How to Watch The 2018 Kentucky Derby Without Cable


Live stream the Kentucky Derby online

If you want to watch the most exciting two minutes in sports without cable or satellite TV, there are plenty of options in 2018.

Twenty horses and jockeys will compete at the 144th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 5. The derby is being aired on NBC. The actual race happens at 6:46 p.m. Coverage on race day begins at 2:30 p.m.

There’s no standout favorite for the annual Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs. Vegas Insider has named Magnum Moon, Bolt D’oro and Mendelssohn as early co-favorites to win. So the first leg of racing’s Triple Crown appears to be wide open.

The winning purse is $2 million, and the winner takes home about $1.24 million.

Planning on taking part in all the pomp and circumstance on Saturday before the big race? Chances are you will need more than two minutes of television. You’ll will probably want it on a big screen so all your guests can see the race while they sip on mint juleps. I prefer DirecTV Now or Hulu with Live TV this year for a streaming service to watch the Kentucky Derby and other sporting events.

But I will flesh all your possible choices out in more detail in a moment.

What time is the Kentucky Derby 2018?

Coverage of this year’s Kentucky Derby starts on NBC at 2:30 p.m. on May 5. The actual race begins at 6:46 p.m. ET

Kentucky Derby contenders 2018

Justify had an impressive win over Bolt d’Oro at the Santa Anita Derby. His three-length win made him a favorite for the Kentucky Derby, and even stirred up talk of a second Triple Crown. Magnum Moon dominated the Arkansas Derby, making it the fifth win for trainer Todd Pletcher.

In the races leading up to Kentucky, Magnum Moon and Justify remained undefeated.

A sample of Kentucky Derby horses and odds in 2018

Justify,  5/2

Magnum Moon, 6/1

Audible, 7/1

Good Magic, 8/1

Bolt d’Oro, 10/1

Mendelssohn, 12/1

Can I stream the Kentucky Derby online?

Sure. will carry a simulcast of Kentucky Derby coverage. You can also use the NBC Sports Live Extra app on a streaming device for TV. But according to, you need to authenticate the app with a cable or satellite subscription to get access to live coverage.

Watch the Kentucky Derby without cable

There are two options for watching the derby without cable. If you have a TV antenna around your place, you might be good to go. Just plug that sucker into your TV, scan for channels and make sure you have crystal clear reception.

We don’t want your guests to be disappointed.

Don’t have an antenna handy? I recommend a ClearStream Eclipse indoor antenna if you’re within decent range of broadcast towers. To figure that out, read my guide on how to choose the best TV antenna.

Unless you have some speedy delivery, or a Best Buy close by, you may be pressed for time. So you have some faster options at your disposal too.

Here are my top picks of live TV streaming services for streaming the Kentucky Derby either on a PC or your television using streaming devices like a Roku, Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV.

Top pick: Use DirecTV Now to watch a Kentucky Derby Live Stream

DirecTV Now has NBC in approximately 47 markets nationwide, and it’s really the best deal around considering the channel bundle.  You can sign up for a free 7-day trial to watch the Derby then check out some on-demand movies or live TV.

You can sign up to get the 60+ channel lineup for $35 per month. DirecTV Now carries NBC which you can use to watch the Derby. This bundle also has NBCSN for watching the Derby Post Position Draw on May 1, or the Kentucky Oaks Undercard and race on May 4.

You will also be able to watch a lot of networks that are on cable subscriptions: A&E, HGTV, Fox News, ESPN and Investigation Discovery. DirecTV Now has no DVR function yet, but has a massive library of on-demand movies and shows. You can also use your account to sign in to more than 50 apps on your Roku or other streaming devices.

It’s a great service that works on a Roku or even an iPhone if you’re not at home and want to watch the race live.

DirecTV Now has apps for Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, and Android TV devices like NVIDIA Shield TV.

People who prepay for three months to DirecTV Now can get an Apple TV. Prepay for one month and you’ll get a Roku Streaming Stick.

Or you can just try it free for a week. There’s no obligation or contract to keep the service afterward.

Runner up: Hulu with Live TV for streaming Kentucky Derby

Hulu with Live TV has more local NBC stations than any other live TV streaming service at the moment. Subscribers get about 58 channels for $40 per month with 50 hours of Cloud DVR. Hulu’s live TV service has NBC in approximately 103 markets. Aside from live TV channels you also get access to Hulu’s massive on-demand library that people subscribe to, and access to Hulu Originals like “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “The Path.” 

The channel lineup includes BTN, Food Network, History Channel, A&E and USA Network. The service works on Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV and Fire Sticks. Gamers can also catch Hulu with Live TV on Xbox One and Xbox 360. There’s a free 7-day trial offered for their service.

fuboTV for a Kentucky Derby live stream on NBC

fuboTV began as a sports-first platform, but has expanded into channels once exclusive to cable like A&E, FX, History Channel, Viceland and Bravo.

In roughly 75 markets around the U.S., fuboTV carries NBC, which has exclusive coverage of the Kentucky Derby. You can check out fuboTV using a 7-day free trial.

You’ll get 70+ channels that you can watch on your TV or mobile apps. You’ll get two simultaneous streams and 30 hours of Cloud DVR storage. fuboTV also has NBCSN in many markets in case you want to watch the Kentucky Oaks too.

You can check out the channel lineup here to make sure NBC is in your area, and see what other sports offerings might interest you once the Derby is over.

(Remember, it’s only two minutes long.) By the way, fuboTV also lets you sign in to more than 30 apps on streaming devices like Roku and Amazon Fire TV. If you keep fuboTV beyond the 7 day trial, your first month will cost $19.99. After that, the regular monthly rate of $44.99 per month applies.

My review of fuboTV concluded that it will be the dark horse in the race for the top live streaming TV service.

Sling TV: NBC live stream in select areas

Sling TV is a very popular service, and I was happy with the channel reception when I was a former customer. You will need to sign up for Sling Blue, which gives you 40+ channels for $25 per month. But like PlayStation Vue, NBC is available in select markets.

You can easily check whether Sling TV offers NBC in your market. Popular channels in the Sling Blue package include AMC, History Channel, A&E and USA Network. Go to Sling TV site to check out their channel lineup. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial.

PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue is a service that I used for roughly a year, and there’s an excellent shot that you can find NBC in your market. Just head over to the PlayStation Vue page and type in your zip code. Packages in most markets start at $39.99 per month for 48+ channels.

The entry level Access Slim package will also give you ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, FS2. Discovery Channel, FX, FXX, National Geographic and Travel Channel are included in the channel lineup. PlayStation Vue offers a free 5-day trial.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV has coverage for about 81 NBC networks, and works on Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV and Android TV devices. You can look over their channel lineup and try out their service free for a week.

Samsung and LG TVs with Android TV software can also download the YouTube TV app. YouTube TV has ESPN, A&E and TNT as part of its channel lineup. Check them out with a free 7-day trial.

So I hope this quick guide was helpful. DirecTV Now remains my top choice for events like the Kentucky Derby. The 7-day free trial requires no commitment, and you can cancel before the billing kicks in if you don’t want to keep the service. If DirecTV Now isn’t carrying NBC in your area, then your best bet will likely be Hulu with Live TV. OK, onto the race. Where’s my mint julep?

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How to watch Kentucky Derby online without cable
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How to watch Kentucky Derby online without cable
If you want to watch the most exciting two minutes in sports without cable or satellite TV, there are plenty of options.
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2 Comments on How to Watch The 2018 Kentucky Derby Without Cable

  1. Great suggestions! The Roku channels all say they carry NBC live until I sign up then it’s revealed it’s on demand only for my area. ? Trying the digital antenna next. Wish me luck!

  2. Be wary of Sling tv. I signed up to watch the super bowl, and it wasn’t available in my area on sling. Because I had a subscription for the world series, it cost me $25 for nothing.

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