Hands On: Frndly TV, a Family-Friendly TV Option

What is Frndly TV? Previously off my radar and dismissed as a streaming afterthought, Frndly TV has increasingly been appearing in search results over the past few months so I decided to check it out. The service TV offers live TV for as little as $7 per month. There are far fewer channels than you'll find on Live TV services like YouTube Life TV, Hulu+ Live TV, or DirecTV Stream. And you won't find sports or news, but if you pair it with an antenna to get local stations, it just might fit your needs.

Launched in August 2019, Frndly TV was created by Bassil El Khatib, who spent a dozen years with Dish Network and Sling TV. The idea was to offer family-friendly channels and programming for Middle America, aka "the traditional American Family."

The channel lineup exemplifies the uplifting positivity you'd expect from a service called Friendly. The list includes the following: A&E, Lifetime, Hallmark, History Channel, Military History, UPtv, Game Show Network, CuriosityStream, The Weather Channel, Vice, INSP, Great American Family, MeTV, LMN, FETV, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, Hallmark Drama, FETV, Heartland TV, Crime & Investigation, FYI, Great American Living, Start TV, Story Television, H&I, Decades, Circle, Dove Channel, PixL, Dove Family Movies, Dove Kids, getTV, Family Movie Classics (FMC), Recipe TV, Curiosity Channel, Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, World Fishing Network, Baby First TV, BYUtv, QVC, Movies!, ION, ION Mystery, Grit, Cowboy Way, and Local Now.

All channels are included in each of the subscription plans. The $7 basic plan only streams in standard definition and does not include the ability to record to a cloud DVR. The Classic and Premium tiers run $9 and $11 per month, respectively, and accommodate DVR recording. Both stream in HD 720p/30 fps (frames per second). Without sports or action movies, it's usually adequate, though most of the movies offered up are not known for their high production values.

DVR capabilities vary among Frndly's different price tiers. As noted, the $7 Basic Plan does not include DVR, but with the Classic and Premium plans recording is unlimited and saved for 30 days and 90 days, respectively.

If you choose a future showing of a program in the guide, it's automatically scheduled for recording on the DVR.

Along with the grid guide, Frndly offers TV and movie menus that display rows of suggested programming based on shows you've watched, what's popular and trending, just-added TV episodes, what's coming soon that you might want to record, nostalgic favorites, and more. It's easy to find titles without endless scrolling in the guide. The service also makes it easy to continue watching where you left off with TV shows and movies.

Interestingly, some channels do not allow DVR recording, pausing, or rewinding. For example, Dove Channel shows cannot be recorded and saved. When you choose a future Dove show, you are presented with three choices: "Watch Live," "Start Over," or "Browse All Dove Channel Content." While you can't record on Dove, the channel does allow you to watch programs ad-free on demand. Several channels have this limitation but offer video on demand (VOD) with a 72-hour lookback of shows from the past three days as long as don't watch live. The 72-hour expiration is displayed on shows with only a few hours left.

In 2021, Frndly TV added getTV, which features TV shows and films from Sony Pictures Entertainment. Iconic TV shows are available each weeknight, including All in the Family, Walker Texas Ranger, Mike Hammer, Starsky & Hutch, and Charlie's Angels. The channel also features action, crime, vintage comedy, and Western TV shows from all decades.

A number of other popular shows are also offered, including A&E's Duck Dynasty, Storage Wars, and The First 48, Lifetime's Married at First Sight, and the History Channel's Pawn Stars and Great Escapes with Morgan Freeman. The service also offers the 24/7 holiday marathons Hallmark and Lifetime air on their cable channels.

Frndly TV is a solid option for anyone who likes family-friendly programming. Pair it with local channels over an antenna, streaming sports services, and the live news available on Roku OS 12 and you have a cord-cutting solution that's easy to use and reasonably priced.

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With VOD, viewers can access a library of content and watch shows from the past three days, as long as they don't watch them live. This 72-hour lookback feature allows viewers to catch up on missed episodes or explore a selection of recently aired content. It's important to note that shows nearing the end of their 72-hour availability will display a countdown indicating the remaining time.

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The only features included on the movies themselves are three different legacy audio commentary that have been replicated onto Rocky breakout game. One of these commentaries is a solo track featuring Sylvester Stallone.