11 Best Ways to Watch CNN Without Cable

I’ve been watching CNN without cable since 2016, rigorously testing every streaming service available to bring you the most reliable and cost-effective ways to stay informed. My firsthand experience with platforms like Sling TV, Hulu Live TV, DIRECTV STREAM, and YouTube TV ensures that my insights are grounded in actual use and thorough analysis.

The Cord Cutting Report is supported by readers, and may earn an affiliate commission when you use links on this site. 

CNN is a cable news network available on four live TV streaming services. You can watch CNN without cable 8 different ways by subscribing to:

There are two other ways to stream CNN live through the CNN app or CNN website, but those options require a TV provider. You can also watch CNN Replay, which has CNN highlights for free on Pluto TV.

Live TV streaming services work on Smart TVs and streaming devices such as on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV.

Samsung TV, and other Smart TV models from LG, Sony and TCL support most of these streaming services. Subscribers can also access CNN on Android phones, tablets, iOS supported devices and web browsers.

As a seasoned cord-cutter, I’ve been watching CNN without cable since 2016, rigorously testing every streaming service available to bring you the most reliable and cost-effective ways to stay informed. My firsthand experience with platforms like Sling TV, Hulu Live TV, DIRECTV STREAM, and YouTube TV ensures that my insights are grounded in actual use and thorough analysis.

Sling TVAffordable, two package choices, free device offer, good news and sports coverage.Less comprehensive channel selection compared to others.
Hulu Live TVExtensive channel lineup, unlimited cloud DVR, includes Disney+ and ESPN+.Higher cost, may not be the best choice for budget viewers.
DIRECTV STREAMWide array of channels including regional sports, unlimited home screen streaming.Higher cost, less straightforward than some competitors.
YouTube TVBroad channel selection including major news networks, simple single plan, 3 screen streaming.Slightly higher cost, fewer premium channels.
CNN app/websiteDirect access to CNN, including CNN International and HLN.Requires a TV provider, limited to CNN content.
Pluto TVFree access to CNN Replay with highlights, no subscription needed.Not live CNN, limited to curated content and highlights.

How to Watch CNN Without Cable

You don’t have to sacrifice watching CNN if you are ready to cut the cord and get rid of your pricey cable TV or satellite TV package.

To get started, you just need an internet connection. Once you pick a streaming service, and sign up for a free trial, you can download the app to your Smart TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast or Apple TV. 

You can easily cancel a streaming service 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.

You can cancel service from your online account whenever you want. There are no hidden fees or contracts.

Let’s jump into all of your choices for how to stream CNN live so you can watch this cable news giant without cable TV. 

You don’t want to be missing Jake Tapper, “Anderson Cooper 360” or “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” just because you’re out to save a few bucks.

Sling TV

Blue$40/month41 (Locals included)
Orange + Blue$55/month88
Device support: AirTV Mini, Amazon Echo Show, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast along with Smart TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony Bravia and VIZIO SmartCast.

Sling TV is the best deal to watch CNN for most people. That’s because it is the lowest price around for a mix of news coverage, entertainment and sports channels.

With Sling TV, you can watch CNN with three different plans: You can watch CNN on both the Sling Orange package or Sling Blue. CNN is included if you combine Sling Orange + Sling Blue into a single package. 

A subscription costs $40 per month for Sling Orange or Sling Blue. You can combine Sling Orange and Blue for $55 per month. Sling is currently offering half off the first month of service. 

Sling Orange has 31 channels, including CNN, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, ESPN, A&E, BBC America and Lifetime.

The Sling Blue plan has 41 channels including BET, Cartoon Network, CNN, Discovery, Fox News, NFL Network, AMC, FX, HLN, Lifetime, SyFy, TLC, TNT and MSNBC.

You will get 50 hours of Cloud DVR space as part of your subscription. Sling TV also lets you use your account credentials to sign in to more than 22 apps on your Roku and other streaming devices.

Sling TV is ideal for budget-conscious news enthusiasts seeking a balance between cost and content, offering CNN alongside a diverse channel lineup. In comparison to Hulu Live TV, Sling TV is more affordable, though it offers fewer overall channels and less comprehensive sports coverage.

Sling TV works on Apple TV, Roku, Android TV, Chromecast, Fire TV and Smart TVs from Samsung and LG. You can also watch CNN live using the Sling TV app on an Xbox One, iPhone and other iOS hardware such as an iPad or Mac.

Hulu + Live TV

  • Sign up & get Disney+ and ESPN+ included
  • Unlimited Cloud DVR (9 mos.)
  • Two simultaneous streams
Hulu + Live TV$76.99/month90+
Device support: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast with Google TV along with Smart TVs by Samsung, VIZIO SmartCast, Sony Bravia, PlayStation, XBox, Xfinity Flex and Xumo TV.

Hulu Live TV lets you watch CNN live along with 90 other live TV channels.

This service has only one live TV plan. A subscription costs $76.99 per month.

A&E, Boomerang, CNBC, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, National Geographic, TNT, ESPN, Big Ten Network and HGTV are included. There are local channels, such as ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC stations. You have unlimited Cloud DVR storage, and other cable networks familiar to anyone with a cable subscription.

Subscribers also get unlimited access to Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu’s on-demand library. So if you’re already subscribing to Hulu or Disney+, adding the live TV bundle might make the most sense.

Hulu Live TV hits the mark with families or individuals seeking a wide-ranging entertainment package, featuring CNN, extensive sports channels, and family entertainment. While it’s pricier than Sling TV, it offers a more expansive channel lineup, including exclusive access to Disney+ and ESPN+.

Subscribers can watch live TV on up to two screens at once, including iPhones and Android smartphones when you’re not at home.


Device support: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast with Google TV along with Smart TVs by Samsung, Sony Bravia

DIRECTV STREAM (formerly AT&T TV) has three plans that let you watch CNN without cable.

Subscribers to the Entertainment plan get more than 75 channels, unlimited Cloud DVR storage and 40,000 on-demand shows. You can watch live TV on unlimited screens in your home.

DIRECTV STREAM has Bravo, ESPN, Hallmark Channel, MTV, MTV2, Nickelodeon, HGTV and TNT in the Entertainment plan. You’ll find C-SPAN and C-SPAN2 as well.

A subscription costs $79.99 per month. Subscriptions run month to month. There are no contracts or obligations. DIRECTV STREAM sometimes has promotions for new customers.

New customers can get the 5-day free trial for DIRECTV STREAM. 

The Choice plan has more than 105 channels, including regional sports channels for $108.99 per month. Along with CNN, there’s C-SPAN, CNN International and CNN En Español. 

The Ultimate package has more than 140 live TV channels, including local channels with STARZ and Encore for $119.99 per month. The Premier package has 164 channels, including premium networks such as HBO for $164.99 per month.

DIRECTV STREAM is a robust choice for users prioritizing a wide array of channels including CNN, offering comprehensive packages and unlimited home screen streaming. It stands out from YouTube TV due to its inclusion of regional sports networks in higher-tier plans, though at a higher cost.

All new customers can choose to get an additional free trial of HBO Max, Showtime, STARZ, MGM+ (formerly EPIX) and Cinemax. The free trial for these four premium channels lasts for three months if you keep your DIRECTV STREAM subscription.

The regular rate for those four channels kicks in after the three-month free trial ends.

You’ll be able to stream CNN live on a Roku, Apple TV or Fire TV at home, and a smartphone if you’re not at home. When you sign up, you can subscribe month to month and cancel whenever you want.

YouTube TV

  • Free trial
  • Unlimited Cloud DVR
  • Three simultaneous streams
YouTube TV$72.99/month128
Device support: Android TV, Google TV, Smart TVs by Samsung, LG, VIZIO, Hisense, Sharp and Sony; Chromecast, Google TV, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, PlayStation and Google Nest Hub; Android and iOS devices.

YouTube TV has every major news network out there, including CNN. The live TV service only has one plan.

Subscribers get 128 channels and unlimited Cloud DVR for $72.99 per month. BBC World News, Comedy Central, ESPN, FOX News, MLB Network, Paramount Network, TNT, TBS, truTV, FS1, FS2 and USA.

YouTube TV has a variety of news, sports, and entertainment channels. (photo credit: Jim Kimble / The Cord Cutting Report)

You can watch live TV or on-demand content on up to three screens at once. 

YouTube TV is a strong contender for those seeking a broad news network selection including CNN, with the convenience of a single comprehensive plan. Its advantage over DIRECTV STREAM lies in its lower cost and simpler package structure, though it offers fewer premium channel options.

YouTube TV has apps for Roku, Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Google Chromecast with Google TV. Gamers can watch YouTube TV on PlayStation and Xbox consoles. 

You can try out YouTube TV free for a week.

CNN website and CNN app

Two other ways to get a CNN live stream is through the CNN app and CNN website. You can use your subscription to Sling TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV STREAM, and Hulu Live TV to activate the NBC app or NBC website. 

If you subscribe to the Sling Blue package and have NBC as part of your plan, you can also use the NBC app or website to get an NBC live stream.

CNN Replay on Pluto TV

CNN Replay is on the free streaming service Pluto TV. The CNN channel on Pluto TV is a curated playlist of highlights from the CNN cable TV network. CNN Replay features short-form videos, and stories focused on lifestyle, culture, climate change and the environment.

You will see some of CNN’s popular anchors and reporters, but to be clear, this is not the CNN cable network, and you are not getting a live broadcast feed from it. 

CNN Replay launched on Pluto TV in April of 2019.

How to watch CNN without cable FAQs

These are questions that TV viewers often ask when they are looking for ways to watch CNN without a TV provider or cable subscription.

Can I watch live news free on CNN.com?

Only cable subscribers can live stream from the website CNN.com. There is a free 10 minute preview on the CNN site. If you want to watch a full program, you’re better off using a streaming service that offers live TV channels.

The only other alternative is the CNN Live audio stream on TuneIn. But you’re not going to find any video feed there.

Can I watch CNN live on the CNN app?

Yes. But you need to subscribe to a TV provider or live TV streaming service that supports activating the CNN app. This is also known as TV Everywhere access.

Subscribers to DIRECTV STREAM, Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV can activate the CNN app.

The CNN app has live streams of CNN, CNN International and HLN. There are a number of CNN Original Series including Season 12 of “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.”

How can I watch CNN International in the U.S.?

The best way to get CNN International in the U.S. is through the CNN app. You need to activate the app using a TV provider or live TV streaming service.

DIRECTV STREAM, Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV subscribers can use their account credentials to activate the CNN app.

How do I watch CNN shows on demand?

If you subscribe to a live TV streaming service, you have access to a number of CNN shows on-demand.

In addition to shows from news anchors such as Don Lemon, there are a number of CNN Original Series, including the “Patagonia”, “United Shades of America”, and “This is Life with Lisa Ling”.

How can I watch CNN for free?

There isn’t a long term way to watch CNN without cable for free. But you can get a free trial of DIRECTV STREAM or YouTube TV and get a variety of cable TV channels, including CNN. Just be sure to cancel the trial before it ends if you don’t want to get billed.

Is CNN on Amazon Prime?

No. Warner Bros. Discovery currently owns CNN, so you won’t find any CNN shows on Amazon Prime. You can find episodes of CNN’s “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace” on HBO Max, which is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery.

Can I subscribe directly to CNN?

No, not at the moment. There was a short-lived streaming service called CNN+, which was promptly canceled by Warner Bros. Discovery. But even that service didn’t offer CNN as a standalone channel. Your cheapest option is through the live TV streaming service, Sling TV.

Can I watch CNN and MSNBC without cable?

Yes. The most affordable option for watching CNN and MSNBC together without cable is with the Sling Blue package. Sling Blue has 41 live TV channels for $40 per month, following its latest promotion or discount.

How can I watch CNN on Roku?

You can watch CNN on Roku by subscribing to a live TV streaming service. You can sign up online for DIRECTV STREAM, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV to get CNN on a Roku or Roku TV.

Once you sign up for a subscription or free trial, you can download and launch the app of the streaming service through the Roku Channel Store.

How can I watch CNN on my computer?

Live TV streaming services, including DIRECTV STREAM, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV, let you watch live TV through a web browser.

Where can I watch every CNN Original Series?

DIRECTV STREAM, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV have CNN shows and CNN Original Series in their on-demand section for CNN. So for example, on Sling TV, you can navigate to the channel guide, and click on the ‘CNN’ channel tab to launch the on-demand section for that specific network.

How do you watch CNN live without cable?

After carefully reviewing the options, Sling TV and Hulu Live TV emerge as top choices for streaming CNN without cable, balancing cost, channel variety, and user experience.

  • Sling TV offers an affordable entry point with its Sling Orange and Sling Blue packages, each priced at $40 monthly, or combined for $55. It provides a good mix of news, entertainment, and sports channels. However, its channel selection is slightly less comprehensive than some competitors.
  • Hulu Live TV, at $76.99 per month, is pricier but includes a vast selection of over 75 channels, unlimited cloud DVR, and access to Hulu’s on-demand library, Disney+, and ESPN+. It’s a comprehensive package for a complete entertainment experience, but the cost may be a deterrent for budget-conscious viewers.

For more news on streaming, how-to guides and reviews, head over to the main page of The Cord Cutting Report or follow the CCR on Google News.

Jim is a seasoned industry expert with over two decades of journalism experience. He has been at the forefront of the cord-cutting movement since 2016, testing and writing about TV-related products and services. He founded The Cord Cutting Report in 2016, and serves as the editor.

Major publications, including MarketWatch, Forbes, and South Florida Sun Sentinel, have interviewed Kimble for his years of expertise. He gives advice on the complexities consumers are navigating with streaming options, and over-the-air TV. Kimble has been a staff writer or correspondent for several award-winning, daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe.

18 thoughts on “11 Best Ways to Watch CNN Without Cable”

  1. I just cut the cord after my basic cable went over
    $200 a month. Basic included the 10 or more channels that are not English. Only reason I was paying that $200 in the last three months was because I liked CNN. Now I’m realizing the CNN must get some sort of kickback from the cable services in order for you to get the live streams even on my cellphone. I can’t believe that there were so many fox online that I could go to but no CNN. Am I not seeing something on CNN’s website?

  2. Signing up to a streaming service to get one channel is not in the spirit of cord cutting. Forcing people to have a subscription to a cable or streaming service feels like extortion. Why don’t they have a subscription to CNN?

  3. I’m like a lot of people here. I just want my CNN. And I have the added problem with being in Canada so I can’t even piggyback on US streaming companies. I’d be very willing to pay a fee or deal with commercials just to be able to get my daily news fix.

  4. You are so right…worthless channels in all the packages. I guess I will look at the pre-recording CNN news. I have terminated the cable…really was getting to costly.

    • My complex locked residents decades ago to allowing only 1 cable co. on the property for internet, phone & cable. Sounds like rental agent was making it easier on her, not tenants. So, I can’t cancel bc I won’t be able to get internet. Air antennas (I’ve tried 10) only get 6 stations and no CBS or ABC. Anyone have suggestions? I want to strangle the rental agent!

      • Did you try a signal booster on your over the air antennas? I have one on my antenna and I live miles outside San Antonio in a rural area. I get maybe 60 channels including all major networks and each one has several channels with different programming. For example PBS had maybe 4 channels and ABC 3 I think. I also get another 90 channels from the wifi on my internet connection. My wife and son watch some of them but I am not that interested. All I miss is CNN original programming and live tv. I am able to read their stories but very much want to see their orig programs on cnn go but refuse to pay $65 or more a month. I put some of my savings from free tv into a faster internet connection. I have had free tv for many years maybe 20 since I disconnected and threw my directv dish off my roof and every year I get more channels and love it. I would never go back. If I have to watch commercials, tv should be free. I am old enough to remember paying for cable and it was commercial free then over time that changed. Directv had the same damn commercials all the time and eventually synchronized the channels so you could not flip back and forth and watch two programs at once since they all went to commercial at the same time hence the glorious day when I tossed the dish off my roof and sent it to be recycled. When I walk into Costco and a salesperson tries to sell me a subscription to Directv I either laugh or take a moment to sell them free tv. Radio Shack and other stores online sell power boosters. Get an adjustable one, too much power can be bad too and look online and find an antenna pointing site where you can enter your address and it will show you which way to point your antenna for best reception in your area. It works great for homes and traveling RV’s in new places. I use my compass and stand under my antenna and adjust it until I get the best signal. Occasionally a big windstorm may move it a little and I have to adjust but very rarely. Good luck.

        • I truly appreciate the feedback. It sounds like you have a roof antenna, lucky guy. Our very large apt. complex does not permit residents to place dish antennas outside windows, put anything on any complex roof or bring a new ISP onsite. I would have gone to satellite if it could be had with no outdoor hardware, but there’s that “dish” thing and, besides, it’s prohibitively expensive for a suburban dweller who has internet service already. Inside antennas, even boosters, have been no help since we are located in a valley. Pointing sites only reaffirm no one can get national ABC/local affiliates without a 30-40 foot antenna (good luck with that) and even CBS or NBC can be problematic depending upon where your building sits on the site. So, we’re either stuck with OTA, cable or internet to access stations broadcast over the web, which forces everyone to log on repetitively when the internet connection is periodically shut down by the cable company/ISP. Someday, somebody will develop an internet service which requires no dish. When that happens, that somebody will be an Instant billionaire!

          • Fixed wireless internet service has come and gone and is returning. A few years ago, Craig McCaw created Clearwire internet service. It was active in a number of cities for several years, including a couple of years when it was known as “Clear.” but was shut down after losing a TON of money and being sold to Sprint. Sprint bought Clearwire to acquire the RF spectrum that CLWR owned. And THAT spectrum is what T-mobile wanted. So, NOW T-mobile and ATT are building (and beginning to sell) 5G fixed wireless internet service. It takes a shitload of money to make that work. Not only mounting 5-G antennas, but creating the bandwidth / backhaul all the way to the global internet backbones. Fixed wireless WILL get to you one day.

  5. I arrived at this site a year too late…this option is no longer available. I really can not understand why CNN does not offer this yearly plan anymore!? I completely agree with Dan the Man about not wantling to pay for other channels that do not want or need. If anyone finds out a way to just get CNN without a cable subscription or any other service that includes a bunch of channels not desired, please post it for all of us that just one this one channel. Thank you!

    • Where do you see that? I looked it up and it starts at $65 and goes up. I was really hoping you were right I want to watch Stanley Tucci in Italy and the Lincoln series

  6. Before any of these services launched they did tons of surveys to see what people want to watch. The answer was that a heck of a lot of people choose to sit and watch movies. I guess I’m not one of them. I just don’t have the time to watch few hours of movies everyday, and I’m retired. But after researching streaming services available currently I’ve concluded that there just aren’t any providers who offer a base of news content, e.g. CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and basic live broadcast (NBC, CBS, ABC) content for a minimal price of say $25-$30/mo. Movies require that you pay attention continuously but news content will let you know when something is breaking so you can stop what you’re doing and watch.

  7. To bad you forgot to mention that you can just sign up on cnn’s site to stream their news, $1 for the first 3 months, then $60/yr after. You get cnn live without all the other worthless channels that come with all the packages AND save some serious cash.


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