Watching free cable TV used to be as simple as getting a digital antenna and setting it up in your home. But now that most Americans have cut the cord, there are new ways to access live television without paying a monthly fee.
If you’ve been considering ditching your expensive cable subscription in favor of an alternative service, here’s what you need to know about how to watch free over-the-air channels:
If you’re looking to cut the cord but still want access to your local broadcast channels, Locast is a good option. The service provides live streams of over-the-air TV stations in select cities, including New York City and San Francisco.
Locast was created by the broadcasters themselves the same people who own your local CBS affiliate or Fox-owned-and-operated station so you won’t have to worry about any commercials interrupting your favorite shows.
Locast is available in 10 cities: NYC (WLNY); L.A., Calif.; Dallas–Fort Worth; Providence, R.I.; Houston; Denver; Boston; Milwaukee–Waukesha–West Allis, Wis.; Las Vegas–Henderson & Reno; and Washington D.C.–Hagerstown MD/Portsmouth VA
PBS Digital Studios is a free streaming service that provides access to a wide variety of PBS content. It includes a variety of shows and documentaries, including some that are not available on other streaming services.
PBS Digital Studios allows users to view current episodes and full seasons from popular shows like “A Chef’s Life” and “The Great British Baking Show.”
Users can also watch exclusive videos and behind-the-scenes footage from the series on their phones or desktop computers.
Hulu: Hulu is one of the most popular free movie apps out there. It doesn’t usually have the newest movies and TV shows, but it does have a great selection to choose from.
One cool feature is that you can stream some of them on your phone or tablet without paying for an account if you’re in the US.
HBO Now: If you want to watch “Game of Thrones” or any other HBO show, this app will give you access to it for free for 30 days (after which point it costs $14.99/month).
You’ll need an internet connection with 5Mbps download speeds and 1Mbps upload speeds though if those aren’t available where you live then try getting a friend’s login info instead.
Starz: This app has similar requirements as HBO Now (5Mbps download speed minimum) but also offers full seasons rather than just episodes.
It costs $8/month after a 7-day free trial period so if all else fails maybe wait til later when there are more options available before committing yourself financially.
Showtime: The Showtime app requires Ethernet connectivity instead of Wi-Fi; otherwise it will only stream content over 3G/4G data rather than cable TV speeds.
This means lower quality playback and increased battery drain due to constant buffering time frames between streams.
Netflix is the best thing since sliced bread. It has all your favorite TV shows and movies, it streams quickly, and it’s easy to use. Netflix also has an impressive amount of exclusive content.
You can only find these shows on Netflix, and not on any other streaming service. For example, Stranger Things is one of these shows.
If your friend’s been talking about how much she loves it but doesn’t want to pay for her own account because she’s cheap like that, consider helping her out by using your login.
If you don’t have a friend who wants to pay for their own subscription but likes watching Netflix with someone else (and would rather not share passwords), try this other trick: buy a Roku stick instead.
It’s basically just another way of accessing the same stuff as normal through another device but unlike sharing passwords with friends who might get mad at each other later when they stumble across something embarrassing while scrolling through their profiles.
This method allows everyone involved total privacy while still giving them access to some awesome content they could never afford otherwise.
Free trials are a great way to get cable for free, but they can be tricky. If you’re not careful, you could end up paying for things you don’t want and canceling your account before the trial period is over.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Most free trials offer a limited number of days or channels upfront. It’s important to know how long these limitations last so that you can cancel before they expire (or else risk getting charged).
- Some trials limit the number of devices on which you can stream content during the trial period, so make sure to read the fine print carefully.
You can get a Slingbox or similar streaming device. The way this works is that you connect the Slingbox to your TV and then connect it to your internet, and from there you can use it as a digital video recorder (DVR).
You can then stream the video onto any mobile device that you own, so long as its got an app for watching Slingbox content.
Slingboxes are subscription services with varying prices depending on what features you want, but they’re generally more expensive than traditional cable packages.
They also aren’t exactly state-of-the-art when it comes to technology; if you have an older home entertainment system from before 2000, chances are good that it won’t work with a newer Slingbox model.
YouTube TV is a paid service, but you can get a free seven-day trial. That includes channels from all the major networks, like ABC, NBC, and Fox (with local news and sports).
And it has dozens of others, including all kinds of sports channels like FS1 and FS2, Big Ten Network, and CBS Sports Network.
If you want to try it out for free before signing up, sign up for the YouTube TV free trial here. It’s available across more than 80% of the country. The website will also let you know if they have plans in your area by entering your address there as well.
Once signed up for YouTube TV’s free trial period (which lasts seven days), open up the app or go to tv.youtube.com on any device connected through your broadband connection so that we can stream live TV without having our credit cards charged yet.
We’ll be able to watch almost anything we want during this time period but hold onto that remote because things may change when actual charges begin at midnight PST tonight:
DIYers can make their own antennas out of aluminum foil and coat hangers, but most people will want to buy a pre-made one.
For the beginners among us who aren’t sure what kind of antenna they need, it’s worth getting an over-the-air (OTA) signal strength meter like the [Channel Master CM-3035].
Which will help you identify what channels are available in your area and whether or not an antenna is going to be able to pick them up.
When you’re ready to purchase an antenna, keep in mind that some options come with amplifiers built in especially if the signals are weak where you live and that some models have digital tuners instead of analog ones for better picture quality on HD channels.
There are ways to get free TV without an antenna:
Roku is a set-top box that allows you to stream Netflix, Hulu, and a whole host of other services onto your TV via an HDMI connection.
What many people don’t realize is that Roku also comes with apps that let you watch live channels like NBC and NBC Sports Network, ABC Family, or TBS all for free.
Slingbox is a device that works with your cable subscription to give you access to the channels in your package anywhere in the world via the internet. You can use it on your TV or any device with an internet connection.
3) Online Streaming Services There are several free streaming services that offer live TV, including:
-Crackle (streams Sony movies and TV shows) -Pluto (streams news and sports) -Tubi TV (streams TV shows from major networks like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC)
Free cable TV unlimited, and streaming, are on demand. All you need is your existing internet connection, a computer, and a tv.
There are some limitations on what you can watch based on the internet service provider, but you can still get pretty much all of the content you want without a cable subscription. Here’s how it works:
This may sound complicated, but it’s really simple. There are two ways to set up your computer to stream tv: 1) by using an external device like Apple TV or Roku 2) by using an app on your computer that turns it into a streaming box (like NetFlix or Amazon).
Either way, once your computer is set up for streaming, all you need to do is connect your computer to your wifi router and run the streaming software.
Then just log into the app or device with your username and password. You’re all set. This means that you and anyone else with access to the internet in your home can watch any show or movie they want.
Is Netflix free on a smart TV?
Netflix is not free on smart TV. The streaming service is available as a standalone app for smart TVs and Blu-Ray players, but the company’s deal with the TV providers means that you’ll need to be a subscriber in order to access it.
If you’re already paying for cable or satellite TV service, you might already have access to Netflix as part of your package. Many providers offer it as an add-on channel or allow you to stream through your set-top box.
If you subscribe to Netflix directly and also have another subscription such as Amazon Prime Video or HBO Now, then you might be able to get access through your smart TV or Blu-Ray player.
These deals can change from time to time, so if you don’t have access now, check back later.
Hulu is a paid streaming service that offers access to popular TV shows, movies and clips. There are several ways to pay for Hulu. If you want to watch on your mobile phone or tablet, you can use the free Hulu app.
To watch on your TV, you can purchase the Hulu with Live TV bundle, which gives you access to live TV channels and 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage.
You can also get individual plans for just the video-on-demand portion of Hulu, or buy it as an add-on subscription through your cable provider.
Hulu with Live TV costs $39.99/month and comes with 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage, The service also includes the full library of content from channels including ABC, NBC, and FOX–all streaming live at no extra cost.
Yes, smart TVs use a lot of internet but it all depends on what you mean by “smart TV.”
A “dumb TV” is one that receives only broadcast signals and doesn’t have any sort of built-in media hub.
A “smart TV” has an integrated media hub that gives you access to the internet and its streaming services. This can come in the form of an actual operating system, such as Google TV or Roku—or it can be a built-in app for a tablet, like Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
Smart TVs use your home’s wifi network to stream content through apps. If your television is connected to wifi but not turned on and running apps, it uses no additional internet bandwidth.
But if you’re watching Netflix through the built-in app, the television will stream content directly from Netflix’s servers over the internet—and use your home’s bandwidth allowance in doing so.
Tubi TV is a free service, and they don’t include any commercials in their movie or television show selections. However, Tubi TV still makes money by showing video advertisements.
These ads are incredibly brief and the channels that host them have partnered with Tubi TV to share their ad revenue with them.
So if you’re watching a movie or television show with Tubi TV, it’s likely that there will be a video advertisement for another movie or television show before or after the content you selected begins.
In addition to these advertisements, there are also trailers for upcoming movies and television shows shown before the main selection begins.
After the trailers have played, you have the option of selecting one of the previews to play next; otherwise, the next selection automatically plays after a short break.
You can certainly stream without internet, but you’ll need a few extra pieces and some know-how.
On the hardware side, you’ll need a device that can connect to your TV or speaker, like a streaming stick (Roku, Amazon Fire) or gaming console (Xbox One). You’ll also need an HDMI cable, which will run from your device to the TV.
Be aware: if you’re using an older TV, it might not have an HDMI input port. Also, keep in mind that most consoles and streaming sticks come with proprietary connectors for their cables so make sure you get the proper cable for your specific device.
You’ll also need something to stream from. If you already have a Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime account, those are great places to start.
You can subscribe to any of them with a credit card and instantly have access to thousands of movies and TV shows all without needing an internet connection at all.
If you don’t have any of those accounts yet and want to sign up, go ahead and do that while you’re at it. Once your account is created and set up, you’ll get instructions on how to link it to whichever device or devices you’ve chosen.
Yes, you can hotspot your TV. Wireless hotspots are gadgets that let you connect to a wireless network (in this case, your home network) and share its Internet connection with any devices that can connect wirelessly.
This includes your computer, and it also includes just about any wireless device with a screen, including the TV you’re watching the show on. You can even turn your phone into a hot spot.
While you can watch free cable TV in many areas, there’s no guarantee that these options will be available to you. Some of them are only available if you are within their service range.
If this is the case for you, then don’t worry! There are other ways to get your fix of free cable TV without having to pay for anything out of pocket.
If any of these methods seem shady or too good to be true, remember that it’s up to us as consumers not only to learn about our rights but also to take advantage of them.
If you really want to cut back on your cable bill, it’s possible. There are options that will save you money and allow you to watch the shows and movies you love without breaking the bank.