscribers access to content through various third-party TV network apps. Discovery GO, for example, is the newest TV network app accessible with a Cox account, and it offers programming from Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, and several other channels.

Spectrum TV app

Spectrum provides users with the Spectrum TV app. It allows users to watch their cable TV content—plus up to 50,000 on-demand movies and shows on Apple TV 4K, Google Chromecast, iOS and Android mobile devices, Kindle Fire, Roku* players and TVs (except first-generation), Samsung Smart TVs*, and Xbox One*.

You can also watch Spectrum TV online through your computer’s web browser by visiting Spectrum’s streaming website. The website will work on your desktop PC or laptop computer.

Subscribers can also use the Spectrum TV app to access and edit your watchlist, program your DVR remotely, view account details, and more.

Another cool feature of the app is that you get unlimited simultaneous streams at home (but only two when you’re outside your home network).

(*Requires Charter-authorized modem.)

Xfinity Stream app

Xfinity TV customers can stream live TV and on-demand shows and movies on their computer, tablet, or phone with the Xfinity Stream app.

The coolest thing about the Xfinity Stream app is that you can download shows and movies to watch offline. Road trips and long flights (after corona, of course) can be a lot less boring.

Not only that, but Xfinity internet-only customers can use the app, too. You won’t get the full array of Xfinity live channels and on-demand content, but you can stream channels like ESPN3 for free.

Final take

Now that you know how these five popular providers allow you to watch TV on your laptop, computer, smartphone, and tablet, it’s time to determine which provider best fits your needs.

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