NBC Live Stream: How to watch NBC free or cheap online
Getting NBC without cable is dead easy. That’s true whether you’re looking for a way to watch the new season of The Blacklist, or NFL football games.
The number of ways you can watch NBC have improved and expanded over the last year. So it’s time for you to get a primer on how to watch an NBC live stream without cable.
This resource guide will show you how to watch NBC live on your TV, smartphone or favorite streaming device like a Roku.
Watch NBC live for free
Before we even talk about live streaming options, let’s cover how to get NBC without any kind of subscription. Getting a TV antenna is the least expensive way to get a high definition signal of NBC free for life. The federal government ordered broadcasters to switch over to digital broadcast signals about seven years ago.
Digital signals are now broadcast over the air in high definition. The picture looks better than the cable TV feed that you’re paying for because the signal is uncompressed.
Escalating cable prices have led to explosive growth in the TV antenna market. Hardware and software companies are scrambling to create new ways to stream your antenna signal to streaming devices like Roku and Amazon Fire TV and even your smartphone. I’ll review those options later. Let’s stay on topic.
Cord cutters and people looking to shave down their home entertainment expenses are turning to TV antennas. You can easily use free online tools like AntennaWeb, or TVfool to see if there’s NBC broadcast tower near you to draw a signal from. A top indoor antenna like the ClearStream Eclipse is inexpensive compared the annual (or even monthly) cost of a cable subscription.
Chances are there’s a whole bunch of free TV all around you that you’re not tapping into. Read my guide: How to Choose the Best Antenna & OTA DVR for free tips on how to tap into over-the-air (OTA) channels. If you don’t live in a spot where you can get antenna channels, keep reading.
Where is an NBC live stream available?
There are a number of live streaming platforms that offer channels that you also see in cable subscriptions.
Those channels include NBC, and some other networks like AMC, A&E, Bravo and ESPN. Instead of these channels being fed through a cable cord, the signals are being live streamed over the Internet.
DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV and fuboTV are among the more prominent players that are offering local NBC channels. I’ve tested all of the above services and regularly use a couple of them. There are a few major differences between these services and a cable service like Comcast.
You can easily cancel online, and jump to a competing service whenever you want. Some cord cutters even jump from platform to platform throughout the year just to catch certain shows. Oh, and the prices are a lot lower. Just be sure to cancel your free trial before it ends so you don’t get charged. All you just need an Internet connection and a streaming device.
Trying out these platforms is free.
Meanwhile, your pals at Comcast or Spectrum aren’t giving you anything for free. What? You’re Internet-only plan is too pricey? There’s ways to deal with that.
Once you pick a live streaming service that fits your needs, you might find yourself wondering why you stuck with cable for so long. If you subscribe to one of these live streaming services, you can also use your username and password to sign into NBC apps.
Here’s a quick look at each of these live streaming services.
Get local NBC with Hulu with Live TV
Looking for a way to watch NBC on a Roku at home or smartphone when you’re away?
Hulu with Live TV allows you to do both.
Hulu’s live TV service has about 125 local NBC stations across the country — more than any other live TV streaming service. So it’s really the best pick for most people wanting to live stream NBC.
Subscribers get 60 channels, including A&E, CNN, ESPN, HGTV and NBCSN. Hulu only offers one channel bundle for $44.99 per month and 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage. You’ll get on-demand access with your live TV channels and unlimited access to Hulu’s massive streaming library, including Hulu Originals like “The Handmaid’s Tale”.
Hulu with Live TV supports Roku, Fire TV and Fire Stick, XBox One and Xbox 360 consoles, and iOS and Android devices. You can watch up to two streams simultaneously. Try out Hulu with Live TV free for a week.
Live Stream NBC on DirecTV Now
There’s a real easy way to check whether NBC is offered in your area with the DirecTV Now local channel search tool. Just type in your zip code and you’ll quickly find out whether NBC is offered in your area.
DirecTV Now revamped its channel lineup in 2019, so now it offers two channel bundles instead of four. The Plus plan has 40+ channels total, including ESPN, FS1 and HBO. DirecTV Now also has its own channel, Audience. That has original programming like Mr. Mercedes, which was adapted from the Stephen King novel.
DirecTV Now subscribers can stream on up to two devices at once with your account. Being able to stream more program at once at the same time allows you to watch “This Is Us” or “The Voice” on NBC, while someone checks out their favorite show in the other room.
DirecTV Now works with all major streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. You can try out DirecTV Now with a free 7-day trial.
Watch NBC online with fuboTV
The sports-first platform fuboTV first got some some notoriety for their comedic locker room commercial introducing Fubo Chavez. But fuboTV is no joke, my friends. You can get NBC in just about every market in the U.S.
fuboTV has mainstream entertainment channels like Bravo, Chiller and History Channel. Big Ten Network, PAC-12 Network and CBS will give you plenty of college and NFL football to watch. There’s beIN Sports for soccer.
fuboTV works on just about any streaming device out there. A subscription to its entry-level channel bundle gives you about 85+ channels for $54.99 per month. That will include an NBC live stream in many markets.
You can also use your subscription to activate TV Everywhere apps. fuboTV works on just about every major streaming device like Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Android TV. You should look over the channel lineup for your area before giving fuboTV a try.
If you do a 7-day free trial, your first month is $10 off. You can also include Showtime for free as part of your week-long trial. My review of fuboTV can give you a more detailed overview about their service and channel lineup.
NBC Live Stream on Sling TV
Sling TV is your least expensive route to an NBC live stream without cable if you don’t go the antenna route.
With the Sling Blue channel bundle, you can get NBC in select markets. You can check whether NBC is offered in your area, using a channel search tool.
Sling Blue will get you 45 channels for $25 per month. You will get A&E, and some neat movie channels life IFC and three Epix channels. MTV, Nat Geo and Nat Geo Wild are included with a Sling Blue subscription.
Sling TV offers 50 hours of a Cloud DVR feature so you can record your programs. It costs an additional $5 per month. A Sling Blue subscription gives you three simultaneous streams on all compatible devices like a Roku and Apple TV (4th generation).
Live Stream NBC on PlayStation Vue
PlayStation Vue is a very reliable live streaming service that has local NBC affiliates in many markets across the U.S. The entry level subscription gives you 48 channels for $44.99 per month. PS Vue has an unlimited Cloud DVR feature that comes with any subscription. DVR “recordings” are actually saved to a server and deleted automatically after 28 days. PlayStation Vue works on any major streaming device, including Fire TV devices, Rokus and Android TV. Sony offers a free 5-day trial for new PlayStation Vue subscribers.
Watch NBC live stream on YouTube TV
YouTube TV is now offered nationwide and took a local-channels-first approach as they expanded across the U.S. So you can find NBC in a number of markets where it’s now being offered.
For $50 per month, you’ll get about 50+ channels and unlimited Cloud DVR. You can watch your live streaming channels either at home on your TV or on the go. You will be live stream on two devices at once.
YouTube TV supports Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, and viewing on a PC. If you own a NVIDIA Shield TV, you can also use the built-in Chromecast to cast YouTube TV from your smartphone.
What’s the best way to watch NBC without cable?
Hulu with Live TV will be the best bet for most people because it has more local NBC stations than any other live streaming service at the moment. The 60+ live channels is a well-rounded lineup that’s comparable to a more expensive cable package. Subscribers get 50 hours of Cloud DVR for recordings and unlimited access to Hulu’s full on-demand catalog that people pay $5.99 per month for. You can try out Hulu with Live TV free for for a week.
Going to buy an antenna? Look over my guide of how to choose the best antenna based on your where you live in the U.S.
Do you use a streaming service to get an NBC live stream? Tell fellow readers about your experiences in the comments below.
This article was first published Sept. 20, 2017 and has been updated.