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How to Watch Local TV Channels Without Cable

Date Published:  August 30th, 2022Date Updated:  April 12, 2024

Want to watch local TV channels but don’t want to shell out for cable? We’ve rounded up the top ways you can stream your local and major networks cable-free.

With the rise of streaming services like Netflix, HBO, and Hulu, many Americans are cutting cable out of their lives altogether. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, cable usage dropped dramatically from 76% to 56% between 2015 and 2021. Among the reasons cited were that people could find the content they wanted online, their cable bill was too high, and they just didn’t watch enough TV to make paying for cable worth it.

While these points are valid, many people who have cut the cord on cable have noticed that it has become increasingly harder to find local news and broadcast networks. What was once easy to stumble across while channel surfing now seems impossible to find.

However, there are a few solutions to this problem, which we’ve rounded up below. Keep reading to see how you can access local TV channels without cable.

Subscribe to a Live TV Streaming Service

The non-profit streaming service Locast used to be the place to watch local TV stations live. That is, until they lost their court battle with the four major networks — ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC —and had to shut down for good.
Illustration of a family sitting on a couch and watching local news on TV together

Now, the major players in live TV streaming services include DIRECTV STREAM ($69.99/month), Hulu + Live TV ($70/month), and YouTube TV ($65/month), which stream local ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and PBS channels. These options may not be the most cost-effective solution, but if you absolutely need live access to your local channels (or you’re already using some version of the streaming platform), they may be worth the price.

You can also find a limited selection of local broadcast networks like NBC and FOX affiliate stations on FuboTV ($69.99/month), Sling TV ($35/month), and Vidgo ($55/month). To see if these streaming services offer your local broadcast network, visit their websites and input your zip code to see which channels are available in your area.

Subscribe to a Video Streaming Service

If live TV streaming services are out of your budget, consider subscribing to something a bit more cost-effective: video streaming services.

Video streaming services include everything from ViacomCBS’s Paramount+ to NBC’s Peacock, both of which come in at $4.99/month. With Paramount+, you’ll have access to several live content options including NFL games and 60 Minutes. Peacock also offers access to a handful of live TV broadcast stations and has streamed the Super Bowl and Olympics in past years.

If you don’t mind watching current TV shows a day or two after they air, then Hulu’s on-demand service ($6.99/month) may be just what you need. Because they are an over-the-top online video service owned equally by the Walt Disney Company and Comcast’s NBCUniversal, Hulu has the rights to many of the top TV shows you would only otherwise find on cable.

Get Local News with NewsON and Amazon News

If you’re in search of local news, you’re in luck. There are currently two options for streaming local news online, provided you have a smartphone, Roku, or Fire TV.

NewsON is a free, ad-supported app you can get on iOS, Android, and Roku that offers live local newscasts. You can choose from nearly 200 local news stations without needing a cable subscription or even a login.

Similarly, Amazon News is a free app available to anyone with a Fire TV. With 158 channels, you’ll be sure to find your local news channel, wherever you live in the United States.

Watch Online on Websites and YouTube

Don’t want to get an app or subscribe to a streaming service? Our final suggestion is to conduct a quick Google search to see if you can find local channel content online. Many local network affiliates often provide ad-supported clips either on their websites or YouTube channels. In some cases, you can even find a live stream of your local news by visiting their website and simply clicking the “Watch Live” button.

Accessing these apps, live and video streaming services, and websites requires fast, reliable internet. Get EarthLink’s super-fast fiber internet to stay in the know and start watching your local broadcast networks today. Need to find the streaming device that’s right for you? Check out our guide to the best streaming devices for every home.

Tess Hansen

Tess Hansen

Tess Hansen is a copywriter based in Brooklyn. She writes about all things digital for EarthLink, with a focus on using tech and high-speed internet to make your life easier and safer.

See all posts from Tess Hansen.