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Cutting the cord is the easy part. The tough thing about living without cable is figuring out how you're going to watch all of the TV you want without having to go back to the world of legacy pay TV services. Fortunately, it's easier than ever to watch live TV without cable or satellite. Thanks to free over-the-air TV and “skinny bundle” services, it's a breeze to watch live TV on all sorts of devices. Cord cutters can enjoy their favorite shows on everything from their mobile devices to their big-screen TVs. Today, we're to talk specifically about how to watch live TV on a PC.

When we talk about watching TV without cable – and particularly when we talk about streaming live TV – we're almost always dealing with a computer of some sort. After all, streaming boxes are just little computers, and a smart TV is just a TV with a computer built into it. But it's worth remembering that we can also use our “actual” computers to stream this sort of content. Skinny bundles can show us live TV in our web browsers just as easily as they can on our streaming sticks, streaming boxes, and smart TVs. Below, we'll explain how to watch live TV on a PC, and we'll list the specific services and techniques you need to know about in order to do it.

How to Watch Live TV on a PC Online and Over the Air Without Cable

Longtime readers of Cordcutting.com know that most of the services and techniques we recommend for watching live TV without cable fall into one of two categories: skinny bundles and free over-the-air TV. Before we dive down into the specifics of our list below, let's go over what these two major categories mean.

Skinny bundles are some of the biggest threats to cable on the market right now, and it's not hard to see why. They offer the same basic stuff as cable, but do it better – and at a lower price.

Like cable and satellite, a skinny bundle is a pay TV multichannel service: you pay to get it, and you enjoy lots of network TV channels (live and, in many cases, on demand) through the same single service. But there's a crucial difference between a skinny bundle and cable or satellite: skinny bundles stream online.

That means that you can use a skinny bundle to watch live TV on all sorts of different devices – including, of course, your PC. It also means that skinny bundles don't have the big regional monopolies that traditional cable infrastructure creates. That means lots of competition and innovation. One innovation of note is that skinny bundles trim the fat from the big, bulky cable bundles you're used to. They offer just the channels you want – a “skinny bundle,” just like the name suggests.

Then there's free over-the-air TV. With free OTA TV, you can watch lots of great channels – including important ones like NBC and Fox – for free. All you need is an antenna and a TV.

You don't need a PC to watch free over-the-air TV, but you can use certain types of hardware and software to combine your OTA setup with a PC in ways that add new features and functionality to OTA TV.

Our list below will kick off with skinny bundles and then move on to OTA-related techniques and other types of streaming services. Are you ready? Here's how to watch live TV on a PC.

DirecTV Now

Watch Live TV on a PC without cable - DIRECTV NOW

DirecTV Now is AT&T's skinny bundle service. It offers four different base bundle options. The cheapest is $40 per month, which is quite a good price for all of that live TV. The three other options increase in size and price from there. You can also add premium channels to your subscription — those are particularly affordable when you're using DirecTV Now. You can check out this service for free by taking advantage of its free trial offer.

Try DirecTV Now for free

 

fuboTV

Watch Live TV on a PC without cable - fuboTV

fuboTV has two base bundle options, the cheaper of which is $44.99 per month. From there, you can tack on add-on packages, including mini-bundles and premium channels. fuboTV holds a special appeal for fans of foreign soccer leagues thanks to its wealth of related networks. On top of all of this other good stuff, fuboTV offers a free trial. Snag that free trial offer by clicking on the link below.

Try fuboTV for free

 

Hulu with Live TV

Watch Live TV on a PC without cable - Hulu with Live TV

Hulu with Live TV is a skinny bundle that also includes Hulu's popular on-demand service. Though the on-demand arm of Hulu is longer-tenured than this comparatively new live TV service, Hulu with Live TV can hang with the best of the skinny bundle crowd. It costs $39.99 per month (as of this writing, we're a few weeks from that increasing to $44.99 per month in late February, 2019) and offers a bunch of great channels live and on-demand. You can add premium channels on top of that. As many competitors also do, Hulu with Live TV allows you to test things out for free by signing up for a free trial.

Try Hulu with Live TV for free

 

Philo

Watch Live TV on a PC without cable - Philo

Philo's goal is to make skinny bundles as affordable as possible. Philo's trick is that it dispenses with local channels and sports channels — two types of channels which disproportionately account for the expense of most pay TV services. If you can live without those (or replace them with free over-the-air TV and league streaming packages), then you'll love Philo TV, which offers its two bundles at the remarkably low rates of $16 and $20 per month, respectively.

Try Philo for free

 

PlayStation Vue

Watch Live TV on a PC without cable - PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue is owned by Sony, which is why you'll find the name of a certain popular gaming system tucked into its brand name. PlayStation Vue works wonderfully on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, but you can also use it to watch live TV on a PC – among many other supported platforms. PlayStation Vue offers four bundles of tiered service beginning with the $44.99-per-month “Access” bundle.

 

Sling TV

Watch Live TV on a PC without cable - Sling TV

Sling TV is a little different from most of its skinny bundle competition in that it puts much of its focus on add-on bundles. After signing up for one (or both) of Sling TV's base bundles, you're free to add as many “Extras” as you want. The Extras include sets of like-minded channels or individual premium channels. Using this system, you're free to build a customized skinny bundle that makes your content as cost-effective as possible to get. Sling TV's two base bundles cost $25 each, but you can get both base packages together for $40 per month. You can try Sling TV for free for a week by clicking on the link below and signing up for the service's free trial offer.

Try Sling TV for free

 

YouTube TV

Watch Live TV on a PC without cable - YouTube TV

YouTube TV is a great way to watch live TV on PC. It has great apps and features on all platforms, and it boasts plenty of top channels in its $40-per-month bundle. You can check it out risk-free by taking advantage of the service's free trial program.

Try YouTube TV for free

 

Free Over-the-Air TV (PC TV Tuner)

Watch Live TV on a PC without cable - free over-the-air TV

You can use an antenna with your TV because your TV has a TV tuner built into it. Your computer does not, but it's easy enough to add one: there are a ton of PC TV tuners available from reliable manufacturers, and they'll allow you to easily turn a USB port into a place to plug in your antenna. At its simplest, a PC TV tuner will allow you to watch live OTA TV on your PC – but there are also more clever things that you can do using software. With third-party software and/or software included with your PC TV tuner, you can record and time-shift OTA TV, and even make it available to stream on other devices.

Check out free over-the-air TV

 

OTA DVRs

OTA DVRs exist to make OTA TV into time-shiftable, streamable content. Just plug your antenna into an OTA DVR like Tablo and then use your computer to stream live and recorded TV.

Or, if you're in a DIY sort of mood, you can turn your PC into an OTA DVR yourself! Using a PC TV tuner, your PC, and software like Plex, you can create your own OTA DVR.

Check out OTA DVRs

 

CBS All Access

Watch Live TV on a PC without cable - CBS All Access

CBS All Access is a single-channel solution that targets die-hard fans of CBS. For $5.99 per month, CBS super-fans can watch on-demand CBS programming and — in select markets — a live feed of their local CBS network.

Try CBS All Access for free

 

MLB.TV

Watch Live TV on a PC without cable - MLB.TV

League streaming services are live TV solutions that focus on specific sports leagues. Generally, they make it possible to watch live out-of-market games (sorry, no local or national broadcasts). MLB.TV is the gold standard for sports league streaming services, and features smooth streaming and superior features.

Check out MLB.TV

 

NBA League Pass

Watch Live TV on a PC without cable - NBA League Pass

NBA League Pass is the NBA's league streaming service, and it works pretty much how you'd assume: any regular-season game that is not being broadcast in your local market is available to stream via the service. You can also invest in a single-team option or even buy a single game.

Check out NBA League Pass

 

NHL.TV

Watch Live TV on a PC without cable - NHL.TV

NHL.TV is the NHL's league streaming service. Use it to watch out-of-market regular season games live on all sorts of devices – including, of course, your PC. For hockey fans, this is a great way to watch live TV on PC.

Check out NHL.TV

 

ESPN+

How to watch live TV on PC - ESPN+

ESPN+ is ESPN's standalone streaming service. While it doesn't offer a live feed of ESPN, it does offer other live broadcasts produced by the channel. Plus, it includes MLS Live, which is Major League Soccer's version of the live TV streaming service.

Try ESPN+ for free

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