If you live in a city, near enough to the broadcast towers that send out television signals, and are OK receiving only the broadcasts that are available “over the air”, TV is free. Always has been, at least here in the United States.
Television stations pay the federal government a lot of money for the right to the radio frequencies on which they send out their broadcasts. And as part of the right to those frequencies, broadcasters are obligated to send out a signal that anyone with the right reception equipment can view, free of charge. Remember the whole analog-to-digital tuner uproar that took years to play out and finally resulted in a complete switchover just last year? It didn’t matter except to people who receive this over-the-air signal.