Free over-the-air (OTA) TV is crucial to the cord cutter’s existence. However, sometimes an antenna can just be a pain. Maybe it’s because you want to watch on-the-go with mobile devices, or perhaps you just can’t get good reception in your area. Whatever the case, plenty of people are looking for ways to stream the big four networks: FOX, NBC, CBS, and ABC.
No worries, because as technology goes, your options increase. Let’s take a look at the different ways to stream network TV channels.
#1 If you get good antenna reception, try an OTA DVR like the Tablo.
Already get free OTA television with your antenna but need to stream it to a mobile device? No problem. What you need is a device like the Tablo DVR. This device works by connecting to your antenna and your Wi-Fi network. Your antenna feed goes into your Tablo where it will record the content. From there you can stream the content to any connected device. That includes your mobile devices that you paired with your Tablo.
Need help finding a good antenna? Here’s a good guide to help you choose the best TV antenna.
#2 Check and see if you can get the station on Sling TV in your market.
Sling TV is a live linear streaming service that allows you to watch cable channels online without a cable contract. A few months back, Sling launched a new package that included live local FOX streams in select markets. These markets include Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte N.C., Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Gainesville, Fla., Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington D.C.
Not long after, Sling TV added local NBC networks in select markets as well. These markets include Chicago, Dallas, Hartford, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego and Washington, D.C.
Sling TV also has a Broadcast Extra package that offers an ABC stream in select markets. These markets currently include Chicago, Fresno-Visalia, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco.
You can try out Sling TV free for 7 days on the official website.
#3 Try PlayStation Vue if you are in one of the markets where they offer locals networks.
Vue is very similar to Sling TV. It allows you to stream a bundle of cable channels without cable. While it’s a bit more expensive than Sling TV, its local coverage is much broader. A PlayStation Vue representative provided me with the following local channel information:
- FOX—Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Gainesville, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa, and Washington D.C.
- ABC—Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco
- CBS—Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Harrisburg, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia. Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, and West Palm Beach
- NBC—Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Hartford/New Haven, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.
You can try out Vue here.
#4 Stream CBS with CBS All Access.
Somewhere along the line, CBS decided it needed to test its feet in the water of cable-less streaming and decided to start its own standalone service, CBS All Access. The service is available with commercials for $5.99 per month or without commercials for $9.99 per month. It includes a deep library of CBS on-demand content, as well as live local feeds in the majority of markets in the United States. CBS is also working to produce digital-only content such as a new Star Trek series that will only air on the digital platform.
The only catch? No NFL football. It’s a bummer, but if streaming the NFL is not necessary, then CBS All Access may work for you. You can try it out here.
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