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How to Watch Live Television for Free

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AntennaIf you have an internet connection, you can pretty much watch any single television show you want. Between Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, and Netflix, almost every archived television show is available to you. If they aren’t available on one of the pay services, it’s certainly available through one of about a million streaming websites hosted in other countries with laxer copyright laws. The reality is that paying for television is becoming obsolete. If you can get a relatively affordable internet-only package, it usually makes sense to skip the cable portion.

The only exception is (almost) live programming, such as sports. As a New York Jets fan living outside Baltimore, I only get the nationally televised games (of which there are plenty for the Jets, I recognize how fortunate I am and am not complaining… at least about the coverage – the play is a different story). When I don’t get it on my TV, I can usually find it streaming over the internet (usually low quality) or, more likely, I head to my local bar.

So what if I don’t want to watch everything streaming over the internet and I want to get live programming in full HD? Is there a solution where I can cut the cable and still get quality programming? Yes.

Buy a Digital Antenna & Point

We discovered this when we moved into our home and hadn’t yet hooked up cable. It turns out all the broadcast stations broadcast a high definition digital signal over the air and all you need to get it is a digital antenna. We borrowed a powered one from a friend, plugged it in, and were able to get an HD signal absolutely free. We were only able to get local channels, so no cable, but it was a great solution while we waited for service hookup.

If you want to skip cable and go this route, visit AntennaWeb first. Enter your information and it’ll tell you what type of antenna to get and which direction to point it in. In my case, I needed a small multi-directional antenna to reach many of the local stations (I’d just need to point it in different directions).

A digital antenna, coupled with internet services, means you can probably get anything you ever wanted without paying a monthly cable service subscription!

(Photo: marfis75)

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5 Responses to “How to Watch Live Television for Free”

  1. Scott says:

    We did this, plus added in a refurbished DVR/DVD player/recorder for about $160 and haven’t missed cable since (well, except on some football weekends…)

  2. We were spending $220/month on home phone, cable, and internet. Now, it’s about $90/month for 20 MB broadband service and subscriptions to Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon. In making the switch, we purchased Roku boxes for each of our televisions and installed a wireless-N router (more throughput than wireless-G). We also have two Xboxes that stream all three of these services as well.

    Each year, we save $1,560 compared to our previous service package. I feel great every time I see the bill.

  3. Matt M says:

    Youtube also has some live streaming options, I know they streamed the presidential debates.

  4. Wow, you all are awesome. Lots of good ideas!

  5. Jim M says:

    Love this option and used it while the children were young. Once they got older they wanted some of the premium stations their friends were watching.


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