To keep this resource free, Cordcutting.com is compensated by certain providers listed below. Learn More To keep this resource free, Cordcutting.com is compensated by certain providers listed below. Learn More

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 going to talk specifically about how to watch live TV on a PC.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream live TV on a PC:

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

See Offer

$25 60+ 7 days

See Offer

$5.99 – $85.96 68 – 88 7 or 30 days

See Offer

$54.99 – $86.96 100+ 7 days

See Offer

$35 – $50 30+ – 130+ 3 days

See Offer

$5.99 – $14.99 N/A None

See Offer

$5.99 – $9.99 N/A 30 days

See Offer

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.
Then there's over-the-air TV. With OTA TV, you can watch lots of great channels – including significant 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 OTA 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.

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.

Stream live TV on a PC for free with Philo

Try It

AT&T TV is AT&T's skinny bundle service. If you’re not sure you’ve heard that name, don’t sweat it — this service has rebranded itself a couple of times. It was called AT&T TV NOW until early 2021, and DIRECTV NOW before that. It offers a lot of great channels without locking you into a contract. For more, click on over to our AT&T TV review.

Stream live TV on a PC for free with Philo

Free Trial

Philo's goal is to make skinny bundles as affordable as possible. Its trick is that it dispenses with most 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 live TV at very low prices.

Stream live TV on a PC for free with Hulu

Free Trial

Hulu + 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 + Live TV can hang with the best of the skinny bundle crowd. It 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 + Live TV allows you to test things out for free by signing up for a free trial.

Stream live TV on a PC for free with fuboTV

Free Trial

fuboTV holds a special appeal for fans of foreign soccer leagues thanks to its wealth of related networks. But don't worry: There are tons of non-sports channels available through fuboTV, too. On top of all of this other good stuff, fuboTV offers a free trial.

Stream live TV on a PC with Sling TV

Try It

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.

Stream live TV on a PC with ESPN+

Try It

ESPN Plus is ESPN's stand-alone streaming service. While it doesn't offer a live feed of ESPN, it does offer other live broadcasts produced by the channel. NHL and MLB are just a couple of the leagues with live streaming games on ESPN Plus. There’s also a ton of college sports games available as well.

Stream live TV on a PC with Paramount+

Try It

Paramount Plus is also available on your PC. But let’s back up a minute: What is Paramount Plus? It’s a continuation of CBS All Access, except it’s bigger and better. You’ll find more channels and more content when you try out Paramount Plus, as the service is really leaning hard into the whole “mountain of entertainment” marketing campaign. Our Paramount Plus review will tell you if the hype is earned.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is also 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 bundle. Google's live TV streaming service is well worth a look! Also worth a look is our full YouTube TV review.

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.

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.

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.

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. For more details, check out our guide to NBA League Pass.

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 a PC.

One thought on “How to Watch Live TV on a PC

  1. joan mercedes herbert says:

    hate those trails please with your good heads that know whats affordable easy for us seniors. do we get a discount? whats about the Youtube Tv Roku stick how is that? last artical on the other page on the bottom whats thats about OH we have 2 stories house small but affordable have one tv up their will your antenna reach that? thanks again joan Do you guys work on friday?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.