Frndly TV is designed to be an affordable live TV streaming service, and with plans starting at just $6.99 per month, it is significantly cheaper than most others. However, that cheaper price does come at a cost in other areas.
And that’s the main point to take away from this review. Frndly TV intentionally doesn’t offer certain channels and features in a bid to keep the costs low. This also means that figuring out whether Frndly TV is the right service for you will likely come down to how important those missing channels and features are.
Frndly TV $6.99+
- Live TV
Frndly TV is a cheap live TV service, and as long as the channel lineup meets your needs, we don’t think there’s much point paying more each month for a different live TV service.
DVR (select plans)
No news or sports
No local channels
Limited app support
After spending a few weeks with Frndly TV, we feel confident in saying if the channel lineup meets your needs, and Frndly TV is available on the devices you use the most often, we can’t see any real reason to justify paying for a more expensive live TV service.
Frndly TV full review
Frndly TV plans start at $6.99 per month and unlock access to more than 40 live TV channels.
Up to 4 streams
Unlimited DVR (select plans)
7-day free trial
If you’re still unsure of whether this is the right service for you, or would like a more detailed look at what you get (and don’t get) before signing up, here’s our full review of Frndly TV.
- Frndly TV experience
- Frndly TV channels and live TV
- Frndly TV additional features and content
- Frndly TV DVR
- Frndly TV price and value
- Review recap – is Frndly TV worth it?
How we reviewed this service: We tested Frndly TV on Apple TV, Google TV, and Android mobile, as well as the web app. We also signed up to the $8.99 per month Classic plan so we could see and review the DVR.
Frndly TV experience
It is a little hard to review Frndly TV without constantly taking the price into consideration. It is a very cheap way to stream live TV, and understandably, this means that it comes with some compromises. The experience in general is one of them.
Personally, I didn’t run into any major issues when using Frndly TV, and did consider it to be a positive experience overall. The apps worked well, there were no streaming quality or consistency issues, and everything just tended to work as expected.
That all said, it is a very basic experience. The apps are limited in terms of additional features and everything just felt a little budget. While that’s not a major issue in itself, it is something many will notice when switching from another live TV service.
Device support is also something that’s a little basic right now. While the main platforms, including Android TV, Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku, are supported, Frndly TV is currently missing support for most major TV brands. The one exception here is Vizio. The company’s line of smart TVs officially gained support in April 2023.
An issue that families and households sharing a subscription will likely encounter is the general lack of profiles. As Frndly TV doesn’t currently offer any way to create separate profiles, everyone sharing a subscription will have to share the same profile. This also means sharing the same recordings, watchlist, and so on.
It’s also not possible to sign up through any of the TV apps, with users needing to first create an account on the Frndly TV website and then sign in to the app after.
Another issue, that relates specifically to the cheapest Basic plan, is the lack of additional streams. While the more expensive Classic and Premium plans offer the option to stream on multiple devices at the same time, Basic subscribers can only watch on one device at a time.
Then there’s TV Everywhere support, a live TV-related feature that’s totally missing from Frndly TV. Without TV Everywhere support, subscribers are unable to access network apps and websites directly, and will need to watch live TV (as well as on-demand) content through the Frndly TV app and website.
While many of these experience-related problems will likely be fixed in time, some might take longer than others, and some might not ever be fixed.
Even though many of these complaints are understandable when considering the low price, they do highlight that with a cheap live TV service comes a cheaper experience in general.
Frndly TV channels and live TV
Live TV is evidently the main reason to consider signing up to a service like Frndly TV, and the channel lineup will suit some homes. For others, however, it won’t even nearly be good or varied enough.
The good news, the channel lineup does include many popular channels. For example, A&E, Hallmark, History, Lifetime, and The Weather Channel, are all included, among others.
The bad news, Frndly TV is missing many other popular channels. For example, if you want access to the likes of Bravo, Discovery, HGTV, Food Network, FX, Paramount Network, TBS, TLC, TNT, or USA Network, then Frndly TV isn’t going to be for you.
Frndly TV also won’t be an option for sports fans considering it doesn’t include access to ESPN, Fox Sports, NFL Network, Tennis Channel, or any other sports channels.
Likewise, Frndly TV is not going to be an option for any homes wanting access to local channels. If in need of ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and/or PBS, you will need to consider an alternate way to access these channels.
On the topic of local channels, it is worth noting that Local Now is included in the channel lineup. Local Now provides access to local weather, news and stories, based on the device’s IP address. Even here, however, Local Now is only available to watch live and cannot be recorded.
National news is also an issue, as Frndly TV doesn’t include access to CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, or any other news channels. Of course, with Frndly TV being as cheap as it is, the news problem can be remedied by signing up to Level News at the same time
Level News subscriptions start at $5.99 per month, so even on top of the $6.99+ monthly cost of Frndly TV, the two subscriptions are still likely to be much cheaper than packages from other live TV providers. This combination could be a good option for homes that don’t need access to live sports.
Adding to the problem of Frndly TV’s limited channel selection is that there isn’t really any way to improve the lineup. Unlike other live TV services, Frndly TV doesn’t offer any add-ons or upgrades, other than Hallmark Movies Now.
Watching live TV on Frndly TV
In terms of the live TV experience, there isn’t much to really complain about.
Frndly TV does include a standard Guide section which makes it possible to check what’s on now, later in the day or week, and jump to a specific channel. In total, the live guide lets users see what’s on up to 10 days in advance.
While watching live TV, it is also possible to skip back and watch from the beginning of the program, even if you wasn’t watching the channel when the program started. This is a very handy feature when flipping to a channel mid-way through a program.
For those wondering, skipping back won’t skip the ads. While you can rewind while watching any program that’s on a short delay, you cannot fast-forward while ads are playing.
A nice benefit is Frndly TV’s ability to skip back goes well beyond the current program, as the live TV service provides subscribers with a full 72-hour playback feature.
This makes it possible to skip back and watch any of the shows, movies, or other content that was shown live on a channel within the last 72 hours.
Regardless of whether watching live or on a delay, the interface offers basic playback controls, including the ability to enable subtitles. If watching live, there’s also the option to Start Over.
If you press down while watching live, you can access another menu and quickly jump to either Guide, Movies, TV, My Stuff, Search or Settings.
Alternatively, if pressing up while watching live you can quickly jump to a different channel.
As mentioned, we didn’t really encounter any major issues with the streaming quality or reliability while watching Frndly TV in general, and this included watching live TV. We also found the app to be consistent across platforms and devices.
Here’s a look at Frndly TV’s mobile app.
Additional Frndly TV features and content
Typical of a live TV service, Frndly TV also offers a selection of on-demand content. In total, Frndly TV claims to offer more than 5,000 on-demand programs at any given time. While we can’t verify just how many there are, there was a decent selection of movies and shows to choose from in general.
Unlike some other services, Frndly TV automatically separates all available content into Movies and TV sections. As there is no real Home screen to speak of (Frndly TV launches into Guide when opened), subscribers have to navigate to either Movies or TV to view the available on-demand content.
The Movies and TV sections are largely identical in design, and include most of the same subsections, such as Live Now, Just Added, Networks, and Trending.
From what we could tell, a lot of the on-demand content is powered by the 72-hour playback feature. In other words, a good portion of the on-demand library is shows and movies that were shown on live TV within the last few days. This also means that they ‘expire’ fairly quickly.
Speaking of which, the Trending section is nearly always populated with titles that are about to expire, which seemed a little weird, but also further seemed to highlight how the on-demand section appears to heavily rely on the 72-hour playback support.
Outside of the on-demand sections, the ability to add to Favorites, record programs, and the 72-hour playback, there isn’t too much else in the way of features.
The only other notable element of the app is the Settings section, where subscribers can make some minor adjustments. For example, turn closed captions on or off, choose between HD or SD video quality, see which devices are currently using the service, set the live guide to either Default or Alphabetical, and turn Audio Descriptors on or off.
It is worth noting that the Settings section of the mobile app does include the ability to cancel the subscription without visiting the website.
This is worth noting as the option to cancel a subscription from within the app is not something that’s currently available through the streaming player and smart TV versions of the app.
Frndly TV DVR
One of the first things to note about the DVR experience is that Frndly TV doesn’t offer any DVR to those signed up to the cheapest base package. Instead, subscribers need to be signed up to either the Classic ($8.99/mo.) or Premium ($10.99/mo.) plan to be able to record any programs.
In addition, choosing between these plans also affects how long recordings are kept for. For example, those signed up to the Classic plan retain access to their recordings for three months while Premium subscribers retain access to recordings for nine months.
Not only does Frndly TV not offer any option to retain recordings for longer, but there is no way to upgrade the DVR in general.
Those limitations aside, the Frndly TV DVR is unlimited in the sense that subscribers are free to record as many programs as they like. Recordings can either made directly in the live guide or by visiting a movies or series page through the Movies and TV sections.
If it a series, it is also possible to decide whether to record just one episode or all new and repeat episodes.
All recordings can be accessed in the My Stuff section of the app, along with favorited programs.
Personally, I found this section to be a little messy. For example, if you favorite a show and record it, you end up with the show listed twice in My Stuff.
Also, Frndly TV tends to try and break the recordings library down into too many sub-sections, again resulting in a lot of duplicates.
In the image below, for example, The UnXplained with William Shatner shows up in Recorded Documentaries and then again under Recorded Reality TV immediately in the row underneath. You’ll also notice that the same show appears in the row above Recorded Documentaries as well.
Needless to say, with enough recordings made over time, the DVR section of My Stuff is likely to get quite messy.
Frndly TV price and value
One of the aspects that’s extremely difficult to criticize Frndly TV on is the price. As mentioned Frndly TV offers three main plans to choose from and even the most expensive costs less than $15 per month.
To put this price into perspective, Philo is another affordable live TV streaming service and its plans cost $25 per month. Sling TV is the next cheapest at $40 per month and the price just continues to increase from there.
|Hulu Live TV
Of course, many of these services offer more channels, features, and benefits, and this is where the value question comes in. Even then, however, it is hard to criticize Frndly TV.
The reality here is that Frndly TV is designed to be as affordable as possible, so homes should not sign up to the service expecting it to compete with more expensive services.
While it is limited in terms of the selection of channels, number of streams, TV Everywhere support, and premium features, if it meets your individual TV needs, then you should find it to be good value for money.
For those interested in saving as much as possible, Frndly TV does also offer the option to sign up and pay annually. While it is unusual for a live TV service to offer an annual plan, the yearly subscription results in subscribers getting two months of live TV for free each year.
Review recap – Is Frndly TV worth it?
Yes, Frndly TV is worth it, but only for those that find the channel selection meets their needs. If the channels you mainly want access to are all available through Frndly TV, then it is hard to suggest paying more for a different live TV service.
For most homes, however, that isn’t going to be the case. In addition, the lack of profiles is likely to prove a problem for busier households, with the watchlist and DVR likely to get very messy over time.
What we can say for sure is that we recommend avoiding the $6.99 per month plan. The additional streams and the ability to record are easily worth the additional $2 each month. Would we then also suggest that you pay another $2 each month for Premium? No. Not unless you really need the additional two streams, or the ability to keep recordings for up to nine months.
For us, the $8.99 Classic plan offers the best value overall. That said, none of the plans are expensive, and especially when compared to other paid live TV services.
Frndly TV FAQs
Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Frndly TV.
Frndly TV’s Basic plan costs $6.99 per month. If you want access to a DVR, the Classic plan costs $8.99 per month. There is also the option to upgrade the DVR with the $10.99 per month Premium plan.
No, Frndly TV does not offer access to any local channels and this seems unlikely to change in the future. However, Frndly TV does provide access to Local Now, which offers local news, weather, and stories based on a subscriber’s IP address.
You can watch Frndly TV on a smart TV that’s powered by Android TV, Fire TV or Roku. You can also watch Frndly TV directly on a Vizio smart TV. However, other TV brands, including Samsung and LG, are not currently supported.
You can watch Frndly TV on up to 4 screens at the same time, depending on the plan. If signed up to the cheapest Basic plan, you can only stream on one device at a time.