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The 8 Best Free Streaming News Channels to Watch Online

Dan Price Updated 12-05-2020

Traditionally, one of the biggest drawbacks of canceling cable TV has been the availability of news from other sources. Sure, if you pay for Sling TV or Hulu + Live TV, you’ll get some 24-hour news channels included in your package. However, it hasn’t always been easy to find free streaming news channels to watch.

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Thankfully, the situation has changed in recent years. And there are now plenty of free news channels available to stream. Some are offered by global news conglomerates, while others are apps by niche news gatherers. So, with that in mind, here are the best free streaming news channels you can watch today.

1. NewsON

NewsON app

Available on: Roku, Amazon Fire, Android TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast

NewsON is a news service based in the United States, and the app is only available within America’s borders. Its primary focus is on local news from around the country.

It currently offers more than 170 local stations from 113 American cities and towns, thus reaching 84 percent of the population.

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Originally, seven of the largest American TV station owners backed the app (ABC Owned Television Stations, Cox Media Group, Hearst Television, Media General, plus Raycom Media, Hubbard Broadcasting, and Sinclair Broadcasting). Unfortunately, ABC pulled its channels from the service in January 2020.

You can choose the news categories that interest you, then enjoy a continuous feed of newscasts and clips that match your preferences. You can also watch live feeds of the 170 channels if you want a more traditional news experience.

2. Newsy

Available on: Roku, Amazon Fire, Android TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast

Rather than acting as a middleman for existing network news channels, Newsy creates its own content. Its main topics of focus are world news, politics, science and health, entertainment, technology, business, and sports.

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The company takes a short-form approach to news—you won’t find any long investigative pieces or in-depth analysis. It simply takes the biggest headlines for each day and breaks them down into digestible chunks of two to three minutes.

Once you’ve selected your favorite categories and locales, Newsy will keep lining up the short videos for you to watch. It gives you a “lean-back” TV watching experience that’s often sorely lacking in the world of cord-cutting.

Newsy also prides itself on a lack of bias that’s rare in the mainstream media. It aims to cover multiple sides of every story, thus giving you balanced and fair coverage. Only you can be the judge of whether the claims of impartiality are accurate.

3. Haystack TV

Available on: Amazon Fire, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, LG TVs, and Samsung TVs

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Haystack uses big data to provide a personalized free news channel. Yes, you can add your own preferences within the app, but the company has a more expansive algorithm that determines which videos it should show you.

The algorithm grabs thousands of user-generated data points every day and uses them to create real-time interest graphs. It breaks the graphs down by world, local, and interest-based content. The graphs are then correlated against your profile and the app will suggest breaking stories and topics it thinks you’ll be interested in.

If you’re willing to give the company access to your Facebook or Google account when you sign in, the recommendations become even better.

The topics and headlines can vary from the mainstream to the extremely niche, depending on how quirky your interests are. But ultimately, the result is a never-ending feed of news you’ll love. Most videos are between three and five minutes long.

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4. YouTube

YouTube news categories

Available on: Roku, Amazon Fire, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Plex, most gaming consoles, and the web

You might be surprised to see YouTube on this list, but it more than deserves its place. The site’s auto-generated news channels are a rich source of free content.

Start by heading to the main News channel, where you’ll find seven further subcategories. They are Sports News, Entertainment News, Business News, Science and Technology News, World News, National News, and Health News.

Click on any of the topics that interest you, hover your mouse over the Top Stories icon, and click Play All. You’ll now be able to sit back and enjoy several hours’ worth of continuous content from the biggest providers in your country.

Best of all, there’s so much stuff on YouTube, you’ll never have to watch the same report twice. If you come back tomorrow, you’ll have an entirely updated set of videos to enjoy.

5. Plex

Plex news

Available on: Roku, Amazon Fire, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox, PlayStation, and selected smart TVs

Plex added news to its repertoire with the 2017 acquisition of the free streaming news channel, Watchup. The app is now fully integrated into Plex’s UI.

It means Plex can pull news stories from more than 190 different publishers, including CNN, Bloomberg, CBS Interactive, PBS, Euronews, FOX News, Sky News, and the Financial Times. As you watch the stories, you can add topics to your preference list, allowing the recommendations to become more personalized over time.

You can further personalize your content by selecting preferred locations, sources, and more. News on Plex is available for free, so you do not need a Plex Pass 5 Reasons Why You Don't Need a Plex Pass Do you actually need a Plex Pass? Is a Plex Pass worth it? Here are several reasons why you may not actually need the subscription. Read More .

6. Sky News

Available on: Android, iOS, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, and the web

Sky News is one of the world’s largest distributors of free live news. It has apps available for all of the leading platforms, and you can tune in even if you live outside the UK. The content is a mix of rolling news and standalone news-themed shows.

The channel was frequently accused of bias in the 1990s and 2000s under the ownership of Rupert Murdoch and later, FOX. Today, it is owned by Comcast and is the current holder of the prestigious “Royal Television Society News Channel of the Year” in Britain.

If you don’t want to download the standalone app, you can stream Sky News for free on YouTube.

7. Bloomberg

Bloomberg TV

Available on: Android, iOS, Android TV, Apple TV, YouTube, Roku, and the web

If you want up-to-the-minute business and financial news, Bloomberg is hard to beat. It lacks the bias of FOX Business and the sensationalism of CNBC. It is also the only one of the “big three” that’s available to stream for free via the web.

The channel is split into three distinct sub-channels—Bloomberg (from the US), Bloomberg Europe (from London), and Bloomberg Asia (from Hong Kong)—which air at different times of the day.

Other channels called “Bloomberg” that are not one of the three mentioned above are only the Bloomberg name via a franchise agreement. Which means you may not be able to find live streams of them.

As well as the dedicated app and YouTube stream, you can also stream Bloomberg for free on some of the best streaming TV services The Best Streaming TV Services (Free and Paid) Here are the best free streaming TV apps and the best paid streaming TV apps for all your entertainment needs. Read More .

8. Al Jazeera

Available on: Android, iOS, Android TV, Apple TV, YouTube, and the web

In the last decade, Al Jazeera has grown into one of the largest news organizations on the planet. It now boasts more than 80 bureaus around the world and has largely shed its reputation as being a mouthpiece for the Qatari government.

This free news channel is available in the US, UK, Canada, most of the EU, India, and parts of North Africa and the Middle East.

Which Free News Channels Do You Watch?

In this article, we’ve recommended the best streaming news channels that let you get your daily fix of current affairs. All of the options have pros and cons. The best one for you depends on the platform you’re using and whether you prefer watching content from global news conglomerates or indie producers.

Remember that you can get free news from sources other than TV, too. To learn more, check out our list of the best news apps available for free 7 Top News Apps for Free: Google News, Flipboard, Feedly, and More We've rounded up the best free news apps for Android and iPhone to bring you the stories you care about and more. Read More .

Explore more about: Cord Cutting, Media Streaming, News, Television, TV Recommendations.

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  1. Thomas
    May 28, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    I swear by Haystack and Newsy !

  2. Journalist
    May 27, 2020 at 9:45 am

    What about DW TV, Germany's international public broadcaster with 24/7 news in English, German, Spanish and Arabic?

  3. John Smith
    May 13, 2020 at 8:59 am

    What exactly is "best" in watching propaganda channels Al Jazeera and the Chinese gov apologist Bloomberg?
    Asking for a friend.

  4. Larry
    April 27, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    I use a Roku stick and really appreciate the free Reuters news channel. It allows me to choose the time window of news to watch (10 min, 15 min, 30 min), and picks the news stories most important to keep up with. The news coverage is in-depth without becoming too lengthy.

    • John
      May 28, 2020 at 9:25 pm

      Reuters removed their News Channel App from Roku in January (2020).

  5. likefunbutnot
    May 18, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Since these are national in scope, I'll mention that in the USA, many larger ABC affiliates put their local news broadcasts on at least some services. I can watch ABC 7/Chicago on my FireTVs, for example.