6 ways to watch televised news without paying for cable or satellite TV

You don't need an expensive channel bundle to stay informed. These online alternatives cater to every interest with nonstop streaming coverage.

Meteor destroying a satellite dish
Cord-cutter Confidential: End the tyranny of cable!

Being able to watch the news is one of the biggest reasons people stay tethered to an expensive pay-TV subscription. In a recent Comscore survey, 58 percent of subscribers said the news was important to their viewing habits—more than any other TV category.

But nowadays, you don’t need a cable TV package to stay informed. If anything, streaming video is a better way to keep up with the news, offering more choices and broader perspectives compared to the big cable-news networks. And in many cases, you don’t have to pay a dime.

Read on for the best ways to watch the round-the-clock news without a big channel bundle.

bloombergandroidtv
1. Tune into streaming news networks

While the big cable networks hide behind expensive paywalls, other major media brands are happy to fill the void with ‘round-the-clock streaming alternatives, usually for free. Here’s a rundown:

CBSNews: This 24-hour streaming news service includes live, anchored coverage on weekdays, with more news than commentary. Highly recommended. [Web, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Android TV]

HuffPost Live: The news-aggregation powerhouse takes a stab at live video. It scratches the talking-head itch if you’re suffering CNN withdrawal. [Web, iOS, Android, Roku, Android TV, Fire TV]

Shift by MSNBC: This streaming alternative to MSNBC’s main network maintains the same liberal bent, but with an eye for more than just politics. [Web]

Bloomberg TV: Live streaming news, usually with a business angle. [Web, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV, Roku]

France 24
2. Head overseas for a different perspective

When you’re trying to catch up on world news, sometimes it’s nice to get the non-American perspective (or, at the very least, to take a break from the sensory overload of U.S. cable-news networks). You have a few options here, all of which offer live streaming around the clock:

Sky News:Global news out of the United Kingdom, with an occasional dip into U.K. politics. [Web, iOS, Android, Roku, Android TV, Fire TV]

France 24: [Web, iOS, Android, Android TV, Chromecast] RT: This network promises a “Russian perspective” on the news, though the U.S. feed tends to feel more worldly than anything else. [Web, iOS, Android, Roku, Android TV, Roku]

Watchup
3. Roll your own news channel

One of the best things about the Internet is its ability to personalize. Instead of watching a traditional live stream, why not create your own newscast from a variety of sources? Here are a few of the best options:

WatchUp: Pick your favorite news sources and topics, and WatchUp stitches together a daily newscast. You can tweak it further by giving a thumbs up or down to individual stories. [iOS, Android, Fire TV]

Class6ix News: Similar to WatchUp, but with a website and Android TV support. It creates a newscast from your favorite sources, as well as local news. [Web, Android, iOS, Android TV]

YouTube: Just add your favorite news sources as channels, then use YouTube’s apps to watch the latest clips in order. Check out our YouTube guide for further instructions. [Web, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV, Roku]

PlutoTV
4. Go niche and narrow with Pluto.tv

I recently called Pluto.tv the best cord-cutting app you’re not using, and that’s especially true for watching the news. Pluto currently offers 11 streaming news “channels,” strung together from various web video sources. There’s a channel for mainstream news brands like CNN and CBS, and another for web properties such as Vox and Mental Floss. You can even enjoy some niche news channels, including one for investigative reporting, and another for tech news. [Web, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Android TV]

DirecTV log-in
5. Borrow a login for a big pay-TV network

Unfortunately, none of the major cable-news networks offer free live streaming channels without a pay-TV subscription. Your only option—albeit one that’s not exactly above board—is to borrow a cable login from a friend or family member to get streaming access to CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC in a few ways:

MSNBC: Watch live at msnbc.com and on iOS devices.

Fox News: Watch live at FoxNews.com and on iOS, Android, and Android TV

CNN: Watch live at CNN.com and on iOS, Android, and Apple TV

Sling TV
6. Subscribe to Sling TV

Sling TV is a $20 per month service that streams more than 20 cable TV channels. CNN is one of them, and it’s the only way to get the network without a cable subscription.

Serious news junkies can pay another $5 per month for the “World News Extra” package, which includes Bloomberg TV, Euronews, France24, HLN, NDTV, News 18 India, and RT. Apps are available for PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Android TV, Fire TV, and Roku.