The following listing is a collection of networks (be they
cable/satellite or over-the-air) that, legally, provide live feeds
of their programming for free over the Internet. I have excluded
televangelism networks with no secular programs, home shopping,
foreign propaganda, and Internet-only services that do not match
the schedule of a traditionally distributed network.
|Accuwx||The Local AccuWeather Channel (via
|NASA TV||U.S. space program and educational science
All programming is available on the C-SPAN mobile app, audio only
||News, conservative talk, documentaries
|Newsy||Rolling news coverage
||Rolling news coverage
|💻 CBS News||Select news programs from CBS
|💻 NBC News
||Select news programs from NBC
||Select prime-time news programs (8 p.m.
onward, audio only)
college football, ⛳PGA
|⏱️ NBC Sports||NFL football, Notre Dame football, NHL
Thursday Night Football, 💻talk
shows from FS1
||NFL local Sunday games and most prime time
contests (app req'd, mobile only)
|Stadium||Sports talk, live alternative and
mid-level college sports
||Eleven Sports Network - College, semi-pro
and international sports (alternate
||Vegas Stats Information Network - gambling
|TCN||The Country Network - Country music videos
||Country music and classic country-themed
||Blues Television Network
||Classic Arts Showcase
|Charge!||Action films and shows
|Comet||Science fiction films and shows
||Gaming and millennial-oriented programming
|Buzzr||Classic game shows
||Outdoors programming (via affiliate
pro wrestling has its own stream)
||Men's interest programming
|Youtoo||Youtoo America - Entertainment (via
affiliate WVVH) (alternate: WOIL, WZRA)
||1960s to 1980s classic TV (via KCKS-DT3)
||Retro Television Network - 1950s to 1970s
classic TV (via KCKS-DT9)
|📵 This TV
||Movies (via affiliate KCTU) (alternate
feed via WIVM,
||Syndicated programming (DT2)
||Local news and various syndicated
programming (via Stirr)
||Jewish Life Television - Variety/comedy,
||World Harvest Television - Westerns
||Day - Children's programs; night: public
domain sitcoms and films
|BYUTV||Family entertainment, LDS-themed
programming, college sports
|Light TV||Family entertainment|
|PBS Kids||Educational children's programs
|💻 Nick Jr.
|CHCH||Canadian news and classic reruns|
|CBC||Canadian programming, NHL hockey
||Radio-Canada (French-language Canadian
||French-language dubbing of American
Update June 2019:
- Found an alternate source for This TV; this one doesn't require Flash.
- Added Right Now TV, which has about ten affiliates.
- Two alternate affiliates for Youtoo America have been added, though neither carries the network full-time.
- Added NBC News Now, the online feed of NBC News which carries some of the over-the-air content.
Removed: KidsClick is no more; it didn't have its own standalone listing after it merged with TBD in 2018, but the network's owner (Sinclair) eliminated it outright March 31, 2019.
Update on CHCH: Much to my consternation, CHCH (once available worldwide) has decided to implement an IP geolocation block on their stream as well.
NOTE ON YOUTOO: WVVH, the Youtoo
affiliate streaming the network's programming, relies on an
outdated Silverlight plug-in that I think only works with Internet
Explorer (blech). The iPhone/iPad link seems to only work on
An antenna will be your best source of free television
programming. The major broadcast networks still broadcast with an
antenna, and you'll get programming live that isn't available on
the Internet. Note that if you are in a hilly area, television
reception is going to be difficult, regardless of what kind of
antenna you use. The higher you can get your antenna, the more
likely it is to work properly. Point your antenna in the
direction of the broadcast stations you want to receive (consult
digital TV signal reception maps to figure out which
direction to point your antenna), and make sure that there are as
few obstructions in that direction as possible. If you live in a
rural or hilly area any substantial distance away from a broadcast
signal, an amplifier will likely be necessary.
If you want to watch programs on demand, invest in a DVR.
This may seem a bit counterintuitive considering the need for a
good antenna, but especially if you have difficulties in picking
up signals because you live in a valley, a portable,
battery-powered TV will give you the best chance at actually
finding them. The trick is to head to the highest publicly
accessible hill in your area, then run your channel scan. Hilltops
offer MUCH more favorable signal reception conditions, and a
smaller antenna (usually included with the portable) will usually
Then, when you come down off the hill, if you have your bigger
home-based antenna, you can hook it up. One of the biggest
differences between analog and digital TV is how it handles weak
signals: an analog TV can display whatever shows up on that
channel, no matter how weak or distorted it may be. For digital,
you have to scan first, and if that channel's signal is weak or
distorted, it'll be skipped over and not added to the channel
lineup—meaning there will be no way to actually get that channel
on your TV. By scanning on a hilltop, when you come down, all
those channels are already in your lineup, and you can then
manually adjust your antenna to lock in a usable signal, just like
you used to be able to do with analog. (Otherwise, you're
basically aiming blind and hoping for the best.)
The one drawback to this method is that portable TVs usually
don't carry HD displays and, naturally, are very small.
There are a few free over-the-top content providers. Most of them
don't provide cable-quality programming, but a few of them have
some notable shows.
Pluto TV, for example, includes the program library from the late Anthony Bourdain, the talk shows of MSNBC and Fox Sports 1, some of the channels listed on this page, and a surprisingly wide array of reruns, including the Nosey channel, which carries daytime talk shows.
Xumo TV has a somewhat more limited selection, including some of the same channels Pluto carries, and is only available in the United States. Both services have a large number of “web-exclusive” services that collect short-form video content and airs it on a linear channel.
MyTVtoGo has a collection of largely lower-end channels (many of which originate from this service and have the name “4U” in them), which I've found a few TV stations carry over-the-air.
Stirr is a new one from Sinclair Broadcast Group; it has its own channels and substantial amounts of local news.
iGoCast features mostly digital subchannels from one station in Kansas City and some channels curated from other places.
Cable networks will never offer their most popular programs for
free. It's not part of their business model. There are a large
number of subscription “over-the-top” services out there, some run
by the individual channels and others run by middleman companies
bundling channels together. We're in the late 2010s now, so some
over-the-top services are producing their own original programs
that aren't available anywhere else. Keep all this in mind when
assessing which services you want to buy, and note that if you buy
all the channels available on a cable or satellite provider, it
will likely cost more than a subscription, so if you want a huge
selection, paying for cable or satellite may still be your best
Local sports, in particular, will likely pose your biggest
obstacle. National sports networks can be found on most
over-the-top providers, but the local ones that carry a majority
of your local major league teams' games are difficult to find, and
what ones that are carrying them tend to be very expensive. If
you're thinking of buying an out-of-market package and hoping to
get your local teams, think again—your local teams will almost
certainly be blacked out. So, with that in mind...
If keeping up with live sporting events without paying for an
expensive channel is what you seek, tune in a radio. At night, a
large number of clear-channel stations audible over diameters of
over a thousand miles still carry a number of different sporting
events, depending on the station and market. Your local teams will
almost certainly be within range. For certain sports, the games
are also streamed on the Internet (although with the major
leagues, many of the same issues that make it difficult to find TV
broadcasts also restrict online radio broadcast availability—you
might find it, but expect to pay).
If you're cutting the cord, you're trying to avoid the cable
company that has a vested interest in you not cutting the cord.
Research what your local phone company offiers, see if there is
WiMax or other similar service available in your area, and if all
else fails, satellite Internet is available nationwide from
HughesNet or Viasat (although HughesNet has common ownership with
a satellite TV provider, the companies and accounts are separate).
Try to avoid metered connections if you can.
All video streams are freely provided by the actual channels. No
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