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How To Watch PBS Without Cable?

by David Miklos Hazi

Do you ever wonder if there is an alternative (cheaper) means through which to watch your favorite cable channels, like PBS, without paying for cable? Well, we have some good news for you, there are through streaming devices.

The advantage of using a streaming site is that they offer free trial periods that allow you to watch your favorite cable channels for free. Obviously, that is for a limited time only, but there are other ways to access PBS for free!

However, a problem that may be encountered is that there is only a handful of streaming sites that offer certain PBS channels in their package. Finding the right streaming site that offers your favorite PBS channels for the best price can be time-consuming. That’s why we’ve decided to save you the time and effort of doing so.

Below is a guide that will assist you in finding the best alternative methods to stream PBS without cable.

Page Contents

How To Watch PBS Without Cable

PBS LogoTV Antenna

A simple, cheap alternative that will enable you to watch your favorite live shows on PBS is a TV Antenna. However, you need to live in a city or within a 40-mile radius of your TV broadcast towers for this method to work.

The initial start-up cost of setting up a TV antenna will cost you between $50 – $150. Although, once you have connected your antenna to your Smart TV, you will never have to worry about monthly cable installments ever again.

One of the biggest frustrations that you will encounter when using a TV antenna is that the signal may be interrupted due to bad weather or your location, which could result in poor-quality viewing.

If you aren’t sure whether PBS is available through an Antenna in your area, you can always check the Federal Communications Commission page for more information. Ultimately, if the signal you receive via your antenna is too bad and/ or you cannot access PBS, you can always return the antenna and make use of other alternative methods.


If you’re looking to live stream PBS, why not stream straight from their app? PBS Video is a digital streaming app that provides a live stream of the PBS channel to over 100 stations.

You can easily download the app to your Android or IOS device by following these easy steps:

  • Navigate through your device to your iStore or Google Play Store.
  • Search for the “PBS Anywhere app” in your app store.
  • Click on the app and select the install option that will appear near the app.
  • Once the app is downloaded, navigate through your applications on your device and click on the “PBS Anywhere app.”

The app allows you to watch over 4000 PBS videos on demand on your mobile, Smart TV, tablet, and other devices at no cost. However, PBS does require subscribers to purchase a PBS passport to view selected content that isn’t available on PBS Video.

PBS Video is compatible with a wide selection of devices such as Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Smart TVs, and Android and IOS operating devices.

DirecTV Stream

DIRECTV STREAMDirecTV Stream offers PBS live streaming on channel 30 for their subscribers. DirecTV Stream has an assortment of streaming packages for their prospective subscribers to stream, with up to 150 channels, including PSBNET on channel 389.

To view PBS, you will have to subscribe to DirecTV Stream’s “Entertainment Lifestyle” package for $69.99 per month. DirecTV Stream offers a 5-day free trial for new subscribers, and with its month-to-month service agreement, you won’t be forced into signing any contracts.

Unlimited Cloud DVR storage is a feature that DirecTV Stream has added to their streaming platform. This feature lets you record all your favorite shows and gives you access to them for up to 9 months, allowing you to replay all those funny and memorable moments.

The DirecTV Stream platform has created a multi-user option for its subscribers. This multi-user feature enables your family and friends to enjoy all that DirecTV Stream has to offer. You can connect up to 20 mobile devices at the same time in your home. But don’t worry if you are never at home, DirecTV Stream still allows up to 3 devices to connect to one account outside of your home.

To connect to the DirecTV Stream website:

  • Navigate through your device to your web browser.
  • Type the following link into your browser “https://www.directv.com/stream.”
  • Click on the “sign in” icon that will appear on the top right-hand corner of your screen.
  • Scroll down to the “register an account” option and sign up for DirecTV stream.

An alternative way to sign up and access DirecTV Stream is to:

  • Navigate to your device’s app store (Google Play Store, Apple Store, Amazon for Android)
  • Search for the DirecTV app and install the app.
  • Find the installed app on your phone and click on it.
  • Sign up by following the prompts to completion.

DirecTV Stream is compatible with a host of devices and can be streamed on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Fire Stick TV, Chromecast, Roku, and Android and IOS operating devices.

YouTube TV

YouTube TVYouTube TV provides coverage of over 85 channels, including PBS, through its live streaming site. Their streaming service is available through their website, or you can simply download their app on your device.

In terms of monthly subscription rates, YouTube TV is fractionally cheaper than DirecTV Stream and costs $64.99 per month. New subscribers receive a free 14-day trial period and thereafter pay only $54.99 per month for the first three months.

The Unlimited Cloud DVR feature that YouTube TV provides for its subscribers offers you the option to record all your favorite PBS shows. Not only will this give you the freedom to record full seasons of your favorite shows, but you can skip through commercials.

YouTube TV has a multi-user platform that caters to three users at the same time on one subscription, so your viewing will never be interrupted by your family or friends.

YouTube TV is compatible with a wide array of devices such as Android TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, Playstation, Smart TVs, and Android and IOS operating systems.

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video LogoAmazon Prime Video works in a slightly different way from most streaming sites. Although they provide access to over 100 streaming channels, subscribers are first required to pay a monthly subscription. Then they should individually select the channels they would like to stream at an additional fee per channel.

PBS has two channels that are available to stream through Prime Video. The PBS Masterpiece channel is available for an additional $5.99 per month. You can also subscribe to the PBS Documentary channel for $3.99 per month.

Amazon Prime Video’s subscription fee can be paid annually or monthly. You can either pay a monthly fee of $14.99 per month, plus tax, or the Prime annual fee of $139 per year. Once you have signed up for Amazon Prime, you will receive a free 30-day trial period.

There is a misconception that Amazon Prime Video is only compatible with Amazon devices. For your device to be compatible, all you will have to do is download the app from your app store, regardless of the type of device.

Amazon Prime Video is compatible with a wide spread of devices such as Playstation, Xbox, Roku, Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, and Android and IOS operating devices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Watch PBS with Hulu?

Hulu provides coverage of over 70 live channels throughout the US. However, PBS is not included in the list of channels that Hulu streams for its subscribers. Nevertheless, Hulu does store a selected amount of PBS content in its library, which is available for its subscribers to watch.

How much is the PBS app per month?

The PBS Anywhere app can be downloaded for free on your device from your app store. The shows and content that are available to stream off the app are the same as the content that you will find on the PBS website.

But, there are restrictions on the app that need to be unlocked with a PBS Passport membership. You are required to sign up with PBS Passport membership by becoming a regular donor or PBS monthly supporter.

The minimum annual donation you are allowed to make is $60. Your monthly contribution or support will cost you $5 per month, and you will then be eligible to qualify for a PBS Passport.


If you live in the city and PBS is broadcast in your area, use a TV antenna to access all your favorite PBS shows. This method is by far the cheapest in order to watch PBS, without having to pay unnecessary cable fees.

Alternatively, you can always stream PBS channels through sites such as YouTubeTV, DirecTV, Amazon Prime Video, or through its own streaming app. The downside to these is that many of these streaming sites require a subscription and payment.

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