That is only partially true. They are free, via the primary broadcast method... OTA. We can all enjoy all that OTA broadcast television via the intended free transmission method. There is no guarantee that you will receive a watchable signal for free... only that one is being broadcast via OTA and that you are welcome to watch it if you can receive it. Any other method by which you get the programming is not guaranteed, and you are not entitled to it for free via those other methods.