If you’re obsessed with hit TV dramas like Blue Bloods, NCIS: Los Angeles, CSI: Miami, Chicago P.D. and Law & Order, the number one place to catch them is, Ion TV. It’s a binge-watchers heaven.
Okay… that sounded a tad bit “salesy,” but it’s not what we’re on about. You’re probably here because you want to figure out how to watch Ion TV without cable. Because let’s face it – premium cable content isn’t exactly cheap.
So, if you’re planning to sever the cord between you and the cable company, you’ll first need to figure out how to watch your favorite shows and save a truckload of cash while you’re at it. Without further ado, here’s the ultimate guide on how to watch Ion TV without cable.
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Using Over-the-Air Television
Everyone these days uses cable and satellite TV to watch their favorite shows. But what most people often forget is that there’s a third option – good old-fashioned Over-The-Air (OTA) television. And guess what? It is 100 percent free!
That’s right. No need for a fancy cable or satellite TV package.
OTA is the oldest form of TV broadcasting. It works by transmitting powerful radio signals “over the air” directly to your TV. So, you can get HD channels – like Ion TV – legally without having to pay a dime.
You’ll just need a TV tuner and an OTA antenna, and you’ll be on your way to free TV. The best part? Getting all these won’t cost you more than $100. Here’s the step-by-step process to get OTA TV.
Step 1: Confirm Your Location
The first thing you’ll want to do is confirm whether Ion TV is available in your area. Although the broadcast signal reaches more than 70 percent of households across the US, it still has some notable coverage limitations in certain areas like Toledo, OH, Cincinnati, OH, San Diego, CA, Baltimore, MD, and other areas.
There are several online resources available to confirm which OTA channels are available in your location.
Step 2: Get an Antenna
The next thing you’ll need is an actual OTA antenna. That’s how you’ll receive the signal broadcasts. You can get an indoor or outdoor antenna, although the latter has a wider range if you want high-quality signal reception if you live further out from the city.
The cost ranges anywhere between $20 and $40 – which is pretty cheap if you think about what you’re getting in return. An indoor antenna with a 200-mile range from the closest Ion affiliate to you will suffice.
Step 3: Get a TV Tuner
For the most part, modern TVs have a built-in tuner. So, this step is optional. You just need to plug in your antenna to start watching your favorite Ion TV series. However, if you’re interested in recording certain shows, you might need to get an external TV tuner with a built-in DVR.
Step 4: Scan for the OTA Channels Available Within Your Range
This step is pretty straightforward. Go to the setup menu on your TV tuner (whether built-in or otherwise), follow the instructions, and start scanning for the OTA channels available within the broadcast range in your location.
Step 5: How to Watch Ion TV Without Cable After Scanning Completes
Once the process completes, search for Ion TV from the list of channels on the menu, and you’re good to go! You can now watch all your favorite shows for free and cut the cord forever.
How Ion TV Works
Keep in mind that Ion Media has about 62 OTA stations across the country that it owns and operates. It also has a vast distribution network of cable and satellite providers, in addition to affiliate distributors. Ion TV is therefore available to consumers through any of the aforementioned distribution methods.
What is interesting, however, is the fact that Ion uses only a single broadcast signal to deliver six different channels “over the air.” It does this through a method referred to as multiplexing, which essentially combines several different signals into one.
Other networks that use this particular method typically limit the number of channels to four. This fact alone is what makes Ion TV different. Here’s a list of the Ion channels you expect to receive over the air if you’re within the range of an Ion OTA broadcast station.
- Ion Television – This is the flagship channel and the only one that’s delivered in full HD. It mainly features syndicated TV shows like NCIS: Los Angeles, CSI: Miami, Chicago P.D., Law & Order, among others.
- Qubo – This is a kids’ channel that mainly features programs from PBS Sprout. During the nighttime Qubo Night Owl block hours, the channel also airs some classic cartoons from Filmation.
- Ion Life – This features lifestyle and health-related content, mainly imported from Canada. So, you’ll find a lot of home improvement –type shows, cooking programs, and a few feature films here and there.
- Ion Shop – This channel focuses on infomercials, although it does air some programs that feature on the main Ion TV channel and Ion Life from time to time.
- QVC Over the Air – As part of its partnership with QVC, Ion TV also offers a channel that delivers sales-focused content. The program lineup you’ll find here is identical to what you’ll find on the main QVC channel.
- Home Shopping Network – In 2013, Ion began to deliver Home Shopping Network on its sixth sub-channel. While HSN is broadcast in HD, the Ion variant is in standard definition.
The availability of all six sub-channels ultimately depends on where you live. So, you might find all six available in certain areas, with others having only three or four.
Ushering in a New Dawn for Cord Cutters
Now that you know how to watch Ion TV without cable, you’re now ready to cut the cord. The best part about it is, once you get your OTA antenna, set it up, and scan for Over-The-Air channels, you’ll be able to enjoy dozens of other cable channels, in addition to Ion TV, for free!
Some of these include ABC, Fox, CBS, The CW, NBC … the list goes on. Think about how much you’ll save in unnecessary cable bills every month. So, go on… make the switch!