TIPS My Five Best Free TV Tips


Jun 14, 2018

Whenever we need to let go of things to help us augment our income during lean times, my husband and I usually make a list of the things our family can afford to do without. This could mean lessening our food delivery and takeaways, recycling stuff that can still prove to be useful, and learning to cut off luxuries we hardly need. Chief among these luxuries is our cable TV subscription. When we did some computation, we learned that we were hemorrhaging a significant portion of our budget (almost a hundred dollars a month!) over something we hardly use. As one of my teenage daughters has expressed several times: “So many channels and nothing to watch!”

However, I do admit to missing some of my favorite cooking shows on cable when we canceled our subscription. While I do have cookbooks and YouTube videos for reference, there is still something soothing and entertaining about watching someone prepare a meal from scratch via a large flat-screen television. Being without cable also means I don’t get to see as much of our fave local shows as I’d like. So it’s a good thing my husband found ways on how to get local TV channels without cable, which I will be gladly sharing with you today!

1. Get a streaming service

I learned this particular trick on how to get local HD channels without cable from one of our kids. I was ranting about how the price of some of our grocery staples has gone up over breakfast one morning. I guess I was bending their ears a little bit more than usual because she rolled her eyes and told me: “Mooom, you need to Netflix and chill!”

So yes, while I know that it is not within the context of the phrase, what she said did give me pause and made me realize that a streaming service like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and others of the sort can help us curate the stuff we actually like watching without paying extra for those we don’t want to bother with - at a fraction of the cost of a cable TV subscription. And all we need are our (already existing) Internet connection, a laptop, and an HDMI cable (which is very affordable!).

Also - we can cancel our subscription any time, which is useful for when the kids have to study for exams or when the husband and I are particularly swamped with work.

2. Invest in a Roku device

My husband introduced me to the entire Roku concept, which is a nifty little streaming gadget that allows me to use my laptop for work once in a while (when it’s not connected to our television via an HDMI cable). It doesn’t cost much, and it allows me to watch Netflix shows and a host of other great local HD channels without cable. A Roku also enables my family and me to stream our favorite YouTube videos directly to our television (more on this in a bit)!

3. Get a YouTube TV subscription

How to get local channels without cable, like local news, talk shows, and others? YouTube TV is the answer! A regular streaming service will not cover stuff we regularly watch, like local news and sports channels. The great thing is that nearly all our local networks have their own YouTube channels which are available for live streaming as long as we are connected to the Internet. It’s quite affordable, and there’s also no bulky gadgets like cable boxes involved, which means that we can watch our local favorites anywhere we might be - even while on vacation! As an added bonus, each member of our family has their own YouTube TV account (six are allowed per household) for personalized viewing.

4. Get the official apps of major television networks

Believe it or not, free video content is just there for the taking. Most, if not all, of the major networks, now have apps for downloading or streaming their shows - and many of them come free (or with a minimum subscription fee)! There are certain times of the year when we need to see something live unfold on television via our local stations, such as sporting events, celebrity appearances, concerts, major news events, and others. Installing their official apps has made watching all of these things possible and convenient.

5. Install an HDTV antenna

I placed this particular free television tip at the bottom of the list because I have to admit that I am not a fan of antennas. When televisions lost their antennas sometime in the 80s, paving the way for more streamlined cable-powered viewing, I was actually thrilled. TV sets looked better in our living room, bedroom, and den without spindly wires poking out and allowed me more freedom to decorate our house without working around antennas.

But I digress. My husband installed an outdoor antenna so we can access even more channels available in our area. It’s his concession to my “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, and I have to admit, we got clearer shows after he installed it! So yes, sometimes it is worth it to compromise for the glorious pursuit of free TV viewing minus the astronomical cable TV subscription fees!

Have you discovered creative and innovative ways to watch shows without a cable subscription? Please share away, because I would love to learn all about them!