How to Watch Live TV Without Cable For Cheap

If you’ve just cut the cord, you might be missing live TV. Especially during award season, or other live streaming events. Lucky for you, we live in a time right now where you can watch all the live channels you want without cable, and at little to no cost to you. If you want local channels, you’re probably going to have to buy and set up an antenna. But the ones that do cost money, it’s as easy as signing up online, the same way you would Netflix or Hulu. No contract or monthly bill in the mail, no cancellation fees, it’s all automatic, and you can cancel at any time you want.

Table of Contents

  • Pluto TV
  • Xumo TV
  • Philo TV
  • Sling TV
  • How to Watch Live TV for Cheap


Sometimes cable TV is not within the budget. We understand. So, to help you get the live TV you know and love, we’re bringing you a short list of some services you can sign up for to get the service you need. Although these free or cheap TV services may come with some caveats, the options listed in this post could still provide you with something that works for you.

Free Channels on Pluto TV

Monthly fee: FREE

Obviously, the most notable thing about this TV service is the fact it’s free. Anytime you want to watch an award show or the Presidential debates, Pluto TV will have your back most of the time. Just keep in mind, that with the channels like CMT and MTV, they are technically “CMT Pluto” and “MTV Pluto” which differentiates from the normal channels in the sense that it doesn’t have the full shows on those channels. You still get the gist though. Pluto is the best at their entertainment channels.

Pluto TV
  • Free
  • Hundreds of channels like SyFy, CMT, MTV, Complex, PeopleTV, CBSN, NBC News, Today and more
  • Doesn't require an account
  • Did we mention it's FREE?
  • Not a lot of traditional cable channels
  • Tons of ads
Xumo TV

Live Channels for Free on Xumo TV

Monthly fee: FREE

This is another solid free live TV subscription service we recommend. With over 160 channels ranging from entertainment, news and sports, you can pretty much get anything with this service. The only downside is that you can’t record your shows (as expected with a free service), and the channel lineup may vary depending on what device you’re watching TV on. The devices that Xumo supports is Smart TVs, iPhone, iPad, Android devices, Roku, Cast with AirPlay, Chromecast, Miracast, Screencast, or on mobile.

  • Free
  • Over 160 channels like ABC news Live, NBC News Now, TMZ, PeopleTV, History Channel and more
  • Stream from any device
  • No DVR options
  • Lineup varies depending on the device you are watching on

Cheap Channel Options on Philo TV

Monthly fee:  $20/mo.

With Philo, you can record all channels with the unlimited DVR and save it up to 30 days. Stream up to multiple devices at the same time and create up to 10 profiles on your account. Philo’s entertainment channels are pretty impressive, but if you’re looking to watch the local news every morning (if that’s your thing), it’s not for you, as the only news channels are Newsy and BBC World News, which isn’t bad, but it’s not a very round-about option for most. We will say that the entertainment channel selection makes up for that, however.

Philo TV
  • Over 60 channels including MTV, BBC American and BBC World News, Cheddar, HGTV, Food Network and more
  • Add-ons include EPIX and STARZ
  • Unlimited DVR
  • Not a lot of channels for the price
  • Barely any news channels
Sling TV

Sling TV Offers Cost-Effective Live TV Channels

Monthly fee: $30-$45/mo.

The rundown of Sling TV comes in packages, unlike its counterparts. Here’s how it goes: The Sling Orange package (without add-ons) includes Disney, ESPN, BBC, CNN, Comedy Central. The Blue package includes NBS and Fox local channels (in some cities), FX and Fox News. Or you can combine the Blue and Orange package to get the best of both worlds. Sling TV also offers a good amount of premium channel add-ons like SHOWTIME and STARZ. The Blue and Orange combo package is far from being free, which is what we want to strive for in this article, but it’s a super good deal for the amount of traditional channels you get in addition to the fact it’s still much cheaper than regular cable (which is on average around $120/mo.)

  • 30-53 channels including AMC, USA, FX, ESPN, Food Network, TBS, Viceland
  • No contract
  • Still cheaper than cable TV
  • Traditional cable channels
  • The price of the Blue/Orange bundle goes up to $45 after the first month
  • Not that many channels in general

How to Watch Live TV for Cheap

After picking out the live TV option that’s best for you, your next step is to figure out how you’re going to access that content. You can use a variety of options to get your shows up and running. They include:

  • Phone or mobile device
  • Tablet
  • Computer or laptop
  • Smart TV
  • Roku
  • And more!

When using a mobile device or tablet, you can use your device’s app store to open the app related to your chosen service. Then, once you log in from there, you can watch on the go! If you’d prefer to watch on a computer, then all you need to do is find that service’s website and access your account from there.

A smart TV will allow you to download an app right onto your TV so you can enjoy your content on the big screen. For those with standard TVs, you still have the option of using Roku to get your low-cost TV alternative. If your TV is compatible, you’ll just need to install it and then use the Roku channel store to assemble your streaming services all in one place. That way, you can upgrade your TV with smart features without the cost of buying a whole new device.

Frequently asked questions

What is Pluto TV?

Pluto TV is a free platform that relies on ads to air a variety of content, including TV shows, movies, music channels and more.

Does Sling TV have contracts?

There are no contracts with Sling TV.

Is Xumo TV free?

Yes, Xumo TV is free.

Written by: Hayley Abshear

Edited by: Jessica Moore

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