It’s fun! It’s great to watch after a long day at work. But it’s also pretty darn expensive. Only if there was a way to get it for free!
According to statistics, the average American spends $99 per month on their cable bill, meaning that over the course of the year, you end up racking up more than $1000 just for watching TV!
Wouldn’t it be great if you could get access to your favorite shows and movies, without paying for it each month?
Fortunately, there are many free and cheap alternatives to cable TV that let you get TV for free without resorting to any illegal activities.
If you know the right methods (and we’re not talking about pirating cable and stealing your neighbor’s cable here!), there are plenty of ways to watch TV for free.
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Below, we’ve compiled a list of easy to follow tips on how to do it. So, if you’re wondering how to get free cable TV legally, then keep reading!
What will I learn?
1. Get Free Basic Cable TV with an HDTV Antenna
There is a thing called Broadcast Digital TV that apparently most people are unaware of.
According to the Disablemycable.com, you can receive signals for the major networks such as NBC, FOX, and ABC, as well as PBS and local stations for free with a Hi-Def antenna.
And there is an easy and quick way to see which channels you can get.
Here is how:
- Visit https://www.fcc.gov/media/engineering/dtvmaps.
- Enter your zip code in the box and hit “go”.
- You’ll then see a table with Green, Red, and Orange rows, each containing local and national TV stations.
The Green and Yellow indicate channels you can easily get with an indoors antenna.
The Orange indicates channels that you may need an outdoor antenna and some tweaking to get.
Use that list as a rough estimate of how many channels you can get through Broadcast Digital TV as it is not an exact list.
As mentioned, you do need a good HDTV antenna. Now, we’re not talking about those old-school, rabbit-ear style antennas– they’ve come a long way since then. Nowadays, you can pick up an HDTV antenna for a reasonable price, and with it get access to shows from major and local TV networks.
You have the right to pick up signals from these networks for free!
All that you need to pay for is the initial cost of the antenna, but after this one-time payment, you get channels for free.
Conveniently, you can get HDTV antennas for outdoor or indoor use.
Some people prefer indoor antennas, as they’re so easy to set up, and have success using them.
Other people prefer outdoor antennas placed on the roof or elsewhere on the exterior of the home, and feel like they get a wider selection of channels to choose from. It’s really a matter of personal preference.
How to set it up
Okay, so if you want to use this method to get free cable TV legally, then you’ll need to purchase and install an HDTV antenna.
There are plenty of places where you can find them, but Amazon is a good place to start.
Check out these products:
- 1byone HDTV Antenna – 25 Miles Range with 10ft High Performance Coax Cable: Costs $12.99
- Blimark HDTV Indoor Antenna- 50 Miles Digital Long Range TV HD Antenna With Amplifier Signal Booster: Costs $27.99
- RCA Compact Outdoor Yagi HDTV Antenna with 60 Mile Range: Costs $45.99
A good HDTV antenna can be picked up for $10 to $50, which isn’t a lot, plus it’s a one-off investment that you’re definitely going to get your money’s worth out of.
Tip: If you’re not already a member, consider signing up for Swagbucks. It’s a rewards site that pays you to answer surveys, and do stuff that you’re probably already doing, like:
- Playing games
- Watching videos
For doing these tasks, you’re rewarded with points, called Swagbucks, which you can redeem for cash via PayPal or for gift cards, including Amazon gift cards. You could use that Amazon gift card to buy an antenna. Then you don’t have to pay a penny!
2. Visit IMBD.com
One of the best and often overlooked places to find great TV shows is at TV.com.
If you don’t already know, IMDB is a TV listings guide. It also offers TV reviews and other information.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that you can find full free episodes of recent TV shows for free!
There’s a huge selection of quality shows to choose from.
How to set it up
Simply visit visit the site, enter the name of the show or movie you like to watch in the search box and hit search. Then sit back, relax and enjoy the show!
You can find free cable shows, as well as major network shows and movies.
3. Watch Free TV Online
A lot of channels, including major networks, actually post full episodes of their shows online.
You wouldn’t necessarily think it, but a lot of networks post their programs on their websites, and you can watch them for free!
Often, the content the networks post online will only be available to watch for a limited time, but it’s still free TV!
How to set it up
All you need to do is think about the channels and the networks that you like, and then visit their websites.
When you visit a network’s website, look out for a tab that says something like “videos” or “episodes”.
To get you started, here are a few examples of channels and networks that offer free content online:
This method of getting free cable TV is probably the easiest and it requires no upfront payment either.
Tip: If you don’t like watching TV on your phone, laptop or computer, and prefer to watch stuff on the TV, then don’t worry. All you need to do is buy an HDMI cable, and then use it to connect your PC to your TV, and then you can stream the content that way.
Check out this article for more information on how to do it – it’s really easy!
And, the best part is that you can get an HDMI cable from Amazon for just $6.99! Check it out here.
4. Use a Streaming Service – for Free!
Using a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video is already much cheaper than a cable subscription. Netflix costs just $7.99 per month, whereas the average cable bill sets you back a whopping $90+ a month.
But, did you know that you can actually use some streaming services for free?
And there are many awesome free online movie streaming sites and apps.
Take a look at these examples…
Crackle is such a unique platform, because like Hulu and HBO NOW, it allows you to stream content from a library of movies and television shows, but it’s completely free.
It’s owned by Sony, and offers a plethora of movies, from drama to action, and well-known TV shows like Seinfeld.
If you really want to cut the cost of watching TV, then Crackle is definitely a platform that you should check out. Combine it with the content on TV.com and network websites and you’ve got yourself a pretty great selection of content to get through.
Like everyone else on the planet, you’ve probably heard about Netflix.
It’s arguably the most well-known streaming platform around. On there, you can find hundreds of movies, from classic to modern and from comedy to horror, as well as a ton of TV shows – many of them exclusive to the platform.
While a Netflix subscription costs $7.99 per month, which is way cheaper than cable, you can actually get a free trial of it for a month. So, if you’re cutting out your cable subscription and you’re looking for something to watch then you should definitely check out Netflix.
If you like it, then you might consider signing up and if you don’t, then you just got a month of TV for free out of it.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is another streaming service that’s very similar to Netflix. It offers a wide range of well-known TV shows, like Vikings and American Horror Story.
You can just pay for Amazon Prime Video, which costs, $8.99 per month, or you can get a full Prime Membership for $10.99.
With a full Prime membership, you’ll not only get access to Amazon’s video library, but also a plethora of other perks, like free shipping on every order.
So, like Netflix, it’s a much cheaper service than cable, but if you don’t want to pay a cent, then you’ll be glad to know that you don’t have to.
Fortunately, Amazon offers a free month-long trial of Amazon Prime. That’s a pretty great deal. Get yourself a month of free video content and free shipping, and then you can cancel your membership at any time.
How to set it up
Using a streaming service is pretty easy, but you will have to create an account on each of the platforms that you want to use. This doesn’t take long, plus it’s totally free.
You can watch content from services like Netflix across multiple platforms, like your phone, tablet, PC, laptop or games console.
How to DVR Stuff Without Cable
Okay, so one of the pitfalls of canceling the cable subscription is that you can’t record stuff, and many people miss recording their favorite shows and movies.
Fortunately, just because you’ve cut the cord, it doesn’t mean that you have to miss out.
All you need to do is invest in a device that records TV.
Here are a few to consider:
- Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB 3 / 4 Channel HDTV Digital Converter Box with Recording and Media Player
- TiVo Roamio OTA 500 GB DVR and Streaming Media Player (2014 Model) – Works with HD Antenna
- Digital Converter Box + Digital Antenna + HDMI and RCA Cable – Complete Bundle
- BoostWaves® Digital Converter Box DVR
The Bottom Line
Nowadays, with streaming platforms and major network websites, there are plenty of places where you can find great content, without having to fork over more than $1000 for it each year.
All you need to do is try a few of the methods above and you can easily get free cable TV legally.