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There's a reason so many people still pay for overpriced cable and satellite services, and it's not because they like getting steep bills. It's because many of us still don't know how to replace our favorite channels and watch them without cable. That's a shame, because the alternatives have been around for a long time. Major networks like ABC are easy to get without cable, because they're available for free over the air as well as through legal streaming services. If you're looking for an ABC livestream, you've come to the right place. Here's how to watch ABC without cable.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream ABC:

  Price Channels Free Trial  
$69.99 – $139.99 65+ None

See Offer

$5.99 – $85.96 68 – 88 7 or 30 days

See Offer

$64.99 – $33.00 220+ 7 days

See Offer

How to Watch ABC Online and Over the Air Without Cable

There are two basic ways to watch ABC without cable. The first option is a classic one: watch the network without cable for free, over the air. As we’ll talk about in a moment, all you need for this method is a TV antenna and a TV screen to use it with.

The second option is a live TV streaming service, or “skinny bundle” — a nickname these services earned by trimming the fat off of bulky cable bundles, leaving leaner channel selections headlined by great networks like ABC. Live TV streaming services stream over the internet like Netflix, but they offer live TV networks like cable and satellite. It’s the best of both worlds, and it comes cheaper than it ever did through cable — and without a long-term contract.

Not every live TV streaming service will deliver an ABC livestream, but we’ll list all of the ones that do. (A quick note: Since different companies own different local ABC affiliates, coverage can vary by market. Our list will include services that have livestreams of local ABC channels in most markets.) We’ll also cover free over-the-air TV. Read on to learn more.

Stream ABC for free with DIRECTV Stream

Try It

DIRECTV Stream is a live TV streaming service that feels like a cable or satellite service, although, as we said in our DIRECTV Stream review, we mean that in a good way! The channel lineup is really impressive — it’s downright cablelike in size — and includes an ABC livestream in most markets.

Stream ABC for free with Hulu

Free Trial

Hulu’s live TV streaming option is really impressive. As we wrote in our Hulu + Live TV review, this service includes both the on-demand version of Hulu (including all the great Hulu originals) and a selection of live TV networks. Their service includes a livestream of the local ABC affiliate (in most markets).

Stream ABC for free with FuboTV

Free Trial

As you can see from our fuboTV review, we’re pretty big fans of fuboTV. This straightforward live TV streaming service has a ton to offer, and its perks include a livestream of ABC. In most markets, that’s a local livestream, meaning you can watch your local news and other regional programming.

YouTube TV

Tech giant Google is full of futuristic ideas, so it’s no surprise to see the company involved in the live TV streaming market. YouTube TV is sleek and works well, and the YouTube TV channel lineup has major networks and local streams — including ABC.

Free over-the-air TV

Okay, that's enough about skinny bundles! Let's talk about the single cheapest and easiest way to get ABC. Like all major networks, ABC has a network of affiliates spread across the United States. And since their affiliates generally have transmitters of their own, ABC is broadcast for free over the air in many parts of the country. Modern OTA features a crisp HD picture, just like you'd get from cable or satellite. Ready to get started? Check out our guide to choosing an antenna and watching free HDTV over the air.

Can I Watch ABC on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast?

You can stream ABC using the services we listed (and you can watch it for free over the air, too). But when some of us think about streaming services, we think about computers and iPhones. Streaming ABC on those devices is great, but what about the TV in your living room? Can you watch ABC without cable on your “main screen”?

Yes, you can — all you’ll need is a smart TV or a streaming device. We recommend using a product from a trusted brand that runs an easy-to-use streaming “platform” — think “operating system,” like Windows or Mac but for TVs — like Roku, Fire TV, tvOS (Apple TV), or Android TV (many smart TVs).

The major streaming services listed above know that their customers want to use major streaming devices to watch, so they've made sure to cultivate great and broad platform support.

Roku Fire TV Apple TV Android TV Chromecast iOS Android Web/
browser
DIRECTV Stream Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Philo Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hulu + Live TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
fuboTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sling TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Youtube TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

As for free over-the-air TV, that’s even easier to get set up with: just plug your antenna into your TV and scan for channels. You can also get fancy with it and use OTA DVRs or a PC TV tuner to transform your simple antenna setup into a high-tech streaming version — but you certainly don’t have to unless you want to.

Major Networks Are Easy to Watch Without Cable!

It’s easy to watch just about any live TV network without cable — all you need is a live TV streaming service (or “skinny bundle”) that includes that network. But things get even easier when you’re dealing with a “broadcast network” like ABC. Channels that are broadcast over the air can be picked up with an over-the-air TV antenna, which means that it’s incredibly easy for cord-cutters to watch other networks too, like CBS, FOX, and NBC without cable.

The over-the-air antenna feeds of the major networks will be coming from your local affiliates, which broadcast their own channels. That means that you’ll never have to worry about carriage disputes like the ones that can get your local ABC station removed from your cable, satellite, or streaming TV package. It also means that you’ll be getting the local feed of your station, which means you’ll get your local news and other regional programming as well as national broadcasts like “ABC World News Tonight.”

37 thoughts on “How to Watch ABC Without Cable

  1. Fran says:

    Thanks, Stephen. Do you happen to know how I can get Cozi TV? I have OTA but Cozi TV doesn’t come in anymore. I live just southwest of Baltimore.

  2. Mary says:

    So disgusted with DirecTV Now. One of the few shows I enjoy, Bachelorette, for the third time this season I can’t watch ABC. It says, “Sorry, select something else to watch, we’re having problems.” This is a disgrace. Don’t buy DirecTV Now. You can never count on it. It went out during the Superbowl!

  3. Doug says:

    So you can watch ABC without cable, but it still costs you. And depending on what you want to watch, it could be as much as cable TV. I have a Roku device, but it’s basically worthless unless you have a TV provider. Each of the major networks require you to have a TV provider in order to use their app. No you don’t you say? Well OK, if you want to pay Hulu, DirecTV Now, Sling TV, etc., then what’s the difference? To watch live TV (eg., NFL), then you have to pay for the NFL package or pay for 2 or 3 other services to get everything that free to air provides (ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox). By the time you pay for internet services plus one or even 2 of the other “TV” services, you might as well get cable TV with a decent schedule and a clear picture (and all sports and many movies… all in HD, too). I purchased a digital antenna and I get a few HD channels, but nothing like when I had cable and it’s difficult to tell what’s coming on and when. So I’m not buying this cut the cord or watch ABC without cable “stuff”… and I mean that literally. I’m not paying. I’m certainly not paying the astronomical prices for cable TV or for any of these other “cut the cord” services. So don’t be fooled by these “without cable” stories like it’s some great deal. Free to air is the ONLY way to truly “cut the cord,” but it will never be like cable TV.

    1. Ken says:

      I completely agree with you. We tried to cut the cord with our ROKU but you have to have a service provider to use the major network apps to watch local news. I don’t have a computer set up to the TV. So either I pay Direct TV, and get all I want plus a DVR or I pay for streaming services. There is no such thing as cutting the cord anymore. You are going to pay one way or another.

      1. Jenny says:

        Locast was great for free local channels. The big wigs have been fighting in court to get rid of them for yrs since they only asked for a $5 donation (which wasn’t necessary to get streaming). Unfortunately they won and locast had to shut down. We should fight this since Locast was totally legal, they just cut into the profits of larger streaming channels.

    2. Jeff says:

      I agree with you and Ken. The only thing I can think of is the the major networks go thru the air on affiliate stations who operate under revenue from local ads-so free. Some of which are national ads. So why cannot we watch for free with all national ads via our tablet or computer? I have had cable and satellite TV which both politely suck-and the major networks have Ads on those providers. So we boycott all those pay services-use over the air and watch a lot of FREE movies.

    3. Susan daugherty says:

      I get ABC free in HD with a small antenna. Great quality.

      1. sonya says:

        how does it work?
        I don’t have cable and bought a smart tv and hd antenna. I also have a converter box from old analog tv

    4. Prplhrdmj says:

      I have an HD antenna and a Roku. I pay $12.99 total a month for a package of Netflix, Hulu, ESPN. I can watch ABC, NBC, CBS, all my local channels and pretty much everything I want. A lot cheaper than any cable service. The have no problems and feel I got a good thing going!

    5. Whoopyinny says:

      You are absolutely correct! I do not get ABC with an antenna! Nor do I get CW and WOR.

  4. Buffy says:

    If you enjoy watching a variety of good shows as well as you are a foe hard sports fan, cutting the cord will not be and option for you unless your willing to pay just as much as you do for cable. Plus just trying to get what you can is the most ridiculous task you will encounter. Internet Bill 50.00. Subscription to direct tv now, 45.00. And still can’t watch abc, or some sports. I’ve been with every cable company there is. Things are awesome until your promotion is up and then your bill more than doubled. And don’t let them say oh no just get another promotion, nope ?? that doesn’t work either , they say that’s for new customers or your just plain out not eligible. The cable world is like doctors. If you gotta have them then your gonna pay out the *** for it. ??‍♀️

  5. Denise Lafferty says:

    I do not have cable I do have Hulu live but ABC at least in my area is not associated with Hulu. Have the firestick but to get ABC the once my cable provider. I don’t know any other way to get a ABC. HELP

  6. Janel Anderson says:

    I have firestick. I pay to get ABC on Hulu.All of a sudden while watching ABC live for just a couple minutes it cuts out. What can I do?

  7. S A Packard says:

    Like many others, I cannot get ABC with my Roku unless I have a cable TV provider in my area. I also cannot pick them up on my antenna though I get CBS, NBC and PBS perfectly well that way.

    Don’t ABC advertisers realize that their ads on ABC do not reach the full potential audience? What does ABC have to gain from this?

    1. Joanne says:

      We subscribe to DISH satellite service. Right now they are in “negotiations” with our ABC provider, so we are not getting ABC. The last time this happened with another network, they sent us an antenna, but by the time we got it that channel was back. We tried it this time and the ONLY local channel the antenna doesn’t pick up is, of course, ABC! We got a trial subscription to HULU and have watched the ABC shows we like, but our free subscription is almost up. As others have said above, in order to watch using the apps, you need to be paying for a provider and right now, our DISH isn’t providing access to the ABC app. My opinion is they’ve got you no matter what, you pay one way or another and it is only going to get worse as the big networks are now charging monthly for “all access.”

    2. Tar says:

      Have you tried Locast.org?

      1. Em says:

        This is excellent, and works! Thank you!

      2. Anonymous says:

        I had this and have been using it so much. But they just suspended service. I’m so sad

        1. Anonymous says:

          Locast was awesome. I am sad, too

  8. Linda Pino says:

    We’re struggling to get ABC live. It’s the only local channel we can’t get. WTH! Why are the others ok to let us stream them. ABC is shooting themselves in the foot because soon the only people watching ABC are those with cable. And now people don’t want to pay the ridiculous cable prices!

  9. Jennie Helmick says:

    I have Dish cable service and inquired if the local channel package could be purchased without cable and the answer is no. I only watch programs on ABC and feel that it is an injustice to all on limited incomes to be forced to pay for channels never watched. I have Amazon Prime only cause I utilize all services included. I also have Disney+ and Netflix for movies and for my grandsons to watch. The Flex package with 60 channels is still over $ 50.00 a month with an additional local channel package. I’m at the point that I no longer care if I have cable or not. Maybe if everyone boycotts ABC, CBS, NBC, etc. and doesn’t subscribe to their services, they will reconsider their available options. I would gladly pay for just their service at a reasonable cost.

    1. Chinarut says:

      ditto. it’s ironic that a free network (ABC) has turned their audience into a “luxury” market (ie. those who can afford cable or YouTube TV) after the world went digital. I just discovered CBS provides their live channel for $10/month and asking my dad if he is ready to dump ABC and just stick it to them out of principle. he & my mom love Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune and this has turned out into an all out war!

    2. Peggy Gale says:

      Amen!!!!

  10. Chris says:

    My local ABC affiliate uses a VHF signal. Many digital antennae only pick up UHF. That’s problem number one. Personally, I have an antenna that picks up both VHF and UHF. Unfortunately, due to geography, the VHF signal cannot reach my city, whereas a UHF signal might. Thus I cannot get any ABC live broadcasts for free. Why? Because the gov’t mandated the switch from analog to digital. Analog signals carry further because like AM radio, the signal bends with the curvature of the Earth, whereas digital is a straight line of sight. My State only has 1 ABC affiliate. And yet, because of the combination of VHF and digital (both of which greatly reduce signal range), 3/4 of this State cannot receive an ABC station via OTA. That means millions of people who have no option but to pay for cable, satellite, or streaming service just to be able to watch a major national network that always used to be free. No service is going to offer these local channels for free because all of those services themselves have to pay the local channels for the “right” to rebroadcast their signal (check your bill, and that’s what the Broadcast Fee is). It’s sad because I can get all local newscasts free by streaming online, but that is ALL they will allow. No movies. No TV shows. Only the news and weather.

    I got rid of cable because I had the most basic cable package (local stations ONLY) plus internet. My bill began at $45 per month. Then it went to $75, followed by $85, and eventually to $110 — for just local stations and internet!!! It’s a racket. So I got rid of cable. Now because of COVID, I find myself qualifying for a low-income internet program. So I switched from buying monthly WiFi passes (for half the cost of my previous bill) to paying just $10 per month for internet service. I pay for a few low cost streaming services (a total of about $25), but I still cannot get access to ABC unless I pay at least $50 (actually about $40 – $45 because I have basic Hulu).

    Long story cut short, I cannot get ABC unless I pay a minimum of $60 per month, but as soon as I no longer qualify for low-income internet, I’ll be right back up to $100 per month. Ridiculous.

    1. Chinarut says:

      the fact that ABC doesn’t offer their live stream even for $10/month (like CBS does) is ridiculous.

  11. WhyAbc says:

    ABC is owned by Disney so they must likely were trying to get everybody to switch to Disney+ when they rolled it out.

  12. Lynne Hoyt says:

    Reading all these comments ….I feel your pain. My favorite shows are on ABC, (some on hiatus due to pandemic), but still early evening shows like World News Tonight w/ David Muir, Jeopardy (<3 to Alex) are a must for me. I also qualify for Internet Essentials thru Xfinity/Comcast @ $9.95/mo. beyond that I use a MOHU Leaf OTA antenna that picks up all network stations & OPB (Portland, Oregon's PBS Affiliate), which also has great shows. I did have to try out different spots to hang my leaf on the wall (using easily removable 3M packaging tape), a bit too far from window, but it works. I also got a better cord for the Leaf (Monster RC6U) that helped a lot, plus every six months or so, I have to rescan my Smart TV to find the OTA stations again and I have to deal with some occasional interference if a helicopter or plane flies close overhead.

    I will soon be getting Disney+ I wish they would offer ABC, (which they own), as part of a pkg deal, maybe someday they will, once all the recent subscribers that ordered the service to see Hamilton slows down, they can offer that along with their wonderful selection of programming. I'm also looking forward to watching Mandalorian and many other great movies etc. Please Disney … add your ABC channel to the mix.

    1. Chinarut says:

      that would be smart – if they offer the ABC live stream for an extra $5 or something, we’d consider it.

  13. Lin says:

    Having limited access to ALL live abc programming is frustrating ! Roku Ultra2019+basic Hulu $5.99/mo provide Some,NOT ALL abc programs.Doesn’t abc have it’s OWN stand-alone subscription for ALL abc programming? Also,WHERE can a reliable,inexpensive DVR(name brand,website) be found,without having to have cable or a premium version of a streaming service???Pls lmk.Thnx. Lin(Chicago suburbs)

    1. Stephen Lovely says:

      Unfortunately, there’s no ABC-only streaming service. You could try an antenna, though — that might let you pick up your local ABC station for free and watch it live.

  14. Modelo Jones says:

    Locast, if available in your area, is free and carries all your local channels.

    1. Froide says:

      Locast is technically free, but their frequent service interruptions to request contributions make it virtually unwatchable unless one donates $5/month, $30/6 months, or $60/12 months. It’s a worthwhile investment for those who cannot receive local channels of interest via OTA antenna or who don’t want to pay the monthly subscription fees charged by livestream providers that offer local channels.

  15. Robert Drumm says:

    The real problem here is the business model the government allowed the networks and local affiliates to push through decades ago. To my way of thinking, cable and satellite providers deliver MORE viewers to the networks and locals; that’s more people to view their commercials and drive up their ad rates. So why do they get to CHARGE cable and satellite providers for delivering their programming to viewers? I could see charging being justified if the content were commercial-free for cable and satellite customers, but it’s not. In fact, you’d think it would be more the opposite: locals paying satellite and cable to distribute their programming (just like food suppliers pay supermarkets for shelf space.

    I think this whole concept of having to show an active subscription from cable or satellite is just a method of trying to hold together that business model mentioned. above

    1. Chinarut says:

      interesting. someone needs to wake up and small the coffee. unfortunately as long as there are enough cable subscribers to rip off and float the boat, they won’t change. it’s sad to hear my dad wanting to give in after the judge ruling against not-for-profit digital translators like Locast and feel powerless about going from a “donation” of $5 to $65 for YouTube TV – makes me realize even Google is in on this now (so much for “do no evil” – if they were serious about this, they’d offer a minimal tier equivalent to Locast and use their negotiation skills as a large mammoth to bully the networks people have the right to free TV regardless of where they choose to live and this it’s the right thing to do!)

  16. Becky says:

    I’m giving up on network news and just watch PBS either live at 7 PM or any time after that, whenever I want with the free PBS app. You get the same news overview in about ten minutes, the network “news” fluff is gone, and when I get bored with any particular story (how many times can I watch the Pfizer guy over and over and over say the same thing), I fast forward through to the next segment if not watching live. Will miss some things a tiny bit like the Bachelorette but I watched that in about 10 min/show, I’m not missing much how many times can you hear “awesome” and “I feel that” in one sitting. There’s enough other mindless entertainment from youtube, twitter, and Netflix (which is cheap and has enough variety for me). don’t need the networks if they are going to be so obstinate about needing cable/streaming service/antennae and have no accessible app.

  17. Jenny says:

    Locast was great for free local channels. The big wigs have been fighting in court to get rid of them for yrs since they only asked for a $5 donation (which wasn’t necessary to get streaming). Unfortunately they won and locast had to shut down. We should fight this since Locast was totally legal, they just cut into the profits of larger streaming channels.

  18. Chinarut says:

    I definitely agree with all the comments here. If you live in a more remote area where OTA digital TV doesn’t reach you, you’re forced to pay a cable provider (or Google for YouTube TV) $65/month to get ABC. compare that to NBC w Sling Blue ($30) or CBS w Paramount+ ($10 includes livestream).

    I didn’t know Disney owns ABC and feels like a chess game indeed – battle for your eyeballs!

    I’m ready to go rogue on this and could care less if I was accessing the ABC livestream in some backdoor way. It really pisses me off when all of us are *willing* to pay a reasonable rate. No wonder piracy and bootlegging is rampant – it has zero respect for those who didn’t grow up privileged and only widens the income inequality. not cool!

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