Look for the FilmOn logo in the App or Android store.
Look for the FilmOn logo in the App or Android store.

FilmOn Free Live Television
Cost: Free
Seller: David Alkiviades
Devices: Android and iOS
Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and older)

Pros: Free. British TV. No VPN.
Cons: Need the Internet. Snooker; morning, noon and night.

First impressions

Before I even get into this, let me just say that I normally give myself a page of space for my apps ‘cause I like stretching out over a decent amount of real estate. That being said, I could not hold off for one more week before telling all of you about this fab app – FilmOn.

A friend of mine living in Cyprus was writing to me about this marvelous new British show – “Flowers” – and said I should watch it, it was hilarious, blah-de-blah.

Just as I prepared to try and find it somewhere on the Internet that would not shut me down due to my location restrictions, I saw that she had mentioned watching it on FilmOn.

Hmmmm … what was that?

Always keen to discover something new, I got onto the App Store and found it immediately. It was also free, so no decision to be made. Download it I did, and boy, my whole world changed.

(Drum roll for effect).

How it works

It’s dead simple (how British a phrase is that?) to use. Get it onto your iOS or Android device and then choose a category from the menu down the left-hand side.

Now there are many options, but I went through quite a few and found them pretty scarce or downright strange. For example, the Canadian TV option has a sub-menu of only four CTV stations, including Regina, Saskatchewan and Lethbridge, Alberta.

Don’t get me started on the American Horrors or the Kids selections.

Anyway, ignore all of that for the time being, and tap on UK Live TV. You’ll find all the BBC channels, ITV channels, Channel 4, Channel 5 and some of the regional stations. It’ll ask if it can use your location. You can choose to allow or not, it does not seem to make a difference. It automatically picks up your time zone regardless so the program times are local to Cayman.

On the right hand side of each channel is a red circle with “TV” beside it and three horizontal lines. If you tap on any one of those, it’ll take you to the upcoming program listings for that channel for the same day and beyond.

If you’re not sure what “Caterham Motorsport” or “Four Rooms” is, for example, tap on the title for a drop-down brief description of the program.

When you’ve found something you’d like to see, go back to the channel list using the “Back” in the top left-hand corner and tap on the channel. It will stream your live show on the screen to the right.

You can stream in SD (Standard Definition) or HD (High Definition) depending on what your WiFi signal can bear, by choosing either option at the top.

Tap the bottom of the viewing screen, and you’ll see the four arrows icon that allows you to go full screen. You can even pause your program for a minute or so and then start it playing again.

Those with an Apple TV, or similar, can use AirPlay to send the signal to their television, and hey-ho, it’s like you never left Blighty.

Want to record a program to watch later? Find it on the program list and tap the red circle. It will ask you to create an account – piece of cake, just a username and password – and then you can record a show.

Once it’s recorded, simply go to the bottom of the channel list on the left and tap on “Recordings.” It will take you to the items you recorded and you can play them from there.

Just make sure you have enough space on your device, or you’ll have to delete some old ones to make space for the new.

Yes, there will be lots of snooker.
Yes, there will be lots of snooker.

When I tried it

I insisted that my dear friend Lynne Firth stay up until midnight to watch “Countdown” with me. It had been years since I’d watched that program!

Well, the memories all came flooding back, including the staid audience, no digital paraphernalia, and polite “please” and “thank you”s all around, not to mention advertisements about flowery couches and recliners with lifting motors built in. Ah, England – how I missed thee.

I found the streaming to be fantastic – no hiccups or pauses, with great clarity, particularly on the HD setting, and my WiFi is hardly rivaling NASA’s.

Final thoughts

If you’ve been missing British television but are not in any way au fait with technology, you need to get this app. It requires no great knowhow, offers an impressive range of channels, and is free!

OK, it means you’ll have to watch a lot of snooker in the evenings, but we all have to take the good with the bad.

Try it, believe me.