Tablo Blog

How to Watch Live Local Broadcast TV News as a Cord Cutter

Updated September 3, 2021

Over the last decade, TV viewers have gravitated more towards online, national, and 24/7 cable news over local news broadcasts.

But now more than ever it’s critical to get accurate, up-to-date information about what’s happening in your own backyard. Local TV reporters, camera operators, and broadcast technicians across the country are stepping up to bring those crucial news updates and stories to you.  

local tv news cord cutter

And thankfully it’s easy to access the local TV news you need, even without a cable or satellite subscription.

Keep reading to learn how…


Local News Via Over-the-Air TV Antenna

indoor antenna

The best, and most cost-effective way to tune into local newscasts is with an Over-the-Air TV antenna, which may be one of the reasons this method of cord cutting is growing quickly.

Accessing local broadcast TV with an antenna has several advantages over other options including:

  • No contract required, unlike cable or satellite
  • No ongoing fees, unlike cable, satellite, or streaming TV
  • Does not require internet access or use bandwidth that may be needed for telework or homeschooling

Those living in urban areas, 30 miles (50 KMs) or less from local OTA TV broadcast towers can often use a simple indoor antenna which is easy to place and install. Those living further from urban centers will need to select a larger outdoor or attic-mount TV antenna.

Find your local Broadcast TV towers with our signal locator tool.

Quality TV antennas can be purchased online from most big box and hardware stores, and TV antenna manufacturers are still shipping products directly, so you won’t even have to leave home to buy one!

Are you an essential worker and not able to be on your couch to watch the news on TV? Add an Over-the-Air DVR like Tablo to your antenna setup and you can catch up with your local news anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Stream Your Local TV News Via Locast

locast map

Locast was shut down in September of 2021. 

Sometimes your location – the wrong side the building, a basement apartment, a deep valley – makes it difficult to receive a strong Over-the-Air TV signal.

Thankfully the non-profit streaming service Locast is an option for accessing local broadcast TV channels in 17 urban areas 31 markets across the United States.

Simply download the Locast app on your favorite mobile or streaming TV device and watch your local news.

A $5/month donation to keep the infrastructure running will give you interruption-free streams, but Locast will waive that fee for 30 days for those who ask during the pandemic.

NOTE - Locast is NOT compatible with Tablo OTA DVRs.


Other Free (and Not So Free) Local TV News Streaming Alternatives

Live Stream Local News

Can’t access free broadcasts with an Over-the-Air TV antenna and don’t live in an area served by Locast? You still have options for accessing streams or clips from your local news including:

  • Your Local TV Channel’s Website (free) – While you won’t be able to watch your favorite primetime TV shows on your local broadcast channel’s website or social media accounts, you may find live streams or clips of daily newscasts.

  • NEWS ON (free) – Prefer to watch on your TV set? Streams and clips from your local newscasts may be available via the NEWS ON app. Simply download the app and start watching.

  • Haystack TV (free) – Provides a personalized stream of clips from local and world news sources but requires login via Facebook or Google.

  • CBS All Access (limited time free 30-day trial with the code GIFT) – This provides access to a live stream of your local CBS affiliate (where available) along with ‘All Access Exclusives’ and tons of CBS back catalog content. After your first 30 days, you’ll have to pony up $5.99/month for a single channel.

  • Live TV Streaming Services (starting at $50/month) – A Live TV streaming service like YouTube TV will get you live access to all your local channels as well as cable TV favorites, but it’s certainly not cheap. And since they include local channels, the price is likely to increase over time, just like cable TV. But at least there are no contracts, so if your work situation changes, you can easily cancel at any time.

As you can see, there are many ways to catch your local TV news as a cord cutter and stay informed about what’s happening in your community. Better yet, most of them are easy on the wallet!

Stay safe and stay healthy and if you have questions about Over-the-Air TV antennas or anything cord cutting-related, hit us up on Facebook or Twitter.


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