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Get Cheap and Free Cable TV Online

Readers who frequent Grounded Reason may know how to watch TV without cable, but there are a lot of online TV channels to choose from. Bookmark this page as it catalogs all those sources in one place.

Be Free of Cable TV

Before I get into all the sources available online I wanted to give a quick overview of how to free yourself from cable TV. The following steps are a very brief synopsis of the guide: How to Watch TV without Cable.

Step 1: Get yourself a TV antenna for free broadcast TV. I personally use the Mohu Sky 60. This will provide free access to ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, PBS, The CW, and more.

Step 2: Get yourself a streaming device. I use the Roku. It’s one of the most versatile streaming devices on the market today. For a fundamental overview of Roku, what the device does, and a comparison of the different versions check, out my article: What is Roku?

Step 3: Choose the streaming services you would like to use. This page covers websites on the internet to stream free, subscription, local and cable channels over the internet. This page doesn’t contain sports channels. Those can be located on How to Watch Sports Without Cable.

I will continually update this page. If you want any channels added to the page, just let me know in the comments.

Online TV Channels

Cheap Cable TV Online

Sling TV

Sling TV is cheap cable TV over the internet. It’s only $20 a month and provides full access to ESPN, FX, TNT, TBS, AMC, Adult Swim, Disney Channel, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network, and much more. Sling TV has a lot to offer, so check out my review of Sling TV for information on all the channels available.

PlayStation VUE

PlayStation Vue, like Sling TV, offers a way to watch live cable TV online. While more expensive than Sling TV it does offer more channels. However, be aware that the service has been riddled with issues if your internet service provider uses dynamic IP addresses (which most do.) You can find out more about this in my post on PlayStation Vue.

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Premium Cable TV Channels Online

HBO NOW
MAX GO
Showtime
STARZ Play
Showtime on Hulu
HBO and Cinemax on Sling TV
Showtime and Starz on Amazon Prime

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Stream Local TV

The following channels will allow you to stream prime time shows on your local TV networks. However, you miss live events and local sports. You also can’t watch shows until a few days after they are. For a more comprehensive solution check out how to Watch Local Channels Online.

ABC
CBS
FOX
NBC
The CW
PBS

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Free TV Channels

Did you know that there is free cable TV online? Some of the cable TV websites below offer a little content online without a subscription to a cable or satellite TV provider. However to unlock all the content available you will need a cable TV provider login. I know a few folks that share a relative login and watch all the free cable TV they want. . . not that I would condone that or anything.

A&E
Adult Swim
AMC
Animal Planet
BET On Demand
Bravo
Cartoon Network
CMT
Comedy Central
Discovery GO
E!
Esquire Network
Freeform
FX
fyi
GSN
Hallmark Channel Everywhere
HBO GO
HGTV
IFC
Investigation Discovery
Lifetime
LOGO
MSNBC
MTV On Demand
Music Choice
Nat Geo
Nat Geo Wild
Oprah
Ora.Tv
Oxygen
Pivot
Pop
Showtime Anytime
Smithsonian Channel
Sundance
Syfy
TBS
Telemundo Now
The History Channel
TLC
TNT
Travel Channel
truTV
TV LAND
USA
VH1 On Demand
Vogue
Watch Cooking Channel
Watch Disney Channel
Watch Disney Junior
Watch Disney XD
Watch DIY Network
Watch Food Network
Watch HGTV
Watch TCM
Watch Travel Channel
WE tv

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Free TV Channels over the Internet

The following channels offer free TV online over the internet. Some channels are aggregators of free content on the web, others produce and make their own content.

AOL ON
Break
CollegeHumor
Crackle
CW Seed
Funny or Die
Intenu
Internet Archive
Mohu One
My Damn Channel
PBS
PlutoTV
PopcornFlix
Red Bull TV
ShareDots
ShareTV
Shout! Factory TV
Simpsons World
SnagFilms
South Park Studios
teamcoco.com
TestTube
The Onion
Tubi TV
TV.com
VEVO
Viewster
Vimeo
Yamgo

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Online News Channels

Also check out my guide on how to watch the news without cable TV.

60 Minutes All Access
Bloomberg
C-SPAN
CBS News
NBC News
TMZ

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Free Kids TV Shows Online

Discovery Kids
National Geographic Kids
Nick Jr.
Nickelodeon
Nicktoons
PBS Kids
Sprout Now
TeenNick
ToonsTV

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Subscription Internet TV Channels

Acorn TV
Amazon Prime
CBS All Access
Pure Flix
ConTV
Crunchyroll
DramaFever
Fandor
Feeln
HBO NOW
Hulu
IndieFlix
MAX GO
Netflix
PlayStation VUE
RabbitTV
Seeso
Showtime
Sling TV
STARZ Play
Vid Angel
VUDU
Warner Archive
YouTube Red
TV LAND

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Cheap Cable TV by the Show

Many times it’s cheaper to simply buy the shows you want to watch. Buying cable show season passes from iTunes and Amazon is a much more affordable way to watch television compared to paying for a cable or satellite subscription.

My family bought the current Season of Better Call Saul, The Walking Dead, and a couple other shows this year. Add in our Hulu and Netflix subscription and all our content cost around $27 per month. That’s more than half the cost of cable TV.

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View Comments (62)

    • Sports content is the most expensive to license on all of cable, so it's near impossible to find for free . . . legally. If you're curios about whats available to folks without cable in the way of sports then check this post: Watch ESPN without cable

  • Currently no. They do however, have limited content on weather.com. Depending on which streaming device you have there are substitutes to get weather information.

  • Will Sling TV allow watching via once account on various devices at the same time. For example, can I watch on my bedroom tv (via Roku) and my son watch via his tablet somewhere else at the same time watching different channels?

    • Unfortunately Sling TV requires a subscription fro each stream. It's there way of ensuring no one is sharing accounts. Sling TV is made by Dish so they are taking the same approach that a cable company would take with making you pay per TV.

  • Fantastic website. Thank you for assembling all this information in one place. What's the best way to access the cable news channels?

    • Thanks Janis. I appreciate you visiting the site. Also thanks for giving me a great Post idea. I don't think I've really covered the various news options out their. I'll put something together. To get you an immediate answer, there are various solutions depending on your device. For example Apple TV has live news feeds for CBS and Sky News. Roku has ABC news on a live stream. The Sling TV service has CNN and a whole host of cable News content. These are just a few examples. There are many more, I'll work on getting a post done with more information.

  • My husband has concerns about local channels/programming and network channels/programming.

    I always investigate options without cable, and must say your articles are easy to understand, but I still can't wrap my mind around which subscriptions would fit our needs,,,,,,From your articles I understand that amazon prime and/or Netflix, have movies and tv series that are not current. Hulu Plus is like the on demand / DVR option . Sling tv has cable channel options ... but what about local and network shows/ news?

    I have already tried the "antenna" option , but only receive ABC(, on a good day,) several PBS channels ,. and a double channel of "antenna tv"..... I remain still confused

    Help!

    Donna Carpenter

    • If you post your TV Fool report I'd be glad to give you some advice on the antenna setup. In some situations a directional antenna may be required to capture the networks you are looking for.

  • Hi, thank you so much for this info. Where will I be able to get FOX News?thanks!

    • Fox news isn't too keen on the streaming front just yet. I think the PlayStation VUE service is really the only way.

  • Can I watch walking dead when it airs live on sling? And orphan black can I get the most current season or do I have to wait?

    • You can watch Walking Dead Live onSling. I watch Orphan Black by purchasing the current season on Amazon. It's available 1 day after an episode airs.

  • Dennis... Thank you for pulling together this web site, one of the most straight forward and easy to understand. I pulled the plug on cable, installed an OTA antenna, and subscribe to Netflix. The one thing I miss is CNBC and I can't find a way to a live stream? If not CNBC, possibly Bloomberg?

    • Thanks Vince. Bloomberg TV is available on Roku and Apple TV for free. Which device do you use to stream?

  • I'm currently staying with my nefew. He doesn't have cable & only gets a couple channels with a little indoor antenna. Thanks to your research, we have ordered a Mohu Sky 60 it should be here soon. I would like to know how to use Amazon prim on his unsmart tv.
    Thank you for sharing !

    • Your most welcome Paula. To use Prime you would need to get a streaming device like a Roku. That's assuming the TV has an HDMI port.

  • I am currently with AT&T U-Verse. I want a cheaper alternative without losing the content that they offer. What can I do?

  • I wish there was a way to get current MTV programming without having a cable service provider! Most, if not all, of their programs require it for online access #lame They need to get with the times and market to their younger audience who is cutting the cord from standard cable service!

  • I have cut my cable. I just have internet from Cox so I can stream in Sling TV via a Roku. I also bought a digital antenna but my local NBC and Fox stations do not come in. I get ABC and CBS stations just fine. Is this because of the location of the NBC and FOX towers? (I think I have a hill just to my northeast that is in the path of their tower). Is there any other way to watch these networks LIVE? (Sports)

    Also, I would pay 4 to 6 dollars a month if The Golf Channel would put an app on Apple TV or Roku to where you could watch live golf. Do you know anything about them possibly doing this in the future?

    • I would need to take a look at your Fool TV report to get an idea of why certain channels won't come in. As for Golf Channel, I hope they do. However, I haven't heard anything as of yet. Remember, the more people that drop cable TV, the more likely it will be for sports to offer streaming solutions.

    • Hi Kim, Turner Classic Movies is availlable on Sling TV. There is a ton of free TV Land content available on their website.

    • They have limited content on there Roku app. Unfortunately to get everything available you need a cable provider login.

  • I have Century Link Prism "bundle" that gives me a cable provider login. If I disconnect the phone and TV with them and leave the broad band would my cable provider login be accepted by the apps I plan to stream over the Internet?

    • Typically no. I have FiOS internet and my login does not work. Be aware that if you subscribe to Sling TV, some channels allow you to watch their channel on their app. ESPN is one of those channels.

  • Dennis Restauro says
    June 29, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Unfortunately Sling TV requires a subscription fro each stream. It’s there way of ensuring no one is sharing accounts. Sling TV is made by Dish so they are taking the same approach that a cable company would take with making you pay per TV.

    Hey Dennis

    Sling now has a Beta out that carries Fox stations and you can stream 3 tv's at a time.

    • Yes, It's pretty awesome. I hope they are able to consolidate the packages at some point.

  • Dennis: Thank you for the great information you supply to us! Greatly appreciated! My question is if I cut the cord I would still like to get some programs and racing channels TVG or HRTV or both! If I get a Roku It is my understanding that I can get most of what I am looking for with a Roku device and pick some channels and HRTV etc that is available on KlowdTV. If that is true --is that all I need- the Roku device and a subscription to KlowdTV? I also have a Visio Smart TV with Netflix, Hulu, and some others already loaded on the TV. Can any of them be used to do what I want as stated above?
    Thanks in advance for the info!
    Steve

    • I have a Vizio Smart TV as well, and I never use it. The Roku is superior in every way when it comes to streaming. A Roku and Klowd TV subscription seems to be all you would need.

  • Hey there, You've done an excellent job. I’ll definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site.

  • I had a question on channels. I am trying to decide if we need an antenna or not (indoor). I don't really care too much if it is live TV or recorded and watched later. I am not planning on getting a DVR. Trying to work away from that. I mainly want PBS for the kids and CBS for myself. On the Roku3 is PBS free? And if I get CBS all access I should have all of the current shows on CBS, correct? I think the only part we will be losing out on is my husband watching football. We would need an antenna for that, but football doesn't start for a couple more months. We are also planning on doing Sling for our other shows / channels we like to watch. With most of these subscriptions we want watch what we want, when we want, correct? So we shouldn't need to get a DVR to record something say if it is on while we are out as with these subscriptions it is more like "on demand".? What is Hulu good for, shows, movies, or both?

    • My roku 3 is showing up today for me to check out and I just got my father in laws cable log in information. So I am hoping I can use that to get into Nick Jr on the Roku to have that for my girls (along with Disney Jr). I will check back for your response on what you found out too.

      • Hi Heather,

        I just interrupted my girls watching "Adventure Time" and installed Nick Jr. Through all the yelling, screaming, booing, and hissing because I got in the way of the TV I discovered that there is a lot of free full episodes available on Nick Jr.

        Take care,

        Dennis

    • Dennis,

      Which would you recommend Amazon or Hulu Plus? Those are the two I am trying to decide between. I think I remember you stating somewhere on this website that Nick Jr. has some of their shows on Amazon. Is there a place I can see what all if on Amazon? I don't think Amazon offers their free month of Prime anymore to try it out. But I see that they have it for like $8.99/month, or $99 for a year. My husband and I buy a ton from Amazon...including diapers (amazon mom type things)...but nothing to where we need it in 2 days. So we don't have Prime yet. Also with the Roku 3 I see above that you mention Nick Jr. is free online shows and stuff. I went to the website last night to check it out. Once I hook up the Roku 3 can I still access the Nick Jr and add it as a channel, and if so is there a monthly charge? I can get it on my tablet, just was not sure how to go about getting it to work with the Roku to get it on the screen. I also checked our the Disney Jr and PBS for kids that you mention above. I think my toddlers and husband will have the hardest time with this change at first so I am trying to get things figured out before switching over. thanks a ton!!

      • Amazon Prime is free for a month. Sign up and see if it works for you. That's what we did, and it's the service we use the most. Remember, Prime gives saves you tons on shipping.

        I'll have to get back to you about the Nick Jr. App on the Roku. I want to say it won't have much if any content, but I haven't verified it. I have 2 kids. I find my kids hate change, but they adapt quickly. Much quicker than most adults I know.

    • Hi Heather,

      Yes the PBS app is free and CBS All Access will get you the current CBS shows 1 day after they air on broadcast. Majority will let you stream shows when you want. The only acceptation is Sling TV. While it offers some On-Demand, it is more of a live TV service.

  • Dennis,

    I see that you mention Rabbit TV plus on here? I was browsing the web today and noticed an ad for it. I have never heard of it. It shows something about $2/month. Is it a channel I can add to my Roku, or is it something that I go to on my tablet and mirror it to the TV? I was just sort of curious as to what Rabbit TV plus is? This is about the only place on your blog I see it mentioned.

    • Rabbit TV is an aggregator. It doesn't give you any content you can't already watch for free. It just puts it all in one place.

  • Have you got anything on directdigitaltv.com? I cut the cable almost 2 years ago and the only thing I miss is NFL games and college football and basketball. The directdigitaltv.com offers a $4.95 seven day trial period but I can't find anything out about them and they want way too much information without a reference.

    Thanks

  • Can you explain what you mean by this statement "However to unlock all the content available you will need a cable TV provider login. I know a few folks that share a relative login and watch all the free cable TV they want" What is a TV Provider login and once you get it, how do you use it?
    Thanks, Jerry

    • When you are a cable subscriber there should be an ID and password you have to log into these apps with.

  • Dennis,

    I am interesting in some of the topics you cover on your podcasts, but do not have an hour to invest to listen to them and would prefer to read than listen anyway. Are these new articles no longer available on your website?

    • Most of the cord cutting related stuff is covered in writing on the blog. This week was an exception due to some personal issues. I'll start putting together better notes for those not listening to the podcast. I will say however, that listening to a podcast is much less of a time investment than reading. I listen to podcasts when I do boring stuff like the dishes, laundry and cleaning. Helps pass the time.

  • Hello Dennis,

    I enjoy your blog and the information for families on saving money
    on entertainment is very important in these economic times.

    Where I am we get about 30 channel OTA (over the air) in the
    Niagara Peninsula area .
    Where I run into trouble is finding free or low cost programing
    online .
    most of the recomondations you have works great in the USA
    but crash and burn for Canadians due to the IP location deal.
    with a long list of (sorry your IP is not in the range for this programing)
    Being in Canada we have a huge Void of free or low cost alternatives
    to the BIG Cable and Sat providers.
    We envy your large choice of alternative low cost programing so keep that blog going for all those families fighting that tight dollar.

    • Thanks Roger, have you looked into a VPN or SmartDNS to change your IP to a U.S. based one? Mileage may vary, but my wife and I watched all our U.S. based content when we were in Toronto earlier this year. We used a SmartDNS service from Overplay.

  • Hello!
    What is the cheapest way to get a log in for a cable TV provider login? I had a friend who gave me his login, then got mad at me, and changed password!! Im not opposed to paying, just want to get the best deal. Ive got a ROKU, and really love the stations I was able to activate with the cable login...May have to just have to go with Sling. Will the sling cable TV provider login work with the A&E app?

  • Hi Dennis,

    We're going to be cutting the cord from dish network very soon. We currently have our internet service through charter cable. Is it possible to get basic service by plugging our tv directly into our cable modem?

  • Greetings Dennis,

    I have recently cut the cord on cable television for financial reasons... To be honest I don't mind paying for what I watch, I just don't want to break the bank to do it. Are there any streaming options like sling for example that allow one to only pay for the channels most watched?? Like a create your own tv sort of thing.

    • Sling is the best for that, but no service is truly "A la Carte". However, you can by current seasons of just about any TV on iTunes or Amazon. I have an antenna for network and just buy the cable shows from Amazon. Episodes are available 1 day after they air on TV. I explain it in this article on cable TV alternatives.

  • We only watch UK TV and MHZ. Is it possible to attain those station with any of the mentioned options?

  • Excuse me, but you have to pay the price gouging cable companies for their service in order to have a log in code. There is no such thing as free cable TV online. This article is a waste, as is your review of the Mohu Leaf 50, which is a POS. My old antenna from analog TV gets better reception than the Leaf.

    • My leaf works great. You likely have VHF stations which the leaf doesn’t handle well. I’ve mentioned that in my comprehensive guide to TV antennas which I recommend going to first. And you do not need a cable log in. There are plenty of ways to get cable channels without a cable login. Many are listed in this article.