Sept 18, 2019

Welcome to the Wide World of TV Streaming



In decades past a TV antenna mounted on the roof probably received fewer than five to eight TV stations in many cities . Digital broadcast technology today, may increase the number of received stations to seventy or eighty stations. You only need an antenna, your current television set, and some coax cables with connectors to connect your TV to the antenna. TV for free, with no monthly fees.


Even if the household doesn't want to leave their cable or satellite provider, an antenna allows the viewer to watch TV even when the cable TV and internet system is off-line. Not even internet is required to watch Over-The-Air (OTA) television stations in your metropolitan area.


So why all the enthusiasm over internet streaming TV services? For many TV viewers, canceling their cable TV subscription and then mounting a TV antenna on the roof, doesn't bring the variety of programming the viewer has become accustomed to. Some viewers want a broader selection of TV programs, sporting events, and movies.


A TV antenna might allow you to receive many of your local stations. Some local TV stations offer TV programs from today with your ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS and other network affiliated stations. Other TV broadcasters offer programs from the 1970's, 80's and 90's.


Local PBS stations offer a variety of programs from Masterpiece Theater, on and off-Broadway productions, and popular comedy, mystery, detective, nature, children, and science programs. Other channels focus on crime-based programs such as COPS, forensics style reality programs, and years of  Law and Order, CSI, and more. TV stations, such as those connected with the GRIT network offer TV westerns such as Gunsmoke, and John Wayne style western movies.


Several 24 hour movie channels are often available featuring classic and newer movies.


Select popular cable TV networks are not available with an antenna. Sports oriented cable channels such as ESPN, NFL, MLB, and Tennis are not available through an antenna. Other popular cable networks not available with an antenna include Hallmark, TNT, AMC, FX, Discovery, and many more. These networks are not local and do not have their own broadcast towers. However, these networks and more are available through the internet.


 Viewers use the internet to provide additional program variety to their housetop TV antenna. Some streaming services are free. Other viewer paid streaming services start as low as US $5 per month with no contract. Of course monthly internet streaming subscriptions are also available that cost as much as a cable TV package. These higher priced streaming services also offer enhanced programs such as top sporting events and select premium channels such as HBO and Showtime.


Apple company has announced they will offer a streaming TV service package with a starting price of US $5.00  per month. The announcement, in September 2019, stated their streaming TV and movie service will begin in November 1, 2019.


Not to be out-announced, Disney has announced their new TV Video streaming service (Disney+) begins November 14, 2019.

Streaming movies and TV programs to your television requires an internet connection that provides a reliable minimum of 10 Mbps (Megabytes per second) download feed. With the increased data requirements for 4K programs that are currently in production, a basic download rate of 25 Mbps should provide a reliable TV display for you to enjoy. 25 Mbps should also accommodate multiple simultaneous streams, so another family member could stream a different program on another TV at the same time as you are watching your selection.


A Smart TV set would provide a better viewing and listening experience. A television set manufactured since 2009 is desired. SMART TV sets produced in the last couple of years (say, since 2017) are even better as they usually offer more features to support streaming and local antenna TV. Smart or not, the TV must have a coax cable input and at least one HDMI input.


With free streaming services, there will be advertisements, sometimes before your selected movie, and commercials within the program. If the company does not charge you a monthly fee it must find someone else to pay the bills, staff, and broadcast rights for the programs you are watching. Some free TV streaming services are a little more aggressive with their advertising interruptions than others. Give free services a try. I believe you will find one or two that provide a good fit of quality programs with proper commercial interruptions.


Some viewers cut cable TV to lower monthly entertainment fees, so free streaming sites advance that plan; However, if you want the latest movies, or perhaps more sports programming, try a paid streaming service. As mentioned earlier, fees for viewer paid TV streaming start around US $5.00  monthly and run upwards of US $80.00 monthly.


Most fee-based (you pay monthly) streaming services offer a free trial period. While some paid streaming services will provide a discount for payment for a year in advance, no service listed on this site requires a contract. Subscribers pay each month in advance. If the service doesn't receive payment, the subscriber doesn't receive programs.


Some services advertise they offer news, weather, and sports. The information may not be from your local TV stations. Streaming services are beginning to add local TV station broadcasts in more US cities. Services may offer several local stations in your area, but not all the local channels.


I might suggest viewers start with streaming service companies based in USA, Canada, and British countries. Using a service from someplace like Snakenavel, Kastoria, could jeopardize your credit card and internet security.


Today's TV broadcasters and TV sets work with ATSC 1 technology. ATSC 3 is a new broadcasting format that all US TV stations should adopt by 2023. Television sets manufactured through at least August 2019, will not display the ATSC 3 format. You may wish to glance later at our ATSC 3 topic on this site. The complete switchover is years down the road, but keep it in mind when you are ready to purchase a new television set.


Final notes:

All prices listed on this site are in US dollars, and were correct in September 2019. Each streaming site listed on has a link to the streaming site to review current channels and prices.


I endeavor to provide information only on streaming sites that have the broadcast rights to provide their streams in the US legally.


On this site, I include the largest (by known subscribers) legal USA streaming services in 2019, in my opinion and research. With a TV antenna on the roof, or in the attic, and one or two TV streaming services, I believe many viewers will be satisfied with their nightly viewing choices.


If not, cable companies are always ready to forgive and forget - sometimes at a better rate than their previous fee.