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Watching Cable News Online without Pay TV

CC: Daniel Lobo

Cable news networks are some of the most watched networks on cable TV. Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN consistently are in the top 10 weekly viewer ratings.  Next to sports, it’s the biggest reason people are still tied to the cable box.

However, just as there is many options for sports fans without cable, there are plenty of ways to watch these networks without having a traditional pay TV subscription and paying for cable or satellite TV. Today I’m going to break down your options for watching these networks online and provide a few other alternatives to getting your news without forking over thousands of dollars every year.  The table below provides an overview of the various streaming services and which “big three” cable news networks they carry

DIRECTV NOW fuboTV Hulu Philo PlayStation Vue Sling Orange Sling Blue YouTube
$35 – $70 $40 $40 $16 $40 – $75 $20 $25 $35
CNN
Fox News
MSNBC
+$5

Watch Fox News without Cable

The most robust option for watching Fox News without cable is Direct TV Now. This service provides most of the top Cable TV networks online for only $35 per month. It supports all of the major streaming devices on the market and is my top pick when it comes to channel availability on a streaming service. They also offer streaming of local broadcast networks in many markets. Therefore, it provides not only Fox News, but a way to watch your local news without using a TV antenna. You can check out their free trial to see if you like their service. Be sure to check out my review of DIRECTV NOW for more details.

DIRECTV NOW isn’t the only way to watch FOX News without cable. You can also find Fox News Network on the following streaming services.

FuboTV –  This service offers some top channels you typically find on Cable TV, but focuses on sports programming. It’s a favorite of sports loving cord-cutters. The service is $40 per month, but offers discounts for the first 2 months of your subscription. Check out their 1-week free trial to test out their service. You can also read my review of FuboTV for more details on what the service offers.

Hulu Live TV – Another streaming service that rivals DIRECTV NOW when it comes to streaming local channels. However, it doesn’t quite have the number of channels you can get on DIRECTV NOW.  They also offer a free trial and you can read my review of Hulu’s Live TV service for more information.

YouTube TV – This service costs $35 per month and excels at local channel streaming, but doesn’t quite stack up to DIRECTV NOW when comparing cable channel availability. It’s also not available in  all markets. See my review of YouTube TV to see they are available in your area.

PlayStation Vue – This service is a favorite among Cord Cutters for being a very well rounded streaming service. Pricing starts at $40 per month. They offer a free trial. As always, you can check out my review of PlayStation Vue for more details on the service.

Watch MSNBC Online without Cable

Sling TV is the most affordable way to watch MSNBC without cable. MSNBC is a part of their “Blue Package” and  costs $25 per month. Sling TV offers excellent channel availability and added feature options like a cloud DVR. You can test their service with their 1-week trial offer. Be sure to check out my review of Sling TV for more details on the service. While Sling TV is the most affordable option to watch MSNBC online, it’s also available on the following services:

Watch CNN without Cable

If you want to watch CNN online, the most affordable option is again Sling TV. However, live streaming of CNN is available through their cheaper “Orange Package” at only $25 per month. Alternatively, you can watch CNN online with the following options:

Local News without Cable

The best way to watch your local news if though your local over the broadcast. It’s free. All you need is a digital TV (TVs made after 2009 are) and a TV antenna. Check out our guide to choosing the best TV antenna to make sure you get one that meets your needs. If you don’t want the hassle of installing a TV antenna, many services stream local channels in many markets. Check out our guide to streaming local channels to see which service is right for you.

Other Streaming News Options

For those interested in around the clock coverage, there are plenty of options available online. This isn’t limited to watching on your smartphone or tablet.  You can just as easily enjoy the news on your living room TV using any of the following streaming services.

CBSNews: This free 24-hour streaming news service includes live, anchored coverage on weekdays. If you are more interested in actual news and reporting than commentary, then this is the channel for you. It’s my personal go to when I want national and world news coverage.

CBS news is available on  iPhone, iPad,  Android phones and tablets, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, and Android TV.

HuffPost Live: If you are more a fan of cable news, give HuffPost Live a try. It’s more pundit oriented and less actual news reporting. It’s available in  iOS, Android, Roku, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

Bloomberg TV: For cord cutters who want  live streaming news with a business based point of view, Bloomberg TV is the place to go. You can catch Bloomberg TV on  iOS devices , Android,  Roku, Apple TV,  Fire TV, and Android TV.

News From Abroad

Sky News: If you want news from sources outside the US, then Sky News is a great source. It’s based in the U.K., so it is occasionally heavy on things happening in and around the U.K, but overall it’s a great source for world news. It’s one of my favorites, and it’s free on iOS and  Android devices, Roku, Apple TV,  and Fire TV.

Conclusion

The desire to watch news shouldn’t hold you back from cutting the cord. I’ve only covered the major news outlets available to you without cable. There are a whole host of niche news options available online through the web. I used to be a cable news junky, now I don’t even miss it.

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Categories: Guides
Dennis Restauro :Dennis is the founder of Grounded Reason. He also hosts the Grounded Reason Podcast. Follow him on Twitter: Follow Dennis on Twitter

View Comments (14)

  • New Years Resolution, no more cable tv expense. We are cutting the cord, thank you for your awesome reasons and research. The only program we will miss is Fox News. They can only be received through one of the expensive cable tv subscriptions. All the streaming news programs you listed here were one sided, liberal news stations. Watching them is like watching the blind man trying to describe an elephant when all they can feel is the trunk. We see enough liberal political news propaganda, and it is so limited in its scope. We like watching Fox news, giving a little bit more perspective to our political climate. Hoping you are a open minded type who keeps his pulse on the real thing, watches more than liberal tv, and can recommend some news programs that give perspectives from the other side of the wall?

    • Sure, there are more conservative news sources available. Take a look at Cowger Network and Newsmax. Both have channels available on Roku.

  • Yes Phil, I really wanted Fox News also (I am a big fan of Bill O).
    But hard to rationalize $126 per month for one program compared to $20 for Sling (I never could get PS VUE to work - "1014" error. So I finally bit the bullet yesterday, and cut the Dish cord.
    And here is the thing, I can get up in the morning and watch whichever Fox News the different Fox News programs of the previous day. I start off with Bill O, and go from there!

  • My husband is a huge Fox News watcher. He will not cut the cord if he can't have his Fox News Live. From what I have read on your site - there doesn't seem to be a source for this other than what I am trying to avoid - cable/satellite. It seems Vue might be shows from the previous day? More of an on demand option? Am I missing something?
    Thanks so much for all of this very helpful info!

  • Echo the comments on FOX NEWS. Commentary and news on CNN and other stations is always so slanted left, once you watch FOX you realize that and hear what you have been missing. Its absurd.

    I do not want to subscribe to cable either for 1 station but its getting to that point.

  • Ok, for Fox News, I read in the other comments that the only other source is the relative expensive PS VUE. Is that THE only streaming source? Do all the various streaming devices (ROKU, Fire TV, etc. allow Fox News through?) I'm even more curious as to why Fox News is so limited like this?

    • You would have to check with Fox New. They just made themselves available on DIRECTV NOW. It's totally up to the network if they want to license to streaming services.

  • After some requests I've updated this article to cover Cable News networks available on live streaming services. Prior to that it was more about non cable news sources. It made more sense to have this all contained in one article.

  • Thanks Glenn! That's a tough combination. It seems like there are 4 ways to get ever channel you want but 1. DirecTV Now has been surveying customers about it for awhile, so I remain hopeful. Are you a Verizon wireless customer? If so NFL Network is free over mobile.

    • Yeah. I'm hoping DirectTV Now will complete the last piece of the puzzle soon. I am a Verizon Customer, but can't take watching TV on a mobile device. Old school I'm afraid. That's the other part that makes cord cutting difficult. Changing my viewing style. I'm a confirmed channel surfer and tend to leave my bedroom TV on all night. That's not to say I CAN'T change........

      Thanks

  • Dennis, Your chart of streaming services with cable news shows is extremely helpful. I also found a great shortcut. The NBC News app (on Roku) has videos of MSNBC and NBC news shows and often posts same day videos clips minus ads! Plus I can view CBSN (CBS 24/7 news) via CBS All Access and Pluto (free on Roku, etc.)! It's worth saving on high cable costs (dropped cable a year ago). Finally, the Channel Pear app (via my Amazon TV Stick but Roku dropped it) allows 4 free channels. MSNBC is one of my free channels. I even found a free channel that streams MSNBC on the Internet. Like you. I was a cable news junkie for years. Now, I don't care to view activities of this President and his administration 24/7.