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How to Watch Live TV News for Free: ABC, CBS, FOX News, NBC, and More

Check out our handy guide to find out how you can stream live TV news for free.

The new coronavirus pandemic and the most recent Black Lives Matter protests have dramatically increased our need for free, reliable news. Luckily, in these uncertain times, there are a ton of live TV news channels available to watch and stream for free.

How can I watch live news for free?

You can watch live news free if you have a high-speed internet connection. All the Big Four networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC) are currently offering free 24-hour news streams.

You can also watch the latest news on your local affiliate networks (including PBS) for free if you have an over-the-air (OTA) HD antenna, which gives you access to daily and Sunday morning national news as well as daily local coverage.

Live TV news with an HD antenna

An HD antenna can help you get local information that national news networks ignore. 

During the initial weeks of the new coronavirus outbreak, for example, I used my HD antenna to get local news about a 5.7 earthquake in Utah (where I live) that didn’t make it into the national news cycle. 

An HD antenna is easy to install and usually costs less than $50. We recommend the Mohu Leaf 50 as a reliable and affordable option.

Free streaming news channels

In addition to the Big Four networks, there are a ton of free streaming news channels (too many for one article, in fact). So we’ll just stick to a dozen or so popular and upstart news networks that folks typically turn to for national news. 

ABC News

Unlike your local ABC TV channel, the ABC News live feed gives you 24-hour news coverage. You can stream David Muir and company on any web browser or by downloading the ABC News app for free on your devices.

Al Jazeera

If you’re looking for international news coverage, Al Jazeera English is a solid option. Even though Al Jazeera US closed its doors last year, you can still livestream Al Jazeera in English using a web browser or a streaming device like Roku. 

Bloomberg

Curious how the stock market is (under)performing? Yeah, me neither. In all seriousness, though, Bloomberg delivers live financial news for free on any web browser and most streaming devices. 

CBS News

Yes, the house that Cronkite built is available to stream for free online. You can watch CBS News on any web browser and your favorite devices by downloading the CBS News app—“And that’s the way it is.”

Cheddar News

Most folks will be unfamiliar with Cheddar News. That’s because Cheddar is a newcomer, billing itself as a leader in “post-cable” news. True to its brand, you can stream Cheddar from your web browser or a compatible device like Apple TV. 

CNN

You can watch the CNN livestream free on Pluto TV (Dr. Sanjay Gupta fans, rejoice!)—just download the Pluto TV app or watch from your web browser. Heads up, though, you’ll notice a difference from regular CNN because the livestream is riddled with random, intrusive ads. 

FOX News

Normally, FOX News requires a TV provider login to stream online. But FOX has stepped up during the coronavirus crisis to offer the FOX News livestream free on Fox.com and the FOX News app, which you can download for free on your favorite device.

NBC News

It’s not as flashy as MSNBC or CNBC, but NBC News streams 24/7 for free online. You can watch live NBC News coverage using an internet browser window or your favorite device, such as a tablet or smartphone.

Newsy

Familiar with the phrase “Okay, boomer”? Then you may have heard of Newsy—the millennial and Gen X–focused news network. Generational divides aside, you can stream Newsy for free using the Roku Channel.

PBS NewsHour

While you currently can’t livestream every PBS program for free using your internet browser or streaming device, you can stream PBS NewsHour live. So if you’re down with arts reporting (even in times of corona) from Jeffery Brown like we are, PBS NewsHour has got you—both live and on demand.

USA Today

Yes, the print classic of middle America is now streaming live TV news. If you’re curious to see how the crossover is going, you can stream USA Today live on the Roku Channel.

Pro tip: A quality streaming device can help you stream all the live news on your flat-screen TV. Check out our guide “Best Streaming Devices” to see which device is right for you.

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Live news networks that require a subscription

A lot of go-to cable news networks require a cable, satellite, or livestreaming TV subscription to stream programming on your TV or other devices. Here are a handful of popular news networks that require subscriptions. 

CNBC

NBCUniversal hasn’t made all of its news channels free to stream, and business-focused CNBC is one of those that you’ll have to pay for as a cable subscriber. If you’re super into the stock market, you might want to pony up some of those dividends for a TV provider login—just saying.

ESPNews

Some might say that ESPNews isn’t really a news network, but sports news is pretty much all sports fans have these days. Unfortunately, you’ll need a TV provider login to get all the deets on the delayed MLB season and the upcoming NFL season (spoiler alert: it looks like September 10 is still a go). 

MSNBC

Like its cable-kissing cousin CNBC, MSNBC lives behind a pesky paywall. You’ll need a TV provider login to get all that sweet, sweet news analysis from the likes of Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes.

PBS

If you don’t want to watch PBS using an affordable HD antenna (who are you people?), you’ll need a TV provider or PBS Passport subscription to catch most PBS programs live.

Pro tip: The only live TV streaming service that carries PBS is YouTube TV (85+ channels for $64.99 per month). Check out our comprehensive YouTube TV review for more details.

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What are the best free live TV streaming sites?

Not all free live TV streaming sites and services feature live news.

For free news streams, we recommend Pluto TV, which lets you stream ABC News, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Cheddar, NBC News, Newsy, RT America, and more all in one place.

That said, we’re pretty sure you’ll also need some free trash TV to take your mind off the 24-hour news cycle. Pluto TV definitely streams more than news, but here are some other great free livestreaming services to round out your options.

Best free livestreaming TV services

Pro tip: Instead of watching from a web browser, download the apps of your favorite livestreaming services for free on your devices. Apps are usually more convenient and user friendly.

Free live TV news FAQ

Can I watch CBS News: Live online?

Yes, you can watch CBS News live online on any internet browser or by downloading the CBS News app on your favorite devices. 

Is FOX News free on Roku?

If you download the FOX News app, you can watch FOX News free on your Roku device.

Does Roku get local news channels?

Roku devices don’t come with local news channels. You’ll either need an over-the-air (OTA) HD antenna or a live TV streaming service for that.

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