Best iPhone apps for cord cutters: XBMC, TV Show Tracker, Remote, and more!

Looking for the best iPhone apps for cord cutters? Following the Vector podcast I did on cord cutting I've been getting a lot of questions about just that. How can cord-cutters still find shows and watch them, and fill in anything we might have missed? The answer is going to vary a lot depending on what equipment is being used, from antennas to streaming boxes, and where you live, from the plentiful bounty of the U.S. to the digital deserts of some other countries. These, however, are the best cord-cutting apps I've found to date!


Let's start with the most obvious. There's a Netflix App on all iOS devices. I can watch on the go on my iPhone or iPad and in the comfort of my home theatre on the Apple TV. I can pick up where I left off on any of the devices and the service is offered at a fair price ($7.99 for current customers and$ 8.99 for new customers). The Apple TV 3 (1080p version) will also play selected HD titles in Super HD (a higher bitrate version of their HD offerings). If you have kids, the depth of family content alone makes it a no-brainer.

If you want something to round out your current cord-cutting TV, Netflix's catalog is the way to do it.


YouTube has an amazing variety of videos from the latest memes everyone is talking about to old clips and shows to pay-per-view entertainment. Like Netflix, YouTube has apps on iPhone and iPad and is built into the Apple TV. The quality can vary considerably but there's no denying the quantity.

For everything beyond broadcast and cable video, there's YouTube.

Apple Remote

I like Apple's designs for the most part and I also like the look and feel of their hardware Apple Remote. But it's so damn small, I'm constantly misplacing it. I don't misplace my iPhone, however, so I run the Apple Remote App. With it, I can control my Apple TV just as I would with the remote control. It gives the added benefits of a full keyboard for text input, especially search. It also gives me Wi-Fi range over infra-red and lets me control all three of my Apple TVs without the need to keep track of three separately locked (to avoid collisions) physical remotes.

If you use an Apple TV, you need Apple's Remote app

Official XBMC Remote

I have a jailbroken Apple TV 2 (720p) running XBMC. XBMC is a free and open source media player. It allows people to play and view most videos, music, such as podcasts from the internet, and all common digital media files from local and network storage media. Since the Apple TV Remote has such a minimalistic design and XBMC can perform so many more functions, I use the XBMCRemote app on my iPhone instead. It allows me to control everything from pause, rewind, fast forward, skip, get more info, add to favourites, turn captioning on/off, changing video/audio options etc…

If you have XBMC, you need the XBMC app.

TV Show Tracker 3

With my various services, Netflix, Hulu, Arial Antenna, Amazon, it can get a bit tricky keeping track of my favourite shows. I use the TV Show Tracker app to keep things organized in terms of what I have watched, what's playing today, and when future broadcasts will be aired. I can pick and choose only the shows I want to track and it will send me a reminder and alert notification before or after the air date. You can also view each show in your calendar so as to avoid any unfortunate conflicts with your in laws for example. For a $0.99 in app purchase, you can remove ads and enable iCloud syncing with all of your devices.

Once you've cut the cord on the cable guide, you need a TV tracker to pick up the slack.

Your favorite cord cutter apps?

These are a few of the iPhone apps I use to help make living the cord cutter life simpler and easier. If you have any suggestions or would like to let me know what you use, please leave a comment below!