How to Watch ion TV Without Cable

ion TV (ion Television) is a broadcast channel that is available on four live TV streaming services.

You can watch ion TV without cable on DIRECTV STREAM, fuboTV, frndly TV, and YouTube TV. ion TV is a broadcast channel available as a local over-the-air channel. You can also watch ion channels on The Roku Channel and other free streaming services.

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ion TV (ion Television) is a broadcast channel that is available on four live TV streaming services. 

You can watch ion TV without cable on: 

There are two other ways to watch ion TV shows. A TV antenna can get your local broadcast stations for free. Similar ion channels are available on some free, ad-supported streaming services. 

This article explains how to watch ion TV live on a Smart TV, Roku streaming devices, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Google Chromecast with Google TV.

How to Watch ion TV without cable

ion TV is a great channel for cord-cutters who want to watch some long-running network TV shows without cable TV or satellite service. 

The network is known for showing past seasons and repeats of “Blue Bloods”, “Criminal Minds”, “NCIS”, “NCU”, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “CSI: Miami.”

In most of the U.S., ion TV can be found among the roster of over-the-air stations such as ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and FOX. It may be designated as a sub-channel much like MeTV.

If you can’t use a OTA antenna to get ion TV for free, there are a number of live TV streaming services that carry the network as well. 

(photo credit: Jim Kimble / The Cord Cutting Report)

These services are similar to cable TV subscriptions. 

You just need an Internet connection. Once you pick a service, and sign up for a free trial, you can download the app to your Smart TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast or Apple TV. 

You can easily cancel a streaming service online, and jump to a competing service whenever you want. Some cord-cutters even jump from platform to platform throughout the year just to catch certain shows.

Here’s a quick look at each of these services.


DIRECTV STREAM carries ion TV in its Entertainment channel bundle.

Subscribers get more than 75 channels, including major cable networks such as ESPNTNTHGTV, and USA Network. Local channels include CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS and ABC.

You get unlimited Cloud DVR for recordings, and 40,000 on-demand shows. You can watch TV on up to 20 screens at once.

New customers can choose to get a free trial of HBO Max, Showtime, STARZ, EPIX and Cinemax. The trial for these premium channels lasts for three months if you keep your subscription. 

The regular rate for those four channels kicks in after the three-month free trial ends.

You can watch DIRECTV STREAM on Smart TVs, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast with Google TV and Apple TV.

New customers can get the 5-day free trial without any obligations. Subscriptions run month to month. There are no contracts or obligations. 

frndly TV

frndly TV is the cheapest and most affordable option for watching ion TV without cable or a TV antenna. 

frndly TV has more than 40 TV channels starting at $7.99 per month. 

This live TV streaming service focuses on entertainment and lifestyle cable networks such as A&E, History, and the Hallmark Channel.

The streaming service has apps for Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Smart TVs running on Android TV. You can also watch ion networks on a PC or smartphone using a frndly TV subscription.

You can subscribe to the Classic plan for $9.99 per month for HD picture resolution. Subscribers to the Classic plan also get unlimited Cloud DVR for recordings. You can watch live TV on two screens at once. And you can keep recordings for three months. 

The Premium plan costs $11.99 per month. Subscribers can watch live TV on up to four screens at once. You can keep recordings for 9 months. 

You can sign  up for a free 7-day trial. There are no contracts and you can easily cancel online.


Fubo (formerly fuboTV) has more than 170 channels in its Pro plan, including ion TV, ion Plus and ion Mystery.

The channel lineup has just about everything you would expect from a cable TV or satellite service.

You can stream ion TV in just about every market in the U.S. fuboTV has mainstream entertainment channels like Bravo, Comedy Central, ESPN, Food Network, Nickelodeon, NFL Network, Paramount Network, USA Network. Subscribers get 1,000 hours of Cloud DVR. 

A subscription costs $74.99 per month. You can watch TV on 10 screens at once. 

fuboTV streams select sporting events in upscaled 4K. There’s a huge on-demand library of movies and TV shows for when you don’t need live TV.

fuboTV works on Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV and Android TV. You should look over the channel lineup for your area before giving fubo a try. 

You can sign up for a free trial if you’re a new customer. There are no contracts or obligations. 

YouTube TV

YouTube TV offers ion TV and a number of other broadcast and cable TV channels.

For $72.99 per month, subscribers get more than 128 channels and unlimited Cloud DVR. Subscribers get local ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and FOX stations. The channel lineup includes ESPN, FOX News, CNN, and Telemundo

You can watch TV or on-demand content on up to three screens at once. You can add on premium channels such as Max to the base plan. 

Subscribers can use Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast. You can also watch TV live on a PC with your subscription. You can get a free 7-day trial.

How to watch ion TV for free

A TV antenna is the best way to get ion TV and its sibling networks for free without a cable subscription.

People living within 30 to 40 miles of broadcast towers have an excellent chance at getting local channels and any ion channel with using an indoor antenna. 

You just need to do a little homework to figure out which OTA antenna is the best one to use at your home.

You can use the free tool at Antennas Direct to see whether ion TV is available in your area. Local channels broadcast digital signals in 1080i or 720p, which is High Definition. 

When you use a TV antenna, you will be able to get more than just ion TV. You can potentially get popular broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, FOX, CW, NBC, PBS and Telemundo in HD resolution. 

ion TV is a sub-channel in a number of markets, so your picture resolution may vary. There are a few markets where ion TV is in HD picture resolution. 

If you are new to TV antennas, here is a list of resources that I have written over the years to get you started.

How to watch ion TV without cable FAQs

These are questions that readers ask when researching ways to watch ion TV without a TV provider. 

What is ion TV?

ion TV, also known as ion Television, is a broadcast TV network that is available as a free over-the-air channel across most of the U.S.

You can also find it within cable TV subscriptions, and on some live TV streaming services. The network mostly focuses on older shows that were popular on broadcast networks. 

What streaming service has ion TV?

You can find ion TV networks on four live TV streaming services. DIRECTV STREAM, frndly TV, fuboTV, and YouTube TV all carries one or more ion TV network.

What shows are on ion TV?

The current rosters of TV shows on ion TV includes:

  • “Blue Bloods” 
  • “Bones” 
  • “Chicago Fire” 
  • “Chicago P.D.”
  • “Criminal Minds”, 
  • “FBI”, 
  • “Hawaii Five-O”, 
  • “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
  • “Leverage”
  • “Leverage: Redemption”
  • “MacGyver”
  • “NCIS”
  • “NCIS: Los Angeles”
  • “NCIS: New Orleans”

Does Sling TV have ion TV channel?

No. Sling TV offers some broadcast channels such as ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX in a select number of markets. The Dish-owned live TV streaming service primarily offers cable networks such as ESPN, HGTV and NFL Network. 

Can I watch ion TV on Hulu?

Hulu Live TV does not carry any ion channel within its TV packages. Subscribers get more than 75 live TV channels that include local broadcast networks and popular cable TV channels. 

Does Philo have ion TV?

Philo currently does not carry any ion channels in its live TV bundle. Subscribers get more than 70 live TV channels, including A&E, HGTV, Discovery, AMC, and CMT. 

Can I get ion TV on Roku?

You can watch ion channels without cable TV by subscribing to DIRECTV STREAM, frndly TV, fuboTV or YouTube TV. You can also get ion channels using an OTA antenna. 

ion TV is available on The Roku Channel. (Photo credit: Jim Kimble / The Cord Cutting Report)

Some ion TV channels are available on The Roku Channel, Tubi, Plex, Freevee, Xumo, Samsung TV Plus, Vizio WatchFree+, LG Channels and TCL Channel.

How to watch ion TV on Fire TV

DIRECTV STREAM, frndly TV, fuboTV or YouTube TV all carry one or more ion channel and don’t require a cable TV subscription.

The Roku Channel, Tubi, Plex, Freevee, Xumo, Samsung TV Plus, Vizio WatchFree+, LG Channels and TCL Channel all have some ion channels for free.

What’s the best way to stream ion TV?

Frndly tv is the most affordable option to stream ion TV without cable. The service has more than 40 live TV channels. Subscriptions start at $7.99 per month. You can try out a 7-day free trial without any obligations. 

But remember, ion TV and its sister networks are free over-the-air channels that you can get with an indoor or outdoor antenna. 

What happened to Qubo?

Qubo was shut down on February 28, 2021 after Ion Media was sold to E.W. Scripps Company. The network aired programs for children ages 5 to 14, and once tapped PBS Sprout for its shows. The kid’s channel was also known as the Qubo channel.  

How to stream ion Plus

There is no app for ion TV. You can stream ion Plus (formerly ion Life), or other ion channels on a number of free, ad-supported streaming services. The Roku Channel, Tubi, Plex, Freevee, Xumo, Samsung TV Plus, Vizio WatchFree+, LG Channels and TCL Channel all have ion channels.

What channel is ion TV on local TV?

You can find your local ion TV stations through over-the-air broadcasts in most of the U.S.

Katz Broadcasting (a subsidiary of E.W. Scripps Company) operates ion TV, ion Mystery and Scripps News as sub-channels. 

TV StationChannelStateMarket Area
WDPX-TV58MABoston (Manchester)
WBPX-TV68MABoston (Manchester)
WBPX-TV68MABoston (Manchester)
WPXG-TV21MABoston (Manchester)
KPXR-TV48IACedar Rapids-Wtrlo-IWC&Dub
WZRB(TV)47SCColumbia, SC
WSFJ-TV51OHColumbus, OH
KFPX-TV39IADes Moines
KMCC(TV)34NVLas Vegas
KPXN-TV30CALos Angeles
KILM(TV)64CALos Angeles
WPXM-TV35FLMiami-Ft. Lauderdale
WPXL-TV49LANew Orleans
WOPX-TV56FLOrlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne
KPXG-TV22ORPortland, OR
WPXQ-TV69RIProvidence-New Bedford
WRPX-TV47NCRaleigh-Durham (Fayetteville)
WFPX-TV62NCRaleigh-Durham (Fayetteville)
KUPX-TV16UTSalt Lake City
KPXL-TV26TXSan Antonio
KKPX-TV65CASan Francisco-Oak-San Jose
WRBU(TV)46MOSt. Louis
WXPX-TV66FLTampa-St. Petersburg (Sarasota)
WPXW-TV66DCWashington, D.C. (Hagerstown)
WWPX-TV60DCWashington, D.C. (Hagerstown)

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Jim Kimble is a seasoned industry expert with over two decades of journalism experience. He has been at the forefront of the cord-cutting movement since 2016, testing and writing about TV-related products and services. He founded The Cord Cutting Report in 2016, and serves as the editor.

Major publications, including MarketWatch, Forbes, and South Florida Sun Sentinel, have interviewed Kimble for his years of expertise. He gives advice on the complexities consumers are navigating with streaming options, and over-the-air TV. Kimble has been a staff writer or correspondent for several award-winning, daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe.