Live TV without local channels? Why?

A lot of folks are tired of spending too much for cable. The average cable bill is now well over $100 per month, and that’s too much for some people. Hey, if you’re the sort of person who gets a lot of value out of TV, if you watch a lot of sports or premium programs, that’s great. I’m that kind of person too. You’re going to pay a lot for that kind of TV if you want it.

I’m that kind of person, but I also appreciate a good value. I see people cutting their bills in half. I see some of them cutting even further. If you wanted to, you could cut your bill down to zero and still get a lot of content. Is that the right choice for you?

What’s the best value for your money?

Often times the best value for you is going to be a live streaming TV service. These are basically like old-school cable systems but they come through your streaming box or phone. The cost for these systems is a lot less and if you choose wisely you’ll get all the channels you want. The key, though, is to choose wisely.

Don’t forget the top ten rated shows.

According to Nielsen, who aren’t perfect but are basically all we have for this data, the top 10 watched shows in 2018 were:

  1. This is Us
  2. Roseanne
  3. The Big Bang Theory
  4. The Good Doctor
  5. Young Sheldon
  6. Grey’s Anatomy
  7. 9-1-1
  8. Will & Grace
  9. Empire
  10. The Voice

Notice anything about those shows? Notice something they have in common? They’re all on local channels. You may have loved Game of Thrones or Ozark but when it comes to ratings, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC are still the top of the heap. They may not be your top rated shows, but for a lot of people these are a must-have.

Don’t be too cheap

There are live streaming services out there that have no local channels at all. In other words, You miss out on all ten of the top ten programs. You also miss out on top rated live broadcasts like the Super Bowl. When news happens in your area, there’s no guarantee you’ll know about it. I think a live streaming TV service without locals makes absolutely no sense. It’s just being a little too cheap.

How to get the locals you (probably) want

There are two options for getting local channels with live streaming. You can choose a service that has a great complement of locals, like DIRECTV NOW. They’ve been pushing hard to get local channel coverage and it shows. They’ve got all four major networks in more markets than any other service.

The second option is to put up a TV antenna like the ones available at Solid Signal and get dozens of channels. With antenna TV there’s nothing more to buy once you put up the antenna. You’ll get channels you never knew existed. Best of all with digital TV over 90% of people are covered by local TV and there’s never any snow or fade. You’ll never have to spin that pair of rabbit ears on the TV around.

The best option might be…

If you choose a hybrid system like the AirTV player, you’re in for the best of both worlds. You can subscribe to Sling, which has a fair number of local channels, but you can also put an antenna on the roof and get all the channels delivered through the same app that you use for live streaming. It’s about as close as you’ll get to the “cable TV experience” but at about one-quarter the price.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.