Free apps are plentiful, as a basic rule if they are free to air then the apps are free. Some news channels stream live, just check what the app offers when it is downloaded on to the device. Crackle and Popcornflix are also free in the Apple store. There is a safeguard when obtaining the apps. Only apps that have copyright in the country they are to be used, can be downloaded and used.
The hidden cost in all these apps is the data usage. An hour can use as much as 650mb but again there is an app to usually track the usage. Most companies that are Internet providers have an app to track usage. The best option is to contact them or go into a shopfront store if unsure.
Our experience with tv show apps is most of them are excellent but my critique would be this. While most companies are great overseas the majority are sadly lacking in Australia. This is a huge shame on the providers behalf, when all they need to do is get a decent tech department together. These departments would write and monitor the app. Ads can be added to monetise these apps as they are on tv. Hopefully we will see improvement in the coming year.
Overall enjoy what is available and monitor data usage.