How to legally get free cable TV channels.
It’s nice to cut the cord and save money by switching to streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime. However, cable companies still offer certain types of content that you won’t find on an on-demand service.
How to legally get free cable TV channels
The good news is that you don’t have to pay for a premium or basic cable again. In fact, there are several ways to get free cable TV channels or something similar, while leaving the cable intact, and the cable TV bill will be zero.
What Hardware Do You Need for Free Cable?
Most free cable solutions require an Internet connection and a compatible device. If your device has a modern browser installed, or if it explicitly supports one of the apps we review below, you’re all set.
This means that smart TVs, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Playstation, Xbox, Android or iOS smartphones, tablets and many other devices are already ready for free cable services. Of course, not all options require an Internet connection.
Add a Free-To-Air HDTV Antenna to Your Setup
When we say cable, we mean traditional network television. No cable needed for counting! You can add TV broadcasts using other media, including over the air (OTA) radio waves.
Gesobyte digital antenna with a range of 250 miles.
Yes, it’s easy to forget that TVs still have tuners, and later models have digital tuners. All you need to do is connect a suitable TV antenna and you will be able to receive broadcasts on your screen. If your TV does not have a digital tuner, you can always buy a digital receiver to convert the signal to HDMI and use it with any compatible TV.
Antennas are not too expensive and represent a one-time cost. But which channels you can receive depends on where you live and what transmissions are within range of the antenna. Different antennas are designed for different ranges. Whether you use an indoor or outdoor antenna greatly affects signal strength and whether you receive local channels or channels from remote towers.
The good news is that you can find many sites on the web to find out what’s on in your area. The FCC hosts a site with a digital TV broadcast map, just enter your location and you’ll see what’s available. Networks like ABC still broadcast OTA in some regions. You need to enter your address and see what happens.
Stream Cable TV Online Directly
Cable TV providers know that people are moving to streaming. Most streaming platforms are paid. For example, Paramount+ requires a paid subscription, but this is not true for all platforms. Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, has a free tier with tons of cable content.
Look for Cable-like Streaming Options
You don’t need to stream a cable channel to get cable content or a cable-like experience. Several websites offer live streaming channels as well as on-demand cable content. Many of them are ad-supported and don’t require a paid subscription unless you want to get rid of the ads. There is a wide selection of these free streaming sites and services. Here are some that stand out.
Tubi TV offers both live TV and on-demand streaming content. The service is ad-supported but claims to have fewer ads than cable TV. Live content includes a long list of news and sports broadcasts that are restricted to the United States. However, if you live outside of the US, Tubi still has tons of on-demand content, so it’s still worth checking out.
Plexis is perhaps best known for its home media server technology. But in recent years, it has begun offering free live streaming and on-demand content from its servers.
If you go to the live segment on the site (or through one of the Plex apps), you’ll find plenty of live streaming options. Including Bloomberg TV, USA Today and various sports channels.
Pluto TV is another big name among cable streaming services. At the same time, it is only available in the US, while a stripped-down version is available for viewers in Australia, Europe, the UK and Canada.
Over 250 live TV channels, but the most famous ones include CBS News, the NFL channel and Star Trek because Star Trek is awesome.
Crackle has been around for years and changed hands several times, was owned by Sony for a few years, and is now owned by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment.
You’ll find tons of free content here, including content from cable TV providers like CBS, Sony Pictures, Universal, Warner Brothers, and more. However, the ads can be a bit over the top, especially compared to Tubi.
Most people think of IMDb as the place to go if you want to know who was on your favorite TV show or what movies the actors were in. Surprisingly, IMDb is also a place for free video streaming in the form of IMDB TV. It’s still an Amazon Prime Video service, but the IMDB TV filter means everything you see is free.
The name of this service leaves no doubt about what you are getting. The main limitation here is that you can only use the service through the Google Play or App Store apps. However, this is probably the most direct free cable replacement you can get in the US, where it’s limited.
With content from FOX, NBC, TLC, NBC, and other three-letter companies we can’t list here, it’s worth looking into if you’re in the US.
Find Full Episodes on the Network Website
Let’s say you’re looking for free cable content without paying for cable. In this case, you should visit the network’s website for streaming, or even the website of the specific show you want to watch. Surprisingly, many cable sites offer full free episodes of TV shows that have already aired. For example, if you visit the Adult Swim website, among other games, you will find full episodes of Rick and Morty.
There are many differences in how well this type of service works. For example, some official sites only offer the most recent episodes or block certain episodes on cable TV subscriptions. However, it only takes a few seconds to search for your favorite shows by the keyword “full episodes” to see if anything legal is available.
Use a Shared Cable Account
Many cable TV providers are now bundling streaming services so that subscribers can also get most of their content on mobile phones and other internet-connected devices.
This has led to sharing passwords with friends and family so they can enjoy cable content by logging into the cable app. It’s “free” because you don’t pay for it directly. For example, those with an HBO cable TV subscription usually get free access to HBO Max.
As you can imagine, some cable providers frown on this practice, while others offer it as a perk. You may even be eligible for a family plan with streaming access. You will need to check your cable provider’s sharing policy to see if this is allowed.
Consider using the free trial if you only need cable access for a specific piece of content that will only be available for a short time.
YouTube TV free trial (7 days) including Cloud DVR.Apple TV+ (7 days, more if you bought a PS5 or Apple device) now includes MLB streaming.Roku owners get a 7-day ESPN free trial.Sling TV offers a 3-day trial. < /li>DirecTV (5-day trial) requires at least 8Mbps high-speed InternetPBS (Free trial via Amazon Prime trial or YouTube TV).
If there is no free trial, you can take advantage of special offers, coupon codes, or other less direct ways to access these services for a while without a monthly fee.
Your Current Subscription Might Include Live TV
People mostly subscribe to services like Hulu for on-demand content. However, you may already be paying for a subscription that includes live cable TV. These channels may otherwise be available for a small additional fee, but since we’re looking for free options here, this is off the menu.
Before scouring the web for a free cable replacement, check the services you currently subscribe to and see if they’re hiding cable content, like free live news channels. One notable example is HGTV, which is part of numerous streaming services, one of which is almost certainly already on your subscription list.
Using a VPN (Probably) Isn’t Legal
Many free cable streaming sources are only licensed to show this content in the US or any other region in which they operate. While it’s fairly easy to use a VPN that bypasses this geo-blocking practice, it’s usually illegal.
This is because the content is either not licensed where you live, or the local provider has paid for the rights to display that content in your area. This means that using a VPN to view content licensed for reasons other than your own is effectively a form of piracy.
After all, advertisers who pay to stream are not selling themselves to you. The content licensee in your region has been denied advertising revenue or subscription fees that should provide these rights.
We say VPN use is “probably” illegal because content licensing laws vary from country to country or state to state. Therefore, there are probably parts of the world where this is a gray area or not prohibited, but it is not possible to review global legislation within the scope of this article.
How to legally get free cable TV channels
How to legally get free cable TV channels