Have you "cut the cord" and got a streaming device to save money on cable? Most of the big streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have subscription fees, and many either don't come with live TV or make you pay extra! Fortunately, there are a several options for watching totally free TV on your Fire Stick, Roku, Apple TV, smart TV, or other streaming device without spending money on subscriptions. Just keep in mind that "free" means "ad-supported," so you'll have to watch some commercials! This minHour teaches you how to watch live free TV and on-demand content on your streaming device or smart TV.
Live TV Channels
Peacock is an ad-supported streaming service operated by NBC, so it’s the best place to find current and older popular NBC shows (including The Office, Saturday Night Live, and Law and Order). Not only can you scroll through a guide of live channels like you would with cable, you also have access to tons of on-demand movies and shows. With a free account, most current NBC shows will be available to watch 8 days after airing on live TV. You can upgrade to Peacock Premium to watch NBC and Telemundo shows only one day after airtime, as well as access a larger catalog of other things to watch. The free tier is pretty great as far as free streaming services go.
- You can install the Peacock app on your Android TV, Apple TV, Fire TV/Fire Stick, Roku, PlayStation, or Xbox, as well as on most modern smart TVs and streaming devices. You can also download the Peacock app onto your phone or tablet, or visit https://www.peacocktv.com in your web browser on Windows or macOS.
The Roku Channel.
Despite having “Roku” in the name, you can use The Roku Channel on a variety of devices to watch 150+ live channels 24 hours a day. If you have a Roku TV or player, just open from the home screen and select to see what’s on. On other compatible devices, you can install the Roku Channel app from your device’s app store, launch the app, and select . You can browse a cable-like guide to see what’s on currently, or check out on-demand titles.
- The Roku Channel app is available on all Roku’s, plus on Amazon Fire Stick/Fire TV and modern Samsung smart TVs. You can also download The Roku Channel app on your Android, iPhone, or iPad, or check out https://www.therokuchannel.com in a web browser.
Amazon Fire TV Live.
If you have an Amazon TV or Fire Stick, you have access to about 200 free live channels without installing any extra apps. To find live content, just select at the top of the home screen. If you’re just looking for news, you can check out the app—when you launch it for the first time, you’ll be asked to enter your region, which (depending on the region) will give you access to local news channels.
Sling TV Free.
Just like with The Roku Channel, Sling TV Free is not just restricted to Sling device owners—you can also download the app onto a variety of devices. Most of the content is older, but there’s a pretty wide variety available. You can browse a guide of free live programming the same way you would with most digital cable platforms, and check out hundreds of on-demand shows and movies. Most of the content is older stuff, so this isn’t where you’ll find the latest episodes of your favorite shows. There’s still enough to cure your boredom, and you’ll always have the option of buying a pay-per-view title or upgrading to a paid subscription.
- The Sling TV app is available on Amazon Fire TV/Fire Stick, Android TV, and Roku. There are no phone or tablet apps available, but you can watch in a web browser at https://watch.sling.com.
In addition to a wide variety of live comedy, music, and movie options, Local Now offers local channels for about 220 United States cities. You can watch channels from any region—not just your own! You’ll also find a catalog of on-demand movies and TV shows you can watch any time.
- The Local News app is available on the majority of streaming devices, including Amazon Fire TV/Fire Stick, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku, and Sling, on gaming consoles like PlayStation and Xbox, and most modern smart TVs. You can also download the mobile app to your Android, iPhone, or iPad, as well as watch in a web browser at https://www.localnow.com.
If you’re looking for live news in the United States, NewsON is a great free option. With over 275 stations in 160 US regions, NewsON has local news options in more than 76% of the United States, in addition to national news options. Like all other free streaming services, there are ads, but the flow remains natural.
- NewsON is available on Amazon Fire TV/Fire Stick, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku, and hopefully more devices soon. You can also download the NewsOn app to your Android, iPhone, or iPad, or watch it in your web browser at https://www.newson.com.
Although Plex started as a peer-to-peer media sharing platform, it now offers about 130 live ad-supported streaming channels in addition to about 20,000 on-demand movies and TV shows. There’s also a paid tier that gives you access to even more content, removes the ads, and allows you to download your favorite movies and shows. The content is pretty mainstream stuff, and their partnership with AMC brings you six different AMC channels!
- The Plex app is available on Android TV, Amazon Fire TV/Fire Stick, Apple TV, Plex Media Player, Roku, most modern smart TVs, PlayStation, and Xbox. You can also watch online at https://www.plex.tv. There are apps available for Android and iPhone/iPad, but you’ll need to subscribe to Plex Pass ($4.99) or pay a one-time $4.99 fee.
Pluto, which is now owned by CBS Viacom, is a totally free ad-supported streaming service that’s been around since 2013. You’re definitely not restricted to CBS shows—you’ll actually find over 200 channels of all sorts of live content. Pluto hosts tons of content for all ages, but seems to have an impressive amount of children and teenage content thanks to a partnership with Nickelodeon. Like most other free live streaming TV services, you can also watch plenty of on-demand content with Pluto TV.
- You can use the Pluto TV app on Android TV, Amazon Fire TV/Fire Stick, Apple TV, PlayStation, Roku, Vizio SmartCast, and Xbox. The app is also available on Androids, iPhones, iPads, as well as on the web at https://www.pluto.tv.
Redbox Live TV.
Yes, it’s the same Redbox that offers video rentals outside of grocery stores! Except you won’t need to provide a credit card, as Redbox Live TV is totally free! Many smart TVs come preinstalled with Redbox Live TV, but you can also download the app onto other streaming devices. You’ll find dozens—not hundreds—of channels, including several news channels, a small amount of sports coverage, game show-specific channels, as well as plenty of (older) on-demand content to sift through when you don’t find anything you want to see live. There are ads, but they aren’t so bad.
- Redbox Live TV comes on a variety of Android smart TVs, and other smart TVs made by Vizio and LG. You can also install the app on your Roku or Xbox, as well as your Android, iPhone, or iPad. To watch in a browser, visit https://www.redbox.com/stream-free-live-tv.
Tubi has so many movies and TV shows that it’s hard to believe it’s free. But since Tubi makes money by showing commercial-style ads as you watch, it’s possible! Tubi is actually owned by Fox, but that doesn’t mean it’s full of Fox-only programming. You’ll find movies and TV shows from major channels and studios, which makes Tubi a competitor to paid services like Hulu and Netflix. And that’s certainly possible, especially now that Fox will be producing some original movies and TV shows that will only be available on Tubi. You’ll also find live news channels, although no other live programming.
- The Tubi app is available on Amazon Fire TV/Fire Stick, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku, TiVo, Cox Contour, PlayStation, and Xbox, as well as many other streaming devices and smart TVs. If you’re on an Android, iPhone, or iPad, you can download the Tubi app to your phone or tablet. You can even watch Tubi in your web browser at https://tubitv.com.
IMDb TV is owned by Amazon, so Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick owners already have access to this free, on-demand platform. If you have a different streaming device or smart TV, you can download the IMDb app. There’s a great variety of critically-acclaimed movies and TV shows, so you won’t be stuck with a bunch of things you’ve never heard of.
- IMDb TV is available on Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick by default. If you have an Android TV, Apple TV, PlayStation, Roku, or Xbox, you’ll need to download the IMDb app from your device’s app store. You can also watch free TV on the IMDb app for Android, iPhone, and iPad, as well as at https://www.imdb.com/tv in a web browser.
Crackle, which is owned by Sony, is one of the first free streaming services. Crackle has plenty of TV shows and movies, but nothing terribly new. Still, there’s a massive library of awesome stuff to sift through—almost as much as Tubi. There’s even original content you’ll only find on Crackle.
- The Crackle app comes preinstalled on many smart TVs, but is also available on Amazon Fire TV/Fire Stick, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation, and Xbox. You can download the mobile app to your Android, iPhone, or iPad, or watch in a web browser at https://www.crackle.com.
If your local library partners with Kanopy (and many do), you can enjoy movies, documentaries, and tons of other content for free—without ads! A lot of Kanopy’s programming comes from PBS, Paramount, HBO, and the Criterion Collection, so there’s plenty of high-quality stuff to watch. There’s also a massive amount of kids programming, including classics like Peanuts and Sesame Street. The only issue with Kanopy is that your library will usually limit the amount of titles you can watch per month—that number varies by library system.
- To find out if you can use Kanopy, head to https://www.kanopy.com and click Get Started. You’ll be asked to select your public library and log in with your library account info. Once you sign up, you’ll see how many titles you get per month!
- You can download the Kanopy app on your Amazon Fire TV/Fire Stick, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku, Telstra TV, or Samsung-brand smart TV. You can also get the app on your Android, iPhone, or iPad, or on a computer by signing in to https://www.kanopy.com.