DisableMyCable.com
Free and cheap TV without Cable or Satellite

Save Thousands of Dollars While Watching the TV Shows You Love

By Brian Shim | Updated 
10/27/2021

I’d like to help you save money by canceling cable TV and replacing it with free and cheap alternatives. It’s called “cord cutting” and the techniques I present in this site are completely legal!

The average cable customer spends $100 a month on cable. That’s $1,200 per year for the rest of your life, or about $60,000 in your lifetime! Why pay when you can watch many of the same shows for much less or free?

Part of the solution to the ridiculous cost of cable and satellite TV is to switch to FREE broadcast digital TV using an antenna like one of the ones below. If you live near or in a decent-sized metropolitan area, you should be able to get most of the network channels (ABC, CBS, NBS, Fox) plus PBS and local stations with an inexpensive indoor antenna.

Broadcast TV antennas that I have tested
Some of the TV antennas I have tested

You can also connect your TV to a device like a Roku or Amazon Fire TV to get additional free and pay TV and movie services using your Internet connection. I explain all of this on DisableMyCable™.

Start with Free Broadcast Digital TV

Did you know that people in or near big cities can receive most of the major network channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW), plus PBS and local stations in hi-def for free? It’s called broadcast digital TV. I was able to get thirty channels total in Providence, RI, and over 100 in Los Angeles, CA. It takes a little work to set up, but I’ll guide you through it.

To see which channels YOU can get using an antenna, click the big Station Finder button below and enter your zip code.

You will see a map of your area like the one to the right. Wait a few seconds for the colored list of stations to appear on the left. You should be able to pick up the green and yellow channels with a good indoor flat antenna. The ones in orange will probably require an outdoor antenna. The list is not exact but will give you a ballpark idea of the number of channels you should be able to get.

Finding TV Stations at DisableMyCable.com
The FCC's Station Finder

If the stations you want are available, then keep going! If not, skip down to other options.

Test Your TV’s Reception Now – No Antenna Required!

If you have a modern flat-panel TV (the kind that you can hang on a wall), all you need is an antenna to get these channels, and you’ll be getting most of them in high-definition, with better picture quality than you got with cable!

If you don’t have an antenna right now, here is a quick-and-dirty way to test your TV to see if it will work:

For detailed instructions on how to hook up your antenna and configure your TV, go to the antenna setup page on this site!

If You Have an Old Analog Tube TV

If you have an old analog tube TV, you can still get free TV using an antenna.  You’ll need to get a converter box to do it.

Tube TV
Tube TV

My Two Favorite Indoor TV Antennas

I’ve done extensive testing and come up with my top two favorite indoor TV antennas – the ones which bring in the most channels reliably in my testing. Hint – they are both flat! Read more about the TV antennas I chose!

The Mohu Leaf and Cable Cutter Aerowave antenas
The Mohu Leaf and Cable Cutter Aerowave antenas

How to Record Broadcast TV Shows

Many people ask me if they can record the shows from free broadcast TV.  The answer is a resounding “yes”!

If you love the Amazon family of products like the  Echo and Fire TV, I recommend the Fire TV Recast. If you don’t use Amazon products, I would recommend Tablo

How to Get Cable TV Channels Without Cable/Satellite

Using an antenna is great for getting your local stations plus the major networks and PBS. But what if you need certain cable TV channels like AMC, ESPN, or HGTV?

Happily, there are now more than a few companies offering live cable-TV-like streaming services over the Internet. Cost is a lot less than cable or satellite, and you can watch the shows on your computer, tablet, or phone, or on your TV using a streaming device.

One of my recommended streaming services is Sling TV (affiliate link), which has plans starting at $30 per month. You can get all of the channels below for $45 per month:

Sling TV Orange and Blue Plan Channels
Sling TV Orange and Blue Plan Channels (affiliate link)

So, by using an antenna to get the networks and local channels for free, combined with a low-cost streaming service like Sling TV (affiliate link), you have an impressive package of channels for a fraction of the cost of cable! And there is no contract, and no dealing with the cable company!

If you can’t get the networks using an antenna, don’t fret, there are services that offer live TV channels for you. For more information on all of the options, check out my page on streaming services.

My Favorite Way to Watch Streaming Services on My TV

If you want to watch streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Sling TV on your TV, you’ll need to get a streaming media player. These connect to your TV and require an Internet connection.

Roku Ultra
Roku Ultra

There are many streaming devices available, including Amazon Fire TVApple TV, and Chromecast. But the one that I am recommending for most people is Roku. It offers the most channels, voice search across many content providers, and headphone output, all at a reasonable price. Read my full Roku review here.

Watch TV and Movies on Your Computer for FREE

The Internet Remote Control: Free TV and Movies Online
My links to free movies, TV, and video online

People have asked me for an easy way to watch their favorite TV shows on the Internet. Here it is: your Free Internet Video Links! I’ve assembled the best sources of free TV on the Internet and put them on one easy-to-use page - you Internet "Remote Control"!

Note, these sites mostly work on desktop and laptop computers, not phones or tablets.

My Story

I was a loyal cable TV customer for all of my adult life, paying about $34/month for basic cable (which sounds ludicrously cheap now). Then I moved to a different city where the cost was $52/month for basic cable. I paid it and figured, “well, that’s just the cost of getting TV”. More and more, however, I realized that I wasn’t getting good TV. I was just surfing through the channels over and over looking for good TV. Then, my 6-month “introductory cable rate” ended and my cable bill went up to $57/month. Sure, it was only a few dollars more, but that was the last straw. After a few months of putting up with the higher cost and lack of good shows, I decided to “Disable My Cable” and try broadcast digital TV. The first thing I tried was an old rabbit-ear antenna that I had from the pre-digital TV days… Read the rest of my story here.

Did You Like This Article?

Brian Shim, DisableMyCable.com
If you did, please share it and sign up for my email updates. I'll send you my new articles, no more than once a month.

Check out my other site, thefrugalnoodle.com, with ideas on saving money and living simply.

Ask a Question or Tell Me Your Story

If you have a question about this article, leave a comment below. I personally read and answer each one. If you want advice on TV reception, leave your zip code. 

When you comment, you'll automatically receive replies by email. Your email address will not be displayed.

I'd also love to hear how you're saving money on TV. Tell me your story!  Thanks! - Brian
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

69 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jeff Carbine
Jeff Carbine
9 days ago

I loved when you said that if you live near or in a decent-sized metropolitan area, you should be able to get most of the network channels (ABC, CBS, NBS, Fox) plus PBS and local stations with an inexpensive indoor antenna. We have had cable tv connections for five years. Just yesterday, we are noticed that our subscription has been terminated. Maybe it's time to apply for a new cable tv provider. I will follow your advice.

JC Dunklee
JC Dunklee
3 months ago

I am located in Reno,NV. How do I obtain NBCca network for the SF Giants ballgame at Oakland?

Robert
Robert
4 months ago

Once I get rid of cable and hook up the outside antenna will all my smart TVs work if I run the signal connected thru the cable into the house that the satellite dish used to connect all the TVs since there are cable connections in every room ? If it works I can upgrade my internet and drop cable

Thinks for any advice

Brian
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert

Hi Robert,

Yes, you can use your home's satellite dish cabling for your antenna as long as you disconnect all satellite dish equipment from the cable. You might need an amplifer though. More info here:
https://www.disablemycable.com/blog/need-separate-antenna-tv/

Best,
Brian

Michael McCall
Michael McCall
9 months ago

I have heard that if you have a smart TV, certain people can watch what you are doing in your home. Is that really true?

Jayanjan Mukherjee
Jayanjan Mukherjee
9 months ago

Nice

Jake Springer
Jake Springer
9 months ago

very cool

Alliecat124
Alliecat124
11 months ago

How about hallmark channel ??

Brian
11 months ago
Reply to  Alliecat124

Hi Alliecat124,

I don't know of a way to get Hallmark Channel for free. Other than directly subscribing for $5.99/month, you can also get it on Philo TV with a bunch of other channels for $20/month.

Best,
Brian

Saptarshi Halder
Saptarshi Halder
1 year ago

Great Work!!

Rachel McIlraith
Rachel McIlraith
1 year ago

Hello, I live in LA, and just noticed KCETLink (28.2) now has the same line up as CREATE (58.3). Any idea what's going on? I couldn't find anything on their sites and am sad. I really liked the shows on 28.2

Brian
1 year ago

Hi Rachel,

Hmmm, I confirmed they have the same lineup. It might have to do with this merger:
https://www.pbssocal.org/merger-faq/

I didn't find any mention of CREATE, but this seems like it could have affected it.

Brian

Harry Szuster
Harry Szuster
1 year ago

Hello,
I,m in Australia and have a PAL VCR.
I bought a ezshare transfer device to windows 10.
Drive was installed and device manager show it available
The supplied software won recognise the VCR.
I have a firewire card installed for a DV camera. I had to install a legacy driver as win 10 doesn't recognise fire wire any longer.
Can you recommend a transfer devise that is guaranteed to to on Windows 10. TIA

Christopher Streett
Christopher Streett
1 year ago

Hey Brian, I stumbled onto your site and started reading and found you to be very informative. I was in the Cable TV business for 25 years and done everything from installing to pulling hard lines, splicing, etc. Now I have retired and had to cut the cord for financial reasons. I live out in the country(Effingham SC) where antenna signals are hard to come by. I got an old raggedy Charlie Brown antenna from my cousin and installed it. I got about 15 channels but half of them were repeats or educational. I also had tried one of those indoor antennaes and received a grand total of 3 channels. So, on my budget and having already purchased the indoor one I came up with an idea from an ad that showed a round antenna. I took an old bicycle rim and cut half the spokes and turned them up and in different directions. Then I combined the rim with my other antenna and after some experimentation ended up getting about 40 channels. I call it hillbilly cable. People are amazed when I show it to them. I'll send you a picture if I'm allowed to do so. Thanks for letting me tell my story. Christopher Streett

Brian
1 year ago

Hi Christopher, nice, love that story! It's fun tinkering with antennas and gathering in as many channels as possible! - Brian

Christopher Streett
Christopher Streett
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian

Hey Brian. I have a question about something and I would also like your opinion on another thing. 1st the question. Would an older Samsung tuner/receiver boost an antenna signal on a vizio tv? I think the tv is one of those that did not come with an internal tuner. Now for your opinion. Don't think I'm crazy(yet) but I'm considering building an antenna. (I may need some parts.) I know that copper is a better conductor than aluminum but will it produce a better rf signal? I await your answer with great anticipation. Thanks Christopher Streett

Christopher Streett
Christopher Streett
1 year ago

I don't see my post. Did I lose it when I went to email to verify ?

Vince and Linda Antonelli
Vince and Linda Antonelli
1 year ago

Hi Brian - love your site and advice, but I'm stumped. We cut the cable when we moved 5 years ago; I installed an RCA ANT702F in my attic and we have been getting the major networks, local PBS and Fox (which is all we wanted), on our 10 year old (estimated) 30" Toshiba. Bought a new Vizio 65" TV (Model M658-G1), on Black Friday, and things continued to be fine. Moved the Toshiba into the kitchen and hooked it up to some old rabbit ears, and was able to get all the same channels there.

In the process of hooking up the kitchen TV to the attic antennae with a splitter, I discovered your site. Reading all the various bits of advice, I decided to (a) replace the approx 1/8 inch coax cable that came with the antennae with standard coax cable, (b) disconnected/removed the "amplifier" that came with the antennae, (c) moved the antennae a few feet away from the cinder block chimney in the attic, (d) used the station finder app and my iPhone compass to point it in the right direction, and lo and behold - I now get ONE channel on either TV! All our TV station towers (except FOX) are only 5 miles away, clustered together on the same property, with no hills or tall buildings in between us.

I tried flipping the antennae around thinking maybe I had installed it wrong, with no improvement. You're probably familiar with this common antennae - it looks like a shark fin; interestingly. all the photos of it on the box and online show it mounted vertically, but on their website there is a note that it should be mounted HORIZONTALLY! (Which I did not do...)

Any suggestions on where to start to solve this riddle? I have been postponing going into the attic since it's been in the 90's a lot here in Omaha lately, but am anxious to get it fixed! Thanks in advance! - Vince
zip = 68154

Brian
1 year ago

Hi Vince,

Since you're able to pick up the stations you want using an indoor rabbit-ear antenna, I don't think the antenna orientation is the problem.

I suspect the splitter, since that is the other thing that changed. What is the model number of the splitter?

I would try to bypass it and hook up the antenna to one TV just to rule out any issue with the antenna or cabling.

Best,
Brian

Vince and Linda Antonelli
Vince and Linda Antonelli
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian

Thanks Brian. That worked. I now get 11 channels without a splitter. Do you think I should buy a new splitter to add the kitchen TV again, or just get a separate antenna for the second TV? The splitter is RCA, DH24SP, 5-3 GHz.

Lana Franco
Lana Franco
1 year ago

I cancelled Direct TV for my elderly parents because they only watch the free channels anyway. It's saving them over a thousand dollars a year! After two weeks of free t.v., now all of a sudden, the large t.v. says "no signal" and I can't even get a menu to come up. When I try to set it on hdm1 and push input, nothing happens. There seem to be cords connecting the little kitchen t.v. to the living room one, but it is working okay.

Brian
1 year ago
Reply to  Lana Franco

Hi Lana,

Since your kitchen TV is working, it seems like the TV signals are OK and the problem is with the large TV itself. First, make sure the remote control is working (i.e., change batteries). Then, I would connect some known working device to it like a DVD player. Swap cables as well.

Best,
Brian

Lana Franco
Lana Franco
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian

Wow, thanks for the prompt response. I made sure the batteries were good in the remote. I also used the DVD player and it worked. The weird thing is that I have the indoor antennae attached to the big TV with the oaxle cable or whatever it is called, not the little TV. So, do you mean buy a new oaxle cable? The one that came with the new antennae could be defective? Thank you.comment imagecomment image comment image

Joseph Romola
Joseph Romola
1 year ago

Good morning. Do you have a recommendation for which brand tv has the strongest tuner?
I have an older (10-12 year old) Toshiba that will receive 60 channels and a 6-8 year old Vizio that will only receive 40 channels, both hooked up to the same outdoor antenna. I’ll be replacing the Vizio, with a 55”, and want to be sure I get one with a decent tuner. Thanks

Brian
1 year ago
Reply to  Joseph Romola

Hi Joseph,

That's a common question but unfortunately there's not a lot of good data on which TV models have the best tuners (there are just so many of them).

The general consensus is that the famous name brand TVs (like Samsung, LG, Sony etc.) have the best tuners.

Interesting that Vizio's tuner is the worst, as they have removed tuners altogether in some of their TV models.

Best,
Brian

Lanny Skalsky
Lanny Skalsky
1 year ago

Brian, I cut the cable but am still receiving internet from the provider. We have 4 tv's in the house, can I hook an antenna to the old cable box ( using a splitter or will that interfere with the internet ) so all the tv's can can hook up to their individual wall outlet that used to feed the cable ? Thanks, Kim

Brian
1 year ago
Reply to  Lanny Skalsky

Hi Lanny,

You can't use any section of cable that is hooked up to your cable box to feed antenna signals to your TV. However, if you are able to isolate the section of cable going from your cable box to your cable modem, and disconnect the cabling that goes to your TVs from that, you can use that for your antenna signal. It will require some investigation, and may not be possible if the cabling is connected inside your walls. Often though, it is outside.

Good luck!

Best,
Brian

Andrew Morrison
Andrew Morrison
1 year ago

I am an old man totally intimidated by current technology. I have an ATT antenna on the roof and their DVR and cables to 4 TVs in the house. I subscribe to their DirecTV and have internet, WiFi, and their land line phone. I just bought an Apple 4K box so I can mirror my Apple laptop, but now that have both DirecTV and the Apple box, I wonder if I should end my DirecTV subscription. Will I lose my internet? Will I lose my WiFi? Should I continue to watch Netflix through DirecTV or through the new Apple box? Help!

Brian
1 year ago

Hi Andrew,

I don't think DirecTV offers internet and phone only without the TV part (if anyone knows differently, please chime in). So, if you ended your DirecTV subscription, you'd lose phone and TV as well. You would have to switch to another provider that offers Internet and phone only.

You can watch Netflix through either DirecTV or your Apple TV box. There is no difference or additional cost.

Best,
Brian

Blake Boatman
Blake Boatman
1 year ago

Trying to hook up an antenna to my tv. It

says indicator is a available for digital broadcasting only. What can I do to get the antenna to work?

Brian
1 year ago
Reply to  Blake Boatman

Hi Blake,

It's possible there are no digital TV signals in your area. Check the Station Finder to see how many channels are available:
https://www.disablemycable.com/station-finder/

Best,
Brian

Related Articles

My Favorite Indoor Antennas

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This site is not owned by any retailer or manufacturer. This is an independent review site that receives compensation from the retailer or manufacturer (at no extra cost to you) when you purchase through the affiliate links on this site. I personally test and/or research each product or service before endorsing it.

Search This Site

69
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram