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How To Get Free TV (or at least Cheaper TV Than Cable)

For nearly 30 years, cable TV had a stranglehold on viewers around the globe. Viewers who wanted premium content paid premium prices for giant packages that offered them dozens and then hundreds of channels (for dozens and then hundreds of dollars).

Those who wanted free TV had the same three to five options over the air that they had in the 1950’s.

Then came the democratization of media. As the internet revolution came of age, content producers found new avenues to get high-quality programming to their audiences.

The increase in supply was met with an increase in demand, as more people found more TV options through more screens as phone and computer TV became more accessible.

The desire to watch free TV channels remained, but there were soon more ways than ever for those who wanted free television to find it.

Now, things are swinging back in the other direction. Former free services like YouTube are coming up with paid premium versions of their services.

Popular streamers are hiding their content behind paywalls. Networks, studios, pay-per-view channels, and sports leagues are employing countermeasures to scour the internet for pirated links to their content and shut them down.

And yet, free TV is still out there! Here are 6 ways to get the content you love for free (or at least cheaper than if you paid cable prices).

Indoor TV Antenna

Highline TV antenna

The days of aluminum-foil-wrapped “rabbit ears” are long gone.

Today’s Indoor TV antennas provide free TV to their owners in crystal clear HD 50 miles away with the standard Highline TV antenna. Over-the-air broadcast has changed as well.

Most major metro areas have dozens of over-the-air channels to choose from, and thanks to syndication, many of your favorite TV shows are being broadcast for free right now.

Combine these powerful tools with Highline TV’s Signal Locator Map to get free TV monthly for a total upfront cost that is less than most cable boxes.

Outdoor TV Antenna

Outdoor TV Antenna

There are some situations where indoor TV antennas just aren’t practical.

The most common one is range.

For those in outlying areas who are trying to get free TV but live more than 50 miles away from the stations in question, outdoor TV antennas can provide incredible reception from up to 150 miles away at less than the cost of most gaming systems.

These long-range antennas come with indoor wireless remote control setups that offer programmable locations that can be locked in once they are found using Highline TV’s Signal Locator Map.

The total cost to get set up is still less than one month of some high-end cable packages, and the result is free TV from any broadcast signal within 150 miles!

Free Online Streaming

Though providers are cracking down on free online streaming, there are still plenty of web sites and chat options for streamers to go to in order to find free streaming services.

The down sides of these sites are that many times, they are overloaded with spyware and bad links, and they also often experience slow download speeds and connectivity issues.

However, free is free, and these sites do offer high-end content without paying a cent more than it takes to access them with an internet connection (though users who go this route might want to shell out some money to update their antivirus programs before clicking those untested links).

Free Apps/Sites

Many apps for smartphones and smart TVs offer access to free content.

Apps like Crackle and YouTube still offer a lot of excellent content for free.

Local TV news stations also have apps in many markets, and will stream their content on their apps when broadcasting local content.

The same goes for many of the premium TV stations out there that have realized that many of their audiences have already cut the cord, and are transitioning to the web as the primary hosting site for their content. Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim is a great example of this, as it puts out free TV episodes of many of its most popular shows on a daily basis.

Still other networks are completely web-based. Networks like Rooster Teeth that began as web series have grown with the internet to become web networks, offering their users ad-supported free content.

Stations like CNN, Food Network and ESPN also have their own apps that offer a ton of free content (though much of their content remains behind paywalls where users can sign in with their cable provider information).

Which brings us to…

Paid Apps

At some point, paying for premium content might be inevitable. Shows like Game of Thrones are notoriously secretive about their episodes.

At the same time, networks like HBO want their shows to do well, and don’t want money to be an overburdening obstacle to viewership.

In many cases, these networks will offer free trials to new users who download their paid apps. After the free trail, the apps charge the user a monthly subscription fee.

While this is not technically free TV, it winds up being free TV if the user cancels before the free trial expires.

However, even if the user doesn’t cancel, many of these paid apps wind up being cheaper than the cable versions of the same channels. HBO Go, for example, may not provide all of the options of full-fledged cable HBO, but it gives users the ability to watch the shows they want when they want for far less than the cost of a full cable subscription plus HBO.

Paid Streaming Platforms

Sling. Netflix. Amazon. Hulu. YouTubeTV. HBO. Soon, the 800-pound gorilla that is Disney will mix it up as well. Paid platforms are how modern viewers watch TV.

Because these streaming platforms have no long-term contracts, users pay for them when their favorites shows are in season and then turn them off or swap platforms, so they can binge on the shows they want.

By knowing what shows they want to watch, these platforms can adequately match cable’s versatility at a fraction of the price, especially when paired with an over-the-air antenna and knowledge of what free TV stations and shows operate in a given area.

In many ways, how we watch TV continues to change. In other ways, the way to get free TV hasn’t really changed since the ‘50s. Great content is still out there and available. You just have to do a little homework to find it.

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