Cord-cutters have more free TV news options than ever

It’s been a few years since I last wrote about how cord-cutters can watch the news without cable, but as TV news consumption soars during the novel coronavirus pandemic, now seems like the time for an update.

In 2020, there are more ways than ever to watch the news wtihout paying for a bloated TV bundle. While you’ll still need a big pay TV package to watch cable news channels such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, there are plenty of free alternatives.

Here are all the ways you can stay informed even after you’ve cut the cable TV cord:

Local news

When you want to watch local newscasts, your first stop should be NewsOn (pictured up top), a free app for Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, iOS, and Android. NewsOn offers full-length live and on-demand newscasts from more than 200 stations around the United States. The app will automatically show the latest newscasts from nearby stations at the top of its home screen. To find previous newcasts, head to the “All Stations” tab, and then select one of your local stations for a list of recent airings.

Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Stirr app also includes newscasts from the broadcaster’s local stations. To find the most recent airing, head to the tile that says “News powered by [your local station],” and then select “Latest Newscast.”

The free Haystack TV and Plex apps include clips from local news stations as well. You can read more about those options in the “Personalized Newscasts” section, below.

You might also be able to watch the local news with an antenna. I suggest using the site to determine whether your local stations are close enough to receive with an antenna. Our buying guide will help you pick the best option.

Nightly news shows

Even without an antenna, you can still watch primetime news from several major broadcast networks for free, albeit with a tape delay in some cases.

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