For years, the only way to watch TV was with cable. Sure, you could use an antenna to watch limited local channels, but if you wanted popular network channels you needed cable. There was no way to watch networks like AMC, BBC America, Lifetime, Hallmark, Food Network, Syfy, and ESPN other than signing up for a cable contract. If you missed something you wanted to watch, you usually had to wait for it to come back on before you could watch it. Now things are different. Thanks to the streaming revolution there are dozens of ways to watch TV without cable.
This guide offers a complete look at how to watch TV without cable. In the following sections you’ll learn about the benefits of streaming TV without cable, the streaming devices you can use, and the live and on-demand services that are available if you want to watch TV without cable! So, if you’ve been curious about what it’s like to stream TV without cable, keep reading!
How to Watch TV Without Cable: At a Glance
It’s easier than ever to watch TV without cable. Whether you want to watch a local channel or something that’s offered through cable, you can bet that you’ll find a streaming service that offers that channel and a lot more. That said, you have a few options for how you can stream TV without cable and all of the options are listed below. Before we get into specific services let’s break down the main options available to you.
Live TV without Cable: Several services are available that will allow you to watch live TV. These services function a lot like cable, but they are cheaper and give you more options than cable usually does. These services offer TV live and on-demand with a set number of channels and perks like cloud-DVR space and the ability to stream on multiple devices at the same time.
Local Channels without Cable: Many streaming services also offer local channels live. Local channels are based on location, so just because a service offers a channel like ABC, doesn’t mean it will be in your package. Luckily, you can find out what local channels are available in your area before you sign up to any service. You can learn more about streaming local channels in our guide to watching local channels without cable.
On-Demand TV: Another option is to choose an on-demand service. While content isn’t live, it’s always there waiting for you when you’re ready to start binging. TV and movies are available with most on-demand services. Most services also offer original content that is exclusive to their service. The benefit to on-demand TV is that you receive a wide range of content for a small monthly fee.
You can learn more about how to watch TV live and on-demand in the sections below.
Using Streaming Services to Watch TV Without Cable
If you’ve made it to this article, it’s clear you’re ready to be one of the thousands of consumers walking away from cable every single day. Whether you’re completely new to streaming or looking for new ways to watch your favorite shows, this section will offer the many benefits of streaming TV without cable.
Cheaper Prices – The best part of streaming TV for most people is that it’s much cheaper than cable. Cable is typically around $100 per month. In contrast, streaming services average $45 per month. Some plans do cost more, but it depends on the plan. There are even a couple plans that start as low as $20 per month. Just imagine how much money you’ll save and what you can do with all that extra cash!
Risk-Free Sign-Ups – First off, there aren’t any contracts in streaming. If you sign up, you can remain a member for as long as you want. You can cancel on your own, through your online account, without talking to any customer service agent. The goal is to make sure that you have the service you want and that’s it. What’s even better is that streaming services usually include a free trial. Most of them offer the first week free, though it does vary. Still, if you find you don’t like the service you’ve picked during the trial, you can cancel before you have to pay for something that’s not working for you.
More Viewing Options – You’ll learn more about streaming devices in the section below, but it’s worth mentioning that streaming devices allow you to watch TV live and on-demand pretty much wherever you want. As you sign into the streaming services you use, you have the freedom to hook up your streaming devices pretty much anywhere that you have an Internet connection. That means you can take your streaming devices to a hotel when you’re on vacation or to a friend’s house to watch the game. With mobile devices, you can stream on-the-go, too.
Added Perks – Being able to watch TV without cable is great, but streaming services offer more than just live TV. Some popular features include:
- Make user profiles for family members or roommates if you share your streaming accounts
- You can add HBO and other movie channels or depending on the service, you can add bundles of channels for a small fee
- Watch TV on your schedule in the on-demand library
- TV Everywhere apps give you new ways to watch TV live and on-demand
- Most services offer a cloud-DVR and many services allow you to upgrade the space, as needed
- You can stream on multiple devices simultaneously and some services allow you to upgrade to stream on more devices at once
Streaming services tend to offer more features and benefits for less money, which makes them worth trying out if you like watching TV and you don’t want cable.
Watch TV without Cable Using a Streaming Device
While you use a cable box for watching TV with cable, you use a streaming device for streaming TV without cable. These devices are portable and easy to use. Most of them, if connected to your TV, work as plug and play devices. This means you usually only have to connect one or two cords to get things working. This makes it easy to plug and unplug your streaming devices from your TVs, allowing you to move devices to different TVs, whether in your own home or when you take your device with you on vacation. You can also use mobile devices, computers and more.
Most streaming services allow you to use as many devices as possible, as that offers you more ways to stream TV without cable using their service. That said, device availability will vary based on the service you choose. Some popular device options include:
- Mobile devices (iOS and Android mobile phones and/or tablets)
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV devices (Fire TVs, Fire Stick, etc.)
- Gaming consoles (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Nintendo Switch)
- Smart TVs
- And more!
You can also check our guide to streaming devices to learn more about available device options. Now let’s look at the specific services that you can use to watch TV without cable.
Watch TV without Cable using Hulu with Live TV
Hulu with Live TV is a popular way to watch TV without cable. You get 60+ live channels and Hulu’s on-demand service for just $45 a month. The channel lineup includes local channels in most areas. You’ll also have FX, ESPN, Syfy, USA, TNT, CNN, FXX, Freeform, CW, and many other channels. You can use TV Everywhere apps for many of the networks in your package. Also included is a cloud-DVR with upgradeable space. Movie channels are available for an additional fee. You can stream TV without cable on Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Fire TV, gaming consoles, mobile devices, and more. Here are some more highlights:
- 60+ channels are included for $45 per month
- Hulu on-demand is included with this package
- Cable channels include ESPN, Food Network, Freeform, TNT, USA, CNN, Disney, Syfy, FX, and others
- Hulu Live offers local channels to more homes than any other streaming service
- A free Hulu Live trial is available for the first week or your membership
- Watch Hulu Live on computers, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, iOS and Android, Amazon Fire TV devices, and more
- The cloud-DVR includes 50-hours of space or get more with an upgrade
A great way to learn more about Hulu Live is by signing up for the free weeklong Hulu Live trial available to new subscribers.
Our Hulu with Live TV review can tell you more.
Stream TV without Cable on Philo
Philo offers the best prices you’ll find if you want to watch TV without cable. Prices start at just $20 per month. You won’t get local or sports channels, but if you’re looking for around 50 cable networks, Philo offers the cheapest option. Despite the low price, you still get the same features common in streaming including an on-demand library and a cloud-DVR with unlimited space. You can stream TV without cable on Philo with Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, mobile devices, and more. Here are some package highlights:
- Stream TV without cable for just $20 per month
- Watch 50 channels without cable
- Prices are lower because local and sports channels are not available
- Watch AMC, Hallmark, A&E, History, Comedy Central, Discovery, and more
- All plans come with an on-demand library
- Unlimited space is available with the cloud-DVR
- No contracts or hidden fees!
- Philo is free for the first week
- Watch on iOS and Android devices, Apple TV, Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, and more
If you’re new to Philo, the best way to learn more is to sign up for Philo’s free weeklong trial.
Our Philo review has more info.
Watch TV without Cable on PlayStation Vue
PlayStation Vue has four package options you can choose from, starting with 50+ channels for $45. Local channels are available in some areas. Depending on your package you could also have channels like AMC, ESPN, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, FX, USA, TNT, and many other devices. You’ll have an on-demand library and a cloud-DVR with 28-day storage. TV Everywhere apps are also included for many networks. There’s also nationwide on-demand access and access to TV Everywhere apps. Details for PS Vue include:
- Four plans are available from $45 a month
- Channels could include AMC, ESPN, Freeform, Syfy, FX, TNT, USA, TBS, and more
- Local channels are available in some areas
- An on-demand library features local and network TV
- User profiles can be made for the whole family
- The cloud-DVR features 28-day storage
- Stream simultaneously on five devices at once
- Watch on PS3/PS4 consoles, Amazon Fire TV, computers, Roku, Chromecast, iOS/Android apps, Apple TV, and more
Like most streaming services, PlayStation Vue is a contract-free service. A PS Vue 5-day trial available for new subscribers.
Our PS Vue review has more details on the service.
Stream TV without Cable on Sling TV
Sling TV is one of the cheapest ways to watch TV without cable. Two package options are available for $25 per month or you can combine those two packages into one larger package for $40/month. Packages start with around 30+ channels, but you can add additional channels for a small fee. An on-demand library is included and some TV Everywhere apps can be used. If you want a cloud-based DVR that will cost you more. You can watch TV with Sling TV on Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV devices, Apple TV, mobile devices, and more. Here is more on Sling TV:
- The channel lineup will depend on the package you choose
- 3 package options starting at $25 per month
- Additional add-on channels are available either in single channels or bundle packs
- Channels can include AMC, FX, USA, ESPN, TNT, Comedy Central, and more
- A cloud-DVR can be added for $5 per month
- Try Sling TV free for a week
- An on-demand library offers content you might have missed live
- TV Everywhere apps offer added live and on-demand content
- Stream on iOS/Android mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, gaming consoles, Apple TV, and more
Sling TV won’t force you to sign a contract, so every part of your subscription can be modified or canceled on your terms. If you’re new to Sling TV, there’s a one-week Sling TV free trial available that will let you experience the service for yourself.
You can learn more in our Sling TV review.
Stream TV without Cable on fuboTV
fuboTV started as a sports streaming service, but now they offer over 80+ channels in their main package. Depending on your area, you could have NBC, FOX, and other local and regional channels. You’ll also have 30+ sports channels, AMC, Hallmark, Food Network, USA, TNT, and many other channels. Make no mistake, however, fuboTV is still the best way to watch sports without cable. You can watch MLB, NBA, NFL, soccer, and more with fuboTV.
You’ll also have an on-demand library and access to TV Everywhere apps. A cloud-based DVR is included and though space is limited, an upgrade is available. You can watch TV without cable on fuboTV with mobile devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and other devices. Plans are $55 per month, but the first month is available for $45. Check out more on fuboTV:
- $55 per month
- The first month is available for $45
- No contracts – cancel anytime you want
- 80+ channels including 30+ sports channels
- Some local channels are offered live in select cities
- 3-Day Replay is part of the on-demand library
- Stream on iOS/Android apps, Apple TV, computers, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and more
- A cloud-DVR features limited but upgradeable space
Don’t forget, you can try fuboTV for yourself risk-free, during the fuboTV 7-day trial.
You should be able to answer any additional questions with our fuboTV review.
Watch TV without Cable Streaming Live on YouTube TV
YouTube TV is newer than some services, but the service already offers plenty of ways to watch TV without cable. In fact, many of your favorite channels are probably available here. YouTube TV is $50 per month for 70+ channels. You’ll have the ability to simultaneously stream on multiple devices and you can make user profiles for the family.
On-demand content is available in the on-demand library or through a variety of available TV Everywhere apps. You can also watch shows you save to your cloud-based DVR. Each recording is held for up to nine months and with unlimited space, you can record as much as you want. Streaming TV on YouTube TV is simple.
You can watch TV on Roku, Chromecast, mobile devices, computers, Apple TV, and more.
Here are some highlights on YouTube TV:
- Over 70 channels are available
- Local channels are available in many areas
- Watch BET, USA, FX, MSNBC, CNN, Food Network, AMC, TNT, ESPN, Freeform, and more
- $50 a month with no contracts
- An on-demand library is included
- Watch TV without cable using computers, Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, and mobile devices
- The cloud-based DVR features unlimited space
Don’t forget, you can cancel at any point as YouTube TV is contract-free. If you’re new to this service, you’re eligible for the free one-week trial offer. Our YouTube TV review has more details.
Watch TV without Cable Live on DIRECTV NOW
DIRECTV NOW gives you the choice between multiple packages. You can enjoy local channels in some areas, though it will ultimately depend on your location. You’ll also have channels like ESPN, USA, TNT, TBS, Freeform, FX, and others. The actual channel lineup will depend on the package you choose. Prices start at $50 and that includes 40+ channels. This package is unique compared to some because it offers HBO at no additional charge. All packages also include a cloud-DVR with limited space and an on-demand library filled with previously aired content. Here’s more on DIRECTV NOW:
- Multiple package options starting at $50 per month
- 40+ channels are included in the smallest package
- HBO is included in the Plus and Max plans at no additional cost
- Local channels are available in each package, but are only offered live in select cities
- The cloud-based DVR features limited space
- You can also use TV Everywhere apps for more content
- Watch on Apple TV, computers, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, iOS/Android apps, etc.
The best way to try DIRECTV NOW if you’re interested, is with the free weeklong trial that’s available.
Additional details are also available in our DIRECTV NOW review.
Sign up for Niche Services to Watch More TV without Cable
Sometimes you want to watch TV without cable, but you’re only looking for a specific channel or something that’s not readily available in other, larger packages. These smaller service options are often referred to as niche services.
Some options include:
CBS All Access: As the name might imply, this service offers you CBS. About 90% of the country will receive the CBS live stream. This allows you to watch whatever is airing on CBS at the time. An on-demand library is available nationwide and it includes over 10,000 episodes of new and old CBS shows, sports, news, and more! CBS All Access originals are included exclusively, as well, including The Twilight Zone reboot, The Good Fight, and Star Trek Discovery. Prices for CBS All Access (review) start at $6 per month and there’s a one-week trial available.
ESPN+: This standalone streaming service may be owned by ESPN, but they offer their own exclusive content. Plans start at $5 per month, but you can save money with the annual plan at $50. Sports coverage includes a mix of sporting events and sports-related shows like Draft Academy and Detail: Kobe Bryant. You’ll be able to watch PGA golf, cricket, MLS, MLB, NHL, Grand Slam tennis, college sports, and around 100 UFC Fight Nights per year. You can enjoy a free one-week trial when you sign up. Check out our ESPN+ review for more info.
Amazon Channels: While Amazon Prime isn’t a niche service, if you’re a Prime member you can subscribe to various niche services under Amazon Channels. This gives you on-demand content and in some cases, you’ll also get live streams for channels like HBO, Starz, and Showtime. Each Amazon Channel comes at a different cost and is billed monthly after a free trial. For example, HBO is $15, and Starz is $9. You can also get Channels offering everything from Lifetime movies to Boomerang cartoons. Remember, you need Amazon Prime (free 30-day trial) to sign up for Amazon Channels, but if you’re a member subscribing allows you to have many of your favorite channels all in one spot.
Watch TV On-Demand without Cable
Live TV is always going to be the priority for some people, but if you don’t have to watch something the moment it airs, on-demand services offer a cheap and effective way to watch all of your favorite shows whenever you want to watch them. With that in mind here are a few good ways to watch TV without cable on-demand.
Netflix: Before streaming was popular, Netflix was making a killing starting off the streaming revolution. Netflix offers a steady stream of on-demand content from several networks and movie studios. You’ll have access to thousands of TV shows and movies. You’ll also be able to binge all of your favorite Netflix Originals. Multiple package plans are available, including the $9/month non-HD plan or the $16/month premium plan which includes four simultaneous 4K streams per account. A free one-month trial is available.
Hulu: We previously mentioned Hulu Live, but before live TV was offered, Hulu was killing it offering on-demand TV. Packages include next-day episodes for many popular networks including FOX and ABC. Many full season shows are available, as well as a large selection of movies. Hulu Original content is also including offering hits like The Handmaid’s Tale and others. Plans vary in price, but if you don’t mind a few commercials, you can get Hulu for just $5.99 per month. A free one-week trial is available.
Amazon Prime: The great thing about Amazon Prime is all of the entertainment options included in one membership. The Prime Video library offers thousands of hours of TV shows, movies, and Amazon Prime Originals like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Man in the High Castle. Other popular membership features include free 2-day shipping at Amazon, a music library, free e-books, and much more. You can choose between an annual membership that’s $119 (less than $10 per month) or you can get the Prime membership monthly for $13 per month. Either choice starts you off with a one-month Amazon Prime trial.
There are more and more options that allow you to watch TV without cable every day! Most of them are extremely easy to use, are cheaper than cable, and are available contract-free, so you can cancel any of them at any time. You can even pick between ways to watch TV without cable live or on-demand. There are several good options for both types of services and with prices so low, it’s not uncommon for people to subscribe to a live streaming service, as well as on-demand services like Hulu or Netflix.
You can check out other cable TV alternatives that will give you added ways to watch TV without cable. If you have any questions about the best ways for you to watch TV without cable, make sure to let us know.
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