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What is Ion Television? Here is everything you need to know

Quick facts about the cable TV network that's available on over 60 US broadcast TV stations.

Published onMay 30, 2023

ion television banner

Ion Television is something of an anomaly in the US TV industry. On the one hand, it’s a cable television network. On the other hand, its programming is also broadcast over-the-air thanks to a loose network of stations. Here’s everything you need to know about Ion Television.

What is Ion Television?

The TV network launched in 1998 under the name PAX TV, and since then has been renamed twice. First as Independent Television (starting in 2005) and finally under its current Ion Television name (starting in 2007). It’s available via a number of cable networks, including Charter Spectrum and satellite TV services like Dish Network and DirecTV. It’s also available via a network of 59 UHF over-the-air TV stations in the US. The current number of stations covers nearly 65% of the US TV viewing population.

Ion Television is owned by Ion Media, which also operates a second spin-off cable TV network, Ion Plus. The company also owns the Qubo cable TV network, which runs TV shows aimed primarily at younger audiences.

Does Ion have a streaming option?

YouTube TV stock image 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

You cannot stream Ion titles via the Ion website. There isn’t a dedicated mobile, PC, or smart TV app for the network either.

If you’re looking for specific titles, you may find them on any number of streamers. Since Ion hosts a lot of syndicated titles, they’re often available elsewhere through various licensing agreements. But if you want the actual Ion channel, you’re sadly out of luck as far as streaming options go.

At the moment, you sadly can’t watch Ion Television via any of the live TV streaming services like YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, Sling TV, Fubo TV, and others.

How much does Ion cost?

Ion pricing will vary depending on your cable service provider and is usually bundled with other channels. Check your local providers for pricing in your area.

Alternatively, you can get Ion for free if you use a TV antenna, though broadcast signals aren’t always a guarantee.

Ion Televison programming

Law and Order SVU best peacock shows

Syndicated programming

Currently, the network offers reruns of popular current and older procedural police and action TV shows. They include series in the popular Law And Order franchise and shows such as Chicago PD, Blue Bloods, CSI: Miami, Criminal Minds, and more.

Ion Plus also runs some of the same programming as its parent network. However, in December, Ion Plus started running older TV Christmas movies nearly non-stop until the end of the holiday season.

Ion original programming

Ion runs original shows exclusive to Ion Television too. The network doesn’t have any current, ongoing originals, but the final season of Private Eyes aired in 2021. An import TV series from Canada, Private Eyes stars Jason Priestley as a former hockey player who becomes a private detective.

Other Ion original shows include Doc, Flashpoint, Durham County, The Listener, Mysterious Ways, and many more.

How do I find out if the network is available where I live?

You can go to the official Ion Television website support page. There’s a form where you can type in your zip code. It will then show you links to possible cable, satellite TV, and over-the-air TV stations where the network is available to watch.

Ion vs the competition

Still from NCIS New Orleans

As a hybrid cable/broadcast channel with a mix of syndicated and original programming, Ion is odd but not unique. It brings together a lot of police procedural programming in one place, which is really convenient for anyone who wants to binge those shows without flipping to their respective channels.

In that way, it feels a lot like a streaming service, though without the benefit of a library of on-demand titles.

If you want Ion’s brand of programming and like to turn on the tube and watch what’s on, it’s certainly a great option. Having said that, Shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and NCIS: New Orleans aren’t all that hard to come by. You can stream them on services like Peacock, Hulu, and Paramount Plus.

Ion is terrible for dedicated cord cutters but a great option otherwise.