If you’re one of the many hoping to save a little money this year, you may be considering different options. And while it may not be possible to cut back on expenses like food, shelter, insurance, gas, and other necessary expenses, there are other areas of your life for which you might dial down the spending. One of these is entertainment.
When seeking to save extra cash, your entertainment budget is likely the first to take a hit. From cooking at home more to canceling un-used subscriptions, there are a number of ways you can cut back to help improve your financial standing. Doing away with your cable or satellite TV, for instance, may be one of the easiest ways to save a bit more money each month. But doing away with cable or satellite means you’re all out of options when it comes to local TV channels, right?
Doing away with your fancy cable or satellite package doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a world void of local TV entertainment. You can still get access to local channels without cable or satellite TV, though it will require a bit of time and effort on your part and perhaps even an upfront expense.
If you are hoping to access local TV without cable or satellite, you’re not alone. Here are a few ways to catch your local news and other programs on local television while eliminating that monthly cable bill from your budget.
How to watch local channels without cable
There are many reasons why people love local programming. From keeping up with the nightly news to morning shows, soap operas, and sitcoms, local television provides great entertainment and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg like cable might.
Local TV is also useful in the event of an emergency. If cable is out due to a storm, local channels may be the only entertainment you have access to. That’s why it’s a good idea that you find ways to access local TV even if you plan on going without cable or satellite. Here are a few ways to get local tv channels without cable or satellite.
Access local TV channels with an antenna
Purchasing an antenna is the best, most affordable way to catch local channels without cable TV or satellite. This route is a bit old-fashioned but still effective in getting those local channels. You will, however, have to purchase the right one to access the channels you want.
Be warned: not all antennas are created equal. There are several factors to consider when choosing an antenna for your local TV watching.
Will the antenna be installed indoors or outdoors?
Are you within range of a broadcasting tower?
How many channels will you get access to with the use of an antenna?
You’ll need to answer all of these questions beforehand in order to purchase the right antennae for the job. You don’t want to purchase an antenna haphazardly only to find out it isn’t compatible with your current equipment.
Another thing you’ll need to do to select the right antenna is to verify which channels are available for your location. There are sites that can help you do this, such as AntennaWeb. You’ll simply enter your location and find where the closest TV stations are, as well as which type of antenna will yield the strongest signal for each station. Determining which channels you can get is the first step in selecting the right antenna for you.
If you want to know whether a TV antenna is compatible with your model of television, you might have to do a little digging. Simply look for a coaxial port on the back or side of your current TV. If it is a digital TV you are working with, you may find a label with the letters “HD,” “ATSC,” “HDTV,” or something similar to indicate that your model has a digital tuner. If you find that your TV is not digital, you also have the option of converting it with a digital converter box.
While outdoor antennas can require some manual labor to install, that doesn’t automatically mean indoor antennas are the better choice. Indoor antennas can be tricky to work with as their performance will depend on your home’s unique architecture and any structures that may interfere with the signal.
But just because you have a compatible antenna doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing. There’s still a chance you won’t get a strong enough signal to watch TV without static or other interruptions. If this is the case with your indoor antenna, consider moving it around, such as next to a window or higher up on your wall. A little tweak in the location may be all you need to fix the problem. Similarly, if you’re working with an outdoor antenna, you’ll need to make sure it’s pointed in the right direction to reach optimal clarity. It may take some trial and error before you get this right.
Get local channels with streaming platforms
Evaluating your TV watching habits can be a great way to save some money. Why pay hundreds of dollars for services you don’t regularly use? It’s likely that you can get access to all kinds of great TV channels without signing up for costly cable or satellite packages. Whether you choose to divert those funds to other bills or stash them away in your savings is up to you. Just know that you have plenty of options for great programming even without cable or satellite. One of these options is streaming platforms.
There are many reasons why millions look to streaming platforms for entertainment. For one, they are extremely convenient and don’t require any of the installation or set-up that basic cable or satellite does.
Another reason streaming services make sense for so many people is that there are no obligations. You can sign up for many streaming services for about $10 per month, and have the option to cancel any time you choose. With cable and satellite, you may be subject to high cancellation fees. Add to this the cost of equipment and you will quickly see how cable and satellite can add up. And so it’s no wonder that today’s streaming platforms command millions of loyal fans. Platforms like Hulu + Live TV and Youtube TV are both options for getting all your favorite local channels without the need for satellite or cable. With these packages, you can get access to networks like CBS, FOX, ABC, and NBC.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what each of these has to offer.
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV is Hulu’s most premium package, giving customers the best of both worlds when it comes to streaming and access to local channels. Aside from a long list of channels, Hulu and Live TV lets you record your preferred live TV programming so you can watch it later. With the base subscription, you’ll receive 50 hours of DVR storage, but don’t expect to be able to fast-forward through those commercials. If this is a dealbreaker for you, you can upgrade for an extra $9.99 per month and receive an additional 150 hours of cloud storage.
Touted as a semi-replacement for cable, YouTube TV is a suitable option for accessing local TV channels without breaking the bank. With a YouTube TV subscription, you’ll get on-demand movies, live TV, entire seasons of popular shows, YouTube videos, unlimited DVR space, and news clips. Sports lovers will also appreciate that YouTube TV comes complete with all of the major sports channels. There are also a number of premium subscription add-ons to choose from, like Starz, HBO, and Showtime, for example. While there are some things you won’t get access to, like the HISTORY or Hallmark channels, YouTube TV is still a good way to access local channels for a fair price. Another added perk is the ability to hide channels you’re not interested in. In an era of information overload, features like these can go a long way.
There’s no denying streaming platforms reign supreme in times like these. It’s almost as if there is no use for cable when we have so many programs available through platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime.
But on the contrary, local television is always in-demand, and platforms like Sling meet these needs. For one low monthly price, you’ll get access to basic channels, movies, and a variety of other television programs. While it’s not free, Sling will cost you less than your standard cable package, plus offer you the convenience of streaming from your phone. Another perk is the ability to stream from multiple devices, so members of your family can watch in different rooms.
Aside from streaming platforms, you may be able to catch some of your favorite local channels online through individual network apps. Many major networks such as ABC, NBC, and FOX offer mobile apps for on-the-go watching. With these, you may be able to access the latest programming and news for free. While you likely won’t get access to all of the network’s programming, these apps can still come in handy for those weekly shows you just can’t miss. Many news stations also offer live streaming via mobile app so people can keep up-to-date on local news without cable or satellite. CBS All-access, for instance, is one of the more popular options available. Subscriptions are available for as little as $5.99 per month.
Saving money is always important, especially during times of economic uncertainty. But in order to maximize your savings, you may need to get creative. If you find that your cable bill could use a little trimming, there are plenty of ways to still get access to local programming without paying an arm and a leg. From streaming platforms to mobile apps and the good old-fashioned antenna, you’ve got a variety of options when it comes to catching your local TV. The important thing is to consider all your options so you make the best decision for your unique viewing needs.