Televisions equipped with antennas for receiving over-the-air broadcasts do not require cable to watch programs broadcast by local stations. Using a satellite dish can also allow those without cable to watch many more channels than an antenna alone. Finally, many Internet services stream TV programs for customers as well.
While broadcast television is the oldest method of watching television in wide use, improvements on the technologies for both sending and receiving television signals have improved the quality of over-the-air television considerably. Digital transmission allows many local stations to transmit in high definition, leading to both improved picture quality and improved reception. In some cases, the signal sent by local broadcasters results in superior picture quality as compared to the same channel transmitted by a cable company, as many cable providers use more extreme compression techniques than do local broadcasters.
Satellite dish systems offer another option for cable-free television viewing. Systems that use small dishes, such as Direct TV, offer many of the same channels as cable television and a more convenient hardware design.
Watching television over the Internet is also an increasingly viable option as of 2015. Many cable channels stream all or part of their programming through apps and websites, while services such as Netflix and Hulu offer entire seasons of television shows on demand.