Watching television is a great way to unwind at the end of a busy day, but it’s even more fun when you sync up your smartphone or tablet and join the social fun. Whether you download a show specific app, connect with a TV network or join one of the play-for-points sites, these apps turn solo TV into social TV.

Viggle

This oddly named app pays you to watch television. All you have to do is tune in to your favorite show, use the audio sync button to check in, and you start earning points. If you choose one of the featured shows for the evening you can collect anywhere from 50 to 500 points. Some shows also have a live trivia component that awards bonus points for every question you answer correctly.

Viggle points can be redeemed right on the app for gift certificates and other prizes. Reward options include Amazon and iTunes gift cards, a free month of Hulu, free movie tickets from Fandango, even an Amazon Kindle Fire.

You’ll need to accumulate around 14,000 points for a $10 gift card, but this is easy to do if you watch a lot of TV. Also note that the prizes rotate, so if you don’t see something you want now, wait a week and check again.

Viggle is a fun way to discover new shows, play trivia games and it offers the best prizes of any social TV app. It’s free and available for iPhone, iPad and Android.

GetGlue

GetGlue is the original social TV app and it’s still going strong. Instead of points and prizes, GetGlue hands out exclusive stickers for your favorite shows. To get one, you need to check-in to a show during its first run on TV. That means there’s a short window which makes the stickers highly collectible. When you check-in at the right time, GetGlue posts a virtual sticker to your account, then, every few months they send out hard copies for free. You don’t even have to pay postage. Stick ’em, trade ’em, collect them, they’ve a neat record of all the new shows you’ve watched.

TVGuide

If you’re serious about television, you need to download the brand new TVGuide Mobile app. No prizes or points on this one, but it has everything you need to know about what’s on TV. You can filter for trending shows, new shows, popular shows, plus your own personalized watch list. Get reminders so you don’t miss an episode – and get custom news on only the shows you care about.

The app also has direct links to all of the major network sites so you can watch full episodes online, anytime.

With the new fall season upon us, you can trust TVGuide to keep you updated on what’s hot, what’s not and what’s about to get canceled.

Join the Network

In addition to these general apps, many shows and networks have their own social TV apps. Second screen apps use audio sync to push episode-related trivia, photos and Tweets in real time. There are also apps that allow you to vote on competition shows, collect points, play themed games and win prizes. To find these, simply visit the show or network website and look for a tab labeled Mobile.

The new TV season is packed with exciting new shows and plenty of returning favorites, so make the most out of your viewing time with one or all of these free social TV apps.