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Watch TV Networks Online Without Cable — How To Get Access

By Lyn Atwood / November 15, 2018 / Tags: ,

Trying to figure out which channels or shows you can stream without cable or satellite? Here’s how to watch any channel online — for free or cheap.

Watch TV online without cable

Can you watch your favorite TV, sports, and movie channels online without cable? What if you want to watch a channel in a different country — is it possible? Answering these questions isn’t as easy as it should be.

So we’ve made it easy. Here, we walk you through exactly how to find all the options available to watch your favorite networks, TV shows, and sports events without a cable or satellite subscription. We take you through the possibilities step-by-step, from the most obvious to the somewhat obscure.

⊕ Ultimate Guide To Stream Live Sports Without Cable

Below, you’ll also find a complete list of TV and sports networks (legally) available with an internet TV subscription service. (Jump to the chart.)

If you don’t care about the “legally” part, then you can use Kodi to stream virtually any channel or show for free, both live and on-demand, from any country. Learn more about how to use Kodi and what you can watch.

How To Watch TV On Kodi

To clarify: What do we mean by ‘getting a channel without cable/satellite’? For the most part, we mean being able to watch all of the channel’s programming live as it airs, just like you can do with traditional TV. Some channels make certain shows available on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Vudu, etc. — but that’s not what we mean. We mean getting access to everything the channel broadcasts. So there’s no difference from what you’d get with cable.

Best Cable TV Alternatives

Lots of cable and satellite providers now give their customers access to stream channels online, on various devices. It should be obvious to you if your TV provider (if you have one) does this, so that’s not what we’re talking about here either. If you’re still in, read on.

How To Watch Your Favorite Channels & Shows Online — Step-By-Step Help

Follow these simple steps to see how to watch any TV channel online without cable.

Try The Channel’s Website

STEP 1) See if you can stream the channel on its official website. Lots of channels have live streaming and video-on-demand access on their sites nowadays. (Use the search box above to find channels and see their online streaming options.) However, the popular networks will require login with your TV provider. So if that’s the case, proceed to the next step. (If you’re a US citizen living abroad, check out Step 5.)

To stream content in a different country: If you want to watch a TV channel or sports stream from a different country, but can’t get access to its live or video streams because of geo-restrictions (as in the picture below), you can use a simple workaround. More on how to unblock any website or unblock any sports site or streaming service. Note that this also works to get access to subscription services in other countries.

Unblock TV networks like Eurosport
Many TV networks use geo-blockers to prevent people in other countries from streaming their content online. You’ll need to bypass the geo-blocks in order to get access.

 

Use A Streaming Service

STEP 2) Use the chart below to see if the channel is available via a cable TV alternative — also called a streaming service, or Internet TV. For the complete list of services, check out today’s best cable TV alternatives. The main options are:

+ Internet TV providers fuboTV (now expanded to more sports and entertainment), YouTube TV, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, Hulu Live TV. More about internet TV services.

Stream TV Shows Free Without Cable On fuboTV

+ Amazon Prime Video, which streams a handful of popular channels like HBO and Showtime.

Amazon Prime Video free trial

+ Standalone streaming services (also called a-la-carte services) that give you access to a single channel (examples: HBO Now, Showtime Anytime, and CBS All Access).

+ Niche sports streaming services (examples: NBA League Pass, NFL Game Pass, etc.). More about how to stream live sports without cable.

⊕ RELATED: Can You Still Unblock U.S. Netflix Abroad? We Tested The Claims — Here’s What We Found

If the channel you want isn’t in the chart below, or you’re looking for a cheaper option, proceed to Step 3.

Outside the U.S.? You can get Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, sports streaming services, and etc. even if you’re not in the U.S. Yes, these services are typically only available to U.S. residents — but there is a workaround. More on how to get popular streaming services from anywhere.

CBS All Access

Use Kodi

STEP 3) If you still can’t get access to a channel, it’s time to venture outside the mainstream. [A cautionary note: If you get squeamish about stepping on the toes of copyright holders skip to Step 4. Unfortunately, you’ve exhausted your online options, so you’ll have to see if you can get it over-the-air while you wait for it to become available to stream.]

If you’re still reading this then you’re at least curious and perhaps more. So it’s time to explore Kodi.

How To Use Kodi: A Simple Quick-Start Guide

Kodi is a media player. You can use Kodi to stream TV shows, movies, live sports and live TV from the internet. (For a more detailed explanation, see ‘What Is Kodi?‘.)

Kodi is free to download and use, and works in any country on almost any device. It’s a very powerful, versatile, and slick platform and it is rapidly rising in popularity.

You can use Kodi to watch content you pay for. But Kodi is popular because you can also use it to watch tons of stuff without paying — from sources like HBO, Showtime, ESPN, and many more.

To see what Kodi can do and how to get started, check out our beginner’s guide on how to use Kodi. This will show you how to use Kodi to watch TV, movies, and live sports without the expensive subscriptions on a vast library of popular channels. Also, see our list of the best Kodi TV add-ons you’ll want to install to get access to content. Or, see the best add-ons to watch live TV on Kodi and to stream TV shows on Kodi.

One major note: Using Kodi to stream TV without paying for it comes with some risk. First, some channels/media companies/government agencies won’t be happy you’re watching paid content for free. Kodi users can, and often are, hit with copyright infringement. Plus, Kodi’s security issues can be dangerous if not avoided. Therefore, to keep out of trouble, you’ll need to take steps to stay safe and anonymous on Kodi. The best way to do this is by using a VPN with Kodi. A VPN will encrypt your connection, hide your identity, prevent tracking and monitoring, and keep you safe from spies and hackers. See the best VPNs for Kodi. If you’re not familiar with VPN, don’t worry, they’re really easy to use. See how to use a VPN to stay private and secure on Kodi.

Get An Antenna

STEP 4) If you still can’t stream a channel online, you can try picking it up over-the-air. Especially if you live in an urban area, you have a good shot at getting all the major broadcast networks for free (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, My9, CW), plus 20-30 others.

How To Choose The Right Antenna

To do so, you’ll need a decent TV antenna. Antennas have come a very long way in recent years. But it’s still hard to figure out which kind of antenna you need for your home/location. This guide will help you find the right antenna for you in just two easy questions.

Here’s an indoor HDTV antenna ($50) that the majority of people will be very happy with. It has a 50-mile range, which should pick up about 20 channels, plus lots of other nice features you can read about here.

Watch On USTVNow

STEP 5 — ADDITIONAL OPTION FOR US CITIZENS ABROAD) Americans living or traveling overseas have another option available: USTVNow. You can watch U.S. TV for free with USTVNow on your desktop computer on the following channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, My9, CW.

For $19/month you can get 28 channels, including some of the most popular networks: ESPN, AMC, A&E, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, FX, USA Network, TBS, and more. You can also stream on any device. For $30/month you can get a DVR plan.

It’s an excellent service, with impressive streaming speeds and a nice interface. If you’re tempted to try to use USTVNow from inside the U.S., don’t bother. You’ll be geo-blocked.

Complete List Of TV Networks You Can (Legally) Stream With A Cable/Satellite Alternative

In alphabetical order by network. If you don’t care about taking money from TV networks, here’s a list of channels you can stream free on Kodi.

Service FUBO TV
(Free trial)
YOUTUBE TV
(Free trial)
HULU LIVE TV
(Free trial)
DIRECTV NOW
(Free trial)
SLING TV
(Free trial)
PLAYSTATION VUE
(Free trial)
OTHER
Package & Price Premier ($35/mo) Basic ($35/mo) Basic ($40/mo) Basic ($35/mo) Orange ($20/mo)** Blue ($25/mo)** Extras ($5/mo) Access Slim ($30/mo) Core Slim ($35/mo) Elite Slim ($45/mo) Varies
A&E Premier Basic Basic Orange Blue
ABC Premier Basic Broadcast Extra On-demand On-demand On-demand
Acorn TV Amazon Video
Adult Swim Basic Basic Orange Blue
AHC Basic Elite
AMC Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
Animal Planet Basic Access Core Elite
Baby TV Extra Basic Kids Extra
BBC America Basic Orange Blue
BBC World News Basic World News Extra
beIN Sports Premier Sports Extra Core Elite
BET Basic Blue Lifestyle Extra Access Core Elite
BET Gospel Elite
BET Jams Elite
BET Soul Elite
Big Ten Network (BTN) Premier Basic Basic Basic
Bloomberg TV Basic Orange Blue
Boomerang Basic Basic Kids Extra Elite
Bravo Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
Cartoon Network Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
CBS Premier Basic CBS All Access
CBS Sports Premier Basic Basic
Centric Elite
Cheddar Amazon Video
Chiller Extra Basic Basic Basic Elite
Cinemax Basic Extra $10/mo
Cloo Elite
CMT Basic Comedy Plus Extra Access Core Elite
CMT Music Elite
CNBC Extra Basic Basic Basic World News Extra Access Core Elite
CNBC World Basic Elite
CNN Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
Comcast SportsNet Basic Basic Basic Blue
Comedy Central Basic Blue Access Core Elite
Comedy Central Stand-Up Amazon Video
Comedy TV Basic
Comic Con HQ Amazon Video
Con TV Amazon Video
Cooking Channel Basic Lifestyle Extra Elite
Curiosity Stream Amazon Video
CW Basic
Destination America Basic Access Core Elite
Discovery Basic Access Core Elite
Discovery Family Basic Access Core Elite
Discovery Life Basic Elite
Disney Channel Basic Basic Basic Orange Access Core Elite
Disney Junior Basic Basic Basic Kids Extra Access Core Elite
Disney XD Basic Basic Basic Kids Extra Access Core Elite
DIY Network Basic Lifestyle Extra Access Core Elite
Dove Channel Amazon Video
Drama Fever Instant Amazon Video
Duck TV Kids Extra
E! Premier Basic Basic Basic Lifestyle Extra Access Core Elite
El Rey Premier Basic Orange Blue
EPIX Hollywood Extra
EPIX Drive-In Hollywood Extra
EPIX Hits Hollywood Extra Elite
EPIX2 Hollywood Extra
ESPN Basic Basic Basic Orange Access Core Elite
ESPN Bases Loaded Sports Extra
ESPN Buzzer Beater Sports Extra
ESPN Goal Line Sports Extra
ESPN2 Basic Basic Basic Orange Access Core Elite
ESPNews Basic Basic Basic Sports Extra Core Elite
ESPNU Basic Basic Basic Sports Extra Core Elite
Esquire Network Access Core Elite
Euronews World News Extra
Flama Orange Blue
Food Network Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
Football Report TV Premier
Fox Premier Basic Blue* On-demand On-demand On-demand
Fox Business Premier Basic Basic Access Core Elite
Fox College Sports Premier Elite
Fox News Premier Basic Basic Basic Access Core Elite
Fox Sports 1 (FS1) Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
Fox Sports 2 (FS2) Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
Fox Sports Regional Premier Basic Basic
Fox Soccer Plus Premier
France24 World News Extra
Freeform Basic Basic Basic Orange Access Core Elite
Fuse Premier Basic
Fusion Premier Basic World News Extra Elite
FX Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
FXM Premier Basic Basic Basic Elite
FXX Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
FYI Premier Basic Basic Lifestyle Extra
Gaia Amazon Video
Galavision Orange Blue
Golf Channel Premier Basic Basic Basic Sports Extra Core Elite
Hallmark Channel Premier Basic
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Premier
HBO Basic Extra $15/mo HBO Now / Amazon Video
HGTV Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
Hi-Yah Elite
History Premier Basic Basic Orange Blue
History Vault Amazon Video
HLN Basic Basic World News Extra Access Core Elite
Hoopla Kidz Plus Amazon Video
IFC Basic Orange Blue Core Elite
Impact Elite
Investigation Discovery Basic Access Core Elite
Lifetime Premier Basic Basic Orange Blue
Lifetime Movies (LMN) Premier Basic Basic Lifestyle Extra
Local Now Premier Orange Blue
Logo Basic Comedy Plus Extra Elite
Maker Orange Blue
MGM HD Elite
MLB Network Basic MLB.TV / MLB At Bat
MLS Soccer TV MLS Live / Fubo TV
Motor Trend Amazon Video
MSG Premier
MSNBC Premier Basic Basic Basic World News Extra Access Core Elite
MTV Basic Comedy Plus Extra Access Core Elite
MTV Hits Elite
MTV Live Elite
MTV U Elite
MTV2 Basic Comedy Plus Extra Access Core Elite
Nat Geo Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
Nat Geo Wild Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Elite
NBA TV Premier Basic NBA League Pass
NBC Premier Basic Blue* On-demand On-demand On-demand
NBCSN Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
NDTV World News Extra
NESN Premier Access Core Elite
News 18 India World News Extra
Newsy Orange Blue
NFL Network Premier Blue Core Elite NFL Game Pass, US & Int'l
NFL RedZone Premier Sports Extra Core Add-On ($40) Elite Add-On ($40) NFL Game Pass Int'l
NHL Hockey TV Basic NHL.TV / NHL Mobile App
Nick Jr. Basic Blue Kids Extra Access Core Elite
Nickelodeon Basic Access Core Elite
NickToons Kids Extra Access Core Elite
One World Sports Premier Elite
Outside TV Sports Extra Elite
OWN Basic Access Core Elite
Oxygen Premier Basic Basic Basic Lifestyle Extra Access Core Elite
Polaris+ Orange Blue
Pop Basic Access Core Elite
Pursuit Channel Basic
Revolt Premier
RT World News Extra
Science Basic Access Core Elite
Screen Junkies Plus Amazon Video
SEC Network Basic Basic Basic Sports Extra Core Elite
See So Amazon Video
Showtime Basic Showtime Anytime / Amazon Video
Smithsonian Earth Amazon Video
Spike Basic Comedy Plus Extra Access Core Elite
Sprout Premier Basic Basic Basic Elite
Starz Amazon Video
Sundance TV Basic Hollywood Extra Core Elite
Syfy Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
Tastemade Amazon Video
TBS Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
TeenNick Basic Kids Extra Elite
Tennis Channel Basic
TLC Basic Access Core Elite
TNT Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
Travel Channel Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
TruTV Basic Basic Blue Comedy Plus Extra
Turner Classic Movies Basic Basic Hollywood Extra Core Elite
TV Land Basic Comedy Plus Extra Access Core Elite
UFC TV UFC Fight Pass
UMC Amazon Video
UniMas Premier Basic Blue Broadcast Extra
Universal HD Extra Elite
Univision Premier Basic Blue Broadcast Extra
Univision Deportes Sports Extra
UP Faith&Family Amazon Video
USA Premier Basic Basic Basic Blue Access Core Elite
Velocity Basic Elite
VH1 Basic Lifestyle Extra Access Core Elite
VHI Classic Elite
Vibrant Lifestyle Extra
Viceland Premier Basic Basic Orange Blue
Weather Channel Premier Basic
Weather Nation Basic
WeTV Lifestyle Extra Access Core Elite
YES Premier Basic Basic Basic Orange Blue Access Core Elite
YouTube Red Originals Basic
Package & Price Premier ($35/mo) Basic ($35/mo) Basic ($40/mo) Basic ($35/mo) Orange ($20/mo)** Blue ($25/mo)** Extras ($5/mo) Access Slim ($30/mo) Core Slim ($35/mo) Elite Slim ($45/mo) Varies
Service FUBO TV
(Free trial)
YOUTUBE TV
(Free trial)
HULU LIVE TV
(Free trial)
DIRECTV NOW
(Free trial)
SLING TV
(Free trial)
PLAYSTATION VUE
(Free trial)
OTHER

* Select markets

** Sling TV’s Orange+Blue Plan ($40) has all the Orange channels plus all the Blue channels

Get a free trial of:

FuboTV

YouTube TV

DirecTV Now

Hulu Live TV

PlayStation Vue

Sling TV

CBS All Access

ExpressVPN (to unblock geo-restricted content)

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