Comparing 4 Popular Free Live TV Setup Costs

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Is Free Live TV Really Free?

It’s an Yes and No answer because it totally depends on how much money you are willing to spend on the initial setup in order to get free live TV channels. Also, 3 out of the 4 options listed below require high-speed Internet and won’t work if you don’t pay your Internet service provider. Technically, that’s not free. 

*For this comparison though, the cost of your Internet and devices you already own are completely ignored. This way, we can focus on the true setup cost of getting free live TV channels.

The only criteria is: the setup cost must be an one-time charge, not recurring.

Having set the perimeters, we will now show you 4 popular free live TV setup options and wrap up with a easy-to-read comparison table.

4 Best Free Live TV Options

In no particular order, below are 4 options where you can expect to get free live TV channels. Please note some options might not be available in your region/area.

OTA (Over-The-Air) TV Channels

Most people who learn about OTA TV for the first time are often blown away by the HD picture quality. The only wild card is your location because OTA signal strength varies drastically. Some buildings and locations can capture plenty of free HD Live TV channels (not uncommon that you could get 10 – 30 channels) while some could capture only empty air. Learn more about how free OTA TV channels work below.

  • Hardware: HD TV Antenna (Indoor / Outdoor)
  • Picture Quality: HD
  • One-Time Cost: $10 – $100

Free Live TV Streaming Websites

Watching Free Live TV doesn’t get simpler than this. If you are viewing this web page, you should have the ability to stream and watch live TV channels including sports, kids shows, news using links below. Note: some links won’t work if your browser’s ad-blocker is on.

  • Hardware: Device you are using right now!
  • Picture Quality: Standard / HD
  • One-Time Cost*: $0

UBox/EVPAD (NOT a regular Android TV Box)

All Android TV Box you find online are streaming players which you must select and load 3rd party streaming apps. UBox from Unblock Tech and EVPAD are two of the very few streaming device that offers ready-to-go free live TV streaming apps. These particular device were originally produced for the Chinese market. Consequently, UBox’s hardware and onscreen menus are predominantly in Chinese. The menu language can be changed to English; however, most show and movie tiles would still remain in Chinese.

Only Unblock Tech claims the UBox is licensed worldwide including Canada and the US. Both streaming devices deliver live TV channels include a vast selection of North American live sports and regular TV programming. It would appear their device sales are legal like most streaming devices. However, the onus is on the user to install both UBox and EVPAD’s powerful proprietary streaming apps. This makes the legitimacy more murky so use them at your own risk. If you are curious about the product, read our full review of UBOX’s live sports/TV streaming performance.

  • Hardware: Ubox (by Unblock Tech) / EVPAD
  • Picture Quality: Standard for Live TV / HD for Drama & Movies
  • One-Time Cost: $200 – 280

Smart TV (Select brands w/ built-in streaming channels)

A number of TV manufacturers have been rolling out smart TVs with a built-in streaming app in recent years. This breaks the old-normal of purchasing a television to watch paid cable TV package. Instead, some TV manufacturers are prepackaging these free TV channels to attract new generation of consumers who are accustomed to streaming videos. In fact, the app is integrated so well that you feel like you are watching regular cable TV (although not all streams are live).

  • Hardware: Smart TV from: Samsung | LG | Vizio
  • Picture Quality: Mostly HD
  • Setup Cost*: $500 & up
Live TV Online
UBox Streaming
Smart TV w/ Built-In Streaming ChannelsMonthly Cable
Total Cost
(2 Years)
$0$10 – 100$200- 280$500 & up$1,680 @ $70/mth

Final Thoughts

Hopefully the comparison table above can give you a better idea of the pros and cons of each free live TV setup option.

For those who prefer crystal clear pictures, a cable TV package or OTA (Over-The-Air) TV channels are your best bets. Unfortunately, OTA TV lacks live sports and channel selection. The upside is you can save over $1,500 in 2 years if your current TV package is $70 or more per month.

If you are an avid fan of sports, OTA and a Smart TV’s free channels certainly won’t work for you. Although Stanley Cup Playoffs, Super Bowl, Olympics are typically aired on OTA TV channels; the occurrence is definitely not daily. For live sports games, a cable TV package is the undisputed choice for the best sports channel selection and picture quality. However, give these free live TV links or this sports streaming website a try. Alternatively, an UBox streaming device offers a large pool of live games of professional sports from Canada and the US. However, the HD picture quality is downgraded a bit during fast/high motion scenes. We hope your viewing experience is better than ours. Who knows, you may end up trying all 4 options above. Good luck finding a free live TV combination that’s right for you!

Bonus tip on how to become a cord-cutter

Our advice is to take baby steps towards weaning from a paid cable TV package (if that is your goal). For instance, try free live TV links and test out OTA channels using an HD TV antenna. It’s a bonus if you already own a smart TV that has built-in free TV channels. If all fails, an UBox streaming device or EVPAD may be the only alternative to live TV and live sports. Plus, it is loaded with movies and drama (although many are from Asia).

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