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How To Get Local Channels Without Cable: 4 Alternatives That Work

How To Get Local Channels Without Cable: 4 Alternatives That Work
Lee FitzSimmons Mar 15, 2020
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If you want to know how to get local channels without cable. then you’ll most definitely want to read this article.

Are you one of those people who would like to have a more affordable way to view local programs without having to sell everything you own in order to afford them?

If this applies to your situation, then read on.

What Exactly Are Local Channels?

Local channels are free channels that you can access whether you have a cable subscription or not.

These types of channels are called local channels because they don’t offer one nationwide network like FX or TNT.

Instead, these channels include a primary network that offers affiliate networks all over the nation.

You should also realize that your options for local channels will vary depending on what area you reside in.

If you live in a large metropolitan area, you’ll have access to a large variety of channels, but in more rural and secluded areas of the country, you’ll probably not have as many options available.

Local channels include the following networks:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • CW
  • FOX
  • NBC
  • PBS

So if you like to watch free TV or watch quality programs for a cheaper price, then go ahead and check out these four alternatives that work if you want to know how to get local channels without cable.

1. Use an HD Antenna

The first item on our list of how to get local channels without cable is to use an HD antenna.

We’re not talking about that old pair of rabbit ears that you would have to constantly adjust in order to get a decent picture.

We’re talking about modern digital antennas that work in an entirely different way.

These new modern antennas are capable of picking up high definition television signals.

Fortunately, they’re not that expensive.

In fact, you can get a good one for around $100 or so.

Setting up Your HD Antenna

Next, you need to figure out whether you want an indoor antenna or an outdoor antenna.

Generally, an outdoor antenna will be your best option.

Hooking up your antenna is not very hard to do.

Most antennas will stick to your wall and require nothing else.

After you have followed the directions and hooked up your antenna, you’ll need to run a channel scan.

Next, after you have found all of the channels that are available in your area, you can now watch them for no cost at all.

The signal that you receive will be a high definition signal in 1080p.

2. Streaming Services

The next way for you to watch local channels without any type of cable subscription is to use a streaming service.

In fact, it’s possible to watch most all of your local channels online with this type of setup.

However, there are some key differences in the way that the different streaming services function.

First of all, streaming services are, by far, much cheaper then your typical cable subscription.

In fact, most streaming services are about half the cost of what you typically pay in a month for cable.

You should also be aware that there are certain services that have prices even lower than that.

Next, streaming services offer free trial offers that allow you to cancel your subscription if you are not satisfied with the service.

With all of these free trial offers, you can sample as many of the services as you want without having to pay a dime, so you can see which one of these programs is best suited for your specific needs.

Another great thing about streaming services is that you can view content from almost anywhere on a wide assortment of devices.

You are also able to connect through a mobile device as well.

Hulu with Live TV

This service has over 60 channels available.

You also have the opportunity to add extra channels for an additional cost.

In addition, you also get on-demand features with this package.

This makes it a fantastic option for current subscribers to the Hulu service.

As far as the local channels in your area go, you can get ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and CW.

One of the best things about this particular streaming service is that it offers more local channels than any of the other streaming services out there.

However, it does not have PBS.

You also have a cloud DVR feature that gives you up to 50 hours of recording space.

So if local channels are your top priority, then this service is probably your best bet.

With this service, streaming is possible on most devices.

You can also stream this service with a mobile app.


The next service we will mention in this article is Fubo TV.

With this service, you can watch CBS, NBC, and FOX in most areas of the country.

Its channel lineup features over 80 channels for you to watch with your family and friends.

However, the greatest thing about this particular service is that you have the ability to watch over 30 different sports channels.

All of the various plans for this service come complete with a cloud DVR that you can upgrade if you choose to do so.

Although this fabulous service is an awesome choice for sports lovers, it may not be the best choice for those who want to get all of their local stations.

In addition, you should also know that you can subscribe to this service without a contract.

Better still, if you would like to try it out for free, you can get a seven day free trial that you can cancel at any time.

YouTube TV

The next service that we will take a look at is YouTube TV.

This service has a serious commitment about offering as many local channels in as many areas as possible.

If you are comparing services, this one is second only to Hulu Live when it comes to offering a complete selection of your local channels.

The local channels that they provide include ABC, CBS. NBC. and PBS.

Although they don’t have CW, they are the only streaming service that lets you get PBS.

You also get over 70 other channels to watch.

Another great thing about this service is that you can watch TV on several different kinds of devices, including Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, desktop computers, and mobile devices.

One of the unique things about this service is that you get a cloud DVR with unlimited space.

There is also a mobile app.


This service was formerly known as DirecTV now.

It has one major benefit that none of the other premium services have.

That’s because you not only get a great selection of local channels, but you also get HBO included with any package that you buy.

You also get an on-demand library and cloud storage with any plan that you select.

You can even use your TV Everywhere app if you so desire.

Get a Video Streaming Device

Once you have your streaming service selected, you need to choose some type of streaming device in order to get local channels without cable.

These devices are necessary in order to view the channels from your streaming service on your television.

If you are not very technically savvy, don’t worry.

These technological gadgets are very user-friendly and rather easy to set up.

It’s also good to know that most of these devices are small, usually no larger than your typical Wi-Fi router.

Now we’ll present you with a list of some of the most popular streaming devices that are now available on the market.

Streaming Sticks

Streaming sticks are miniature devices that connect to your TV.

They are smaller then streaming boxes.

Here are three of the most popular streaming sticks that you can buy online or at your favorite retail store.


The first of these items that we will look at is Chromecast, which is a device that will turn your TV into a smart TV.

With this device you can also cast and stream right from your smartphone.


This neat little device gives you the ease of a voice-activated system without you having to worry about your privacy.

All you have to do is simply plug in this device into the back of your television in order to enjoy access too over 1,000 Channels.

Amazon Fire Stick

This powerful little contraption connects directly to your TV’s HDMI port just like Chromecast and the Roku stick.

A few of the services that you can receive with this device include Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, and many more.

This streaming stick also has some interesting features like Voiceview and Screen Magnifier.

This is one of the best options for individuals who are vision and/or hearing impaired.

Streaming Boxes

If you don’t mind a device with the larger footprint than a streaming stick, then you may want to consider getting one of the following streaming boxes.

They generally have more options and features because of their larger size.


This device was developed by Echostar.

It works in conjunction with your Sling TV account and your over-the-air signals in order to give you an integrated viewing experience.

This type of merger between online services and over-the-air services has been desired by many viewers for years.

Now it is available at a very reasonable price.

Roku Streaming Players

These magnificent devices let you watch well over 100,000 movies and television shows from Hulu, Netflix, and many other online streaming services.

This device delivers high quality HD connections.

If that isn’t enough to pique your interest with this gadget, then you should also know that it comes in a very small box and leaves only a tiny footprint.

However, it doesn’t have internet browsing capabilities or any sort of gaming features.

Amazon Fire TV

This is a product line of media player micro consoles developed by Amazon.

They are small network appliances that send digital audio and video streams from the internet to a connected television or device.

These devices allow you to get local channels and play video games.

Three Generations of Development

The first generation of this product offers HDMI audio with support for Dolby Digital Plus.

The second generation features 4K resolution support along with improved processor performance and a brand new chipset in order to support new codecs.

The third generation is not a set-top box; it is a pendant that is similar to the Fire Stick and has more RAM than the 2nd generation version.

However, the third generation was discontinued in order to focus primarily on the Fire Stick.

The Fire TV Cube is similar to the 3rd Generation Fire TV, but it also has embedded Alexa functionality.

In addition, you can use it to control other devices with your voice.

The second generation of the Fire TV Cube was released in 2019 and features a hexa-core processor.

It is also sold in the UK, Germany, Japan, and Canada.

In addition, it includes a voice remote with added volume, power, and mute functions.


These devices allow for live TV broadcasts to be viewed on a wide assortment of gadgets.

This includes desktop computers and tablets.

It also allows you to record live broadcast for later viewing.

The options that you have for live broadcast include sporting events and basic cable programming that includes your local channels.

Apple TV

This digital media receiver will let you use an HDTV set to view photos, play music, and watch video and television.

It is a very popular item because it has a price that is lower than most of the other devices available on the market.

If you are a person who owns a lot of Apple products, then this is probably your best option.

3. Satellite TV

Satellite TV has been a staple with many of the homes in the U.S. for quite some time.

As of right now, there are well over 65 million users of satellite TV.

These services deliver television programming to all kinds of viewers by relaying these signals from a communication satellite in orbit around the globe and transmitting it directly to your location.

Although satellite services are being affected negatively by a shift towards internet-based streaming television, they are still a great option for you to consider if you want to get rid of your cable and still receive all of your local channels.

So let’s now take a look at a few of the services in order to see if there are any that you might be interested in.


The first one of the services that we’ll look at is DirecTV.

This company is a direct broadcast satellite service provider based in the US.

It has well over 15 million subscribers.

It currently offers about 200 high-definition cable channels.

The company has several packages that you can choose from.

You also have the ability to either remove or add channels from your package if you so desire.

It offers many local channels, including Comet, Laff, Telemundo, Azteca, and all of the other major networks in the country including PBS.

It is one of the most popular satellite TV providers in the US and presently offers about 200 HD cable channels.


Another one of the major satellite providers in the country is DISH.

It is highly appreciated by many viewers because of its premium packages that are designed for sports, movie, and television lovers.

This service also features a powerful Hopper that allows you to control the device with your voice.

It is a very popular service because it is very affordable, and many people like to take advantage of these low costs.

Verizon Fios

This company is the only satellite provider that will extend the 100% fiber optic television service in the United States.

This type of service is now available in 13 states.

The name Fios stands for better cable, and it promises that you will have extremely fast downloads and much higher quality.

The premium plan will record up to 12 shows at the same time.

It can also store over 200 hours of programming.

Comcast Xfinity

This company is yet another one of the more popular satellite TV providers.

It offers a wide variety of cheap affordable packages that will provide you with well over a 100 channels.

It also features a DVD that will give you 500 GB of storage as well as voice-search features.

4. Mobile Apps

Here’s the final item on our list of how to get local channels without cable.

It’s a convenient solution for those who are always out and about.

Do you like things that cost you nothing, like free samples or free music apps?

If you do, then you might be interested in knowing that there are many local stations that offer mobile apps that will allow you to watch your local television shows on your phone or mobile device for absolutely no charge at all.

All of the major local networks with the exception of PBS offer these types of apps.

These apps let you stream your local programming without the need for any sort of subscription, cable, or satellite hookup.

However, you should realize that each one of these apps works a little bit differently.

The CBS App

The CBS app lets you view full episodes of your favorite shows the day after the programs have aired.

Now if you want to access the live streaming features of the CBS app or have complete access to all of their archives, then you’ll have to pay for one of their All Access packages, which are not that expensive.

The ABC App

This app features the ability to watch the network’s archives as well as stream live shows for free.

However, in some of the bigger markets such as Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York, you’ll need to have some sort of satellite or cable provider in order to do this.

The NBC App

The NBC app will let you watch recent episodes of some of their new shows for free.

It also allows you to view older episodes as well.

However, live streaming and a select number of new episodes will require you to have a cable or satellite provider.

The Fox App

This app allows you to receive most shows on the day after the original date that the program was aired.

However, there are more selections and additional live streaming options available with your TV provider account.

The CW App

This particular app is not going to be your best bet if you want to watch a lot of the shows on this particular network.

Although they offer free streaming services, they’ll only let you view the most recent episodes of each show.

In addition, there isn’t any sort of option that will let you view more shows even if you do have a subscription provider.

An Increased Amount of Free Programs

Without some sort of subscription package, these mobile apps may not provide you with all of the options that are available for watching your favorite local channels.

However, they do increase the number of shows that you can view on your mobile device for absolutely no charge at all.

Final Thoughts About Our List of How to Get Local Channels Without Cable

So, to sum it all up, a digital antenna is probably going to be your best option for viewing the most local channels available in your viewing area.

The hard part about selecting a streaming service is trying to find one that offers all of the options that you would like to have.

You also have to consider that the availability of these types of services also depends largely on your location.

Therefore, Hulu Live and YouTube TV are two of the better options that you have because they give you more choices for watching local channels.

So basically, getting rid of cable is not that big a deal.

It’s now much easier to ditch these kinds of services and still be able to get all of your local channels.

In this new future of improving technology, it appears as though cable might be on its way out as newer and more modern solutions are found and subsequently implemented.

So why not take a look at some of these options and see if there is some kind of chance for you to cut the cord and be free of the coaxial monster for good.

If you have any other ways on how to get local channels without cable, let us know in the comments below.

Lee FitzSimmons

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