How To Ditch Cable And Still Watch Your Favorite TV Shows
Shared on January 22, 2020This post may contain affiliate links which means I make a small commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. See the disclosure policy for more information.
I am a TV fan. Im certain youre not supposed to admit that outside of therapy, but I know Im not alone. While I enjoy my television shows, our family budget just doesnt like the $100+ monthly cable or satellite bill.
So, whats a TV-lovin girl to do?
Like you, Ive seen all the people who proclaim Netflix replaced our cable and we havent looked back! People who say that clearly didnt watch much TV when they had cable. And those people are the ones who use the library to rent movies. I cant handle that type of responsibility. Our seven library cards filled with fines prove that.
Im here to tell you that you absolutely can watch most of your favorite network television shows for about $15 a month plus the cost of a streaming device. And, if you need live TV to watch sports, you can do that for no more than $50 a month.
Take that, .
Heres the non-techy guide to ditching your cable or satellite and still watch your favorite television shows and live sporting events:
In order to watch TV and movies without cable or satellite, you need three things:
Lets dive into each one.
Get a streaming device.
Here are your streaming device options:
A streaming-capable gaming device
Connect A Laptop To A TV With An Hdmi Cable
The simplest way to connect a laptop to a TV is using the HDMI cable, which can deal with both audio and high-resolution video. Please note that mini HDMI is different from micro HDMI if you have both, youll need an adapter.
How to project laptop to TV?
What to doon laptop if the connection doesnt work?
- Open Settings -> click System -> choose Display -> make sure your TV is selected.
- Modify the resolution to adjust to the TV.
- Press Windows + P -> select Duplicate.
What if you dont have an HDMI cable or port? How to connect laptop to TV without HDMI? You should follow the methods mentioned below.
How Can I Watch The Free Channels Such As Bbc One And Channel 4
If youre used to getting your TV from Sky or one of the other pay-TV companies, then thats where youve been getting your free channels as well . When you cut the cord, can you still keep watching these channels?
There are several ways to watch the free, over-the-air channels online via the internet, with the Freeview service, the YouView service, or the Freesat service.
Most streaming boxes already come with dedicated apps for the big UK free channels, or you could use your laptop. Some of the free content available online:
With these apps and websites, you can stream programmes from your favourite free channels, directly to your TV, via the internet .
The selection usually includes both catch-up programmes and box-set packages offering a full series. .
Don’t Miss: Connect Phone To Vizio Smart TV
How To Get TV Without Cable Via Hdtv Or Smart
Many dont know or have forgotten that connecting an OTA antenna can bring in TV channels from local television stations in the area. Neither cable nor satellite is needed. Not only can you save a lot when using an antenna, but the picture quality is also much clearer than cable/satellite. If you already have an outdoor antenna, then connect it to the back of the HDTV or smart TV.
For those who dont have an outdoor antenna, dont worry. Go to any local electronic or TV store to buy an indoor HDTV antenna with a 50 to 100-mile radius. This type of antenna is cheap, easy to install, and also great for those living in apartments or other rental properties including college campuses. This is how to get TV without cable cheap. You can find very affordable Best Seller antennas on for under $30.00.
If searching for a complete TV setup, check out this local TV channels and Internet TV Channels service.
Option : Try Freebie Services Such As Amazon News And Newson
If its local news that youre after, you may be able to get by with some of the programming from emerging free streaming services.
Amazon News is the latest of these to offer free news updates from local channels in 158 U.S. markets.
To access this feature, youll need the Amazon News app that is located on the Fire TV Streaming devices.
Once youre on the app, youll be able to choose from a menu of local channel newsfeeds. Typically, youre offered the channels that are closest to your location.
In my case, I was able to get news and weather from my local CBS affiliate for free.
Keep in mind that this is not actually a live stream of the channels over-the-air broadcast.
Instead, its highlights and clips from newscasts and other local programming.
If youre a Roku user, there is a similarly interesting option there called NewsON that touts access to more than 275 local news sources across the country.
Read Also: TV Screen Repair Prices
Watch Local TV Online
If you dont have an HD antenna, or live in a smaller town, you can watch local TV online using the websites of those TV stations.
This is a pretty neat little feature of the sites that allows you to watch local TV online in your area. Its also 100% free.
I recommend checking out some of their favorite channels, like , , .
How Do I Get Local Channels If I Dont Have Cable
Cable or satellite TV is not required to get local networks. You can get your nearby over-the-air stations via an antenna or live TV streaming service.
These options do not require a contract and offer significant savings vs. paying for cable. If all you need is your local affiliate stations, an antenna is your best choice to get broadcast TV networks.
Recommended Reading: The Chosen Apple TV
Watch Local Channels Online Through Streaming Services
If you have already have streaming services like Hulu or Netflix you may be able to watch TV programmings from your local stations as well.
You can easily watch shows on your laptop or tablet, but you might prefer to watch shows on your TV.
There two main ways to do this.
- Get local stations using your laptop
Theres a super simple way to watch the content that networks post online and from streaming services, like Hulu, through your TV.
All you need is your laptop and an HDMI cable, which you can pick up on Amazon for less than $7, and internet connection.
Dont have or dont want to pay for the internet? Reads our post on how to get free internet access.
Simply connect your laptop to the TV using an HDMI cable, and play the show youre interested in. Your TV will display what your laptop screen is displaying.
Theres an article here that you should definitely check out. It goes into more detail about how to set it up.
- Get local stations on Roku
As mentioned above, apps like Hulu and Netflix offer some broadcast network shows.
While you can use the above method to stream content to your TV, you can also use Roku.
Its a set-top box that acts as a streaming player. Essentially, you use this device to connect to different video streaming services over the internet, using apps or channels, as Roku calls them.
Your Roku device streams content directly to your TV.
You can also visit this page if you want to learn more about how Roku works.
How To Watch TV With Sling TV
How much does Sling TV cost? $35/month .
What is Sling TV known for? Combining on-demand entertainment with live TV.
What will you love about Sling TV? Channel surfing 30+ popular networks including HGTV, ESPN, Showtime, and LIfetime, or watching shows on demand. Its the cheapest option that most resembles cable.
What will you hate about Sling TV? Commercials. And having to choose between the Sling Orange and Sling Blue subscriptions. Orange and Blue have their own bundle of channels, so you may be tempted to get both for a $20 discount .
Whats the commitment level? There is no free trial, but there is an introductory discount which makes both the Orange and Blue levels $10 in the first month .
Where can you stream Sling TV? Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Devices, Chromecast, Android TV, tablets, computers, smartphones, or wifi-enabled TVs, DVD players, DVRs, and gaming consoles.
TIP: Prepay a month of Sling TV, and youll get a free Chromecast with Google TV .
Don’t Miss: Vizio TV Won T Screen Mirror
Directv Stream: Great Local Channels Including Fox
If you are skeptical of cord-cutting, DIRECTV STREAM has the kind of reputation that may allay your fears. Its a bit more expensive than other streaming services but it provides a solid selection of channels and technology.
For $69.99/mo, DIRECTV STREAM offers 65+ channels. In almost all areas, this includes the local affiliates of all the networks including Fox. They also offer a number of less common affiliates like Univision and The CW.
DIRECTV STREAM features good support for smart TVs and mobile devices. And they provide the most simultaneous streams of any major service. This makes it particularly good for large households.
Connect Your Phone To Your TV
Another option to watch free TV is to connect your phone to your TV with a cable. Its a simple setup that changes slightly depending on your device.
One consideration is that youll be using your mobile data. So if youre unhappy with your current plan, check out this highly rated cheap mobile carrier.
» Apple devices: If you have an iPhone, youll need an adaptor and a cable. The adaptor connects your phone to the cable and the cable plugs into your TVs HDMI or VGA port.
If your TV has an HDMI port, get a digital AV adaptor and an HDMI cable. If it has a VGA port, get a VGA adaptor and a VGA cable. Apple sells the adaptors, but you can get cheaper versions on Amazon. With this setup, youll be able to watch TV in full HD.
» Android devices: Since Android devices can vary across brands and models, youll need to check if your device supports HDMI output. If it does, you can connect it to your TVs HDMI port.
Most recent phones have a USB-C port. If yours has one, youll need a USB-C to HDMI adaptor and a cable to connect it to your TV. Some older phones are MHL compliant and use a Micro USB MHL port. For those, youll need a Micro USB to HDMI cable, or MHL cable.
Next, all you need to watch TV without cable is download one free TV streaming apps.
Recommended Reading: How To Mirror My Phone To My Vizio TV
TV Shows From Nbc On Peacock
Peacock, the new streaming service from NBCUniversal, has a free tier that carries current seasons of NBC shows, news and sports. You wont find your local news station, but the NBC programming is free.
Under the free plan, current NBC shows will air new episodes one week after they air on cable and live TV services.
The free plan on Peacock may not have your local NBC station, but you will get highlights from NBC Nightly News, NBC Sports, Meet the Press, CNBC, MSNBC, E! News and Noticias Telemundo.
Peacock also has two other plans. Peacock Premium has more movies and TV shows. New episodes of NBC shows air one day after they appear on cable.
Peacock Premium Plus has all the same shows and movies, but removes most advertising except for a select few.
TV Shows From Fox And Nbc Through Hulu
If you just want local channels to watch a favorite show on FOX or NBC, Hulu on-demand is a cheap alternative to a TV antenna. At $5.99 per month, you get some coverage of the latest comedies, dramas and reality TV shows.
Hulu is also an inexpensive way to catch up on past seasons from cable channels such as A& E, History and Science Channel.
Recommended Reading: Philo Samsung App
How To Get Fox Without Cable
As a network with local affiliate stations throughout the nation, most viewers can watch Fox for free by setting up an OTA antenna. If you havent seen whats coming through antennas in a while, its worth taking a look!
Another option is a commercial streaming service that provides Fox and other local affiliates as well as a selection of cable channels. An advantage to these services is that they normally provide access to other Fox channels like Fox News, Fox Business, and the Fox Sports channels.
How To Get Local Channels Without An Antenna
If you want the experience of having a cable subscription without paying high cable prices, then opt for an online live TV subscription. While a cable or satellite TV package can be expensive, there are dozens of local TV channels you can access for free in your area.
Here are some of the best ways to get local channels without an antenna.
You May Like: How Do I Cast My Phone To My Vizio TV
Set Up A Home Internet Plan With Unlimited Data If You Can
Even if you cut cable TV you’ll still need a home internet connection for streaming. Many people get their internet as part of a cable TV bundle, maybe with phone service too. Often your cable company is the same one providing your internet connection, but sometimes you can shop around to multiple internet providers.
You’ll need to find out how much home broadband costs by itself, without a TV bundle. If your bundle is $130 a month, maybe you’ll have to pay $60 for just internet. That leaves $70 of potential savings by cutting cable TV. That’s a lot of money every month to pocket or spend on new streaming services.
Other things to consider as you shop for internet-only plans:
- Are you under contract? If so, you’ll have to either wait it out, renegotiate a new internet-only deal with your cable company or eat the early termination fee.
- How fast of a connection do you need? Start by pricing out the same speed you have already but keep in mind that with everyone in your home streaming more, you might need a faster connection.
- You should get a plan with unlimited data, if available, which can cost more than data-limited plans. Streaming video can really add up.
Live TV services like YouTube TV have grid-style program guides, just like your cable box.
Watching Local Channels On Amazon Fire TV Stick Or Roku
If you are using a Roku or Amazon Fire TV, there are a few different ways you can watch free local channels using a TV antenna.
With a Roku TV, you can simply plug your TV antenna into the coaxial port in the back of the television and scan for channels. Roku TVs have a built in channel guide that services free over-the-air channels and free streaming channels offered by Roku.
Otherwise, you can use a HDHomeRun DVR or a Tablo to stream free over-the-air channels through their respective apps on Roku and Fire TV.
Recommended Reading: Peloton App Playstation
Fubotv: Fox Plus The Best Sports Channels
FuboTV is known for its live sports streaming. In fact, it was started by three friends who wanted to watch international soccer games, which even today are poorly covered on cable TV. They offer 38 sports channels with their basic plan including ESPN and the NFL Network.
However, regardless of its beginnings, FuboTV is today one of the best overall live TV streaming services with a wide range of channels like HGTV, FX, and Disney.
One aspect of its focus on sports is that FuboTV provides access to local channels and regional sports networks . Fox, for example, airs a lot of sports. So FuboTV has Fox almost everywhere.
For $64.99/mo, you get over 110 channels including all the main Fox cable channels: Fox News, Fox Business, FS1, and FS2. And in the vast majority of areas, you will get the other major networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, and the Spanish-language Telemundo.
FuboTV streams on most smart TVs and mobile devices. You can even use it with your Xbox. The base plan comes with 250 hours of DVR recording time and the ability to stream on up to three screens at one time.
Watch Local Channels Through Roku
One of the best options available for streaming local channels is through your TV. The major TV manufacturers, like Sony, Samsung and Roku, all have streaming services that allow you to watch live cable channels on your TV.
Its a lot like having a cable box, but you dont need to pay any fees or have any subscriptions.
Not only can you watch local channels, but you can also access other streaming services as well, including Netflix and Hulu.
Its not for everyone because some people dont like to switch inputs on their TV or use additional devices . But if youre looking for a good way to get around this issue.
Recommended Reading: Best Chromecast For Oculus Quest 2