How to Stream Local Channels without Cable: Watch Local Channels Online

stream local channels

More and more people are moving away from traditional cable TV and satellite TV subscriptions in search of something more affordable. And who can blame them, with the average cable bill now over $100 per month! It’s now fairly easy to watch live TV online without cable, but to stream local channels without cable is a bit more tricky. Tricky, but not impossible – keep reading to learn how to stream local TV channels online.

While national channels – like ESPN, FX, TNT, etc – broadcast all over the US, local networks focus on specific regional areas. FOX, CBS, NBC and ABC are examples. Streaming local channels like these is possible, but availability tends to vary from location to location. There are separate local networks for each of these overall networks, which leads to a maze of literally hundreds of networks nationwide. This is what complicates the process of being able to stream local channels online – but fear not, we’ll show you how to watch local channels without cable in the guide below.

 

Stream Local Channels (FOX, NBC, and ABC) with Sling TV

With an online streaming service known as Sling TV, subscribers gain access to 40+ channels for only $25 per month, with no contract required. The service works over the internet, allowing you to watch live TV on your favorite devices – from PCs and Macs to mobile phones, tablets, and streaming devices like Apple TV, Roku etc. And if you don’t have a compatible device to use, Sling TV will give you a discounted or even free streaming device if you prepay for a few months of service! How’s that for a deal? The service also offers a free 7-day trial.

Sling TV offers a package called Sling Blue, which comes with over 40 channels for $25 per month. Some key channels include TNT, AMC, CNN, TBS, and many more. In this same package, local networks like FOX, and NBC are included, but only in select markets. ABC is also available in select markets, but it’s included in one of Sling TV’s add-on packages, the Broadcast Extra package, which costs an additional $5 per month.

For FOX streaming, Sling TV offers live coverage in the following markets:

  • Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Gainesville, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa, and Washington D.C
  • FOX programming is also available on-demand nationwide (but live streaming is only offered in the markets above)
  • FOX is available as part of the Sling Blue plan ($25/month, 40 channels)

For NBC streaming, Sling TV offers live coverage in the following markets:

  • Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Hartford, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego and Washington D.C.
  • NBC programming is also available on-demand nationwide (but live streaming is only offered in the markets above)
  • NBC is available as part of the Sling Blue plan ($25/month, 40 channels)

For ABC streaming, Sling TV offers live coverage in the following markets:

  • Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco.
  • ABC programming is also available on-demand nationwide (but live streaming is only offered in the markets above)
  • ABC is available as part of the Broadcast Extra add-on package (additional $5 per month)
  • When sports air on ABC, the coverage will generally also air on ESPN3, which is included in Sling TV’s packages nationwide.

So, as you can see, there are different channels available in different areas. Sling TV (review here) is also rapidly expanding, so expect to see new markets added on a regular basis. Also, it’s important to understand that 95% of channels on Sling TV are available nationwide. It’s just ABC, NBC and FOX that are only available in select cities – everything else is nationwide.

Sling TV offers a free 7-day trial for new customers, which is a great way to watch local channels online while you explore the service.

 

Stream Local TV Channels (FOX, NBC and ABC) with DIRECTV NOW

DIRECTV NOW is another online streaming service that can be used to watch local channels online. Its plans start at $35 per month, offering upwards of 60+ channels. It works on most devices – including streaming players like Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, mobile devices on iOS and Android, and computers.

DIRECTV NOW’s basic package, Live a Little, offers over 60 channels for $35 per month. Key channels include ESPN, AMC, TNT, A&E, FOX News, CNN and more. The service also offers a free 7-day trial. In the same package, local broadcast networks like FOX, NBC and ABC are available – but only in select markets. Details below!

For FOX streaming, DIRECTV NOW offers live coverage in the following markets:

  • Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas-Ft Worth, Detroit, Gainesville, Houston, Minneapolis, New York, Washington D.C., Tampa-St Petersburgh, Orlando-Daytona, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Los Angeles. More networks are being added regularly. Check here to see what’s available in your area.
  • FOX programming is also available on-demand nationwide (but live streaming is only offered in the markets above)
  • FOX is available as part of DIRECTV NOW’s Live a Little package ($35/month)

For NBC streaming, DIRECTV NOW offers live coverage in the following markets:

  • Chicago, Washington D.C., Dallas-Ft Worth, Hartford-New Haven, Miami-Ft Lauderdale, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Los Angeles.
  • NBC programming is also available on-demand nationwide (but live streaming is only offered in the markets above)
  • NBC is available as part of DIRECTV NOW’s Live a Little package ($35/month)

For ABC streaming, DIRECTV NOW offers live coverage in the following markets:

  • Chicago, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Fresno-Visalia, and Los Angeles.
  • ABC programming is also available on-demand nationwide (but live streaming is only offered in the markets above)
  • ABC is available as part of DIRECTV NOW’s Live a Little package ($35/month)

So, if you’re wondering how to watch local channels without cable, DIRECTV NOW (review here) can be a good option, depending on where you live. And again, just like Sling TV, the vast majority of DIRECTV NOW’s channels are available nationwide (and the selection is impressive) – it’s just FOX, NBC and ABC that are region-restricted. See the DIRECTV NOW channels list for details.

There is a free 7-day trial of DIRECTV NOW available, so if you’re curious, try the trial and stream local TV channels for free!

 

Watch Local Channels Online with PlayStation Vue

If you’re wondering how to get local channels, PlayStation Vue is another option. This service can be used to stream local channels without cable. It works just like the services we’ve already discussed, allowing you to watch live TV over the internet on many of your favorite devices. PlayStation Vue works on PS3/PS4 consoles, streaming players like Apple TV and Roku, and mobile devices.

PlayStation Vue’s basic package will run you $30 per month, and includes 45+ channels. Key offerings include ESPN, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS, Bravo and more. In select areas, local channels including NBC, FOX, ABC and CBS are also offered. Note that, in areas where local channels are offered, te price goes up to $40/month. Details below.

For FOX streaming, PlayStation Vue offers live coverage in the following markets:

  • Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Gainesville, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa, and Washington DC.
  • FOX programming is also available on-demand nationwide (but FOX live streaming is only offered in the markets above)
  • FOX is available as part of PlayStation Vue’s basic package ($30/month)

For NBC streaming, PlayStation Vue offers live coverage in the following markets:

  • Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Hartford/New Haven, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington DC
  • NBC programming is also available on-demand nationwide (but NBC live streaming is only offered in the markets above)
  • NBC is available as part of PlayStation Vue’s basic package ($30/month)

For ABC streaming, PlayStation Vue offers live coverage in the following markets:

  • Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham and San Francisco.
  • ABC programming is also available on-demand nationwide (but ABC live streaming is only offered in the markets above)
  • ABC is available as part of PlayStation Vue’s basic package ($30/month)

For CBS streaming, PlayStation Vue offers live coverage in the following markets:

  • Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Harrisburg, Hartford/New Haven, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and West Palm Beach.
  • CBS programming is also available on-demand nationwide (but live streaming is only offered in the markets above)
  • CBS is available as part of PlayStation Vue’s basic package ($30/month)

So, PlayStation Vue (review here) can certainly be a solution if you’re looking to stream local channels. It does offer CBS streaming, which is difficult to come by – so that’s a definite bonus. On the other hand, it doesn’t allow mobile streaming, and recently Vue has actually reduced its channel offerings while its competitors continue to expand.

PS Vue now offers a free 5-day trial for new members!

 

Stream CBS Online with CBS All Access (only CBS)

cbs all access review

CBS fans, I have good news: this is the easiest local channel to watch online. That’s because CBS offers its own in-house streaming service, called CBS All Access. The service is available nationwide, but only the on-demand version of it. For CBS live streaming, roughly 80% of US markets are covered.

CBS All Access (review here) provides on-demand access to over 8,500 episodes of hit CBS shows and programming. In addition, in roughly 80% of US markets, CBS live streaming is also offered. There are too many markets to list here, but you can confirm channel availability on CBS All Access’ website. The service costs $5.99 per month, or $9.99 per month for a commercial-free package.

So, if you’re after CBS programming, this is the way to go. It’s affordable, easy to use, works on most devices, and is available in the majority of the US. The downside is that it’s only CBS, but it’s still a good option to stream local channels – so long as your favorite local channel is CBS!

Click here to try a free 7-day trial of CBS All Access

 

How Can I Stream Local Channels Online?

So, we get it, that was a ton of information to take in. Unfortunately, there is no simple and definite answer to how to watch local channels without cable, simply because different channels are available in different markets. These services are also expanding rapidly, so new markets are added on a regular basis – making it easier for more and more people to be able to watch local TV online.

The good news is that each service discussed in this guide offers a free trial. That means that you can try out any of these services, see how you like them, and confirm which local channels you get – for free. Follow the appropriate links below to learn more and sign up.

Sling TV – $25/month, no contract – free 7-day trial available

DIRECTV NOW – $35/month, no contract – free 7-day trial available

PlayStation Vue – $40/month, no contract – free 5-day trial

CBS All Access – $5.99/month, no contract – free 7-day trial available

Feel free to ask away if you have any questions!

Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows is a cord-cutting reporter living in the rainy but beautiful Pacific North West.
Disclosure: Streaming Observer is supported by readers. Articles may contain referral links. For more information, see the disclosure at the bottom of the page.
Austin Meadows

1 Comment on "How to Stream Local Channels without Cable: Watch Local Channels Online"

  1. Jacob Prezbindowski | May 6, 2017 at 10:22 pm |

    One more Playstation Vue exclusivity:
    * Offers by far the most channels for the money.

Comments are closed.