Microsoft last week announced sweeping name and default-setting changes for how it updates and upgrades the core of Office 365, the locally installed applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
These changes to Office 365 were not the first for the by-subscription suite of apps and services. In 2017, Microsoft dumped an earlier set of monikers – which included “Deferred Channel” and “First Release for Deferred Channel” – for new titles that matched, more or less, the then-current Windows 10 conventions.
But in the intervening years, Windows 10 had streamlined its servicing distribution options. Microsoft did do some Windows 10-esque clean-up on Office 365’s channels, but the latter, even after the changes take effect next month, will still greatly outnumber those of the operating system.
Changes, but toward what end?
The short version of Microsoft’s moves: The company added one new channel to Office 365’s servicing model, renamed the five existing ones to greater or lesser extent and dramatically altered the default setting for new customers.
So, you’ve cut the cord and dumped cable TV. However, you still want to be able to watch local TV channels. Don’t worry, there are several ways to stream local TV channels without cable. And in this article we’ll talk you through your options.
These options include tuning into over-the-air (OTA) local channels using an antenna, using a streaming service to watch local channels, and watching local channels on the web. So, if you want to watch local TV channels without cable, keep reading…
How to Watch Local TV Channels Using a Streaming Service
Customers have a dizzying array of live TV streaming services to choose from. The wide variety of apps makes it very difficult to choose the best streaming service for your needs, especially because they all have different channel line-ups. You also need to consider the costs. Some services are free, while others require a monthly subscription.
One area where live TV services vary considerably is in the availability of local channels.
Which Streaming Services Let You Watch Local Channels?
Most of the premium live TV apps let you watch local channels on their streaming services. Here’s a rundown of which local TV stations are available on which providers:
Hulu: ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, The CW, MyNetworkTV, and Telemundo.
YouTube TV: ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, The CW, MyNetworkTV, and Telemundo.
FuboTV: NBC, CBS, FOX, The CW, MyNetworkTV, Telemundo, and Univision.
AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now): ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC.
Sling Blue: FOX and NBC.
All five of the companies above include the listed local TV channels in their base packages; you do not need to pay for extras or add-ons.
And remember, all of the services provide apps for streaming boxes and sticks. Ergo, they let you watch local channels on Roku, watch local channels on Fire TV Stick, and watch local channels on Android TV. Indeed, they are the best option if you want to watch local channels without a cable or satellite TV plan.
Note: All live TV streaming companies need to negotiate broadcast rights for local TV channels on a city-by-city basis. So not all markets are covered. Check directly with the provider before you sign up.
Which Streaming Services Do Not Offer Local TV Stations?
The only mainstream live TV app that does not let you watch local TV channels on its service is Philo. Because local TV rights can be expensive to negotiate and Philo is a budget live TV service, the company has decided the trade-off is not worth it.
If you have a Philo subscription and want to watch local TV, you will have to use some of the other methods outlined below.
How to Watch Local TV Without Cable, Satellite, or a Streaming Plan
If you don’t want to sign up for a streaming plan or cable TV service but still want to watch local channels, your best bet is to turn to a trusty old OTA TV antenna.
The number of local channels you can receive with a TV aerial depends on a few factors:
Aerial Quality: We’ve all seen those cheap $5 aerials in Walmart. You should avoid them. They are poor quality and cannot pick up the same amount of content, especially if you live in a more rural area where the signal strength is not as strong.
Aerial Location: The higher you can place your aerial, the better. For the best performance, you need to buy an external TV antenna and mount it on your roof.
Market: Some markets have far more local channels than others. If you live in a large metro area, it’s not uncommon to be able to get more than 30 OTA channels. People who live in the countryside might be restricted to one or two local stations.
Another benefit of using an antenna to access local channels (rather than relying on a streaming service) is the availability of smaller independent channels that aren’t produced by one of the big networks.
If your favorite local TV station isn’t an affiliate of ABC, NBC, et al., you won’t find it on services like Hulu and YouTube TV. To see which OTA local channels are available in your area, head to AntennaWeb and enter your ZIP code.
What Hardware Do You Need to Watch Local Channels?
If you’re looking for an indoor aerial, the Mohu Leaf is widely considered to be the best on the market. You can buy one on Amazon.
Sling subscribers can get a free OTA TV antenna as part of their plan.
For the ultimate experience, you should pair your antenna with an HDHomeRun Connect Duo and Plex. The HDHomeRun can grab the signal from your aerial and make it available throughout your home via the Plex app. You can even record content to watch later and watch two local TV channels at the same time on different screens.
Depending on where you live, you might be able to watch some free local TV on the web.
For example, you could check out Locast. It broadcasts local TV from 15 major US cities for free via its website.
You will also find that some local TV stations offer legal around-the-clock live streams on YouTube.
Sadly, there’s no easy way to see whether your local channels are included. For example, some ABC locals are on YouTube; others aren’t. As such, establishing the availability of local channels on YouTube is a case of trial and error. You’ll have to conduct a few searches and see what pops up.
Other Ways to Watch TV Without Cable
The solutions we have discussed in this article will all help you to watch local channels on your various devices. The slickest solution is to sign up for a paid live TV streaming app, but the antenna and/or web approach will suit occasional viewers who don’t want to pay for the privilege.
Microsoft Teams users can now converse with colleagues privately after the long-awaited introduction of private channels – one of a variety of updates announced by Microsoft at its Ignite conference in Orlando, Fla. this week. The company also highlighted enhanced integration with Outlook and a multi-window feature.
Private channels have been in high demand from Teams users, and are the most requested feature on the Microsoft User Voice feedback page for Teams. The feature had been proposed by Microsoft before the launch of Teams in 2017, with a preview announced earlier this year.
The new feature allows Teams users to create channels that that are viewable and accessible only by specified coworkers, which can be useful for teams dealing with sensitive or confidential content.
“Every group, every team, every business has some discussions where they need to maintain some level of confidentiality,” said Karan Nigam, group product marketing manager for Microsoft Teams. “For a lot of companies, it is the financial data. With private channels, the intent is that any team can restrict the membership of that particular channel so that not everyone has access to [it], …only a certain set of people do.”
“Private channels are important for any collaboration offering, just as a private conference room is required for in-person meetings,” said Patrick Moorhead, founder and president of Moor Insights & Strategy. “I believe it will facilitate more open conversations and engender trust.”
Outlook integration with Teams
Microsoft also unveiled plans to integrate Teams more deeply into Outlook, with the addition of a button in the email client that can send information from an email into the work chat app. The opposite is also possible, allowing messages from Teams to be sent to Outlook. The interoperability is designed to allow users to more easily select the communication venue that best suits them, whether that be real-time chat or asynchronous communications via email.
“It is a simple construct, but at the same time very powerful, to be able to bridge that gap between different modalities of communication,” said Nigam.
“Shifting between Outlook and Teams is natural,” said Moorhead. “When workers get into a 50-short-email back-and-forth, it would be better to be a Teams chat as it’s easier to see the information and respond at the right point in the thread. Conversely, a 700-word chat or report over Teams doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and would be better for Outlook.”
Microsoft has also rolled out a unified view of assigned tasks within Teams. That allows tasks assigned to a user across a range of tools within Office 365 – To Do, Planner, Outlook and Teams – to be visible on a single page and accessible as lists, charts, boards or schedules. The single-window view is due out early in 2020.
Also new: multi-windows, Yammer integration and frontline worker features
Other Teams announcements at Ignite include:
Pinned channels to keep track of important conversations.
A pop-out multi-window feature to make it easier to access information within Teams from separate chats, meetings, calls or document windows.
Updated features for frontline workers, including the ability to sign in using a mobile phone number for authentication (a public preview will come early next year) and Global Sign-Out to ensure that all apps are exited on shared mobile devices at the end of a shift. (A public preview forAndroid devices is expected early in 2020).
Messaging extensions such as polls and surveys for chat and channel conversations that should be available later this year.
Power Apps that can now be published as custom Teams apps, accessible via an organization’s app library or pinned to the left-hand navigational bar.
Features for IT admins, including Advisor for Teams to offer recommendations when deploying Teams teams; a certified app catalog that offers details on available app; and policy packages that let admins assign predefined policies to users with similar roles.
Access to Microsoft’s Whiteboard “digital canvas” from Teams.
A Linux client for Teams, with a public preview later this year.
We all know about the various streaming services that let you watch live TV. But what about standalone TV channels? Is it possible to watch free internet TV channels from around the world?
In this article we’ll help you find the best free TV channels on the web. Every channel on the list has a legal source, which means you’re not going to get in trouble with your ISP or the law.
The BBC makes all of its TV license-funded TV channels available for free via the iPlayer service. You can watch BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC 4, BBC News, BBC Parliament, BBC Alba, CBBC, and CBeebies.
Other BBC Studios channels that are not funded by the license fee (Alibi, Dave, Drama, Eden, Gold, W, and Yesterday) are not available. The BBC’s international channels—such as BBC America and BBC Persian—are also not available.
Bloomberg is one of the leading sources for business and market news. It produces four international TV channels which you can stream for free. These are Bloomberg US, Bloomberg Europe, Bloomberg Asia, and Bloomberg Australia.
All four TV channels are online. You can stream them for free via Bloomberg’s website. The US version is also available on Pluto TV.
The UK-based Sky News is one of the best free internet TV channels for news junkies. You can watch it for free on the Sky News website and via the Sky News YouTube channel.
Sky News does not impose any geographical restrictions. You can watch the TV channel online no matter where in the world you are.
ABC is an American network. It has a focus on talk shows, dramas, lifestyle shows, and news. There is also a smattering of sports content.
ABC broadcasts international versions in many countries. However, if you want to watch the US edition of the network for free online, you can do so via the USTVNow service.
ABC is just one of five TV channels you can watch for free on the service. The other four are CBS, PBS, MyTV 9, and CW. All of the channels are only available in standard definition.
The channel is only officially available to American citizens living abroad, but there are several workarounds you can use to gain access.
FOX Sports is a unique internet TV channel that you can watch online for free.
It is not the same version of the TV channel that you’d receive via a cable subscription or from an app like Hulu or FuboTV. Although the majority of the schedule is the same as FOX Sports 1, it does not feature any live sports.
You can, however, still enjoy highlights reels, sports commentary and analysis shows, and other regular programming.
You can watch the online-only web TV channel in the US, UK, Germany, and Austria on Pluto TV.
Eleven Sports is a UK-based sports network that’s been steadily growing in popularity and influence since its launch in 2015.
The US edition is called Eleven Sports Network. You can watch it for free on Pluto TV if you’re inside the United States. Other users will need to use a VPN.
The channel has the broadcast rights for the North American Soccer League (NASL), the Big Sky Conference, Spain’s top basketball league (Liga Endesa), the Swedish Hockey League, the World Rally Championship, the Can-Am Baseball league, and some eSports tournaments.
If you like to watch TV channels from around the world online, France 24 is worth checking out. It’s a French state-owned national broadcaster with a focus on news and magazine content.
Four versions of the channel are produced: the French edition, along with English, Arabic, and Spanish broadcasts.
You can watch the international TV channels (as well as the French broadcast) for free on the France 24 website and on YouTube.
Many people wrongly assume that it’s impossible to watch CNN for free. After all, it’s part of most cable providers’ premium packages.
But it is possible! Again, Pluto TV provides the answer. As long as you’re in the US, you can stream the domestic version of the TV channel for free. Non-US residents will need a VPN.
ITV is another British network. Unlike the BBC, ITV is independently owned. The network makes six of its channels available for free online to anyone with a UK-based IP address. They are ITV 1, ITV 2, ITV 3, ITV 4, CITV, and ITVBe. ITV Box Office and The Store are not available.
The free online channels offer the usual mix of news, drama, talk shows, and children’s programming.
Where the network excels for international cord-cutters, however, is its list of sports content. The network holds the rights to La Liga, UEFA European Championship, the FIFA World Cup, the Rugby World Cup, the Six Nations, the French Open, the Tour de France, and the Cheltenham Festival.
For our final free internet TV channel, we return to Pluto TV. Like its FOX Sports channel, Pluto broadcasts a specially adapted version of Nick Jr. to anyone living in the US, the UK, Germany, or Austria.
Kids’ programs on Nick Jr. include Dora the Explorer, Wallykazam, Peppa Pig, Bubble Guppies, and Nella the Princess Knight.
Don’t Forget About Paid Internet TV Channels
Although it’s possible to watch live TV and on-demand TV shows online for free, if you want a complete line-up of premium networks, you need to subscribe to one of the many paid live TV streaming apps.
The free internet TV channels we’ve introduced you to in the article will give you a solid mix of news, sports, entertainment, and kids’ shows. But we’d love to know which (legal!) channels we have missed off the list.
Do you need to entertain and inform your children, but want to avoid the trash on TV? Then YouTube is the answer. If you want a blend of informative and entertaining programming, here are the best YouTube channels for kids. All of which are suitable for younger children.
Described as “Catchy kids songs and nursery rhymes to get children up and bouncing,” Bounce Patrol is one of the best YouTube channels for kids to learn colors, animals, numbers, alphabet and more.
Five presenters, Jacinta, Will, Jackson, Alyssa and Rachel, accompany children through dancing and singing as they learn. This is a fun, colorful show aimed at preschool and kindergarten children, and is guaranteed to entertain and educate in equal measure.
There’s certainly enough here to get your kids up and bouncing first thing after their nap.
There’s a very good chance that you’ve heard of Peppa Pig. Broadcast in 170 countries, the adventures of the titular pig, her family, and their friends and neighbors have thrilled children since its launch in 2000.
Whether it’s George uttering his single word (dinosaur!) or the athleticism of the overweight Daddy Pig, the show is jam-packed with colorful characters. Peppa herself is a slightly knowing voice in proceedings but most episodes compensate for this by throwing the Pig family into their happy space: jumping up and down in muddy puddles.
Look out for Miss Rabbit, who as one of many running jokes, has several jobs she appears to do simultaneously. If your little ones like Peppa Pig a lot, the channel features a “live” feed that plays endless episodes all day long.
A family-targeted YouTube channel hosted by a family, Art for Kids Hub features a wonderful collection of videos demonstrating how simple art can be. The usual format is one adult accompanied by one of three children, one younger, one aged 11-12, and the other one older.
This affords a wealth of content options, with projects covering everything from colorful messes to expertly drawn haunted houses.
You’ll find the parents are knowledgeable and personable hosts. Thanks to an overhead camera, kids can watch as each art project is completed, and even copy along at home.
You probably didn’t realize it, but just 15 live action episodes of Mr Bean were made. The last episode was recorded in 1995, but since then the Rowan Atkinson-voiced animated Mr Bean series has taken the reins.
With a massive 130 episodes of hilarious misadventures, Mr Bean suits the animated adventure format. Little ones absolutely adore Bean and his relationship with Teddy. These days, he has a fearsome landlady, Mrs. Wicket, accompanied by a sinister cat, Scrapper. It’s reassuring to know that Atkinson records voice parts for each episode, helping to keep it fresh.
The Mr Bean channel on YouTube is one of the most generous, with so much free (and occasionally original) content. Like Peppa Pig, there’s a Mr Bean Animated Series feed on the YouTube channel that plays videos all day long.
From the same stable as Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom features many of the same voice artists. This time around, however, the roles are very different.
Ben Elf and Fairy Princess Holly are best friends, running into problems caused by their families and differing cultures. Most events are complicated further by Nanny Plum and the Wise Old Elf, who (like Miss Rabbit in Peppa Pig) is a dab hand at all trades.
Peppered with dry humor that parents will appreciate, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom is guaranteed to keep little ones quiet.
Watch out for the Wise Old Elf, played by veteran voice actor David Graham. You may recognize his voice from Peppa Pig (Grandpa Pig) as well as classic shows like Thunderbirds (he voiced Parker) and Doctor Who (various Daleks).
Most of what little children watch on TV is either studio-bound or animated. Nature Play Kids is different. Here, the action takes place outdoors, with small children exploring nature.
Kids love exploring woods, country parks, even allotments and flower beds. But if you’re trapped in the city and want your children to appreciate the wonder of nature, things can be tough. Nature Play Kids provides an on-screen alternative.
A vast collection of videos will reveal the fun and intrigue of exploring woodlands, meeting creepy crawlies, getting mucky, and interacting with animals.
The mission statement here is clear: “kids playing in nature, rather than with toys.” So if you want your offspring to gain some appreciation of the outdoors, Nature Play Kids is perfect!
Narrated by Shakespearean actor Sir Derek Jacobi, In the Night Garden stars characters Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy. Your kids will also encounter Macca Pacca, the Tombliboos, and many other unusual creatures.
Everyone lives in a large wooded garden—the “Night Garden” of the title—and episodes include a lot of repetition. Aimed at preschoolers, it feels as though every episode of In the Night Garden is the same. In truth, they’re not, but the familiarity is welcomed by little ones, as are the songs.
A dark thought for parents… There’s a chance that each episode is the result of a fevered dream experienced by an adult Iggle Piggle, set adrift upon the ocean. Just watch those opening titles and tell me I’m wrong.
Many people complain that children don’t get the chance to learn and enjoy traditional childhood experiences, like nursery rhymes.
Swooping to the rescue is the Mother Goose Club Playhouse, a fantastic YouTube channel for younger children. Featuring excellent renditions of nursery rhymes and sketch-like storytelling sections, this channel features older children teaching younger ones.
All of the old favorites can be found on Mother Goose Club Playhouse, and the channel has its own website at www.mothergooseclub.com. This ties in nicely with the YouTube channel, with more fun stuff including crafting activities and printables.
The Best YouTube Channels for Kids Inform and Entertain
With these YouTube channels for kids you should be able to educate and entertain your little ones through the medium of television. However, don’t leave your kids unattended, as they may want to ask you questions about what they’re watching.