How To Watch Live TV OnlineBy Jeremy Evans / October 5, 2017 / Tags: Live Stream, Stream TV
Here’s how to watch live TV online without cable or satellite. Live stream your favorite shows, sports, and more.
There are more ways to watch live TV online than ever, but sorting through the options can be confusing.
Here, we’ll give you the best ways to watch live TV online without cable, and even for free. (If you have cable and want to watch live TV online, you can skip to the bottom to see your options.)
Watch Live TV Online — 3 Main Options
So you’ve canceled your cable TV, or want to cancel, but you’re not sure how to watch live TV without it. There are several ways to watch live TV online without cable. Here they are:
3) Use Kodi
1) Live TV Streaming Services
Live TV streaming services essentially replace your cable or satellite subscription. You pay a monthly subscription fee to get access to a lineup of network and cable channels that you can watch live on your devices or big-screen TV. Many services also have a DVR or on-demand function.
The table below shows the live TV streaming services available today.
I’ll cover the major players in more detail.
FuboTV used to be just a soccer streaming service. But now it’s expanded into other sports, as well as general entertainment. In all, fuboTV now includes over 46 live sports and entertainment channels.
In the sports arena, you can use fuboTV to watch NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA basketball, NCAA football, soccer, racing, and more on channels including FOX, NBC Sports, NBA TV, NFL Network, and many others. One of the biggest draws of fuboTV is that you get tons of regional sports channels. That means you can watch your home team games without cable on fuboTV — something the other streaming services don’t provide without the workaround described below.
Plus, you can also stream other TV shows and popular channels. You can watch NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX through their various regional stations with fuboTV. Plus, watch FX, FXX, USA, Bravo, History, Nat Geo, and a bunch more.
You can try fuboTV free for 7 days.
YouTube TV is an up-and-coming TV streaming service you can use to watch live TV online, the newest on the scene. Here’s what you get:
– Watch popular cable and broadcast channels live and on-demand
– Live stream sports on ESPN, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and more
– Unlimited DVR space
– Six users can watch at the same time
– No contracts or commitments — cancel anytime.
YouTube TV is a solid cable TV alternative for cord-cutters, or anyone who likes to be able to stream TV anywhere, any time. They offer a 1-month free trial, so take advantage and try it out.
The downside is that YouTube TV only available in a handful of cities: Chicago, LA, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. That leaves a lot of people in the lurch — which is a shame, because YouTube TV does a lot of things right.
If YouTube TV isn’t available where you are, don’t fret. There’s a simple workaround. See how to get YouTube TV in any location.
Hulu Live TV
Hulu, the popular video-on-demand platform, now lets customers watch live TV online. It’s new service is still a little rough around the edges, but Hulu will be making rapid changes/improvements in the coming months. Hulu Live TV currently costs $39.99, making it a bit pricier than other options. They offer a 1-month free trial.
If you like the idea of cable, but feel it has gotten way too expensive, then Sling TV might supply a happy medium for you. On paper, Sling seems a lot like a conventional cable plan: You pay a subscription fee each month to watch about a couple dozen live TV channels. However, there are no contracts with Sling TV, and no set-top box rental fees. Sling TV is particularly appealing to sports fans, as it offers both ESPN and ESPN2 — plus a handful of other sports channels. For sports lovers who want to cut the cord, Sling’s access to ESPN makes it worth the very affordable $20/month. The other popular networks you can watch with Sling TV — like AMC, CNN, TNT, BBC America, NBC, TBS, Food Network, Cartoon Network, and more — make the Sling deal very enticing.
Sling TV has three core plans — plus a number of “add-ons” you can get if you want even more channels. The most basic ‘Orange Plan’ costs $20/month for 30 channels and includes ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, and CNN among other favorites. The ‘Blue Plan’ has 40 channels and costs $25 but does not include the ESPN networks. Finally, there’s the ‘Orange+Blue Plan.’ This offers all of Sling TV’s channels (about 60), including the ESPN networks. Again, you can cancel at any time, and Sling even has a 7-day free trial, giving you plenty of time to decide whether you like it.
The difference between Sling Orange and Sling Blue is a bit puzzling. Sling Orange has the ESPN networks, but then Sling Blue–which is supposed to be an upgrade–doesn’t have ESPN. At the same time, Sling Blue adds Fox Sports Networks, NBC Sports Network, and the NFL Network. Wouldn’t the same people who want Fox Sports, and the NFL Network also want ESPN? Of course. In short, the Sling Blue Plan is just Sling’s way of funneling sports fans to its most expensive option, the Orange+Blue Plan.
The Orange+Blue package does what you would expect. It combines all the channels from both the Orange and Blue plans for a total of more than 60 channels. Even as the most expensive of Sling TV’s plans, it’s cheaper than cable.
Finally, Sling offers several ‘Add-On Extra’ packages. These are like little mini-packages of channels to suit different interests.
Here are some of Sling TV’s Add-On packages:
* The Sports Extra package ($5/month) includes ESPNU, ESPNEWS, the SEC Network, NHL Network, NBA TV, and Outside TV. Plus, you can watch international soccer on beIN SPORTS and Univision Deportes Network.
* Kids Extra ($5/month) adds another eight channels including Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, Baby TV, Nick Jr., NickToons, TeenNick, Sling Kids, and Duck TV.
* Comedy Plus Extra ($5/month) includes MTV, MTV2, Spike, Logo, CMT, Game Show Network (GSN), and TV Land.
* World News Extra ($5/month) adds CNBC, MSNBC, The Blaze, HLN, BBC World News, France 24, Euro News, CCTV News, Fusion, NDTV 24/7, News 18 India, and Russia Today to your plan. [Although, I think you’d just be better off using our very own World News Hub, which has more channels, and it’s free.]
* Lifestyle Plus Extra ($5/month) gets you VH1, Oxygen, E!, DIY Network, Vibrant TV, WE, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, The Cooking Channel, FYI, Z Living HD, and LMN (Lifetime Movie Network).
* HBO ($15/month) comes with three live streams from HBO networks, along with the full HBO library on-demand.
* You can also get Cinemax for $10/month, and Starz for $9/month.
There are other add-on packages as well. You can browse the selection for yourself here.
Another positive feature about Sling TV is that you can watch it on more devices than its main rival–the PlayStation Vue service. You can watch on your computer (both Mac and PC), tablet (both Android and iOS), phone (Android and iOS), or on your TV using your streaming device. If you don’t have a streaming device, Sling will throw in a free Roku 2 when you sign up.
On the downside, Sling has very limited playback capabilities. Sling touts its ‘3-Day Replay,’ but it’s only available here and there. Sling also has limited on-demand options. If you go with Sling TV, you’ll probably want to invest in a separate DVR. Since a decent DVR costs close to $200, Sling’s deficiency with its playback capabilities is a legitimate source of concern.
From the price, to the built-in DVR, to the number of channels available, PlayStation Vue is as close as you can get to cable television with an internet streaming service.
PlayStation Vue isn’t as popular as Sling TV because when it first came out it only worked on a PlayStation console or a Sony Smart TV. But this is no longer the case. Now, PlayStation Vue is available on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Android TVs.
PlayStation Vue also suffers from the perception that it’s more expensive than Sling TV. But it’s misleading to state that Vue is more expensive than Sling without first considering all the factors. Yes, Vue’s cheapest plan is $10 more than Sling’s cheapest, but Vue offers a lot more channels. Also, unlike Sling, PlayStation Vue comes with DVR capabilities, so users don’t have to shell out an extra $200 for a DVR.
PlayStation Vue’s channel lineup is outstanding. In fact, Vue’s channel list is too long to include here. Here’s the full PlayStation Vue channels list.
PlayStation Vue offers four different plans. First, ‘Access’ ($30 per month) gives you a slew of basic stations, including ESPN networks. ‘Core’ ($35 per month) is the same as Access, but with more sports. ‘Elite’ ($45 per month) goes beyond Access to add in niche programming. Finally, ‘Ultra’ ($65 per month) adds HBO and Showtime to your lineup. Although PlayStation Vue is pricey, it delivers up to 90 live TV channels – including local news, sports, and many networks that used to only be available with cable or satellite.
I’ve received lots of messages from cord cutters inquiring about DirectTV Now. I include it here simply because it’s out there and it gets a lot of interest. Unfortunately, DirectTV Now is not ready for prime-time just yet. It has too many bugs and too many complaints. It’s still a new product, and Direct TV can turn it around, but for now I cannot recommend Direct TV Now.
Some channels have their own standalone streaming services. CBS, HBO, Showtime, and Starz all currently have a-la-carte services you can sign up for without any other TV subscription.
Each service will let you watch that channel’s programming live or on-demand on your favorite devices. If you
Live TV Streaming Services — Compare Channels & Costs
2) Watch Free Live TV Online
You can watch live TV online for free (legally), but the channels are limited. You won’t find the popular network and cable channels streaming live online for free (that is, without requiring a TV login). But if you want to watch live news online, or watch live streaming TV from channels outside the mainstream you can find some good stuff.
Go here to watch free live TV online on a variety of channels.
You can also check the website of any channel you’re interested in to see if they have a free live stream. Or, browse our TV station database of free live TV channels from around the world.
Watch Free Live UK TV
A great source to watch live TV online for free is UK TV. Most people don’t know they can watch tons of high-quality TV shows, documentaries, news, sports and more from the UK. See, in the UK, popular channels like BBC and ITV are free, and they live stream all their programming free online.
Go here to browse channels and watch free live UK TV online.
The catch is that anyone outside the UK is blocked from watching the live streams. But there is an easy way to get past the location-blocks and get access to tons of great programming. See how to unblock UK TV.
3) Watch Free Live TV On Kodi
Kodi is a bit of a different animal. You can use Kodi to watch live TV — totally for free — on hundreds of the most popular channels like HBO, Showtime, ABC, NBC, AMC, FX, and ESPN.
But is Kodi legal? It’s complicated at best. So if you’re wary of violating copyright laws, steer clear of Kodi.
Watch Live TV Online With Cable
If you have cable and want to watch live TV online, the first thing to check is whether you can do so via your TV provider. Check to see if your cable company has a streaming app, or offers live streaming of the channels in your subscription on their website.
You can also watch live streaming TV on many channel’s websites. You’ll just need to log in with your credentials to get access to live streams.
Sometimes channels will only allow viewers in certain locations to watch live TV online. This is very annoying. If you ever see a message like “Live stream not available in your area” then it just happened to you. See how to unblock TV channels with location restrictions and get access.
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