Philo is an incredible cord-cutting service, at least until you need to watch local channels. Years of broadcast television have trained us to expect local channels as a free part of life. That changes when you cut the cord, especially with a budget service like Philo.
Most of the major streaming services —including YouTube TV, FuboTV, DirecTV Now, and Hulu with Live TV—offer some variation of local channels. But when it comes to Philo, you’re going to need to get creative to see your local anchor. Here’s everything you need to know about watching local channels on Philo TV.
Does Philo have local channels?
Long story short, you can’t watch local channels on Philo. And with no announced plans for including local channels in the future, Philo users will need to find another option. Don’t worry: We’ve got you covered. (Here’s a complete breakdown of Philo channels.)
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How can I watch local channels?
Depending on the device you’re using to stream Philo, there are a couple of different ways you can get local channels.
1) Get an HDTV antenna
Most modern HD TVs come with a built-in digital tuner, allowing you to pick up over the air local channels. The problem is these tuners tend to be pretty weak, leaving rural customers and city dwellers far from signals without a picture. Digital antennas allow you to pick up over the air HD TV signals from a farther distance, in some cases up to 50 to 80 miles away.
Most models can be had for under $30 on sale, but if you’re looking to spend more money, more expensive editions exist. (Here are our picks for the best HD antennas.) I tested a $30 digital antenna from Amazon and was able to pick up all of my local channels with a crystal-clear picture. Plus, with an HD TV antenna, you only have to pay for local channels once.
2) Watch network shows on services like CBS All Access
Most major networks allow you to watch their most recent programming through apps. A few, like CBS, have their own Netflix-like streaming services featuring their broadcast programming along with exclusive shows. CBS All Access, for example, has every CBS Show, but it’s also the only place to watch the latest Star Trek series. CBS All-Access costs $5.99 per month (or $9.99 commercial free) after 7-day free trial and includes a live stream of CBS. The only downside of using these services is the lack of support for local news. Thankfully, there’s a way around that.
3) Stream on network websites
Many networks let you stream recent episodes directly from there websites. There’s just one downside: waiting. Networks like CBS and Fox make you wait a few days, and occasionally up to a week, to watch their latest episodes. Still, it beats paying. Here’s a list of where you can watch:
4) Watch local news on your local station’s website
As national media companies focus on an ever-dwindling number of stories, local news serves an important purpose in America. It’s where you can find out what’s going on in your hometown and local government, with the added bonus of local broadcasters. If you can’t pick up your local station over the air, try visiting their website. Many local news organizations feature their local reporting live on their site. Most of these over-the-air channels don’t require you to log in with a cable provider.
5) Roku users can watch local news on the NewsON app
Roku users looking to catch their local news fix should make space on their device for NewsON, a free streaming service that collects local news programs from around the country. This service has proven useful for keeping up to date with what’s going on back home whenever I travel. Roku has many well-known strengths, but free local news from anywhere in America is one of its unsung treasures.
New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2018 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for a specific channel, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, Starz, Sundance TV, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, AMC, FX, Fox News, Freeform, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, FS1, TBS, TNT, Tennis Channel, Golf Channel, Syfy, HGTV, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Bravo, Lifetime, Discovery, PBS, the CW, BBC, CSPAN, NBA TV, MTV, Comedy Central, Food Network, TLC, HLN, A&E, Animal Planet, National Geographic, the Weather Channel, the History Channel, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube. If you’re on the move, here’s how to watch Fox Sports Go and live stream NBC Sports.
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