Last updated Apr. 18, 2023 by Charles Zemub

Watching free cable T.V. was 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 T.V. stations in select cities, including New York City and San Francisco.

The broadcasters created Locast, the same people who own your local CBS affiliate or Fox-owned-and-operated station, so you won’t have to worry about 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

PBS Digital Studios is a free streaming service that provides access to various PBS content. It includes a variety of shows and documentaries, including some that are not available on other streaming services.

PBS Digital Studios lets users view current episodes and full seasons from popular shows like “A Chef’s Life” and “The Great British Baking Show.”

Users can also watch the series’ exclusive videos and behind-the-scenes footage on their phones or desktop computers.

Other free movie apps

Hulu: Hulu is one of the most popular free movie apps. It doesn’t usually have the newest movies and T.V. shows, but it has a great selection.

 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 U.S.

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, try getting a friend’s login info instead.

Starz: This app has similar requirements to HBO Now (5Mbps download speed minimum) but 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 until later when more options are available before committing yourself financially.

Showtime: The Showtime app requires Ethernet connectivity instead of wifi; otherwise, it will only stream content over 3G/4G data rather than cable T.V. speeds.

This means lower-quality playback and increased battery drain due to constant buffering time frames between streams.

Use your (or a friend’s) Netflix login to access exclusive content.

Netflix is the best thing since sliced bread. It has all your favorite T.V. shows and movies, streams quickly, and is 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 account because she’s cheap, consider helping her with your login.


If you don’t have a friend who wants to pay for their 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 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 giving them access to awesome content they could never afford otherwise.

Take advantage of free trials.

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 ends.

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 you can stream content to during the trial period, so read the fine print carefully.

Get a Slingbox or similar streaming device.

You can get a Slingbox or similar streaming device. This works by connecting the Slingbox to your T.V. and then connecting it to your internet; from there, you can use it as a digital video recorder (DVR).

You can stream the video onto any mobile device you own, so long as it has an app for watching Slingbox content.

Slingboxes are subscription services with varying prices depending on your desired features, but they’re generally more expensive than traditional cable packages.

They also aren’t exactly state-of-the-art regarding 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.

Find free channels on YouTube T.V.

YouTube T.V. 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 T.V. 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.

Once signed up for YouTube T.V.’s free trial period (seven days), open up the app or go to on any device connected through your broadband connection so that we can stream live T.V. without having our credit cards charged yet.

We’ll be able to watch almost anything we want during this period but hold onto that remote because things may change when actual charges begin at midnight PST tonight:

So invest in an antenna and ditcher.

DIYers can make their 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].

This will help you identify what channels are available in your area and whether or not an antenna can pick them up.

When you’re ready to purchase an antenna, remember 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 H.D. channels.

How to get free tv channels without an antenna.

There are ways to get free T.V. without an antenna:

1) Roku

Roku is a set-top box that allows you to stream Netflix, Hulu, and other services onto your T.V. via an HDMI connection.

Many people don’t realize that Roku also has apps that let you watch live channels like NBC and NBC Sports Network, ABC Family, or TBS, all for free.

2) Slingbox

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 T.V. or any device with an internet connection.

3) Online Streaming Services

Several free streaming services offer live T.V., including:

-Crackle (streams Sony movies and T.V. shows) -Pluto (streams news and sports) -Tubi T.V. (streams T.V. shows from major networks like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC) 

Free cable tv unlimited.

Free cable, unlimited T.V., and streaming are on demand. All you need is your 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 the content you want without a cable subscription. Here’s how it works:

This may sound not very easy, but it’s really simple. There are two ways to set up your computer to stream tv: an external device like Apple T.V. or Roku and an app 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 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Netflix free on a smart T.V.?

Netflix is not free on smart T.V. The streaming service is available as a standalone app for smart T.V.s and Blu-Ray players, but the company’s deal with the T.V. providers means you’ll need to be a subscriber to access it.

If you’re already paying for cable or satellite T.V. 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 have another subscription, such as Amazon Prime Video or HBO Now, you might get access through your smart T.V. or Blu-Ray player.

These deals can change occasionally, so check back later if you don’t have access.

Is Hulu free?

Hulu is a paid streaming service that offers access to popular T.V. shows, movies, and clips. There are several ways to pay for Hulu. First, you can watch the free Hulu app on your mobile or tablet.

You can purchase the Hulu with Live T.V. bundle to watch on your T.V., which gives you access to live T.V. 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 T.V. 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.

Do smart T.V.s use a lot of the internet?

Yes, smart T.V.s use much of the internet, but it all depends on what you mean by “smart T.V.”

A “dumb T.V.” receives only broadcast signals and has no built-in media hub.

A “smart T.V.” has an integrated media hub that gives you internet access and streaming services. This can come in the form of an existing operating system, such as Google T.V. or Roku—or it can be a built-in app for a tablet, like Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

Smart T.V.s 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.

Is Tubi T.V. free?

Tubi T.V. is a free service, and they don’t include any commercials in their movie or television show selections. However, Tubi T.V. still makes money by showing video advertisements.

These ads are incredibly brief, and the channels hosting them have partnered with Tubi T.V. to share their ad revenue.

So if you’re watching a movie or television show with Tubi T.V., 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, trailers for upcoming movies and television shows are shown before the main selection begins.

After the trailers have played, you can select one of the previews to play next; otherwise, the next selection automatically plays after a short break.

How can I stream without the internet?

You can stream without the 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 T.V. or speaker, like a streaming stick (Roku, Amazon Fire) or gaming console (Xbox One). You’ll also need an HDMI cable to run from your device to the TV.

Be aware: if you’re using an older T.V., it might not have an HDMI input port. Also, remember that most consoles and streaming sticks come with proprietary connectors for their cables, so ensure you get the proper line for your specific device.

You’ll also need something to stream from. But, again, those are great places to start if you already have a Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime account.

You can subscribe to any of them with a credit card and instantly access thousands of movies and T.V. shows without an internet connection.

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.

Can I hotspot my T.V.?

Yes, you can hotspot your T.V. 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 any wireless device with a screen, including the T.V. you put the show on. You can even turn your phone into a hotspot.


While you can watch free cable T.V. in many areas, there’s a guarantee that these options will be available. In addition, some of them are only available if you are within their service range.

If this is the case for you, then don’t! There are other ways to get your free cable T.V. fix without paying for anything out of pocket.

If any of these methods seem shady or too good to be true, remember that we, as consumers, must learn about our rights and take advantage of them.

If you want to cut back on your cable bill, it’s pitiable. However, some options will save money and allow you to watch the shows and movies you love without breaking the bank.

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