How to Watch Local Channels Without Cable

Last Updated:
Disclosure: Your support helps keep our site running! We earn referral fees for some of the products & services we recommend. Learn more
0 Shares

Thinking of cutting the cord, but worried about missing out on local channels? Even in these global times, local news channels are critically important. Thankfully, you can actually watch local TV channels online without cable or satellite TV in the US.

Read on to find out about how to watch local channels using streaming services, apps, and even HD antennas.

In a rush? We have reviewed several services that allow you to stream local channels without cable. If you want to stream local channels online, see these popular options.

  • FuboTV: get access to the major local channels plus other minor ones as part of a 110+ channel selection.
  • Hulu + Live TV: offers a premium on-demand library with original titles alongside the major local channels.
  • AT&T TV: provides the major networks pretty much everywhere a solid set of other channels with upgrade options.

How To Watch Local Channels Via Streaming Services

People normally think of Netflix and Hulu when it comes to streaming services. But Live TV streaming services are in a different category (Hulu has a live TV service too). And in this field, the biggest thing that separates services is their support of local channels.

If you’d like access to local channels, your best bet is to find a streaming service that will allow you to watch local channels online. All you need is an internet connection. And along with the local channels, you get a bunch of premium cable channels with these subscriptions.

What’s important to understand about local broadcast channels is that networks like Fox aren’t just single channels. Networks that are known as “local channels” are affiliated with a local counterpart. This is why local network affiliates may only be available in some areas but not in others.

Additionally, each streaming service must have a contract with the local channel. This is why some are missing nationwide or in a particular location. For example, Sling TV offers relatively few local channels but this allows them to keep their prices down.

AT&TFuboTVHuluSling
ABC✔️✔️✔️
CBS✔️✔️✔️
Fox✔️✔️✔️✔️
NBC✔️✔️✔️✔️
PBS*
The CW✔️✔️✔️
Telemundo✔️✔️✔️
Unimas✔️
Univision✔️✔️
* Local PBS stations are available through the PBS app, which is totally free — no subscription is required. YouTube TV (see below) also offers it in most areas.

In the following mini-reviews, we’ve highlighted the streaming services that offer good coverage of local channels.

FuboTV: Local Channels and RSNs

fubotv logo
Total Channels110+
Local ChannelsABC, CBS, Fox, NBC
The CW, Telemundo, Unimas, Univision
DVR storage200 to 1,000 hours
Price$64.99/mo
Free Trial✔️ Try it now

With FuboTV, you get access to up to eight local channels: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, The CW, Telemundo, Unimas, and Univision. These will be available in most locations with near-universal support of ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and Telemundo.

FuboTV offers two live TV plans where you can stream local channels without cable. They also offer a Latino plan with Spanish-language local channels.

FuboTV is known as a great streaming service for sports with standard cable sports channels like ESPN as well as uncommon ones like beIN Sports. They also provide regional sports networks (RSNs).

Find more information here:

FuboTV Local Channels
Under the Guide tab in the FuboTV interface, you can filter so you see only the local stations that are part of your plan.

AT&T TV: Major Networks Everywhere

att tv logo
Total Channels65+
Local ChannelsABC, CBS, Fox, NBC
The CW, Telemundo, Univision
DVR Storage20 to unlimited hours
Price$69.99/mo
Free TrialTry it now
AT&T TV has no free trial but they do offer a 14-day money-back guarantee.

AT&T TV offers all the major network English-language affiliates: ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. They also offer The CW widely. Finally, AT&T TV offers decent coverage of the Spanish-language channels Telemundo and Univision.

If you’re looking for a reputable service with a history in the business, AT&T TV offers that with solid plans starting at $69.99/mo. They offer enticing bonuses too like one year of HBO Max and unlimited cloud DVR storage with a two-year contract.

Get more information here:

Hulu + Live TV: Local Channels Everywhere

hulu logo
Total Channels75+
Local ChannelsABC, CBS, Fox, NBC
The CW, Telemundo
DVR Storage50 to 200 hours
Price$64.99/mo
Free Trial✔️ Try it now

Hulu Live TV probably offers the best local channel line-up of any of the streaming services. Even in the smallest towns, they manage to supply ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. That’s also true of The CW.

They aren’t as good for Spanish-language channels. They don’t offer Univision or Unimas anywhere. But they do offer Telemundo pretty much anywhere it’s available.

Hulu + Live TV offers 75+ channels for $64.99/mo. This also includes thousands of on-demand titles, including Hulu Originals and FX Originals.

Read more about Hulu + Live TV here:

Sling TV: Great Antenna Option

Sling TV Logo
Total Channels40+
Local ChannelsFox, NBC*
DVR Storage50 to 200 hours
Price$35.00/mo
Free Trial$10 for first month
* You can get access to more local channels via Sling TV by using an HD Antenna. It comes free when you prepay two months of Sling TV.

Sling TV may be the best budget option if you’re looking for local channels. There are two ways to stream local channels live with Sling TV:

  1. The Sling Blue plan includes local Fox and NBC affiliates.
  2. Sling TV interfaces with your antenna so that you have a single interface for your streaming and over-the-air (OTA) channels. If you pay upfront for two months, Sling will give you a basic HD antenna for free (or a better one for a greatly reduced price).

Sling TV allows you to stream Fox from 18 localities and NBC from 11 localities. Both are available in the seven largest media markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Ft Worth, San Francisco, and Washington DC.

Sling TV doesn’t offer any of the standard US-based Spanish-language channels. However, they have several packages with local channels from different areas outside the US. Each package offers between 3 and 20 channels and costs $10 each.

Check out these articles for more information:

Vidgo: Basic Local Coverage

vidgo logo
Total Channels95+
Local ChannelsABC, Fox
DVR Storage
Price$55.00/mo
Free Trial$10 for first month

Like most low-cost streaming services, Vidgo offers little local coverage. But they do offer ABC and Fox. And that combined with nearly 100 channels for $55/mo is a good deal for some people.

Vidgo subscribers can watch ABC and Fox in over 70 markets across the United States. Fox is available in the top 10 media markets and ABC is available in 9 of the top 10.

Learn more about Vidgo here:

Other Ways To Stream Local Channels

Watch local channels on your phone with Sling TV
Watch local channels on your phone with Sling TV.

There are other options for streaming local channels:

  • YouTube TV: provides good coverage of the major networks. This includes PBS in most locations (although you can get that for free with the PBS app). They have 85+ other channels as well as add-ons.
  • Locast: a free service that offers local channels in supported markets. At this moment, Locast is only available in parts of the US, so you’ll need to use their website to check if you’re covered. Sling TV also works with Locast.

How to Watch Local Channels With an Antenna

Using an over-the-air (OTA) antenna is often the first thing that cord-cutters consider when looking to end their cable subscriptions. It is the one way to get truly free TV. In another article, we explain how OTAs work and how you can get HDTV for no cost other than the purchase of an antenna.

There are several antennas to choose from if you want to use one to stream local channels. Assuming you want these local channels in high-definition, you can start by checking out these TV antennas:

  1. Mohu Antennas: This company offers ten different indoor HD antennas. Most of their antennas have a signal receiving range of 40+ miles and amplified indoor antennas are also among the products offered. If you’re on a budget, you can get a Leaf Indoor Antenna for $24.99, often with a discount on top. Other Mohu antennas with better performance range upwards of $59.99.
  2. Sling TV’s HD Antenna: You can get this HD antenna worth $44.99 for free when you prepay Sling TV for two months. Sling TV costs $35 per month and you will have local channels like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC included (subject to your location). Learn more about Sling TV’s free OTA and discounted Air device offers in our Sling TV review.

How To Install an HD Antenna: Step-By-Step

If you’re considering purchasing an HD antenna or have already bought one, see this step-by-step guide on how to install it on your home TV to watch local channels without a cable TV subscription. The local channels you can typically get anywhere are ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC.

In higher-population areas, you can normally get PBS and Telemundo. You can get other local network affiliates and independent stations depending on whether they are in your area.

Note that sometimes, streaming services will provide regional feeds of networks in areas that don’t have a corresponding local channel. These won’t be found OTA.

  1. Unpack the HD antenna from its box. Ensure you have the:
    • Main antenna unit
    • Coaxial cable
    • Support pins — these will allow you to fix your antenna against a wall.
  2. Connect either end of the coaxial cable to your TV. This may be labeled DTV, TV, Cable, Antenna, In, or something similar. Connect the other end to the HD antenna output.
  3. Turn on your TV and set the tuner mode to the antenna. This will be labeled something like TV, Antenna, or Air.
  4. Scan for channels. After this is finished, you will see your local channels pop up.

This particular guide is based on the Indoor Leaf Antenna but the process is much the same with other indoor and outdoor antennas. Refer to your TV’s manual if you struggle to get local channels live.

See the following for more details:

Apps To Stream Local Channels Online

Many local channels like Fox, ABC, and CBS have exclusive apps that run on mobile streaming devices (eg, Android, iOS), smart TVs (Samsung), and TV devices (Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast). You can also stream local TV channels live via the following apps:

  • ABC App: Watch ABC live via the app available on most mobile devices and smart TVs. As long as you’re within the US, you can access on-demand and live content, provided that you’re subscribed to one of the supported live streaming services.
  • Fox Now: Stream both live and on-demand Fox programs from any responsive device. The app is free to use if you are subscribed with a streaming service that provides access to Fox.
  • CBS App: As long as you’re subscribed to a supported TV plan, you can watch live CBS in some localities via the CBS app.
  • NBC App: Download the NBC app and watch live NBC in over 200 US markets. You can only view NBC live via the app if you are a subscriber of one of the major streaming services. NBC also offers a Peacock TV app, but it only provides on-demand content.
  • PBS Livestream: Access your local PBS channel (if available) via its livestream. You can also download the PBS app and watch PBS live without subscribing to any other TV package. This is a great app to have since most streaming services don’t provide access to PBS.
  • The CW: Unfortunately The CW app does not allow you to watch the local channel, though you can still access many shows on-demand, including the latest episodes. All for free.
  • Univision Now: This application is free and accessible if you’re already subscribed to a participating TV provider. It’s a useful way to watch Univision on the go for Spanish speakers and learners alike. Univision Now is only available if you’re a FuboTV or AT&T TV subscriber.
  • Telemundo App: Live TV and on-demand content via the Telemundo app, as long as you’re subscribed to one of the major streaming service providers.

Wrap Up

Local channel availability shouldn’t stop you from ditching your cable company. The top streaming services offer you everything you need. Get rid of your cable bills and contracts for a better system for less money!

FAQs

What TV shows are on ABC?

ABC has a real variety of TV shows, both in terms of genre and production size. You can watch popular shows like the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, crime procedural The Rookie, and thriller Big Sky. ABC also shows plenty comedy like Home Economics and The Goldbergs.

How many devices can stream Paramount+?

Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) allows three simultaneous streams with six separate user profiles. This means that three different devices can stream different content at the same time. This is included with the most basic Paramount+ plan for $4.99 per month. Note that Paramount+ has no local programming.

How can I watch local channels online for free?

Although the networks provide apps for mobile devices and smart TVs to stream live, you need a cable or streaming service to access them The one major exception is PBS, which allows anyone to stream their local affiliate. You can also use Locast.org. It allows you to stream your local channels in select areas.

What shows does NBC have?

Like many local affiliates, NBC has a real buffet of TV shows. The likes of America’s Got Talent and American Ninja Warrior are fan-favorite shows. But NBC also shows a lot of major league sports. Some sports shown on NBC include NFL, NHL, soccer, and NASCAR.

What programs are on Fox?

Since it was first started, Fox has been known for its exceptional original content. They feature some of the best reality shows like Beat Shazam, MasterChef, and Hell’s Kitchen. They also offer popular dramas like The Resident and 9-1-1. And, of course, they are still known for their animated comedies like The Simpsons and Family Guy.

Does PBS have on-demand content?

PBS has an app that runs on most devices and smart TVs that provides access to a live stream of your local PBS affiliate. Along with this, they provide a ton of on-demand shows. You can also stream PBS live for free by heading over to their website.

Does The CW provide on-demand content?

Yes, The CW has most of its live-airing content available on-demand via The CW app on mobile, smart TV, or the CW website. Note that the CW is a local channel and you can only access the app and website from the US. Even within the US, The CW is only available in selected markets.

More Information on Streaming Local Channels

If you need more information, check out our pages on streaming the most popular local channels:

0 replies on “How to Watch Local Channels Without Cable”

I use locast which is great WHEN IT WORKS. Right now I am ‘listening’ to Judge Judy because there is no picture. This plus an inability to consistently play the channels(it will sometimes freeze in the middle of a show). It is a great concept, but until they perfect this, you get what you pay for(which isn’t much)

I got the same message, I had to pay 5.50 to keep watching or it would shut off on me after about 10 to 15 min of watching. I don’t think it worth the 5.50 a month, as you can’t do anything except for watch, no dev or pause or anything. However I do like that at least I get the local channels, however if there is something you want to see and your not able to watch when it comes on you are just out of luck. So I don’t understand how they can charge you for local channels that should be free.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.