Cable television is extremely popular, due to all the amazing choices they have in regards to shows and movies of all genres.
However, cable prices are constantly on the rise. Therefore, as a consumer, you may be spending entirely too much on your TV shows and movies. People spend $70-$100 on cable television, which takes away from more pressing expenses.
Nowadays, there are so many other options, so there's no need to be paying this much. Therefore, you should look into cable alternatives that will allow you to watch the content you love affordably or entirely free. You may also discover new shows that you love.
How To Get Free Cable TV Legally
1. Get an HDTV Antenna
HDTV antennas are a great way to step away from cable. Simply hook one up to your TV. Using an antenna, you are able to watch local broadcast stations.
Before you purchase your antenna, you can view the available channels in your area by visiting the FCC.gov website.
You can also check out TVFool.com, which will tell you which channels are available and what position you should place your antenna in to get them.
A major plus is that the antennas aren't very expensive. In fact, they cost less than $30 .
However, keep in mind that if you are looking into this option, you should make sure you pick up a strong signal prior to completely getting rid of cable.
If you have a strong connection, you'll be able to get the following channels:
2. Visit the Network Websites
You don't always need a channel subscription in order to be able to watch shows from a cable channel. There are plenty of channels that will allow you to view their content, even if you aren't one.
- Cartoon Network
- Discovery Network
- Food Network
- Nick Jr.
- PBS Kids
Not all of the channels will allow you to watch unlimited amounts of their content. Therefore, you can always download them to see what the limits are.
3. Crackle TV
Crackle, owned by the company Sony, is an option that's existed for quite a while. It's an entirely free way to watch plenty of shows and or movies without having any sort of a subscription.
It has a lot of popular shows, including ones that no longer air. It has a relatively good catalog of entertainment to pick from.
To see the available shows and movies, simply visit the website and click the TV tab or the Movies tab at the top. By doing this, you'll be able to see the entirety of the options available on the Crackle platform. There are about 70 TV shows and over 150 movies.
The best part is you don't need to register to be able to view the content. If you see something that you want to watch, you can do so, no strings attached. However, you do have the option of making an account.
Chances are you've heard of and use this option. Over 1 billion unique viewers watch YouTube a month. YouTube, in general, has a fantastic variety of videos on tons of topics such as conspiracy theories, comedy, makeup, gaming, tutorials, storytelling, etc. No matter what you're looking for, you'll probably be able to find a video on it on YouTube.
As you may or may not, YouTube has a paid premium service called YouTube TV. Through this, you'll be able to watch shows and movies from various networks.
You may even be able to find shows and movies for free without paying for the subscription. Just search the name of the show you're looking for and type “full episodes” or the name of the movie you're looking for and “full movie.”
Keep in mind that if it's a violation of copyright, it may quickly get taken down. Also, sometimes people can't post the entirety of the episodes or movies, and you may only be able to find clips for free.
Popcornflix is a great option to watch TV shows and movies on a wide variety of genres, such as:
- reality TV
- science fiction
There are plenty of shows on the platform that aren't mainstream. This may seem off-putting, but this actually serves as a great way to introduce yourself to some new shows.
A plus is that you don't have to sign up to use the service.
Watching documentaries is a great way to pass the time. If you are somebody that enjoys documentaries, Snagfilms is an excellent pick for you.
With over 10,000 films for people of all ages and all sorts of genres, you'll definitely be able to find something enthralling to watch.
They also have fictional content, such as shows based on the 18th century England and comical television shows.
7. Classic Cinema Online/ Classic Television Online
Classic Cinema Online is great for watching channels that play movies from Hollywood's golden age (late 20s to the 50s.) There's many different available genres, such as:
- western films
Meanwhile, Classic Television Online allows you to watch classic shows from TV Land or Nick-at-Nite, such as:
- The Andy Griffith Show
- The Beverly Hillbillies
- Leave it to Beaver
There are also sports games available on the platform, and as the site grows, there will eventually be other things available, such as game shows, late-night TV, and weekend cartoons.
To enjoy stuff from their free catalog, simply go to the “free” section on the platform. You can navigate to this page through the menu at the top and look through the various categories. Vudu has the following categories.
- family and kids
- kids TV
- black cinema
They have so many genres, which translates to the site having hundreds of shows and movies. However, there is a small downside. You'll have to sit through ads, but that's common with platforms like these. You can only avoid this by upgrading to a premium account, but then it'll no longer be a free method.
TV.com is a great option for accessing content 100% free. To use the service, just create an account, and then search for the show you'd like to watch through the search bar at the top of the screen. Of course, not every show is going to be accessible through the site.
Once you find what you'd like to watch on the site, click on it. You'll be taken to a new page. On this page, you'll need to click the “Watch Online” tab. This will outline your options for being able to enjoy the content.
When you're looking for the show, if you're only trying to see free content, filter the search by making sure that “the source” only has the free option checked. Then follow the aforementioned steps.
If free options are available, you may not be able to find an entire series, but you may be able to find a certain amount of the episodes through the website.
Yidio is unique in the sense that, while the platform itself doesn't supply you with free content to watch, it does create a link between you and websites that will grant you access to free shows and movies.
It's a relatively simple platform that allows you to filter your choices. For example, the site filters things based on whether you want to just watch stuff on a streaming platform, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime or if you're going to watch something entirely free.
To watch something free, make sure to hit the “free tab” near the top of the screen. Then, you can navigate through the content by names of shows or by genre.
Then, once you find what you'd like to watch, just press it and then scroll downwards. Find the “Watch episodes” tab, which will tell you what episodes are available on various sites. Some websites may require that you create an account, but others don't require it.
11. Pluto TV
Pluto TV is incredibly unique in the sense that it's likely the closest thing to cable in this list.
The platform works the same as navigating through your cable box would work. On the site, you can look through various networks and pick the channel you're interested in. They are allocated by genre.
You definitely won't be disappointed when you see the available selection of channels on Pluto TV. The list includes:
- PlutoTV Movies
- TV Election
- NBC News
- Today’s Top Story
- TYT Network
- Sky News
- Fox sports
- The Onion
- PlutoTV Movies 2
- TV Family
- Action Movies
- TV Comedy
- TV Drama
- Flicks of Fury
- TV Thrillers
- Horror 24/7
And that's just a portion of the available channels! There's more, split between so many channels. Not only can you view live TV, but it also has the popular on-demand feature.
It's incredibly simple. Just hop on the website, and you immediately gain access to hundreds of shows and movies.
Again, PlutoTV is likely the closest thing to cable television that you'll find, making it a fantastic free alternative! And you don't even need to register.
It'll be challenging to find an option that tops this one.
12. Global TV (Canada Only)
Global TV is a great site for watching full episodes of shows, comprehensively organized by their genres.
Sadly, this option is only available to people living in Canada or using a Canadian IP through a VPN. So, if you're a resident of or visiting Canada, luckily you have this great option.
Through the website, you can see content separated by new series, latest primetime shows, and latest daytime shows. You could also organize it by a particular series through the main dashboard.
You can also watch live TV, but only if you're a subscriber of one of the following:
A good portion of the shows are free and products of bigger name networks, like ABC or NBC. However, some of the content required that you log into a cable provider to access it. Obviously, these aren't an option if you need an alternative to your cable provider.
Overall, Global TV is a nice, easy to use platform, with a decent selection of free content. It's nice that Canadians have this, as they are often barred from using websites created in the United States.
13. Xfinity Streaming
You may be thinking that this option wouldn't be something that works for you because you aren't a subscriber of the Xfinity service. Well, actually…
Xfinity allows people who aren't customers of their service to gain access to a large portion of their shows, meaning that you don't have to pay for anything.
To take advantage of this opportunity, simply access the list of TV shows on the website. There are hundreds available. Once you find what you're going to watch, click on it, find the episode, and you're all set. All you have to do is make sure that you click on the “Watch as a guest tab.” You'll be able to watch a few episodes without logging in.
Albeit, you will be limited in regards to the content that you can watch, you'll still have a pretty decent catalog to choose from. If you happen to be an Xfinity customer, you should definitely log in.
Cheap Cable TV
While “cheap” doesn't mean “free,” per se, it is still great to have affordable options.
These streaming services often provide way more shows and movies, because you're paying, as opposed to just watching free content. These options aren't nearly as expensive as cable TV.
One of the best options for watching TV shows and movies for a cheaper price is Hulu. After their air date, plenty of shows and movies will promptly show up on Hulu.
For the standard service, you'll pay $5.99 a month. There's also a free trial that you'll receive when you sign up. However, with the standard service, there are a lot of ads you'll have to deal with. So if this is a problem, you'll need to upgrade your account, increasing the total to $12 a month.
There's also a live TV option on Hulu. With this service, you can watch a show on Hulu at the same time that it's airing on TV. This plan starts at approximately $40 a month.
15. Sling TV
Sling TV doesn't work too differently than cable does, offering amazing TV packages with a total of 30 channels, including very popular ones, such as Disney Channel.
You can also get add-ons, such as a 50-hour cloud DVR, premiums, sports channels, etc.
Netflix, probably the most prevalent name in terms of streaming services, is a great way to watch fantastic television shows and movies. Some of them are shows that you can watch on live television, and others will be Netflix Originals.
This is a great way to discover new shows and be able to binge them.
There are various plans available to pick for your account. The amount you'll pay will vary based on different factors, such as:
- it is just for you
- you need it for a family
- you are a student
If you have more than one person using your Netflix account, such as if it's a family account, you can create different profiles. The point of this is to be able to differentiate between the recommended shows for each person and what they've watched.
The best part is that there aren't any annoying commercials that you'll have to deal with.
17. Amazon Prime Video
Amazon is a great platform for ordering virtually anything and getting it quickly sent directly to your front door. As you probably know, they also have the option to purchase their premium subscription, Amazon Prime.
If you have Amazon Prime, which is $100 annually, or $13 for a month, you also automatically have Amazon Prize Video. If you don't have it, you can still access the service for $9 a month.
With Amazon Video, you'll have access to tens of thousands of movies.
18. CBS All Access
If you are somebody who really enjoys CBS programming, you can subscribe to CBS All Access.
With a membership, you'll be able to watch live content from the CBS affiliate in your area. You can also view on-demand programming to watch current series or older, more classic shows, such as Star Trek.
CBS All Access is the best and cheapest way to be able to watch CBS sports programming live from your local channel if you're unable to reach it from an HDTV antenna, a method mentioned earlier in the article.
You can subscribe to the service for an easy $5.99 a month.
fuboTV is a fantastic option for anybody who is a sports fanatic. It serves as a way to get over 70 sports channels, such as:
- Big Ten Sports Network
- CBS Sports Network
- Fox Sports Network
- NBA TV
- NFL Network
- Pac 12 Networks
- BEIN Sports Network
- Hallmark Channel
If you are somebody who enjoys watching any of the following sports: basketball, baseball, soccer, cricket, or rugby… then this may be your method of no longer needing to use cable.
Fubo has two base packages:
- $55 a month for 90 channels
- $60 a month for 110 channels
How To Get Free Cable TV Legally FAQs
Are these free cable TV options legal?
Yes, all of the free options for accessing are entirely legit and legal. And, no, you won't get fined or arrested for trying them out!
While there are some illegal ways to get free cable, that's not what we're talking about here. None of these sites violate copyright or pirate movies, so they're all completely safe to use.
However, make sure to keep in mind that with the free options, the selection of shows and movies that you'll have access to will be relatively limited.
Therefore, if you can't find the show that you're looking for through those options, you should splurge just a tiny bit and use streaming platforms, such as Amazon, Google Play or premium Vudu. Either way, you'll be saving significant amounts of money as opposed to wasting a ton on cable every month.
How much can I save on my cable bill?
You'll be able to save anywhere from $20-$100, depending on whether you go for the free options or just the cheaper alternatives.
Even if you can't make the price fully disappear, even just saving a little bit every month can make a world of difference that many you can definitely take advantage of in various ways.
Think of it this way. You may have been paying over $90 every month to gain access to television. What's the harm in reducing that spending to $18 or less a month? Even though you're still losing money, those are still some serious savings.
Get Free Cable TV Conclusion
If you're somebody with a cable subscription, even if you use it often, you're likely being overcharged for services that definitely shouldn't be as pricey as they are. While being able to watch shows and movies are undoubtedly great, there are cheaper and better ways to accomplish this.
Sadly, many people don't seem to understand or noticed how overpriced cable is. And even when they do, they fail to take the steps necessary to begin using other, more affordable resources that would allow them to view their favorite content.
There are a lot of legal ways to watch cable television for free or at least affordably, so you should take advantage of them.