Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
There are a lot of ways to get your news these days. You could turn to print journalism for the never-ending news cycles of cable channels like CNN and Fox News. You could check out online outlets and YouTube — or even Facebook, though you might not end up as informed as you think. But there’s a reason that so many Americans still tune into the evening news programs on major networks like NBC. You know you can trust professional programs like the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. But here’s something you might not know: You can watch the NBC Nightly News without cable. Below, we’ve got the big scoop on how to watch the Nightly News on NBC online or for free with an antenna.
It’s easy to assume that you have to have a cable or satellite subscription to watch the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. But it’s not actually true. And why should it be? After all, when NBC’s Nightly News program first aired in the year 1970, most Americans didn’t have cable yet. Most viewers tuned in using TV antennas.
That was then, and this is now. What’s changed? In some ways, an awful lot. After years of cable dominating our TVs, we can finally choose other options — like streaming services. There are some really exciting streaming services out there that are aiming to beat cable at its own game. Services like Hulu + Live TV and fuboTV give us a very cable-like experience, but without the commitment, high prices, or cable box.
In other ways, not much has changed. Those over-the-air broadcasts are still around, you know! We’ll talk about watching the NBC Nightly News free with an antenna later on.
Below, we’ll share a list of our favorite ways to watch the NBC Nightly News without cable, including skinny bundles and free over-the-air TV.
Stream NBC Nightly News on Hulu
Hulu was one of the first streaming services. When it first came out, it competed with Netflix and worked pretty much the same way as its rival: Subscribers get a big catalog of movies and TV shows, and they could watch as much as they wanted whenever they wanted to.
Hulu still has that service, but it has also expanded into live TV. If you subscribe to the Hulu + Live TV bundle, you’ll get all of Hulu’s on-demand content and a bunch of great live TV channels. Hulu + Live TV includes a live feed of NBC in most markets, which means you can use it to stream the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. Just make sure you get the right bundle — we love both of Hulu’s packages, but you’ll need the “+ Live TV” part to get the Nightly News broadcast livestream.
Stream NBC Nightly News on fuboTV
Like all of the great live TV streaming services, fuboTV offers a cable-like experience for less cash. fuboTV keeps things on the cheap side by stashing some of the less popular channels in add-on bundles, which you can add or skip depending on your tastes. NBC is in the main bundle, though, so you won’t need any add-ons to watch the NBC Nightly News in most markets.
AT&T TV Now is a cable alternative from AT&T. AT&T TV Now is a different product from regular old AT&T TV (with no “Now”). AT&T TV is an IPTV service, which is a fancy way of saying it’s a new version of cable TV that uses AT&T’s internet network. AT&T TV Now is a streaming service, which means it travels on the internet just like your emails or Facebook posts do. You don’t have to have AT&T Internet to use AT&T TV Now — in fact, you don’t even have to live in an area that AT&T U-Verse serves. AT&T TV Now is a go-anywhere live TV streaming option.
Google (or “Alphabet,” as they like to call themselves these days) is a big tech company, so it makes sense that they’re in the live TV streaming service market. Google’s product uses the branding from YouTube, which you may know for its funny cat videos and user-generated content. YouTube TV has a similar name and logo, but it’s different: It’s a pay TV service with lots of popular TV channels available to stream on many different devices. It has a free trial, so you may want to use it to watch the NBC Nightly News free online — with no cable required, and no risk either (just cancel if you don’t like it).
It seems like every company has its own streaming service these days. NBC’s parent company, NBCUniversal, is no exception. In case you’re not familiar, Peacock is your streaming source for all things NBCUniversal, including NBC sitcoms, Universal films, and all-new originals that are exclusive to Peacock. Peacock has two subscription options: Peacock Free and Peacock Premium. The premium version has more content and access to select live broadcasts, including sports and news broadcasts.
Can you use Peacock to watch the NBC Nightly News? Sort of: We’re including Peacock on our list because it has Nightly News episodes available to stream the same day they air. However, Peacock does not include an NBC live stream, and does not typically show the NBC Nightly News live, so you’ll have to have a little patience if you go with this option.
Before cable, most people got their TV channels for free over the air using an antenna. But what many of us don’t realize is that, in many cases, those same TV broadcasters are still out there giving away free TV over the air! If you drive by the headquarters of your local news channel, you’ll probably see a big broadcast tower. That tower is sending out TV signals, including your local news and all the other programming on whatever network your local station is an affiliate with. This makes it easy for some of us to watch the NBC Nightly News for free without cable. Just grab an antenna, plug it into your TV (don’t forget to scan for channels), and start watching! The only trick is figuring out where the nearest NBC station is. We recommend using the FCC’s broadcast TV map tool for that. How far away the station will determine which antenna is best for you — or if you can get NBC free over the air at all.
Your best bet for streaming the Nightly News online is to use a streaming skinny bundle like Hulu + Live TV or fuboTV. But does this mean you have to watch the news on your computer screen? Happily, no: You can watch these services on virtually all of the streaming devices and smart TV platforms we recommend, including Roku, Fire TV, and Chromecast.
Remember, this is a two-part equation. A device like a Roku Ultra can give you access to lots of great TV, but not on its own — it needs apps (or, as Roku calls them, “channels”). Fire TV devices come with some Amazon apps loaded up on them already, so they may look like they don’t need apps, but don’t get confused. Watching something “on a Roku” or “on a Fire TV” means watching something with an app on that device, just like “writing a paper on the computer” means writing a paper in a word processing program that’s running on that computer.
Thankfully, things don’t get too complicated these days. Pretty much all of our recommended live TV streaming services run on pretty much all of our recommended streaming devices.
We talked about antennas in this post, too, so let’s not forget about them. You don’t need to use a streaming device with your antenna — just plug it into your TV directly and you’ll be good to go (if your antenna’s not working, you’re probably either on the wrong TV input or forgot to scan for channels). However, if you do want to combine your streaming and antenna setups, you can do that with an OTA DVR. We have a few favorite OTA DVRs we like to recommend.
Most of our favorite ways to watch the Nightly News online involve streaming services that will get you a full-time NBC live stream. That’s great because there’s so much more than just news to watch on NBC. And these services will get you other channels, too, so there’s always enough to watch.
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