Cable companies love to perpetuate the myth that without your cable subscription, you won’t be able to get your local channels. But you can get your local news, live sports and favorite network shows without the high cable bill. Local channels vary based on your location.
These networks offer a lot of primetime programming in addition to local news broadcasts and select sports coverage. Some streaming services offer local channels in their lineups, but you'll still pay for them. Here are a few ways you can access your local channels for free.
An HD antenna is the most surefire way to get access to the local channels in your area without paying a dime. Availability and number of local channels you receive through an antenna varies, so it’s a good idea to use Sling’s local channel finder to see what’s available for you.
Keep in mind things like interference, placement and positioning are important for antennas - unlike cable or internet streaming. Make sure your antenna is facing the nearest broadcast towers and away from obstructions like walls, furniture or electronics.
Each network has different restrictions for online access and streaming. While some networks may still require a TV provider login to access their content, many networks offer free content as well. If your shows require a login, you may still be able to watch your favorite shows for free if you don’t mind waiting through a delay after an episode airs.
For full access to the network’s content or the guaranteed ability to live stream without a TV provider, you'll need a separate subscription for most local channels. A CBS All Access subscription, for example, gets you live streaming and immediate access to full episodes of all CBS shows as well as NFL games, and paying for FOX’s app means that you can watch content beyond a one-hour free preview.
Between HD antennas and network apps, getting local channels without cable is no longer the hurdle it used to be. Cut the cord without losing the channels that mean the most to you by combining free locals with a streaming service (hint: like Sling) and save money without sacrificing entertainment.
Updated April 1, 2020
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The number of devices on which Sling content can be watched at the same time varies based on the Sling service. If you subscribe to our Sling Latino core services, you can enjoy three streams at a time. If you subscribe to our Sling International core services, you can enjoy three streams at a time. If you subscribe to our Sling Orange service, you can enjoy one stream at a time. Any extras you add to your Sling Orange service will be included in your single stream. If you subscribe to our Sling Blue service, you can enjoy up to three streams of these channels at the same time. Any extras you add to your Sling Blue service will be included in your three streams. If you subscribe to both services in Sling Orange + Sling Blue, you can enjoy up to four streams at the same time. Because you are purchasing two separate services in Sling Orange + Sling Blue, you can get the total number of streams included on each separate service—one stream for any channel on the single-stream Sling Orange service and three streams for channels on the multi-stream Sling Blue service. To get up to four streams, go to the My Account page and make sure that the “show me only Sling Blue versions of channels in both services” box is not checked.
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Some local channels including FOX and NBC are only available in select markets. See which local channels are available in your area here.