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How to stream local channels without a cable subscription

Cutting the cord doesn't have to mean losing access to local programming.
February 10, 2023

You can find just about anything on streaming services these days. Your favorite sitcoms, reality TV, prestige dramas, live sports — you name it. But what about local channels? National and international news can be enlightening, but can’t you learn about what’s happening closer to home without a cable subscription? Yes, actually! Local channels may seem like a relic of cable TV, but they’re still around for cord-cutters. Read on for a breakdown of how to stream local channels.


Your best bet for consistent access to local channels without a cable subscription is to sign up for a live TV streaming service like Hulu Plus Live TV or YouTube TV.


Stream local channels via dedicated channel apps

Fox Sports

A lot of cable channels actually have their own apps. That includes ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX, and NBC.

On those apps, you can stream local content in real-time. It will play as it airs on the given network’s local affiliate stations.

In some cases, those local affiliates are available for free on the app without the need of any kind of subscription. In other cases, you need a cable subscription in order to log in. You’ll have to look up your local TV station’s app to be sure.

Sign up for a live TV streaming service

FuboTV stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Your best option to access multiple local channels without having a cable subscription is to sign up for a live TV streaming service.

These are services that, unlike Netflix or HBO Max, bridge the gap between cable TV and streaming. You still get the same channels as you would with a cable subscription, and you get to watch them live, in real-time, all with just an internet connection.

They vary in price but are generally more expensive than a traditional streamer. Some of the best options are DirecTV Stream, Fubo TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, SlingTV, and YouTube TV.

Watch CBS and NBC on Paramount Plus and Peacock

Peacock stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Because of shared ownership, some live channels (including local affiliates) are available on streaming services not generally associated with live TV. Specifically, Paramount Plus and Peacock offer access to CBS and NBC, respectively, as live channels.

That means you can make your way to CBS from the Paramount Plus home screen or to NBC from the Peacock home screen. You’ll need to be a paying subscriber to both services to access this feature. The streamers will then offer access to the stations’ local programming based on your location.

Digital antennas and other ways to watch local channels without cable

There are ways to bypass cable TV without resorting to streaming too. Over-the-air TV signals still exist, and you don’t need the fussy old rabbit-ear antennas to capture them.

The easiest way to get local channels without cable or internet is a digital TV antenna.

Digital antennas have kept pace with the rest of TV technology, and you can buy one for a one-time payment to keep your monthly TV fees down.

You won’t have access to as many channels as you’d get with a cable or live TV streaming subscription, but it’s another option for cord-cutters who still want live, local channels.


No. Local channels are available over-the-air with TV antennas. For even more live channels, including some not available with an antenna, you can use a live TV streaming service or even traditional streamers in a couple of cases.

Yes. Live TV streaming services use your location to offer you local news, sports, and more.

No. Pluto TV has its own channels, made up of third-party content also available on demand. There is no local programming available.

Like other live TV streaming services, YouTube TV offers access to local channels based on your location.