How To Watch Local Channels Without Cable (2024 Guide) (2024)

The way we watch entertainment is constantly evolving, and many viewers opt to discontinue traditional cable subscriptions. This shift, often called “cord-cutting,” can leave some wondering how to watch local channels without cable.

This guide explores practical methods for cord-cutters to continue enjoying local news and shows. Some of its effective solutions include:-

  • Over-the-Air (OTA) TV: This reliable and cost-effective (between $10 to $150) option utilizes a digital antenna to receive local broadcasts.
  • Live TV Streaming Services: Platforms like Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, and DIRECTV Stream offer comprehensive packages that include local channels.

In addition, I will give you a step-by-step guide to set up your streaming device. There are also different ways to watch local channels without cable. So, without further ado, let’s dig in!

Over-the-Air (OTA) TV: Free Broadcast Signals

With the help of OTA TV, you can capture free broadcast signals from local network affiliates like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and PBS. Here’s how to get started:-

Unlock a World of Free Channels

Gone are the days of limited channel options with OTA. A high-quality antenna can pull in dozens of channels depending on your location.

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Use a free resource like Antenna WEB to enter your address and see an interactive map of your area’s broadcast signals. Major cities can receive over 100 channels, while even smaller towns can often access several dozen.

Choosing the Right Antenna

Prices for digital antennas vary depending on range and features.

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Basic indoor antennas start around $20 and can be effective if you live close to broadcast towers. For better reception, especially in fringe areas, consider a higher-gain outdoor antenna, which typically ranges from $50 to $100.

Remember, signal strength is key, so consider any obstacles between your antenna and the broadcast towers when choosing.

Optimizing Your Reception

Once you have your antenna, proper placement is crucial for optimal signal reception.

Ideally, position your antenna high in the attic or on an exterior wall facing the direction of the broadcast towers. Experiment with different locations to find the sweet spot for the clearest picture and sound quality.

Cable Alternatives for Local Channels

Several live TV streaming services excel at providing local channels. Here are three prominent options for you to consider based on its channel lineup, price, and free trial:-

1. Hulu + Live TV

Starting Price$76.99
Free TrialThree days
Link to downloadHere
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Hulu + Live TV boasts a robust channel lineup, often including local network affiliates (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS) depending on your location. It also bundles in Disney+, ESPN+, and on-demand content, making it a feature-rich, all-in-one solution.

2. YouTube TV

Starting Price$76.99
Free TrialSeven days
Link to downloadHere
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YouTube TV shines with a user-friendly interface and unlimited cloud DVR storage for recording local shows (and more) to watch later. Thus, making it a convenient option for local content viewers in most US markets.

3. DirecTV Stream

Starting Price$76.99
Free TrialSeven days
Link to downloadHere
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DIRECTV Stream caters to sports enthusiasts with a strong selection of regional sports networks alongside local channels. While it may not be the most budget-friendly option, it caters well to viewers who prioritize live sports.

Device Compatibility: Watching Local Channels Across Devices

When choosing a streaming service or device, ensure it supports the local channels you desire and is compatible with your preferred viewing platform (TV, phone, tablet, etc).

Here’s a breakdown of some popular options with their typical price ranges:-

1. Roku TV

Roku devices work with most TVs and are easy to set up.

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Prices for Roku devices typically range between $29.99 and $199.99, depending on the model and its features. In addition, the device offers access to many streaming services with local channels, including Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, and DIRECTV Stream.

2. Amazon Fire TV

Fire TV devices offer access to various streaming services with local channels.

They work seamlessly with Amazon services, and the prices vary depending on the model you choose, typically ranging from $39.99 to $179.99.

3. Mobile Devices (Android And Tablets)

Many streaming services with local channels provide dedicated mobile apps for Android devices (typically free with a subscription to the streaming service).

This empowers you to catch local news or your favorite shows on the go, maximizing your viewing flexibility.

Guides To Set Up Local Channels Across Your Devices

Check out my simple step-by-step instructions to set up your local channels on your Amazon Firestick or Roku Device:-

Step 1: Choose Your Streaming Service – Take YouTube TV, for example.

Step 2: Head to the Roku Channel Store or the Fire TV Appstore on your device.

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Step 3: Search for the YouTube TV application and download it.

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Step 4: Follow the on-screen prompts.

Step 5: Once set up, explore the app’s interface to find the Live TV or Channels section.

Step 6: This section will display your available local channels, allowing you to tune in and enjoy your favorite local content.

Direct Access To Local Content On Your Device

You can access local content through dedicated apps from the networks themselves. By doing so, you are benefiting from a list of things, including:-

  • Stream Live Local Programs
  • Enjoy On-Demand Local Programs
  • Stay Informed with Local News and Weather

The best part is that it is often free and only requires downloading it from the website.

Check out the popular local news apps:-

  • Haystack TV: Haystack offers a personalized news experience. Further, allowing you to select the local news channels you want to follow and receive notifications for breaking news in your area.
  • Nextdoor: While not solely focused on news, Nextdoor offers a hyper-local platform for connecting with neighbors and staying informed about community events, lost pets, and neighborhood safety concerns.

Wrapping Up:

Cable subscriptions are no longer the only gateway to local channels.

In my guide to “how to watch local channels without cable, I have explored a variety of methods for cord-cutting. From free OTA TV with an antenna to live TV streaming with cloud DVR, there is an option to suit every budget and preference.

So, if you are finally ready to cut the cord too, here are some alternate choices:-

  • Streaming services (YouTube TV or Hulu+ Live TV)
  • Local networks or services like Haystack TV or Nextdoor

Sign up for the free or free trial application. Then, you can explore the service and decide which is your best match!


Can I get local TV channels without cable?

Cable isn’t required for local channels! Try a free digital antenna for local broadcasts (ABC, CBS, NBC) or explore subscription live TV streaming services like YouTube TV or Hulu + Live TV. Local apps from stations may also offer free content.

Is there an app for free local channels?

There are apps for free local channels, including ABC, NBC, and Haystack.

How can I get local channels on my smart TV?

Smart TVs offer two routes to local channels, including Free OTA TV and Live TV Streaming.

Can you get ABC NBC and CBS on Roku?

You can get ABC, NBC, and CBS on Roku, but not directly through the Roku device itself.

How To Watch Local Channels Without Cable (2024 Guide) (2024)


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