Save Thousands of Dollars While Watching the TV Shows You Love

Last updated: October 22, 2017 at 17:06 pm by Brian Shim

I’d like to help you save money by canceling cable TV and replacing it with free and cheap alternatives. It’s completely legal!

The average cable customer spends $100 a month on cable. That’s $1,200 per year for the rest of your life, or about $60,000 in your lifetime! Why pay when you can watch many of the same shows for much less or free? People are dropping cable in record numbers (about a million people per year according to one estimate). Why not learn how to watch high-definition TV without paying for cable or satellite right now?

The solution to the ridiculous cost of cable and satellite TV is to switch to FREE broadcast digital TV using an antenna like one of the ones below. If you live near or in a decent-sized metropolitan area, this can get you the network channels (ABC, CBS, NBS, Fox, WB) plus PBS and local stations with an inexpensive indoor antenna.

TV Antennas

Some of the TV antennas I have tested

If you have an Internet connection, you can connect your TV to a device like Google Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV box to get additional free and subscription TV and movie services. I explain all of this on DisableMyCable™.

Start with Free Broadcast Digital TV

Did you know that people in or near big cities can receive the major network channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW), plus PBS and local stations in Hi-Def for free? It’s called broadcast digital TV. I was able to get thirty channels total in Providence, RI and over 100 in Los Angeles, CA. It takes a little leg work to set it up, but I’ll guide you through it.

To see which channels YOU can get using an antenna, click the big Station Finder button below and enter your zip code.

You will see a map of your area. Wait a few seconds for the colored list of stations to appear on the left. You should be able to pick up the green and yellow channels with a good indoor flat antenna. The ones in orange will probably require an outdoor antenna. The list is not exact, but will give you a ballpark idea of the number of channels you should be able to get.

Station Finder Map

If the stations you want are available, then keep going! If not, skip down to other options.

Test Your TV’s Reception Now – No Antenna Required!

If you have a modern flat-panel TV (the kind that you can hang on a wall), all you need is an antenna to get these channels, and you’ll be getting most of them in high-definition, mostly in better picture quality than you got with cable!

If you don’t have an antenna right now, here is a quick-and-dirty way to test your TV to see if it will work:

For detailed instructions on how to hook up your antenna and configure your TV, go to the antenna setup page on this site!

If You Have an Old Analog Tube TV

If you have an old analog tube TV, you’ll need to get a converter box in order to use an antenna.

Tube TV

My Two Favorite Indoor TV Antennas

I’ve done extensive testing and come up with my top two favorite indoor TV antennas – the ones which bring in the most channels reliably in my testing. Hint – they are both flat! Read more about the TV antennas I chose!

Mohu Leaf and Cable Cutter Aerowave

How to Record Broadcast TV Shows

Tablo

Tablo recorder

Many people ask me if they can record the shows on free broadcast TV.  The answer is “yes”!

My two favorite broadcast TV DVR’s are the Channel Master DVR+ and the Tablo.  Both record shows onto hard drives.

For more information, go to my DVR page.

Other Alternatives to Cable and Satellite TV

Computer to TVMy other main source of free TV programming comes from the Internet. Most of the major networks have websites with FREE full recent episodes. Check out my Free Internet Video Links page for links to all of these free TV sites. The main catch is that you can only watch them on a desktop or laptop computer. Most of these sites don’t work on a tablet or on any set-top boxes.

If you are willing to pay a little, there are a plethora of set-top boxes and services that offer on-demand programming from the Internet. Examples include the Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast. These devices connect to the Internet through your Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable and stream movies and shows to your TV. It’s like having a movie rental store in your home. If you have a gaming console (Wii, XBOX, PS3), you already have what you need. More info on streaming boxes here.

Once you have one of these boxes, you can stream programs from pay-per-show sites like Amazon, iTunes, and others. Or, you can subscribe to a service like Netflix or Hulu, and stream unlimited shows for a fixed monthly fee. Here’s an overview of media services.

My Favorite Way to Watch Shows From the Internet on My TV

Roku

Roku

There are so many ways to watch Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and other streaming services on your TV. But the one that I am recommending for most people is Roku. It offers the most channels, voice search across many content providers, and headphone output, all at a reasonable price. Read my full review here.

Watch TV and Movies on Your Computer for FREE

Free Internet Video LInksPeople have asked me for an easy way to watch their favorite TV shows on the Internet. Here it is: your Free Internet Video Links! I’ve assembled the best sources of free TV on the Internet and put them on one easy-to-use page . To get it for free, click the image and bookmark it!

Note, these sites mostly work on desktop and laptop computers, not phones or tablets. 🙁

My Story

I was a loyal cable TV customer for all of my adult life, paying about $34/month for basic cable (which sounds ludicrously cheap now). Then I moved to a different city where the cost was $52/month for basic cable. I paid it and figured, “well, that’s just the cost of getting TV”. More and more, however, I realized that I wasn’t getting good TV. I was just surfing through the channels over and over looking for good TV. Then, my 6-month “introductory cable rate” ended and my cable bill went up to $57/month. Sure, it was only a few dollars more, but that was the last straw. After a few months of putting up with the higher cost and lack of good shows, I decided to “Disable My Cable” and try broadcast digital TV. The first thing I tried was an old rabbit-ear antenna that I had from the pre-digital TV days… Read the rest of my story here.

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