Want to live stream NESN at home or on your iPhone? Here’s how…
There’s three dependable ways to live stream NESN without cable.
For years, if you wanted to watch the Boston Red Sox play at home, or the Boston Bruins at the Garden, you were at the mercy of Comcast.
Maybe if you lived a little further north of Beantown, it was Charter or Spectrum that was tolling you hardcore every month with outrageous monthly bills that seemed to go up without notice.
Well, that’s over.
Now you can live stream NESN to your television or iPhone, and pay a lot less than whatever Comcast or any other cable company is charging. Live streaming TV has been around for close to three years now, and finally a few of these live streaming services carry New England Sports Network.
PlayStation Vue was the first to bring NESN to a couple of its channel bundles. It’s been a huge deal for many New England sports fans. Now YouTube TV and fuboTV recently added NESN to their channel offerings as well. I have used all three of these services, and they’re all pretty solid.
Which one is the best for you?
This guide sets out to answer all the questions you might have about channel lineups, live streaming on a Roku and features like Cloud DVR. By the time you finish reading this, you should have a decent rundown of everything you need to know, so you can finally kick Comcast to the curb and get NESN without cable.
What do I need to live stream NESN?
With live streaming TV, you’re basically getting a pay-TV subscription that’s being fed to you through an Internet connection instead of a cable cord.
If you own a streaming device like a Roku, you already have what you need to live stream a Red Sox game, or any other channel like A&E. You will also be able to watch all your other channels on your iPad or iPhone. But I advise that you do this while you’re connected to your WiFi connection, so you don’t eat up your data plan.
A common complaint among would-be cord cutters is that you end up paying more for Internet when you drop for cable. Well, it’s time for you to bone up on your game. There’s a proven method for getting a decently-priced Internet-only deal.
Just read my guide about how to get Internet without cable, and you’ll learn how to get either at an introductory rate, or lower price than what’s being offered to you.
fuboTV: live stream NESN without cable
fuboTV is a sports-first platform that has been growing at a fast clip this past year. NESN and NESN Plus are among the latest regional sports networks included in the entry-level channel bundle called fubo Premier.
If you’re a New Englander, you can expect to see WBZ (CBS), FOX 25, My 38, NECN, NBC Boston, NBC Sports Boston and NBCSN in your channel lineup. NBC Sports Boston has a number of Boston Celtics games throughout the season, but you won’t have TNT.
The Premier bundle gives you 75+ channels for $44.99 per month. New subscribers pay only $19.99 for the first month after a free 7-day trial. You’ll get NBA TV and NFL Network in your channel lineup. And fuboTV just announced that AMC, BBC America, IFC, Sundance TV and WE TV will be joining the channel lineup at no extra cost. Subscribers will also get free access to two subscription-based platforms, Sundance Now and horror-themed Shudder, at no extra cost.
fuboTV has been in a race among its competitors to add local channels like CBS and FOX.
There’s no ESPN, but you’ll be able to watch NFL games on CBS, NFL Network, FOX and NBC. So you’re only missing Monday night games. A fubo Premier bundle comes with 30 hours of Cloud DVR. There’s a “lookback” feature, which shows games that played within the last 72 hours. If you’re considering a free trial, you can try it out for a week and include Showtime for free. If you keep the subscription, then Showtime is $10.99 per month.
fuboTV also has entertainment channels like A&E, History, FX, FXM, FXX, National Geographic, Nat Geo WILD, Travel Channel and HGTV. There are streaming apps for fuboTV on just about any streaming device, including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and NVIDIA Shield TV. The best app for fuboTV right now is on Roku, where you can find on-demand movies and an easy-to-use channel guide. Here’s a video that I made showing you how it looks.
The fuboTV mobile app has been getting updates as well, and I can live stream NESN without any issues even when I turn off my WiFi and use my data. In other words, live streaming NESN when you’re away from home isn’t a problem. (Just watch out for your data plan!)
fuboTV gives a discount to new subscribers. The Premier bundle costs $19.99 per month for your first month, then goes up to $39.99 per month. You can try out fuboTV free for 7-days without any obligation. You can just cancel online. If you decide to keep your subscription after the free trial, the discounted rate of $19.99 will kick in for your first month.
YouTube TV: Get a NESN live stream
YouTube TV is a solid choice for live streaming some Red Sox games on NESN. AMC, ESPN, NBC and USA are part of the 50+ channel lineup, which costs $40 per month.
YouTube currently works with Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV via AirPlay, and Android mobile devices. There’s no restriction on what channel you live stream while using your mobile device.
I reviewed YouTube TV earlier in the year, and came away impressed with the channel offerings and crisp picture. Subscribers get unlimited Cloud DVR and 6 accounts per household, so you can customize your menu for each family member. YouTube TV offers a free 7-day trial.
PlayStation Vue: watch NESN without cable
PlayStation Vue has been offering a NESN live stream since October 2016. The Core bundle gives you 62+ channels for $44.99 per month. If you’re in the Boston area, you’ll find some local channels like CBS (WBZ), NBC and FOX 25. ESPN, National Geographic, FX, FS1 and FS2 are also included in the Core bundle. Unlimited Cloud DVR comes at no extra cost.
If you live outside of New England, PlayStation Vue offers a Sports Pack channel bundle with NESN National and regional sports networks. The sports bundle costs an additional $10 per month. You have to subscribe the Core, Elite or Ultra plan to add on the Vue Sports Pack.
So if you were thinking of getting the entry-level Access Plan for $40 per month and adding on the Sports Pack for NESN National, it’s not happening. You should also be aware that a NESN live stream on your mobile device will be restricted when you’re outside of your home network. So you can’t hop in an Uber and live stream the Bruins.
The Core bundle used to be $10 per month cheaper, but parent company Sony recently raised rates over the summer for most customers. That said, PlayStation Vue offers a reliable service and you can live stream NESN on just about any device, including Roku, Apple TV, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Amazon Fire TV. PlayStation Vue offers a free 5-day trial.
Can I live stream NESN on Sling TV?
No. Right now, there are no plans underway to add a NESN live stream to Sling TV. That could change. In recent months, NESN has been striking streaming rights deals with some of the newer players like YouTube TV and fuboTV, which attract a younger audience.
Back in May, Sean McGrail, NESN President and CEO, spoke about the NESNGo app in terms that make you think that live streaming is definitely part of the network’s long term strategic plan. “For years, NESN has wanted to extend live streaming access to our viewers, so we couldn’t be more excited to launch NESNgo this season,” McGrail said. “This is a significant milestone in NESN history.”
Can I use the NESNGo app?
You can use your sign-in credentials with PlayStation Vue to access the NESNGo app and NESNGo.com. fuboTV plans on offering the same in the near future.
But if you’re using your fuboTV mobile app or the YouTube TV app, then I might take a pass on NESNGo. I tried out the NESNgo app and website back when it launched, and I kept on having problems staying signed in. Things might have changed, and I truly hope this app and the site improves.
The better move for watching NESN live from your smartphone or on the web would be to just watch it directly from fuboTV or YouTube TV. The mobile apps and web browser viewing is solid for both platforms.
What’s the best way to live stream NESN without cable?
I think the better deal right now is with fuboTV because you’re getting NESN, NESN Plus and more local channels including CBS, FOX, My38, NECN, NBCSN and NBC Sports Boston.
You’ll get 75+ channels and 30 hours of Cloud DVR included for $19.99 per month for the first month of service. You have the “lookback” feature to catch up on games, and on-demand movies and shows. You can also include Showtime as part of your free week-long trial.
You won’t have any restrictions with watching fuboTV on your iPhone or Android smartphone, so you can keep watching NESN while you’re outside your home. fuboTV has a free 7-day trial without any obligation. You can check out a channel lineup as well.
I also really like YouTube TV a lot for its crisp picture and price at $40 per month. Try out YouTube TV free for 7 days if you want to see what a NESN live stream looks like.
What’s your favorite way to live stream NESN for Red Sox and Bruins games? Let fellow readers know in the comments below.
* LAST UPDATED ON March 4: to reflect price increase on YouTube TV, and new channels coming to fuboTV.