The FBI is popular right now. I’m not talking about the real Federal Bureau of Investigation based in Washington, D.C. (though I’m sure they have their fans). Instead, I’m talking about the CBS show “FBI.” That version of the FBI is about the New York office, and it's easily one of the biggest TV shows on Tuesday nights.
Crime procedurals are big, and understandably so. Unlike true crime cases, fictional TV dramas never go unsolved for years or decades at a time. At worst, you’ll have to wait until next season for a cliffhanger to get resolved. Speaking of mysteries, we’re here to solve another one: Can you watch “FBI” without cable? I’ve got good news for you: You definitely can. Stay tuned (and scroll down) and we’ll examine all the available evidence together.
How to Watch FBI Online and Over the Air Without Cable
“FBI” is available without cable. So is “FBI: Most Wanted,” the spin-off that debuted in 2020 (it’s not the actual list of the FBI’s most wanted people, but it is a show loosely based on that agency’s Fugitive Task Force). Like its older sibling, “FBI: Most Wanted” airs on CBS, which is a broadcast network. That’s different from pay cable, which means that you can watch “FBI” for free — or free other than what you spend on your antenna, anyway.
We’ll discuss that option a little later because it’s a good one. But first, you need to know about a concept called skinny bundles. Skinny bundles give you the most options for watching “FBI” without paying for cable. Skinny bundles are a bundle of live TV channels you can stream through your home internet connection, which in turn allows you to stream “FBI” online.
Think of skinny bundles as a more chill relative of those weighed-down cable packages. Getting cable means getting stuck with channels you don’t want. Skinny bundles give you some of that power back. You have a bigger say in what channels you do and don’t want to bundle together in your package. CBS is available on a lot of skinny bundles, but that availability is not universal, unfortunately. That’s because the companies behind these bundles have to make deals with each individual CBS network. It’s not as easy “cc-ing” every CBS affiliate in the country and saying, “Yes, we’d like to run your programming. Please sign on the dotted line.” So you’ll need to check to make sure the skinny bundle you like has CBS in your market. If it does, you’re well on your way to watching “FBI” without ever needing to mess with cable.
Hulu + Live TV launched in 2017, and it carries CBS in many markets. There’s a good chance it’s got CBS in your market as well. Once you’ve confirmed that it does, feel free to start catching up on any episodes of “FBI” that you may have missed.
fuboTV markets itself heavily to sports fans, but it’s got a lot for fans of crime shows as well. It includes CBS in many of the markets it serves, which means fuboTV is another way you can get your “FBI” fix without having to mess with a cable subscription. Check out fuboTV’s channel lineup to learn more.
Did you know that CBS All Access is now Paramount Plus? It’s true, and the service has more than just a new name; it also has more content from a wider range of channels. Paramount Plus offers two types of plans: one with commercials, and one without. You can watch “FBI” without cable on either plan, so just pick whatever works best for both your budget and viewing habits.
The skinny bundle known as YouTubeTV is well established by now, proving that there’s more to the YouTube brand than simply “the place to watch music videos now that MTV has given up.” It has CBS in some markets, so take a look and decide if this is your preferred method of watching “FBI” without cable.
Free Over-the-Air TV
When you think of watching a TV with an antenna, you may think of your poor dad climbing on the roof to adjust the antenna so he could watch “Seinfeld” after work, but living that antenna life is definitely simpler than it was 20 years ago. You have way more options, and the magic of the internet makes it much easier to figure out just what kind of antenna you need.
Free TV is also a lot better in quality than it was back in the ‘80s or ‘90s. We mean the picture, not the shows: Nowadays, you’re getting your favorite TV shows in crisp high-definition. Yes, that includes “FBI,” as CBS is a broadcast network. Since it is, that means there’s likely a broadcast tower in your area that you can use to pick up CBS via antenna and beam it into your home. There’s zero need to sacrifice picture quality. You don’t need a special antenna to get the HD feed, though you will need an HD TV to get the full benefits.
Can I Watch FBI on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast?
Live TV services are good for watching on your TV, of course, but that’s not the only place you can watch them. You’ve got a wide range of devices to pick from. If you’re at home, maybe you’d rather stick with your Roku or Fire TV. But if you’re out and about doing something like sitting in a waiting room or commuting on a train, maybe you’d like to watch TV on your phone. See the below chart to find out about your options for some of the live TV services we’ve mentioned.
|Roku||Fire TV||Apple TV||Android TV||Chromecast||iOS||Android||Web/
|Hulu + Live TV||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Paramount Plus isn’t on the chart, but you can still watch it on all of the devices listed there.
More to Watch for FBI Fans
You don’t need a forensic investigator to know how to watch “FBI” without cable. But once you’ve caught up on the latest cases there, you may want to kick back with something a little lighter. Sports are a fun way to decompress, and if you like baseball, there are few things more fun than baseball in October. If that sounds interesting, take a look at our guide to watching the World Series without cable. If football is more your style, we’ve got a guide for watching the NFL playoffs without cable too.