You can stream TV for free by leveraging free trials, taking advantage of cell phone carrier offers and purchasing a digital antenna. Scrapping cable is a popular way to but cutting the cord doesn’t mean giving up TV cold turkey — as long as you have internet access. You can still watch TV shows online for free with a little ingenuity (and maybe a generous neighbor). Here are seven ways to catch the big game, or the hottest new series, without shelling out for cable.
Leverage free trials
Most major offer free trials to first-time users. For example, Netflix and Hulu are free for one month, and HBO Now, Sling TV and DirecTV Now are free for seven days. Sure, a trial period is a temporary fix, but it’s a smart way to find out which services you like in case you decide to replace your cable package with an alternative subscription. Remember to cancel your account at the end of the trial period to avoid any charges.
If you don’t want to bother with a fleeting trial and aren’t ready to commit to a paid subscription, you still have options. Websites like provide libraries of select TV content for free. Be prepared to sit through ads, though. Network sites and apps, including let you view free episodes of current and popular shows on that network. However, to watch full seasons or live TV, you’ll typically have to log in to an existing account with a cable provider. Make sure an app or website is reliable before you stream. Read user reviews in the app store and look for secure URLs that start with “https” rather than “http.”
A digital antenna can ease the pain of a cable break-up by giving you access to live TV, including sports and local news, without an internet connection. You can snag a top-rated high-definition antenna for less than $20.The channels you can access vary by where you live, but many antennas pick up major networks like ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX, as well as a handful of other channels. One downside of a digital antenna: signal can be spotty, especially if you live in a dense urban neighborhood where buildings and other obstacles interfere with your picture quality. You don’t have to trek to your local library branch to put your library card to use. Public, campus and other library systems in many areas, including Dallas and Miami, have partnered with streaming services that let patrons borrow TV shows and movies online at no cost.