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.
Cox cable 3/20 raised their prices 4% across their entire package offerings in my excluded area.
FCC is supposed to regulate non-competitive cable markets.
I have the TV and H D antenna and get a couple of station. But want S B N. Jimmy swaggart ministries. How can I get that one. Thank you cindy
I think this really sucks ! A person can’t get regular tv unless you pay for cable tv .Providers can scramble your tv anytime they want . So what happens to the poor that can’t afford our Wonderful cable basic channels ?? We wont know what’s happening with weather, news in our own state etc . Cable company’s don’t care . As everything ! It’s all about that almighty Dollar ! I think that’s pretty SAD ! WE ALL CALL THAT PUTTING A GUN TO OUR BACK’S. I hope all you Dollar Hungry People get yours One Day ! And it will happen !! Live on you Money Hungry Mongrels, Enjoy while it last
Now, Cox Cable has added per RI PUC a broadcast fee of $13.50 per month on the basic tv lineup in addition to the monthly fee $28.00 for very basic tv and $4.99 per month for the mini plus taxes and fees.
Cox has converted phone service to VOIP and continues to collect all government fees associated with the copper wire phone services.
Fees and taxes on Cox Cable services is appx 25% of the monthly bill. Absurd
Susan Brown Aldridge
The cost to older retired or disabled people need to be looked at.. My Mom and I live together and even together we have a very limited income so you are to much for us. The cost of Cox just went up another 50 dollars. I don’t know how the company expects us to pay these fees. I have been a client with this company (Cos) for almost 30 years and its just to much for us, it may not help but I have to change companies. I love Cox you guys have been great most of these years. Since our disability we just cant afford you anymore and I’m sorry we have to leave.
Tesha Leashea Hawkins
JESUS LUVS!!! You can watch SBN NOW APP its the Jimmy Swaggart Ministry’s how to watch app you can do it on your phone or computer and cast to your tv if you choose too it AWSOME BE BLESSED
Great info here, e.g. the recording devices list and also never heard of Crackle. I’ve been learning so much on the net. I wouldn’t be forced to if Spectrum didn’t have a gun to my nack. Being a loyal TWC legacy(over 20 yrs)Spectrum customer means zilch. I agree with Marilyn. And that you want to turn on tv and see local news. So, we still need wi fi to stream. But I still have a VCR and a DVD player! Yes! And just bought an Antenna to try. We can cut the cord and get use to getting content differently thanks to these writers. Thanks😆
It is not as simple as it sounds. We also have a phone land line that requires cable. These other things you buy to cut your cable don’t work with phones. Also, the things you like to watch are on tiers that cost 12.00 dollars a tier. That is where Spectrum will get you. If you have 2 channels on a tier and 2 on another tier, that is 24.00 for only 4 channels, then other channels on other tiers and add taxes, franchise garbage and all other tactics to get a 1.00 here and more on other odds and ends, you have a whopper of a bill. You come out better just going to the movies. Spectrum has been nothing but a major headache for us and many more. They just have went up on our bill again this month. It is only going to get worst. These are nothing but money hungry rapping people. BUT, THEIR DAY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER.