When television was invented, people bought the TV set, hooked it up to an antenna, and were entertained by their favorite programs for free. But then along came cable, and then satellite, and now Americans are spending hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year to watch their television sets. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The internet, coupled with HD technology has changed the game, and now you can watch TV for free, without your pricey cable or satellite package. Many free TV options now exist, and I’ve listed them all here. Some require a one-time fee to purchase a device, others, a low monthly fee to get the programs you want, and some are completely free. Don’t be duped into thinking that you can’t watch TV without cable or satellite; it just isn’t true. Read through this list of free tv options, find what works for you and your family, cancel cable and start saving money. Our family of five cancelled our satellite service and we never looked back. We still watch all of our favorite programs, with less commercials, on our own time, for free! It’s been a completely positive experience, and the money we’re saving is going straight into our vacation fund for some fun family time-much more valuable than satellite service ever was.
Many of your favorite shows can be viewed right over the internet on your computer. Networks like NBC, ABC, CBS, Bravo and more all offer full shows to watch for free on their websites. Hulu.com is another site that allows you to watch a myriad of programming, both from TV and full-length movies, for free via the internet. From news clips and game shows to sitcoms and dramas, chances are your favorite programs are just a click away. My husband and I enjoy NBC’s Thursday night programming, so now we watch TV for free on our laptop in the living room at our own pace. The one drawback to this is that many shows are not posted until the next day, some even later, so you can’t watch them in real time. But if you’re already used to the concept of a DVR, you’re probably already watching programs later than when they air. We just watch our favorites on Friday night instead, which is no big deal for us. If you don’t know where to find your favorite programs, simply type “watch episodes of” and the show’s name into a search engine like Google, or find it on this showfinder from cancelcable.com. This makes it easy to watch TV without cable and still enjoy your favorite shows.
Digital Converter Box
You probably know that last year the government switched all TV broadcasting from an analog to a digital signal, but if you already had cable or satellite service, you may not have paid much attention. Instead of the wire antenna you may have used as a kid to pick up basic channels, all signals are now transmitted digitally, and therefore require a digital converter box to be used. The bad news is that the government is no longer offering rebates to those who purchase one of these devices, but the good news is that they’re relatively inexpensive and are a one-time purchase with no monthly fees. ConsumerReports.org rated the many converter boxes on the market here, so you can find one of these free TV options that best suits your needs. Once you have one, you can watch TV without cable by picking up channels that are broadcast in your area, like the major networks and PBS. To find out a conservative estimate of channels you’ll receive, type in your address or zip code to the Antenna Locator on antennaweb.org. This is an excellent one-time investment that allows you to watch TV for free without any strings attached.
This amazing device takes the concept of a digital converter box and blends it with high speed internet technology to get instant TV shows and movies any time you want them, right on your television. The box simply plugs into the wall and your TV, and connects to the internet through either a wired or wireless connection. The Roku itself has a one-time fee of $79.99 to $129.99, depending on which model you choose. You can view all models and features of the Roku here. The box does, however, require a Netflix subscription, which starts at $8.99 a month for unlimited access to movies and shows through your Roku. The Roku box can also instantly play over 50,000 titles from Amazon Video on Demand, though these cost an additional fee per title. Overall, even though you’re still signing up for a monthly plan, the fees are significantly less than cable or satellite. One year of Netflix costs less than one month of many cable plans, making this a great money-saving option for people who still want access to lots of programs and watch TV without cable.
Roku HD Player$99.99
If you are particularly fond of one show, like to watch whole seasons of a program without interruption, or prefer having your TV and movies on-the-go, then iTunes is a great service for you. By using iTunes, you only pay for the TV show, season, or movie you want, download it to your computer, iPod, or iPhone and watch it wherever and whenever you want. If you watch a lot of varied programs then this route could get expensive, but if you enjoy just a few shows and are on-the-go a lot, then this may be the best option. However, iTunes does offer different TV episodes for free on a rotating basis. Go to the Free section of the iTunes store to see what’s available. This can be a great way to be introduced to a new show or enjoy an old favorite without paying a cent. Overall, with iTunes, one whole season of a popular TV show costs less than one month of cable or satellite service, so it’s worth weighing the cost benefits. If this isn’t cost effective as a main source of viewing for you, it’s still a nice tool to have in your back pocket to purchase certain shows or movies once in awhile. For us, it’s a nice backup resource. Recently, I purchased a whole season of my kids’ favorite PBS show for less than $10. They can now watch episodes on the laptop, iPod, or our TV with the use of a cable that connects the iPod to the television. To me, it was a good investment and one that the kids will enjoy, so it was worth it.
If you’d like to learn more about using these various methods to watch free TV in your home, visit CancelCable.com, a blog and website from a real family who decided they weren’t going to pay for expensive cable service anymore, and instead are using these various technologies to save thousands of dollars. The information and advice is practical, the site is loaded with links and tools, and you’ll be inspired to watch TV without cable or satellite with these low-cost and free TV options.