Complimentary Television

WHAT TO WATCH WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE CABLE

Cable television could be considered an obsolete expense for the present-day viewer. Who hasn’t heard the age-old reason for cancelling cable subscriptions that is, “I have so many channels that I don’t even watch?”

For those lacking cable (or subscriptions to streaming services), here are a handful of ways to stay both entertained and informed in the greater Seattle area without spending a dime.

Movies!

Channel: 44.2

When it comes to the channel Movies!, the name speaks for itself. Featuring the tagline “stars you know by name and films you know by heart,” this station serves as a perfect alternative to its cable-only counterpart, Turner Classic Movies.

It offers classic films ranging in genre from ‘40s noir to ‘90s drama, as well as a wide variety of flicks from decades before, after and in-between.

Between features, the station shows mini-documentaries about the leading actor you’ll be seeing during the next film in the queue.

It’s perfect for cinema lovers or casual viewers who like to be pleasantly surprised with a film they’ve never seen.

Education

PBS

Channel: 9

A go-to for all things arts and science, PBS offers a wide array of programming.

Their token science program, “NOVA,” has run since 1974 and continues to provide valuable features on various scientific topics that notably include space, engineering and the environment.

The channel is also home to the famous “Antiques Roadshow,” which their website describes as “part adventure, part history lesson, and part treasure hunt.” This is naturally an exciting premise for anyone who has ever found joy in searching for treasures at antique stores of their own. Here, you can watch as people’s belongings get appraised at often surprising prices.

News and Events

King/NBC

Channel: 5

King 5 News was founded in 1948, and it’s sister-channel, NBC, is home to award shows like the Academy Awards, Grammys, Golden Globes, Tony’s and Emmy’s, along with “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.”

Each year, enthusiastic audiences anticipate this channel’s festive Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is always followed by the National Dog Show.

Are you wondering which channel the Super Bowl will be on? NBC has got you covered.

Kiro/CBS

Channel: 7

Kiro News, founded in 1955, also provides big-name CBS programming including “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “NCIS” and “Hawaii Five-0” (the reboot).

Komo/ABC

Channel: 4

Completing your trio for local news is Komo, founded in 1953. Affiliated with ABC, this station features talk shows “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Alec Baldwin Show,” along with dramas “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Good Doctor” and “The Rookie.”

Classics

MeTV

Channel: 44.1

Whether you’re a fan or want to get more familiar with classic television, look no further than MeTV. Named for “Memorable Entertainment Television,” MeTV is by far the nation’s leading station in the field of retro television shows.

The programming ranges from crime shows like “Perry Mason” and “Mannix,” to westerns such as “Bonanza,” to comedies like “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Hogan’s Heroes” to mysteries including “The Twilight Zone” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”

Saturday nights are dedicated to science-fiction including “Star Trek,” “Batman” and “Lost in Space,” as well as a classic horror movie at 8 p.m. which will traditionally consist more of laughs than substance.

Decades

Channel: 44.4

Decades puts a high emphasis on period sitcoms such as “I Love Lucy.” You will also be able to see Bob Newhart, Mary Tyler Moore, Ed Sullivan and a handful of other classic celebrities on their respective shows.

Late each night, the channel hosts segments called “Through the Decades,” — spots which focus on a particular year and the major events and entertainment that made its headlines.

Heroes and Icons

Channel: 44.3

This channel offers an interesting blend of the old and the new.

Along with featuring westerns rarely shown (or not at all) on the previous two channels, such as “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “The High Chaparral.” The channel also offers more contemporary sci-fi including later incarnations of the Star Trek franchise spanning from “The Next Generation,” (1987) to “Enterprise” (2001).

They also show weekly marathons throughout the day, with one such marathon being “Monk” which airs every Thursday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Honorable mentions

GritTV (channel 11.3) and Comet (channel 4.2) exclusively offer western and sci-fi programming, respectively, although the shows they present are less widely known than those offered by the aforementioned channels.

ThisTV

Channel: 13.2

ThisTV offers a little bit of everything, with contemporary films paired with selections of retro television.

GetTV

Channel: 7.2

GetTV broadcasts a handful of programs, too, but often shows sitcoms from the ‘70s (“All in the Family”) to the ‘90s (“Married with Children”).

Charge!

Channel: 4.3

Specializing in action programming, Charge! leans toward the contemporary with movies and shows from the ‘90s and 2000s.

Tip

If any of these channels don’t appear, a “scan” button on your TV can usually be found in the settings — this scans for available stations to see if there are any it’s not currently picking up.


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Nova Clark is the Arts and Entertainment Editor at the Ebbtide. She covers arts and entertainment while writing a biweekly film and television review column called "Double Exposure." Clark takes daily influence from the style and culture of the 1950's through 1970's.


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