How to Watch The CW Without Cable

Learn how to watch the CW without cable, offering a cost-free viewing experience. Our detailed resource guide helps you access live sports and popular CW shows, ensuring you don’t miss out on quality entertainment at no cost.

The CW
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Watching The CW without a traditional cable subscription has never been easier. 

Whether you’re a fan of “Riverdale,” “The Flash,” or “Supergirl,” this guide will show you how to stay connected with your beloved CW characters. 

You may be looking for how to watch the CW for a college football game or WWE. The CW is evolving from a hub of superheroes and villains to a platform for college sports, pro wrestling and NASCAR.

Watch The CW for free

I have subscribed to all of these streaming services mentioned below, and will rate each one strictly for streaming The CW without a cable subscription. But keep in mind, you have more than one option to watch The CW for free either through its app, or as an over-the-air channel.

The CW Television Network is well known in the streaming world, but it is actually a broadcast television network that is available for free as an over-the-air channel. The network debuted in September 2006. 

The CW App

The CW App is a game-changer for fans of the network. It’s a free streaming service that doesn’t require any subscription or login details. 

You can catch up on “Superman & Lois,” “Black Lightning,” and more, all at no cost.

Available on multiple platforms including iOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast, the app offers access to the latest episodes of CW shows the day after they air. 

If you have an internet connection, this is by far the easiest option to use.  

Supported Devices:

  • Mobile devices: Netflix is compatible with iOS and Android phones and tablets, ensuring you can watch CW shows on the go.
  • Streaming devices: Enjoy CW shows on larger screens with support for various streaming devices, including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Vizio smart TV, LG TV, Google Chromecast, Apple TV, and Android-powered TVs.
  • Screen readers: For an inclusive viewing experience, Netflix accommodates screen readers on different platforms:
    • On Android phones or tablets, you can use “TalkBack.”
    • On iPad or iPhone, “VoiceOver” is available for screen reading accessibility.

CW Shows with a TV antenna

An often-overlooked method to watch The CW is through a TV antenna.

As more sports come to the CW, I wouldn’t be surprised if more people turn to an antenna to watch games.  

This one-time investment lets you access The CW’s over-the-air broadcast in high definition such as ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX

The setup is simple, and the reception quality often surpasses what you’d expect from cable because over-the-air signals are far less compressed. Plus, it’s a cost-effective way to access local channels and live events like NFL games.

If you are new to TV antennas, you can discover the 7 best options that I have tested over several months.


Netflix offers access to all seasons of CW shows, except the most recent one. This includes “All American,” “Arrow,” “Black Lightning,” “Charmed,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” “Dynasty,” “In The Dark,” “Legacies,” “Riverdale,” “Supergirl,” “Supernatural,” “The 100,” and “The Flash.”

If you already have a Netflix subscription, this is an easy alternative to quickly access CW shows. But you should use free options such as the CW app or a TV antenna if you are on a budget, or don’t have a Netflix subscription.

YouTube TV 

YouTube TV is a robust live TV streaming service offering The CW in its channel lineup, along with over 128 other channels including ESPN, NBC, CBS, and FOX. 

For $72.99 per month, you get unlimited cloud DVR storage and the ability to stream on three devices simultaneously. It’s compatible with a wide range of devices, from smartphones and tablets to gaming consoles like Xbox and Nintendo Switch.

Hulu Live TV 

Hulu Live TV expands your streaming options by including The CW in its extensive channel lineup. 

Beyond live TV, the service offers a vast on-demand library, which includes Hulu originals. The subscription also bundles in Disney+ and ESPN+, making it a comprehensive choice for diverse entertainment needs. 

Hulu Live TV is accessible on various devices, including Apple TV, Android, and iOS devices.

The CW Expanding into Sports

The CW network is no stranger to entertainment, but it’s now making bold moves into the world of sports. 

In a recent announcement, The CW unveiled its plans to become the official broadcast home of WWE NXT in a groundbreaking five-year deal. This exciting development will see WWE’s showcase for up-and-coming stars move from the USA Network to The CW in October of 2024.

WWE NXT: A Premier Wrestling Showcase

As part of this new partnership, The CW is set to air 52 live weekly events throughout the season, solidifying NXT as the latest addition to The CW’s growing roster of live sports content. Wrestling fans can look forward to thrilling matches and storylines right on The CW.

ACC Football and Basketball: College Sports Extravaganza

In another exciting development, the Nexstar-owned broadcast network has secured a four-year deal to broadcast 50 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) college football and basketball games, starting this fall.

  • ACC Football: The CW is set to bring 13 exciting ACC football games to your screens. College football enthusiasts can root for their favorite teams and witness the action-packed games.
  • ACC Men’s Basketball: Basketball fans are in for a treat with 28 ACC men’s basketball games. Expect intense matchups and buzzer-beater moments as top college teams go head to head.
  • ACC Women’s Basketball: Women’s basketball is also on the agenda, with nine ACC women’s basketball games. Witness the skill and athleticism of talented female athletes as they compete on The CW.

NASCAR Xfinity Series: Racing to Victory

Notably, The CW is also set to become the new home of the Emmy Award-winning weekly studio series “Inside the NFL” and will kick start its broadcast of the NASCAR Xfinity Series beginning in 2025.

  • Inside the NFL: Dive into the world of professional football with “Inside the NFL.” Get behind-the-scenes insights, analysis, and highlights of America’s favorite sport.
  • NASCAR Xfinity Series: Racing fans can rev up their excitement as The CW gears up to broadcast the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Experience the speed, drama, and excitement of NASCAR racing from the comfort of your living room.

With these diverse sports offerings, The CW is poised to offer sports enthusiasts more than 500 hours of sports programming year-round. The expansion into WWE NXT, ACC college sports, NASCAR, and more demonstrates The CW’s desire to become a prominent player in the world of sports broadcasting.

How to Watch CW FAQs

Can I watch The CW shows on-demand? 

Yes, through the CW app and Netflix’s on-demand library.

Can I record CW shows to watch later? 

If you use a TV antenna and an over-the-air DVR such as a Tablo 4th generation device, you can record The CW and other broadcast channels. Services like YouTube TV offer DVR options for recording live broadcasts. 

Can I watch the CW for free? 

Yes, you can watch The CW for free. One way is through The CW app, which offers free access to new episodes of shows the day after they air. Additionally, you can use a TV antenna to catch live broadcasts of The CW in many areas.

Does the CW app require a TV provider? 

No, The CW app does not require a TV provider login. It’s a standalone streaming service that offers free access to new and recent episodes of CW shows. You can download it on various devices like smartphones, tablets, and streaming devices.

Is CW part of Paramount Plus? 

No, The CW is not part of Paramount Plus. Paramount Plus is a separate streaming service that offers content from the CBS network, Paramount Pictures, and other sources.  

Is the CW on Peacock? 

The CW was not available on Peacock. Peacock is NBCUniversal’s streaming service and primarily features NBC content, along with movies, original programming, and more. However, streaming services frequently update their offerings, so it’s always good to check the latest information.

Whether through the free CW app, an OTA antenna, or streaming services like YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV, you have the flexibility to watch your favorite shows on your terms. There are multiple ways to watch The CW without a cable subscription.  

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.

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