How to Watch TV Without Cable, Satellite or Antenna

Connect an HDTV to your computer and watch shows for free.
Connect an HDTV to your computer and watch shows for free. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

As of 2011, most people view television shows via a service provider. The service providers equip customers with a cable line, satellite dish or antenna and broadcasts the shows into their homes. Customers watch the shows as they are aired and can sometimes program their television to automatically record and save shows to be watched later. Channel availability and quality differ with each plan. Costs vary accordingly but can be over $100 per month. For people who want to save money and watch television without cable, satellite and antenna, the internet is a great alternative.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with output port
  • Proper cable connector for computer and TV

Locate your computer's output port and compare this with your television's input port. According to Microsoft, most computers available as of 2011 have one of 6 types of output ports. To connect your computer to your television, the computer's output port and television's input port must be compatible. However, if they are not compatible, it's usually possible to install a new video card on your computer that has the proper connection.

Connect your computer and television using the proper cable type. Microsoft provides an online chart that explains which type you will need. Depending on the type of connection, you may be immediately able to view your computer screen via your television monitor. Other times, you must change the television's input settings. This is easily accomplished using the television's remote control device by hitting the "input" button. Hit input, and look at the labeled pictures that appear on your screen. Use the arrow keys on your remote to scroll to the picture labeled HDMI 1. Hit the enter button on your remote, and everything that you can see on your computer will be visible on your television. Depending on your computer's audio device, you may be able to hear everything through the television as well. If not, you can connect external speakers to your computer to remedy this problem. You may also try connecting your computer to a home stereo system or connecting an audio cable to both your computer sound card and your television.

Select a website through which to view television shows. Many shows find their way to YouTube. Others are available on network websites such as PBS Kids Go!. Finally, online services such as Hulu make it possible for people to view their favorite episodes of the most popular television shows. The shows are typically available to view for free following their air date. If you want to watch the shows live or as they are airing, then paid services are available.

Tips & Warnings

  • Shows airing on specialty networks like Showtime may not be available online. However, you can get your fix by purchasing DVDs to watch on your home television screen.

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