How to Watch Your Favorite TV Shows Without Cable

Kip Tips

How to Watch Your Favorite TV Shows Without Cable

Coaxial-deprived fans can catch hit shows, from Downton Abbey to The Walking Dead, for less or even for free.


Television addicts no longer need to feel bound by the cable company and its high monthly bills. With services such as Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus and Netflix, you can save money by streaming many of your favorite shows to your computer, tablet or mobile phone—or even your actual television set—using devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku.

See Also: How to Watch Sports Without Cable TV

So how can you catch your favorite show if you opt to cut the cable cord? Start by hooking up your TV set to an antenna, which can allow you to watch many shows free. Depending on where you live and the range of your antenna, you might be able to pick up dozens of over-the-air broadcast channels, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS. There are many other options. Below are details for some of the most popular shows.

The Big Bang Theory

The most popular primetime show of the 2014-15 viewing season is available straight from the network via its CBS All Access streaming service. Live broadcasts may not be available in your area yet (check availability), but new episodes are accessible everywhere the day after airing using the CBS app. On demand, you can also catch more than 6,500 episodes of new and old shows, including NCIS (the second-most-popular primetime show last season) and Macgyver (which originally aired on ABC). You can get a weeklong trial subscription free; after that, it costs $6 a month. You need a Chromecast or Roku to stream the service to your TV.

A handful of old Big Bang episodes are available free at You can also watch reruns as they air on TBS via Sling TV, Dish Network's streaming service that costs $20 a month for a basic subscription (after a seven-day free trial).


Downton Abbey

You have plenty of time to catch up with everyone at Downton before the sixth and final season premieres on PBS in January 2016. Amazon Instant Video is the place to do that binge watching. All five seasons are available for Prime subscribers to stream. You can get a free monthlong trial subscription, after which membership will cost you $99 a year. Other perks of going Prime include free two-day shipping on all your Amazon orders.

A downside for Downton fans: You won't be able to watch new episodes on Amazon. In past seasons, has posted episodes for online viewing the day after they aired on the network. Starting at $20, an indoor HDTV antenna from Mohu can pick up PBS over the airwaves, which would allow you to watch the show live in high-definition.


Fans of the FOX hit need a little bit of patience to enjoy this show without cable. You can watch new episodes, as well as the entire first season, on Hulu Plus, but not until the day after they air on TV. New users can try the streaming service free for a month. After that, you pay $8 a month to watch your shows with limited commercials, or you can upgrade to no commercials for $12 a month.

Without subscribing, you currently can watch a handful of first-season episodes free on Hulu. You can also catch them on FOX's Web site for free, along with up to five episodes of many of the network's series.


Game of Thrones

For $15 a month, you can use HBO Now to view the medieval fantasy epic, as well as movies and many other HBO shows, past and present. That includes all Game of Thrones episodes from the past five seasons. New episodes are available on HBO Now as soon as they air on the network, though there may be a delay of up to a few hours.

You can also get HBO through Sling TV for an extra $15 a month (on top of the $20 a month for the basic subscription).

How to Get Away With Murder

Last year's sensation from ShondaLand is a tough one to catch. A few episodes from last season are available free on ABC's Web site and Hulu. But there's no guarantee that new episodes will be posted soon after airing.

The same goes for Scandal, another smash creation from Shonda Rhimes. But at least old episodes are a little more readily available. The first four seasons are currently streaming on Netflix.


Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

While forgoing cable means missing out on the USA Network's clever SVU marathon themes for pretty much every holiday, you are free to binge on NBC's long-running crime drama through a couple of outlets. Netflix is currently streaming the last four seasons. Hulu Plus has all 16 seasons—that's an extraordinary 364 episodes. Hulu has the last five episodes of the last season currently available for free.

Monday Night Football

For years, sports fans have had no choice but to stick with cable. Now, you have a few options to catch a number of games. With Sling TV, you can watch Monday Night Football and other sports shows and events live on ESPN and ESPN2. Other networks in the basic Sling TV package include AMC, TNT, Disney Chanel, CNN and more. Compatible devices include Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Xbox One and Apple and Android devices. will also be streaming two regular games (including the Carolina-Dallas game on Thanksgiving), four playoff games and the Super Bowl this season. You can watch them all for free online and stream them to your TV using Xbox One, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku. More rabid fans may consider switching to Verizon Wireless, if you're not already a customer, to get pretty much full access to all things football via the NFL Mobile app for free (data charges apply).

The Walking Dead

AMC's Emmy-snubbed zombie drama (along with all of the network's other shows) is available to watch live through Sling TV.


Currently, you can also catch up on season five at and seasons one through four via Netflix. (Season five is scheduled to hit Netflix on September 27.) AMC's site may also make new episodes available soon after they air for a limited time. After the free trial month, Netflix subscriptions start at $8 a month ($9 a month for HD viewing) and work with Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Playstation, Roku, Xbox, Wii and most mobile devices.

See Also: Save Big by Getting Rid of Your Cable TV