Cutting the cord and moving away from cable or satellite TV subscriptions can save you money, but it can also mean losing access to your favorite local channels. Fortunately, there are ways to watch local channels without an antenna even if you have a smart TV.
To get local channels on your smart TV without an Antenna, first consider a dedicated app for the channel you want. For more local channels, consider an app from one of the major networks (ABC, FOX, etc.) with local channels built in. YoutubeTV or SlingTV will add more live TV if needed.
In this article, we’ll look at these various methods to receive local channels on your smart TV without having to install an antenna. There are options for all the live TV you want, or just some local channels or sports channels, so, knowing what you want going into it is critical to know which option is right for you. First, we’ll start with the most common options most people end up with, and we’ll get more detailed from there. Let’s start!
Live TV Streaming Services (Sling, YoutubeTV, etc.)
One of the ways to watch local channels without an antenna on a smart TV is by subscribing to live TV streaming services such as Sling TV, YouTube TV, and Hulu + Live TV. These services provide a popular solution for cutting the cord, offering local channels along with a variety of popular channels like HGTV and ESPN. They’re great at replacing most of the experience of cable, at a fraction of the cost.
Sling TV is the least expensive option but offers only FOX and NBC local channels with its Blue package, among 40 other popular channels such as FOX News, MSNBC, CNN, and Food Network. On the other hand, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV provide most local channels in addition to a good number of popular channels.
YouTube TV offers over 100 channels, including local ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, and PBS channels. Along with local channels, subscribers can also enjoy Disney Channel, Food Network, and NFL Network. Meanwhile, Hulu + Live TV includes local ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, and NBC channels in its lineup of 85+ channels. Additionally, this service comes bundled with Disney+ and ESPN+.
Lots of people go with these options for simplicity. They want the full cable effect, with live TV, but they don’t want to pay a premium for sports, which is what drives most cable package prices up.
Using Channel-Specific Apps
Next you can consider just using channel-specific apps. After all, you’re on a smart TV, you can download these apps and use them just like channels usually.
Just don’t expect the subscription fee to be the same for all of them, and note that standalone channels (AMC, Food Network, etc.) may still require you to log in with a streaming package to access them.
Sports Specific Streaming Channels
To catch local sports events without an antenna on your Smart TV, you can subscribe to sports-specific streaming services. For instance, ESPN+ offers a wide variety of sports content, including live games, highlights, and analysis, but it requires a bundled subscription with Disney+.
Similarly, CBS Sports provides access to live sports events, though many who need a sports solution will go for Disney+ESPN at this point.
News Specific Streaming Channels
Local news can also be accessed without an antenna through news-specific streaming channels. ABC and FOX NOW provide live news streaming through their respective apps. You can also access local news for free by using apps like NewsON or STIRR, which aggregate live news broadcasts from various local stations, but if you prefer one or the other, just download the dedicated app form them!
With these channel-specific apps, you can enjoy a wide range of content from (some) sports to local news on your Smart TV without the need for an antenna.
Major Network Apps
Most major networks offer their own apps to stream local channels without an antenna. These apps are accessible on various platforms, including smart TVs. Here is a brief overview of these options:
- ABC: The ABC app offers live streaming and on-demand content for shows, news, and sports. You can access the app on your smart TV, but you’ll need to sign in with a participating pay-TV provider to unlock the content.
- CBS: CBS All Access is the network’s streaming service. It offers live local channels, on-demand content, and an ad-free option with a subscription. CBS All Access is available on most smart TVs, including Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast.
- FOX: The FOX NOW app provides live streaming and on-demand content from your local Fox station. To access the app on your smart TV, you’ll need to sign in with your cable or streaming service provider credentials.
- NBC: The NBC app offers live streaming and on-demand content from your local NBC station. To unlock all the content, you’ll need to sign in with your cable or streaming service provider. The app is available on most smart TVs and streaming devices.
- CW: The CW app is completely free to use and does not require a cable subscription or pay-TV provider. You can watch CW shows on-demand with this app, but live streaming may not be available in all areas.
- PBS: The PBS Video app allows you to watch popular PBS shows and local content on-demand. While live streaming may not be available, the app features a vast library of content. It’s accessible on smart TVs and other streaming devices.
To sum up, these major network apps offer a way to watch local channels without an antenna. However, some may require a pay-TV subscription or provider login to access live streaming and on-demand content.
Over-The-Air Television Services & Roku, Fire, etc.
One way to access your local channels without an antenna is through over-the-air (OTA) television services using streaming devices such as Roku Stick, Fire TV Stick (both on Amazon), or Chromecast. These devices support several streaming apps that provide local channels, including major networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC.
Streaming services like Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, YouTube TV, and FuboTV offer access to live local channels over the internet. Keep in mind that the availability of local channels varies depending on your location, so make sure to check each service’s offerings in your area. Many of these services offer free trials, allowing you to test them out before committing to a subscription.
Additionally, some on-demand streaming services provide access to network content, including local news and sports. For example, CBS All Access (now Paramount+) includes on-demand and live access to CBS shows, while Locast is a non-profit streaming platform offering local channels in select markets for free, relying on user donations to support its operations.
Don’t Forget YouTube
One of the easiest ways to access local channels on your smart TV without an antenna is by using streaming services, and YouTube is a standout option. YouTube TV, which we mentioned earlier, offers a comprehensive selection of local channels, making it simple and convenient for you to stay connected to local news, weather, and programming.
Setting up YouTube TV on your smart TV is surprisingly straightforward. Simply download the YouTube TV app from your TV’s app store, sign up for an account if you haven’t already, and start browsing through the available local channels. Many smart TVs come with pre-installed apps, so chances are you may already have YouTube TV ready to go.
But the reason we have a separate section here is that many users may be able to get away with normal YouTube as their streaming option. Many local channels or local groups may be using YouTube, so, depending on your area, local channels or at least local content could be available through normal YouTube, as opposed to the pricier YouTube TV. Be sure to try this out.
Locking In Local Channels
Cutting the cord and moving away from traditional cable or satellite TV subscriptions can save you money, but it can also mean losing access to your favorite local channels. Fortunately, we’ve explored lots of your options in solving that problem. With so many options available, it’s easier than ever to watch local channels without an antenna and enjoy a wide range of content on your smart TV.
And be sure to check our our other related resources here, on what you can use on your smart TV when the WiFi is off, and which channels Roku can access when offline.