We were off to a great start when we canceled cable TV; our new antenna gave us access to an abundant amount of great content. But it wasn’t long before we noticed one unexpected blank spot in our family television entertainment. How would we figure out what was on TV and when it would air? We had become very dependent on our TV channel guide to tell us what was on each day. We felt as if we had gone back to the 1990s when a TV guide popped up every time we changed the channel.
The good news, as we found out, is that you can get a TV channel guide just like, if not better than, the one you had when you paid for cable TV.
For instance, many DVR companies like Tivo and Tablo offer channel guides that look and feel like your old cable TV channel guide (read more about DVR options for cord cutters). However, they may require a monthly subscription fee to gain access to all the channel information.
Fortunately, if you need a channel guide but don’t want to buy a DVR and pay monthly fees, there are many free options available.
One excellent online TV guide that you can pull up with your web browser is AOL’s TV Listings. They have a first-rate over the air channel guide, and if you create a free account, you can edit the channel list, save shows to favorites, and create alerts to let you know when your show is airing.
Similarly, Futon Critic is an online TV guide that offers a completely free tracking service for your favorite shows. TV news, interviews, and reviews can also be discovered there, and you can opt to receive an email notification whenever content related to your favorite shows has been published.
Android & iOS
Your phone or tablet may be the best way to find out what is on today. Most people typically have one or the other on hand when they watch TV and, using one of the following apps, you can set reminders that will pop up on your phone or tablet to help make sure you are not missing your favorite show or movie.
The two apps recommended below are both excellent guides for cord cutters.
TV Guide App
For those who just want to know what is on over the air, the TV Guide app is perfect. It’s a stress free app, which is easy to set up and easy to use. If you want a straight forward channel guide this is the app for you.
If you want to get an idea of everything available to cord cutters check out the Fan TV app. Not only will it show you what is on over the air for TV, but it will also let you know if the show is available for streaming.
Over time Fan TV will learn what you like and start suggesting shows based on your previous viewing history. Similar to Netflix suggestions, the more you “favorite” specific shows, the more accurate and helpful the suggestions become. Fan TV is a powerful app for cord cutters and even has a Fire TV and Android TV version to give you the full channel guide experience on your TV.
Netflix has a reputation for making content difficult to find if it’s not part of your regular viewing choices. The Netflix system, which does a great job predicting and suggesting what you may want to see, can be problematic when searching for content you typically do not watch. You see this occur in many Netflix apps where various categories just seem to be missing from your search choices.
We’d like to recommend a new service called Flixed, which not only shows you everything Netflix offers in your viewing area, but anywhere in the world. Do you want to know what your viewing options will be during your trip to Korea? Flixed will show you what is available on Netflix in Korea and in any other place in the world you may want to visit!
Cord cutting is all about freedom and options. Once you scrap your reliance on Cable TV you will find a new world of content larger than anything you could have imagined when you were a cable subscriber. Take your time and explore this fresh new world of content. You will be surprised at what is available free, over the air, and with an antenna. What we touched on in this article will help you find out when your favorite shows air, but as far as the breadth of content available to you, this is just the tip of the iceberg. To get an idea of what’s out there, check out our guide to the biggest subscription streaming services, and our recommendations for streaming free content.
Know of a great channel guide service or app not included here? Share it in the comments below, we’d love to hear about the solutions that you’ve found work best for your family.