5 Best Free Streaming Services with Local Channels

Not so long ago, you had to have an antenna to tune into local TV stations. Live TV streaming services may have carried nationwide networks like ABC and FOX, but you still had to turn on a traditional TV if you wanted to get updates on regional events and community-wide affairs. Thankfully, that's about to change as more and more local stations turn to streaming for views. Broadcast companies like the Heritage Broadcasting Group and Gray Television (which operate more than a hundred US stations between them) have partnered with streaming sites to catch up to online viewers. 

Not only are there more streaming services dedicated to local TV now, but many of them are also free and available on the go. They have never been as accessible as they are now, so in this article, we've rounded up the best streaming services you can watch local channels for free. 

Our recommended five best free streaming services with local channels:
NewsOn free Watch
PBS App free Watch
Air TV free Watch
Local Now free Watch
Haystack TV free Watch

PBS channels around the country are free on television, and thanks to the PBS app, they're now free to stream as well. The PBS app gives you on-demand access to many of the network's famously educational shows, including Nova and PBS News Hour, as well as the nearest local station in your area. You don't need an account to start watching on the PBS app, although you might have to activate it beforehand. Again, PBS is free, but if you want to support your local PBS station and gain extended access to even more films and TV shows, then you can purchase a PBS Passport membership, which costs around $5/month or $60/year.

Price: free for channels available

Device availability: Amazon Fire Tablet, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Comcast, iOS, Roku, Samsung Smart TV, Vizio

Features: ad-supported option, annual subscription, free, likely to work with a VPN, on-demand content, unlimited simultaneous streams

NewsOn is a free streaming service that lets you access live TV newscasts from over 200 local stations around the United States. According to the platform, it has partnered with ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX and their respective local affiliates to cover up to 91% of the country (a full list of their local channels can be seen here).

You can also watch previous news, sports, and weather reports on NewsOn from up to 48 hours ago and select your favorite stations so that they appear first on the homepage. No registration is required, and it allows you to watch local channels wherever in the country you may be. 

Price: free for 3 channels available

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Apple TV, iOS, Roku, Roku TV, Website

Channel lineup: CBS local channels, Local news channels, NBC local channels

Features: ad-supported option, free, live tv streaming

Local Now is a free streaming service from The Weather Channel that offers up localized content geared to where you're using it from. That means you can get local news, weather updates, and even restaurant reviews that are specific to where you, the user, are from. Aside from the convenience of getting local coverage, Local Now also provides thousands of movies and live TV channels to choose from, perfect for when you're relaxing or on the go.

Price: free for 1 channels available

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Fubo TV, iOS, Roku, Sling TV

Channel lineup: Local news channels

Features: ad-supported option, free, on-demand content

Haystack TV is an independently-run streaming service that delivers live and on-demand news, 24/7. It's ad-supported so it's somewhat free, but if you want to get rid of the commercials and dive straight into the latest news, you can subscribe to Haystack Premium for $4.99/month or try it for free for 30 days. 

The convenient thing about Haystack is that it allows you to navigate not just by channels but by topics as well. It also picks up news from more than a hundred TV stations around the US (check if they cover your area here) which saves you the trouble of switching services when looking for local news.

Price: free for 12 channels available

Free Trial: 30 days

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Roku, Roku TV, Website

Channel lineup: ABC News, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg, Bloomberg Quicktake, CBS News, Cheddar, Deutsche Welle, Euronews, Local news channels, Newsmax, Newsy, Yahoo! Finance

Features: ad-supported option, free, on-demand content, trial

If you have an Air TV streaming device, you'll automatically have free access to 1oo local channels from affiliates like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS all in HD. To be clear, the local channels are free in the sense that you don't have to pay a monthly bill to watch them, as you would on a cable or live TV subscription, but you do have to pay a one-time fee that sets you up with an Air TV device and an HD antenna. Depending on the bundle you pick, that can cost you anywhere from $150 to $250. It seems like a lot, but it makes sense when you consider that it comes with DVR, the ability to watch local channels anywhere, and for Sling TV subscribers, seamless integration in all your devices. 

Although you don't need to be a Sling TV subscriber to start using Air TV, the two are perfect complements that save you a lot of money, in the long run. Sling TV has live TV channels equipped for sports, entertainment, and nationwide news, while the one-time-payment Air TV gives you constant and uninterrupted access to your local channels. If you do combine them, Sling takes care of any overlaps to ensure you're getting the best of both streaming worlds in all compatible devices.

Price: free for 3 channels available

Device availability: AirTV Mini, AirTV Player, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, Roku

Channel lineup: CBS local channels, NBC local channels, PBS local channels

Features: 4k-compatible, DVR, free, live tv streaming

Ready to cut the cord? Here are the 14 live TV streaming services that offer a free trial.

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The streaming services on this page were chosen by our editors. If you choose to subscribe to a streaming service we recommend as a result of our research, analysis, and curation, our work is sometimes (but not always) supported by an affiliate commission from the streaming service when you make a purchase.

That's all from us for the 6 Best Free Streaming Services with Local Channels!