Most cord-cutters know there are plenty of ways to watch popular movies and television shows without cable. Netflix and Hulu have made it easy to check out big-budget Hollywood films, and services like Max have freed TV binge-watchers from the clutches of the cable companies. But what about local content? Many cord-cutters don't know how to watch local channels without cable, and may not even realize they can.
The truth is that you have a bunch of ways to watch local channels online and over the air. Thanks to the rise in skinny bundles and the resurgence in popularity of over-the-air TV, cord- cutters are once again enjoying local news and other local programming without having to crawl back to traditional pay-TV providers like cable and satellite companies. This is our complete guide to watching local channels without cable.
How to Watch Local Channels Online and Over the Air Without Cable
There are three basic ways to get your local channels without signing up with a traditional pay- TV provider like a cable or satellite company. We'll cover each of them in the list below, starting with a group that may require a bit of explanation: skinny bundles.
Skinny bundles are streaming solutions that resemble cable and satellite subscriptions almost everywhere except for on your monthly bill. Skinny bundles tend to be slimmer than cable packages (hence the name), ditching some of the less important channels and keeping a core group of popular networks available for far less than the cable giants charge. Among the key channels featured in these slimmed-down bundles are local major network (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC) affiliates from around the country. The bad news is that availability of live local major network feeds will vary by region, but the good news is that it's easy to check out the selection in your region.
Here's all the ways you can watch local channels without cable today:
Can I Watch Local Channels on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast?
You can watch your local channels on a variety of devices, because sometimes you just need to check out the latest episode of a show when you’re not in front of your TV at home. Whether you have a Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, or anything in between, you can catch your favorite local channels.
Speaking of different devices and platforms, be sure to check out our device-specific guides for even more information on how to watch local channels online:
More to Watch for Local TV Fans
The bulk of this article has covered what’s known as the Big Four Networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. But there’s at least one more English-language network that’s worth mentioning, even though it’s not mentioned as regularly as the other four. That network is CW, or sometimes “The CW,” because apparently the network views itself as comparable to The Ohio State University. The network is known for shows like “Riverdale” and “Supergirl” that often appeal to a younger audience than, say, “Blue Bloods” on CBS. But there’s stuff to like on CW no matter your age, so check out our guide to watching the CW without cable to get more info.