One of the main hesitations TV and movie lovers have about totally foregoing cable altogether for streaming services is losing access to local television stations. This is a big meal for many people since local stations are often affiliated with the legacy broadcast networks – CBS, NBC, and ABC – plus Fox and oftentimes the CW. The traditional “big three,” in particular, carry many of the programs that generate the highest ratings. This is especially true with live sporting events and popular reality shows like American Idol, Masked Singer, and The Voice.
The good news is you can enjoy the many perks that come with some popular streaming services without having to keep cable or satellite TV primarily for local channel access. All you have to do is choose a streaming service that includes local TV options. These services are highlighted below.
Hulu (with Hulu Live TV)
In addition to offering a slew of appealing originals and other exclusive content, Hulu has a live TV option. Available in pretty much every market, Hulu Live provides access to ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox. Many markets will also give you the CW if you prefer access to a lineup largely peppered with superhero-based shows and teen-oriented content. Added perks include:
• Being able to check your zip code to see what local channels are available
• No contract TV
• Access to a large on-demand streaming library
• Affordable rates starting at $64.99 per month
• Multiple device support
YouTube TV gives you access to the legacy networks plus Fox and the CW. Simply enter your zip code to find out if local channels are available in your area. PBS is also included in the live channel lineup, an added benefit you won’t get with the other services mentioned here. Other YouTube TV perks include:
• Support on multiple devices
• No contract
• A reasonable rate of $64.99 per month
YouTube TV isn’t directly available with Roku. What you can do, though, is use the YouTube app on Roku players.
This streaming service gives you access to live broadcasts from the big three networks plus Fox in certain markets. You’ll also get an assortment of sports-related options, a list that includes NBCSN, FS1, and FS2. Perks include:
• A 1-week free trial
• Cloud DVR access that includes storage capacity up to 250 hours
• An ability to stream on up to 3 devices at once
• Reasonable prices starting at $64.99 per month
In most markets across the country you’ll get access to the big three networks plus The CW and Fox with DIRECTV Stream. In addition to the ability to stream on up to 3 devices at once with each subscription, perks with this service include:
• A reasonable rate of $69.99 per month
• A cloud-based DVR
• Channel options that include Discovery, Freeform, and AMC
• Multiple device access that includes Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV
Sling TV and Other Limited Options
Sling TV has some appealing perks with content. However, local channels are limited to Fox and NBC, and this is only in select markets. There are two other limited options you may wish to consider:
• Paramount+: Live CBS broadcasts are only available in certain markets. There is, however, a free trial offered.
• Vidgo: With this service you’ll get ABC and Fox in roughly a hundred markets. It’s supported on Apple and Android devices and accessible with Apple TV, Fire TV, and Roku. A 3-day free trial is offered.
There is one other option worth mentioning when it comes to local channels. If you have a digital TV, you’ll just need to purchase an attachable antenna and you’ll be able to watch over-the-air channels for free. If you have a TV manufactured before 2007, you’ll need a digital converter box along with the antenna. Lastly, it’s also worth noting that the top benefit of going with streaming services that offer live TV is having much more content to choose from, which can be appreciated when you’re not watching local channels.