5 Of The Cheapest Ways To Watch Live TV Without A Cable Subscription

As nice as it is to have access to various on-demand streaming apps and their enormous catalogs of content, you don't always want to have to choose what you watch. That's one of the appeals of live TV – you can just pick a channel and see what the airwaves throw at you.

That said, as more people cut the cord, cable subscriptions are starting to become obsolete, not to mention potentially expensive depending on where you live. Of course, one of the reasons for that is that you don't actually need a cable subscription anymore if you want to watch live TV. As long as you have an internet connection, there are plenty of ways you can get your live TV fix, many substantially cheaper, not to mention more convenient, than getting a cable box hooked up. With that in mind, the only thing you still need to think about is how much content you want versus how much you're willing to pay.

Pluto TV

If we're talking about cheap ways to watch live TV, then it doesn't get much cheaper than jack-squat. Several streaming services have taken advantage of the growing hole created by the shift from cable TV by offering their own live TV services absolutely free of charge. One of the biggest names in this scene is Pluto TV.

Pluto TV fetheatures over 250 channels of live TV sourced from Paramount's extensive catalog, running the gamut of news, entertainment, cartoons, documentaries, and just about everything else. All of these channels are 100% free to watch- just visit the Pluto TV website or use the Pluto TV app available on most streaming players, and you can tune in right away. The channels are ad-supported, but if you're here to watch live TV, you're probably used to the occasional ad break. Pluto also features various on-demand movies and TV shows, including some older and more obscure stuff like "Gunsmoke" or "Kamen Rider."

Sling TV

The majority of streaming TV services generally cost around $75 a month, give or take. While you usually get a good amount of content for that price, perhaps you're in the market for something a little leaner, just enough to cover the major channels that you know you'll actually watch. If you're feeling a little more budget-conscious, Sling TV is a good live TV option.

Sling TV offers two packages, Orange and Blue, which give you access to an overlapping catalog of 30-50 channels, each for $40 a month. These channels include most of the major news networks, entertainment channels like TBS, sports channels like ESPN, and family channels like Disney and Cartoon Network. If you're not sure which channels you want, you can skip the guesswork by getting their combined package for $55 a month, netting you 51 channels in total. Plus, every Sling TV plan comes with DVR storage, allowing you to record and rewatch anything that's aired on the live schedule.


Since every single major entertainment brand has opted to create their own streaming platforms, a lot of them have also decided to roll in their live TV holdings to create streaming TV experiences. One such company is Comcast, which owns both NBC and its associated brands, and used them to create its own streaming platform, Peacock

While Peacock is primarily intended to be an on-demand service, the platform also offers 50 live channels including various NBC shows and staples, ranging from the daily news to classic sitcoms and various genres of movies. The basic, ad-supported Peacock plan costs $4.99 a month, while the premium plan costs $9.99 a month. If you're an Xfinity internet customer, another of Comcast's holdings, you may also be able to get Peacock at a discounted rate. It'd be a nice accompaniment to the Flex streaming player you can get alongside an Xfinity internet plan.


Your particular needs for a live TV streaming service can vary wildly depending on your precise television tastes. For one thing, the vast majority of live TV services include a myriad of sports channels for just about every sport you can think of. If you're not much of a sports fan, though, you can actually save big on your entertainment costs by signing up with a more entertainment-focused service. One affordable service with a good range of non-sports channels is Philo.

For $25 a month, Philo gets you access to a respectable range of 60 cable-grade channels, including popular picks like Comedy Central, the BBC, the Hallmark Channel, and more. The only thing that's not included in the package are dedicated sports channels like ESPN, so Philo is best suited for the kind of viewer that enjoys everything except for sports coverage. As long as you're not planning on watching the World Cup at your house, Philo should get you what you need.

Frndly TV

For those of you who aren't looking for the big edge-of-your-seat serialized dramas or vintage cartoons and anime, you may be in the market for a live TV service that's a bit friendlier, more in line with the basic spread of channels you'd get in the age of TV tuner antennas. Specifically, you'd probably get an enjoyable afternoon out of Frndly TV.

This small live TV service offers 40 live channels for a modest monthly fee of $6.99. These channels are targeted more toward older audiences, including staples like A&E, The History Channel, Lifetime, and the Game Show Network. Frndly TV also features unlimited DVR storage, plus 72 hours of lookback, allowing you to quickly scroll back the schedule if you missed something. If you're trying to convince Grandma to cut her cable cord while still making sure she has access to her stories, Frndly TV is an excellent option to keep her happy.