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How to Avoid Illegal Streaming Services
How to Avoid Illegal Streaming Services
Written by Free TV Project Staff
Updated over a week ago

With all of the streaming services available, it can be tricky to spot the difference between a genuine over-the-air streaming service and an illegal one (also known as IPTV). Here's how to tell the difference.

The first way to tell if a streaming service is legal or not is the price. Most illegal IPTV services offer hundreds of channels including local channels for between $10-$20. This price is significantly lower than other streaming services like YouTube TV due to the illegal service not paying the networks to rebroadcast the channels. The website of illegal streaming services also tends to be less organized than legal streaming services. It may show simple text of all channels rather than logos.

Another easy way to tell if a streaming service is legal or not is to look it up on the app store of your streaming device. If it shows up, the streaming service should be legitimate. Illegal streaming services won't have their app in the app store. Instead, the IPTV website may ask you to download a certain file and change the settings on your streaming device in order to install the app.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When in doubt, run a Google search of the streaming service. If you see various websites and consumer reviews, it’s probably legitimate. is a great website to narrow down options for legal streaming services based on your channel preferences.

Getting started

Watching free, over-the-air TV with an antenna is simpler than you may think. In many cases, you can take an antenna out of the box, connect the cable to your TV, run a channel scan and voila! You have dozens of local channels to surf.

The number of channels you can access and how clearly they come in is based on a number of factors, including your distance from the point of broadcast towers, the type of antenna you have and where it’s located in your home.

Not sure what kind of antenna you need? Take our simple quiz to help narrow down the options. You can also find a general list of recommended antennas here.

Pair your antenna with an OTA DVR device to record your favorite shows

Did you know you can use an antenna similarly to how you watch cable? Ditch the costly subscription fees, but keep the cable capabilities (record, pause, rewind and fast forward) with an OTA DVR device. Here are the products we recommend:

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