SelectTV review: free online TV, but aggregated for a price

selecttv

What is SelectTV? It’s free TV on the Internet

For cord cutters who primarily use their computer to stream TV content, SelectTV might be your new go-to.

Sure, you can go to the Comedy Central web site and hunt down all 8 episode of Kevin Hart’s show, Hart of the City.

But how much time do you want to burn doing that? And how many of us will remember offhand that USA Network maintains a robust lineup of shows on the web – like Season 2 of Mr. Robot – while the Spike channel online is only good for some mental Twinkie of a show like Cops?

On a Wednesday night, after a crappy day of work, you will not want to perform this mental exercise as you plunk down onto your living room couch. SelectTV is counting on it.

select-tv-channels5 facts about Select TV

  1. Aggregates free content over the web
  2. Costs $2.99 per month
  3. Offshoot of FreeCast
  4. Works on Chromecast, but not Roku
  5. Mobile apps for Android and iOS

 

But it’s more complicated than that. The originators of FreeCast are also making the case that they can Google free TV found over the Internet better and faster than you can. By pulling together and organizing millions of movies and TV shows, SelectTV wants you to get down to the dirty business of surfing and streaming.

Go to the On-demand section, and you can peruse subcategories. There’s Primetime, Web and Kids, and Movies. There are also sections for Music, Events and Games.

Under Channels, there are live TV options that could make an avid antenna user green with envy. CNN, MSNBC and CBSN all stream live news coverage. Channels like Animal Planet, Bloomberg Television and The Weather Channel are there too.

Select TV content

For $2.99 per month, SelectTV promises to pull together 300,000-plus TV episodes, 200,000 plus movies and more than 5,000 live channels across the web.

If you subscribe to Hulu, Sling TV or Netflix, SelectTV will add all of its shows and movies to the menu. You just need to sign and authenticate your subscriptions.

SelectTV has an app for Android devices and for iPads or iPhones. You can cast shows and movies to your television using Chromecast. Or you can run a HDMI cable from your desktop or laptop to your television. But there’s no support for Roku or Amazon Fire TV streaming devices.



There’s a pretty big difference between SelectTV’s aggregation platform and popular streaming devices like Roku.

SelectTV won’t remember your favorites or interests. It’s not a service where you can DVR shows you love on premium cable channels like AMC. For that, you’ll need something more akin to a PlayStation Vue subscription on a Fire TV or Roku streaming device.

For some, SelectTV will seem like the Jitterbug phone of streaming. And that’s a somewhat valid criticism considering its premise is an improved version of Rabbit TV without the USB stick. But CNET’s Rick Broida, who writes the Cheapskate column, seemed to really like it in his review earlier this year.

Is SelectTV worth it?

Every cord cutter has different needs. If you’re someone living in a Chomecast centered world, you might like having SelectTV as your concierge of free TV over the Internet. For people who have a computer always hooked up to a television, SelectTV’s menu may also be a welcome option.

It’s hard to recommend SelectTV over buying a Roku streaming stick or Fire TV streaming stick for practically the same money. The cost of buying either streaming stick these days is minimal. For just under $30, a Roku Express can give you access to thousands of hours of programming. Same thing is true for an Amazon Fire Stick with voice control at about $35. 

Not everybody wants (or needs) a streaming device to get what they want out of their TV. While writing this review, I admit that I was surprised to see that all 12 episodes of Season 2 for Mr. Robot are still on the USA channel’s site. Completely free. (Season 1? Not so much.)

Cord cutting, or rather what substitutes as a traditional cable package, comes in many forms. With the rise of lesser known app-based streaming platforms like Sundance Now and Shudder, viewers are getting something closer to an a la carte TV menu.

SelectTV is clearly trying to aim itself as a certain demographic, one that probably never wanted or needed cable to begin with.

DirecTV Now is aiming for those same 20 million potential consumers, spending a lot more money and owning a lot more assets. And they’re offering a very different product. Which is better? Who will succeed in capturing that elusive, but possibly lucrative demographic? It’s anybody’s guess.


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4 Comments on SelectTV review: free online TV, but aggregated for a price

  1. I signed up for SelectTV Freecast through a special promotion that had a reduced price, and a 9 month free trial period for premium channels such as HBO, netflix, Showtime, and so on…..
    “If you add up all of these premium service trial periods end to end, it’s a total of 9 months or more” according to customer service. This is a fuzzy math bait and switch tactic used by large cable companies.
    The premium service trial offers listed are no different then at Comcast.
    I signed up due to a promotion that doesn’t actually exist except in SelectTV’s mind.
    The iOS App is not available at the Apple App Store. You have to go to their website on your iphone to download the app and then it doesn’t function until you go in a roundabout way to authorize it from a YouTube video.
    As far as I know, this violates Apples IOS App rules for companies submitting iOS Apps.

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