In today’s article, you will learn how to enjoy local channels on your smart TV. We will present you with detailed instructions that will enable you to get local channels on your Smart TV with maximum possible ease.
There are quite many ways on how to get local channels on Smart TV. We decided to break them down into two main categories: ways to get local channels without antenna and ways to get local channels with an antenna. We will cover details for several most popular TV brands.
Before we go into details on how to get local channels on Smart TV sets, let’s take a look at how many TV channels can we get.
How many TV channels can we get on smart TV?
Before we answer the above question, let’s make sure we all know what Smart TV sets are and what local channels are.
Smart TV is a modern type of LED or LCD technology with an option to be connected to the internet. This means that a Smart TV incorporates a computer chip that enables it to connect directly to various streaming options, including YouTube access. You can also use internet browsers to search the web. Whether a Smart TV is able to connect to the internet via wired or Wi-Fi or both depending on the model. Wired option is common to all Smart TV sets, while Wi-Fi enabled comes with more advanced ones.
Local channels are channels the over-the-air (OTA) channels that are available for free in your area. In the past they could have only been accessed with an antenna, however, these days you can access them also via a streaming service. Since streaming services can be enabled on Smart TV, this naturally means that you can now access local TV channels on a Smart TV without the use of an antenna.
Local channels also include the main network that offers its affiliate networks all over the country, which provides news, live sports, and many other local or regional content.
So, let’s finally answer the ‘How many TV channels can we get?’ question, shall we? The answer is not that straight forward since the number of local channels available in a certain area depends on the number of local stations in that area. It also depends on the streaming service or on the antenna type. You can get more than 40 local channels in many areas.
To see the full list of local channels available in your area, you can use the various website, where you enter your zip code and as a return get a list of channels and antenna color codes. Antennaweb.org is and www.fcc.gov/media/engineering/dtvmaps are two of the most popular online platforms for you to search for local channels potentially available in your areas.
Of course, you need to consider the specifics of your place – the potential obstructions, how high can you place the antenna, etc. All these will determine, which of the channels available in total will actually be within your reach.
Ways To Get Local Channels Without Antenna On Smart TV
Getting a quality indoor or outdoor antenna to watch OTA local channels is still the most common way, however, these days you can get the local channels even without the use of antenna and in this section, you will learn how.
At this point, you know that Smart TV offers you internet access, which in terms means that you can watch online content. There are several ways to access the online content and Smart TV sets enable you all of them.
With proper apps available on a Smart TV, you can directly access streaming services. Of course, you can also use a separate streaming device and connect it to your Smart TV. The choice is yours.
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Three most common ways to get local channels without antenna on Smart TV include:
- Watching online – The majority of local channels can now be accessed online. Their entire program may not be aired, however, their most popular shows usually are.
- YouTube TV – This is a cable-free live TV service offered by Google. Of course, it comes with a monthly fee ($40/mo.) but it gives you access to live TV from 60 different networks, which is more than you will ever need.
- Streaming services – There are many streaming services available these days. Aside from offering the on-demand content,many offer live TV access as well, you just have to choose the streaming provider that offers that feature (not all do).
Below, we will cover some of the most popular streaming services and how to get local channels using them.
NOTE: The important thing to note is that, while ‘watching online’ is for free, you will typically need to subscribe to streaming services, which includes a monthly fee. However, it is in general much more affordable compared to cable or satellite TV options.
Get Local Channels Without antenna with Sling TV
Sling TV was actually one of the first live TV streamers. It is actually the only streaming service provider that offers access to free HD TV antenna.
In order to watch local channels using Sling TV, you need to subscribe to one of its packages. For $25/month you can get access to over 40 channels.
Local channels included on Sling TV are FOX, NBC, FS1, FS2, FX, AMC, CNN, FXX, and NFL Network. It is important to keep in mind that the availability of the listed channels depends on your location.
Get Local Channels Without antenna with Roku
Roku is one of the most popular streaming services. The most amazing thing about Roku is that it lets you watch local channels even without a subscription, however, the subscription option gives you better options. Roku includes several live streaming services that you can choose from, including Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, Fubu TV, and DIRECTV Now.
If the news is your main interest, Roku offers you a free channel, NewsOn, which lets you watch newscasts from 200 different news stations around the USA.
Local channels included on Roku are PBS, NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, Food Network, 25 Boston, and NCB. The actual channels may depend on your actual location.
Get Local Channels Without antenna with DiSH
If you are to watch local channels on Dish, you must subscribe to one of the DiSH channel packages. The basic one starts at $59.99 a month with 190 channels, which is not all that affordable. There are some benefits, such as DISH anywhere, which allows you to watch TV on the go from your mobile device.
Local channels included on DiSH are UniMas, NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, The CW, NCB, Univision, and Azteca.
Get Local Channels Without antenna with Amazon Fire Stick
Amazon Fire Stick is another streaming option that gives you access to all sorts of amazing content. Third-party software or a skinny bundle is required in order to make the thing work. In order to access local TV channels using Amazon Fire Stick, you will need to go through one of the following streaming services: CBS All Access, Sling TV, FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, or Xfinity Instant TV.
Get Local Channels Without antenna with Hulu
Hulu is another popular streaming option that offers live TV (Hulu with Live TV). Hulu’s major package will cost you $39.99/month. This membership will also give you access to the local channels. You can access local channels’ content on-demand or watch live episodes. Keep in mind that Hulu with Live TV features limit the number of local channels, they mainly focus on big networks.
Local channels included on DiSH are CBS, ABC, Fox Sports, NBC, My TV, Telemundo, CW, Fox Sports Sun, NCB, SNY, etc. The actual channels may depend on your actual location.
Get Local Channels Without antenna with DIRECTV Now
DIRECTV Now offers several streaming packages, the most affordable one starting at $50/month. All of these packages include access to the entire range of local channels.
Local channels included on DIRECTV Now are The CW, ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS, and Telemundo. Keep in mind that the live local channels are only available in a few locations, however, the on-demand is available in all areas.
Additional Options that Get You Access To Local Channels Without Antenna
- Kinetic TV (by Windstream); channels: FXX, E!, HGTV, FOX News, ABC (WPVI), ABC, TMC, CNBC, ESPN, TBS, AMC, METV, TN, ION, CW, THIS TV
- FiOS TV (by Verizon); channels: Scripps Networks, Fox, BBC America, Tennis Channel, ABC, NCB, Food Network, EPIX, HGTV, BBC World News, CBS (Univision and UniMas are also available in some areas)
- Frontier; channels: BBC America, AMC, UniMas, FOX News, Animal Planet, ABC, PBS, ION Life, Bloomberg TV, CBS, FOX, PBS Kids, Mega TV, CW
- Contour TV (by Cox); channels: PBS, FOX, PBS Kids, ABC, CBS, NBC, C-Span, CW
- U-verse (by AT&T); channels: ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS
- Optimum; channels: NBC, ION, Antenna TV, NYC life, CBS, HSN, C-Span, News 12, FOX, QVC, Educational Access, This TV, ABC, CW, EVINE Live, VMBC
- TV Essentials (by Spectrum); channels: HGTV, Comedy Central, AMC, BBC World News, BBC America, and many other (60 local channels)
Ways To Get Local Channels With Antenna On Smart TV
The above options may be slick and practical, especially if you can a Smart TV with a built-in subscription option to any of the mentioned streaming services, which means that no additional streaming device is needed. However, none of those options give you access to local channels for free.
Even if you have a Smart TV (LG and Samsung are the two leading brands), your best method to get local channels for free is to use an antenna that will enable you to capture the channels you want. Again use the online tools described above, to see what channels are available in your area and what type of antenna is recommended.
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Choosing the right type of antenna is the key to success here. Your location, potential obstructions, and other factors will determine whether an indoor or an outdoor antenna or directional or omnidirectional one is the best choice for you.
Keep in mind that Smart TV is not needed in order to watch local free OTA channels using the antenna. However, with some older TV models, you will require a digital converter, which is already built into Smart TVs.
Once you have selected a proper antenna and installed it, you need to perform a channel search. This is where most smart TVs make things very simple for you.
The exact steps vary slightly from brand to brand, however, it always goes somewhat similarly as the following (example for Samsung Smart TV):
- Go to the Source menu by going to the Home menu, and navigate to the Source icon, on the far left. From the secondary menu, select TV as the source.
- Connect your antenna. With no antenna connected, you will be greeted with the “No Signal” screen. Once you connect the antenna to the RF connector on the back of the TV set, you can select Channel Scan.
- Selecting the source. Select the source of the signal. Select Air to scan for over-the-air channels.
- Scan for channels. As the scanning is initiated, the TV will cycle through every possible channel and automatically detect which ones bring in a signal and which don’t. No manual searching for you.
- Completing the setup. As the scanning process is finished, you can close the setup window and start switching through channels. In addition, Samsung typically adds separate channels under TV Plus. These are live channels that stream over the internet, giving you a selection of live TV even without an antenna (options here are still quite limited).
- Enjoy watching local channels.
New Feature: Sling TV and LG Smart TVs
LG and Sling TV partnered in a way to make Sling TV free local OTA channels available directly on LG Smart TV sets. On average (the actual numbers vary from area to area) that includes about 44 local channels and will be accessed via Sling TV guide. This new free service is limited to the new LG Smart TVs. For this option to function, you also need an OTA antenna and that the TV set is running on webOS 5.0 software.
To add OTA channels, users only need to complete a one-time channel scanning process accessed via their TV sets. Once a successful scan is performed, users can add local channels to SLING TV’s “My Channels” for easy future access.
If you want to know about free Satellite TV visit How To Get Free Satellite TV