How to Watch Local Channels on iOS

How to Watch Local Channels on iOS

iOS is everywhere. It’s the operating system that powers your iPhone or iPad, and it makes a fantastic streaming platform, too – which is what we’re here to discuss today. iOS devices are just as great for streaming local content as they are for streaming Netflix. But how can you get local channels on an iPhone or iPad? That’s what we’re here to explain. Below, we’ll lay out how to watch local channels on iOS, including online streaming options and even some creative solutions involving free over-the-air TV.

How to Watch Local Channels on iOS

There are a lot of great ways to watch local channels on iOS devices like iPhones and iPads. A good number of them, though, fall under the same category: that of the live TV streaming service, or “skinny bundle.” So let’s talk about that that means.

Live TV streaming services are exactly what they sound like: pay TV services that offer bundles of live network television channels online. These bundles are often less bulky and inefficient than cable’s offerings (hence “skinny bundles”), though, and the online delivery means you can watch live network television – and local channels – on iPhones and iPods, among many other devices.

The local and regional channels offered by these services include local feeds of the major networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC) and regional sports networks. The catch is that coverage will vary by region, so you’ll need to take a look at the fine print – or just sign up for a free trial – to see if you can really use a given live TV streaming service to watch local channels on iOS devices.

DIRECTV NOW

Watch Local Channels on iOS: DIRECTV NOW

DIRECTV NOW offers all four major networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC) in all of its bundles, from the $35 per month “Live a Little” on up. As you scale up to larger bundles, you’ll also see regional sports networks become available in some areas. The usual disclaimers are in effect here, as local channel availability will vary by region, but in most cases DIRECTV NOW makes a great way to watch local channels on iOS. You can read our review of the service here and can sign up for the free trial via the link below.

Try DIRECTV NOW for free

fuboTV

Watch Local Channels on iOS: fuboTV

fuboTV was built with sports fans in mind, so its regional sports network coverage is pretty solid. Its English-language base package, fubo Premier, costs $39.99 per month in all areas except those served by the New York area’s MSG family of regional sports networks, where it costs $44.99 instead. All four major networks are on-board here, so you’ll get full local feeds in participating regions. To learn more about fuboTV, read our review here or sign up for the free trial via the link below.

Try fuboTV for free

Hulu with Live TV

Watch Local Channels on iOS: Hulu with Live TV

Hulu with Live TV is a great way to get local channels on iPhones and iPads, and it comes from a familiar brand: Hulu, a company already well-known for its on-demand streaming service. All four major networks are available on Hulu, so you’ll get plenty of local channels on iOS as long as your local affiliates are among the ones that have struck a deal with Hulu. You can read our review of Hulu here or can investigate it yourself by taking advantage of the free trial period.

Try Hulu with Live TV for free

PlayStation Vue

Watch Local Channels on iOS: PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue offers subscribers a few different bundles. The smallest, which is the $39.99 per month “Access” bundle, offers all four major networks in participating regions. You can also access some regional sports networks at other price points depending on your region. Despite the name, you don’t need a PlayStation to watch PlayStation Vue – the service is a great option for watching live local channels on iOS.

Try PlayStation Vue for free

Sling TV

Watch Local Channels on iOS: Sling TV

The idea behind Sling TV is to allow customers to build their own skinny bundle. Subscribers start by choosing one (or both) of two base packages, then move on to adding “Extras,” which are small groups of channels lumped together by genre. You’ll find NBC and Fox in the Sling Blue base package ($25 per month). ABC is available in “Broadcast Extra” ($5 per month), which can only be added if you have the Sling Orange base package ($20 per month, or $40 altogether if you get both Orange and Blue). CBS is not available on Sling TV as of this writing, but plenty of regional sports networks are.

Try Sling TV for free

Free Over-the-Air TV (With Additional Hardware and Apps)

Watch Local Channels on iOS: free over-the-air TV

Okay, so you’re not about to plug an antenna into your iPad or iPhone. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use an antenna to watch local channels on iPads and iPhones. There are a few different ways to convert over-the-air broadcasts into streaming content you watch watch on your mobile devices. Let’s go over a couple.

First, there are OTA DVRs, which work similarly to cable DVRs but are designed to work with antennas. These devices will allow you to record live TV and then play your recordings – or live TV – through an app on your streaming device. That means you can just get an OTA DVR (and antenna), set things up and download the right app, and proceed to watch local channels on iOS (among other platforms). Easy!

You can also use Plex, the media server app that offers live TV and DVR features. Connect an antenna to the device you’re running Plex on (for instance, you could use a computer and a PC TV tuner), fire up the Plex app, and enjoy local channels on iOS. You’ll need Plex’s premium subscription plan, Plex Pass, to do this.

Check out free over-the-air TV

CBS All Access

Watch Local Channels on iOS: CBS All Access

CBS has a streaming service all its own: CBS All Access. In addition to on-demand content, CBS All Access offers live CBS broadcasts in select markets. And since it has an app for iOS, this makes CBS All Access a great way to get local channels on iPhones and iPads (or, at least, it’s a great way to get one local channel!). To see if you can watch local TV on iOS with CBS All Access, check the service’s website or simple click the link below to sign up for a free trial.

Try CBS All Access for free

NewsON

Watch local channels on iOS: NewsON

NewsON is a streaming service that specializes in local broadcasts – in particular, local news. Download the app on your iPad or iPhone and you’ll soon be watching news on local channels on iOS. You can choose from a bunch of participating local stations, so it’s worth checking to see if your region has any good options on the app.

Check out NewsON

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About the Author

Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely is a freelance writer and a longtime cord cutter with a passion for technology and entertainment. You can find his work on Cordcutting.com and his tweets at @stephenlovely.

1 Comment on "How to Watch Local Channels on iOS"

  1. I plan to enter the world of cord cutting in July (2-year subscription ends). I have a lot of trees around my house and the city dump runs behind my house. When I had DirecTV, the antenna was on my roof. I’m assuming that I will need a multi-directional outdoor antenna. Could you please share info on the best ones for my situation? I’m also considering the Roku for streaming. I have been told that each TV in my house (total of 3) will need a device. Is this true? Which Roku is best? #1 (family room) is 7 yr old Samsung 1080ptv, #2 (bedroom) is a smart TV and #3 will be a brand new Vizio, Samsung or best picture/deal. Is it possible to run the antenna to all rooms using the coax cable already setup from precious DirecTV, Fios and Cox cable? As far as internet, which works better for cord cutting: Fios or cable? I’m in the VA. Lastly, I am asking for guidance on purchasing my own router/modem. I currently rent from Cox and my landline comes through their digital modem. Thank you in advance for all your assistance!

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