How to Watch TV Without Cable?
Read on and find out your options if you wish to watch TV but do not have a cable.
13:22 12 January 2022
Watching TV is one of the best ways to spend quality time with friends and family. You can all huddle around the television set on a cool winter evening, with hot cocoa in your hands, and catch a family movie on ABC or some other channel of your liking. This is the kind of heart-warming experience that popular cable TV services like Cox cable deliver to their customers.
However, not everyone has the good fortune of receiving cable TV programming over coaxial lines in their area. Especially, the people living on the outskirts can’t get access to cable. Besides rural residents, low-income households in the suburbs can’t afford to pay for cable, either. How can such individuals watch TV without cable, then? Here are a few good options in this regard:
Get a TV Antenna
Giant TV companies like ABC, NBC, and CBS have broadcasting stations all over the US. These stations broadcast TV programming over the air in a certain locality. You can catch this over-the-air programming from your local station free of cost using a TV antenna. A TV antenna receives TV signals from nearby transmission towers and feeds them to a digital tuner built-in most television sets these days. The tuner translates and de-crypts the signals and plays the programs on the screen.
You can get an indoor antenna or an outdoor antenna, a UHF antenna or a VHF antenna, and a directional antenna or a multi-directional antenna depending on your budget, unique needs, and the distance between your residence and the broadcasting stations. A TV antenna is a worthwhile investment and gives you local TV programming without charge.
Use a Streaming Service
One of the best alternatives to cable TV is streaming TV. Unlike cable companies that utilize coaxial systems to transmit TV signals to subscribers’ homes, streaming services distribute television programming via the internet. This way you can watch TV on the same internet connection that you use to pay bills online, take virtual classes, shop on Amazon, and compete in MMORG games, etc.
While a majority of the streaming services provide video-on-demand content, a few offer live TV, as well, though they aren’t as diverse as we’d like. Keep in mind that some streaming services are free, whereas others require a monthly subscription like cable. The following are the top streaming services to consider:
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV is a two-in-one streaming service, which integrates both video-on-demand and live TV streaming in its platform, for a starting price of $64.99 per month. You can access more than 75 entertaining channels, such as E!, Lifetime, Freeform, USA, ESPN, and AMC, and stream on two screens simultaneously. It also gives you up to 5 hours of cloud DVR storage. If you are not sure about committing to this service, you can try Hulu + Live TV for a week free of cost. In addition, you can bundle Hulu + Live TV with Disney+ and ESNPN+ for one spectacular price.
Sling TV is the ideal streaming service for low-income families. It has one free plan and two paid ones, costing $35 per month. You can enjoy a vast channel lineup offering FOX News, AMC, ESPN, CNN, BET, NFL Network, and more TV channels, based on the plan you select. Sling TV lets you customize your entertainment according to your taste. If you are more into news, you can go for the Sling Blue plan. Whereas, if you love watching family-friendly content and sports, you can choose Sling Orange. Sling TV has a 7-day free trial period and 50 hours of cloud DVR storage.
Are you a huge sports fan? Do you miss watching your favorite teams in action? You can still catch the games on fuboTV even if you don’t have cable. fuboTV is a sports-oriented live TV streaming service, costing $64.99 per month or above for its packages. It encompasses more than 100 channels, covering everything from professional leagues like NFL to college sports. You can stream fuboTV on three screens at one time with the starter plan, and record 250 hours of sports content on the cloud DVR. As for the free trial, fuboTV gives you a week.
YouTube TV is an ad-supported streaming service, costing $64.99 per month. It consists of more than 85 channels, including HGTV, Nick Jr., Comedy Central, Disney, Food Network, MTV, PBS, ESPN, BET, and NBC Sports, which you can watch on three screens at one time. You can also record your favorite episodes using the unlimited cloud DVR storage that’s a part of the subscription. In case you have reservations about signing up, you can try YouTube TV free for up to 5 days.
Though these are paid platforms, you can tune into free streaming services such as Peacock (“Live” channels), Pluto TV (live programming from Viacom properties), Xumo (offers more than 190 channels such as Fox Sports, NBC News, and TMZ), and the Roku Channel (requires Roku TV), as well. Make sure you have working internet and a web-connected display before you start streaming.
Watch TV Networks Directly
Some primetime channels post their scheduled programming on websites and mobile apps an hour or so after the content is originally broadcasted on cable. You can explore these TV networks without needing a cable TV connection. Here are the top TV networks available directly:
- ABC – You can watch limited ABC episodes on the ABC app or the channel’s main website for free. Full-length programming may require a TV provider login.
- NBC – Download the NBC channel app or head to the channel’s website to stream NBC shows and programs, ranging from the most recent episode to the oldest one.
- FOX – On the FOX app, you may have to wait a week or so to stream the originally aired episode. However, you may be able to watch up to 5 episodes free.
- The CW – Watch the latest full-length episodes of the best CW shows like “Arrow” and “Supernatural” as soon as they are aired on cable TV.
- PBS – Go to the channel website of Public Broadcasting Service and tune into the live feed of PBS shows without paying up.
Nothing is impossible. There are always alternatives and less-trodden paths. If for some reason, you can’t get access to a cable TV line, you can use the aforementioned ways to watch TV and stream your favorite shows without missing out on anything.