How to Watch A&E Online Without Cable

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If you are a fan of reality shows, A&E is probably essential. But due to the channel’s popularity, it is widely provided by live TV streaming services. Read on to learn how you can get it without a cable provider.

In a hurry? Several of the top streaming services offer A&E. These are the best:

  • Hulu + Live TV: This is probably our favorite overall streaming service with 85+ live channels, a great on-demand library, and Disney+ and ESPN+.
  • Sling TV: For just $35/mo, you get over 40 quality channels and an excellent overall experience. Save 50% on your first month of Sling TV.
  • DIRECTV STREAM: Offers great full-cable replacement plans. If you are hesitant to make the change from cable, this is an easy way to go. A 5-day free trial is now available for DIRECTV STREAM.

A&E is the flagship cable TV channel of A+E Networks, which also encompasses History, Lifetime, Crime + Investigation, and Spike Jonze’s Vice.

The channel is still trying to recover from the cancellation in 2020 of its biggest hit Live PD, and it has a couple of brand new series starting in early 2022 to help it do that: the reality drama Adults Adopting Adults and documentary serial Secrets of Playboy.

You can stream pay TV channels like A&E through the internet at a fraction of the price of cable or satellite, with no contracts or inconvenient installation appointments. Read on for more details.

What Is A&E

Once the Arts & Entertainment Network, the A&E channel used to be up there with PBS as a source of cultural, academic, intellectual programming — such as its Emmy- and Peabody-award-winning series, Biography and British co-productions and imports.

Over the years, it has succumbed to the same channel drift that claimed its sister channel History and most of the Discovery channels. Now, its content is largely a mixture of reality shows like Storage Wars and true crime documentaries like Killer Cases.

A&E was riding high as the #8 cable channel in ratings in 2020 when George Floyd was killed, prompting the network to put its top-rated show Live PD on indefinite hiatus.

With the controversy around the Austin, TX police department’s handling of Javier Ambler’s death while in custody while filming the show, A&E decided to make the hiatus permanent. Given it was many viewers’ favorite show, half its audience left overnight and the network dropped to #20.

It didn’t help that the show occupied multiple primetime evenings, giving A&E channel a giant hole in its programming schedule that they had to scramble to fill.

It’s not the first time A&E has canceled a show amid political controversy and experienced a viewer backlash. In 2013, after one year on the air, Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson was first put on hiatus, then reinstated, ticking off viewers on both sides of the controversy.

The network announced last year that it was going to focus on “total-audience metrics” versus the traditionally coveted 18-54-year-old group. According to entertainment analysts, this means they’re going to be focusing on the 55-and-over crowd.

However, a recent documentary on Janet Jackson that aired on both A&E and Lifetime did very well across all age groups, so things could be looking up again.

A&E Shows

The top TV shows on A&E include:

  • Biography
  • Cold Case Files
  • Court Cam
  • Hoarders
  • Intervention
  • Secrets of Playboy
  • Storage Wars
  • Voices Magnified.
DIRECTV STREAM - A&E
John Wick playing on A&E through DIRECTV STREAM.

How to Stream A&E

A&E’s sister channels at A+E Networks are FYI, History, Military History, Lifetime, LMN (Lifetime Movie Network), and Crime + Investigation. You can watch similar content — unscripted reality and documentaries — on Discovery’s TLC, NBCUniversal’s Bravo, and AMC Networks’ WE tv.

Most of the major streaming services offer the A&E channel. The two major exceptions are FuboTV and YouTube TV.

Hulu + Live TV

hulu logo

Hulu + Live TV offers over 85 live TV channels, and, as the name says, Hulu. That means thousands of on-demand shows and movies. But that’s not all! It also comes with Disney+ and ESPN+.

The base plan is $69.99/mo and includes A&E, Bravo, FYI, History, Lifetime, LMN, TLC, and Vice. If you toss on the Entertainment Add-on, you can get Crime + Investigation and Military History — it’s the only service that carries the latter.

Check out our Hulu + Live TV review for details.

Sling TV

Sling TV Logo (2021 100x50)

Sling TV lets you create your own custom package. It’s as close to a la carte cable as you’ll ever get. But you don’t even need that. A&E, Bravo, History, Lifetime, TLC, and Vice are all right there in the Sling Blue base plan for $35/mo. (Alternatively, you can get Sling Orange, which comes with fewer channels but does include ESPN and Disney Channel.)

Grab the Lifestyle Extra add-on for $6/mo to get FYI, LMN, WE tv, and more. 50 hours of cloud DVR are included, and you can watch Sling Blue on up to 3 devices at the same time.

Learn everything in our Sling TV review.

DIRECTV STREAM

DIRECTV STREAM

If it’s in the top 50 cable channels, it’s likely that DIRECTV STREAM (formerly AT&T TV) carries it. So it’s not surprising at all to find A&E, Lifetime, History, TLC, Vice, WE tv, and Bravo all in the base tier, the Entertainment Package, which runs $69.99/mo.

DIRECTV STREAM also gives you all your local stations, as well as unlimited cloud DVR and up to 20 devices streaming in your home at the same time.

For more, see our DIRECTV STREAM review.

Philo

philo logo

Philo is a huge bargain, especially if you like the A+E channels. For $25/mo, you get over 60 channels, including all the A+E channels (except Military History) plus TLC and WE tv.

It doesn’t carry WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal (no Bravo), or Disney-owned channels. It’s also missing sports and your local networks. But it does come with a great interface, unlimited DVR, and streaming on up to 3 devices at once. And only Frndly is cheaper (see below).

Get all the details in our Philo review.

Vidgo

vidgo logo

Vidgo undercuts a lot of the competition, while still keeping sports and news in the mix. Not especially strong on local networks, it does carry A&E, FYI, History, Lifetime, LMN, TLC, and Vice in its Plus package, which is $59.95/mo.

You can stream on up to 3 devices, but Vidgo does take a pass on WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, and AMC Networks channels. And it includes no DVR and on-demand content.

See our Vidgo review for more information.

Other Ways to Stream A&E

None of those grab you? Don’t worry, there are more ways to stream The Art of Entertainment:

  • Frndly TV: Frndly TV is a skinny bundle of over 30 general information, educational, and family live and on-demand channels starting at $6.99/mo. They recently reached an agreement with A+E to carry all of A&E’s sister networks. Other channels include the Hallmark Channel, Weather Channel, INSP, and BYU TV.
  • A&E Crime Central: A&E’s on-demand collection of 900+ true crime and justice system series and specials curated from A&E, History, and Lifetime/LMN. Featured shows include Dog the Bounty Hunter, After the First 48, 60 Days In, and Female Forces.
  • Hulu: Hulu’s on-demand library starts at only $6.99/mo and contains over a dozen of A&E’s juiciest true crime and legal documentaries and series, as well as Storage Wars and Duck Dynasty.
  • A&E App: Most devices allow you to watch A&E live and on-demand with this app. It requires that you have a TV provider to use it via TV Everywhere. You can similarly watch right on the A&E website.

Supported Devices to Stream A&E

Sling TV History Android
Sling TV displaying A+E Entertainment channels on an Android phone.

Most of the streaming services listed above support the devices in use today. We’ll just go over the most popular devices but you can find complete lists in the streaming reviews.

Android TV-based televisions are not supported by DIRECTV STREAM but they are by the other services. In contrast, DIRECTV STREAM allows you to use its own device, which can make the switch to streaming easier.

You can also cast to your TV from a smartphone, tablet, or web browser using Chromecast that is either built-in or added as an external device. This is supported by all services.

Samsung smart TVs are supported by Hulu, Sling, and DIRECTV. Sling and Hulu also support LG and VIZIO smart TVs.

All the services support the popular TV “stick” devices: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku. They also support mobile devices with iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android.

The Xbox One gaming system is supported by Sling and Hulu. PlayStation and Nintendo Switch are supported by Hulu. And finally, Sling TV supports the Oculus VR system.

Wrapping Up

So don’t miss out on any of your favorite A&E programs. Sign up for one of the services above, and you can go ahead and sweep your cable bill right under the rug without missing any episodes of WWE’s Most Wanted Treasures or Extreme Unboxing.

FAQs

Are A&E shows available on-demand?

A&E shows certainly are available on-demand! All of the services above except Vidgo have at least some on-demand content, which generally contains at least recent episodes of current shows. In addition, Hulu has a number of A&E series available and Amazon Prime Video has some included as well (and some you have to buy).

You could also subscribe to A&E Crime Central, A+E Networks’ on-demand library of true crime-related programming from across its major channels, either by itself directly through A+E or through Amazon Prime Channels, Apple TV Channels, or Roku Channels.

Is A&E available on FuboTV?

Sadly, FuboTV (and YouTube TV) have not reached an agreement with A+E Networks to carry any of its channels, which is why you won’t see FYI, Crime + Investigation, either of the History channels, either of the Lifetime channels, or Vice on those services either.

What is the cheapest way to get A&E?

That would be Frndly TV at $6.99/mo. It’s a mix of on-demand and live channels including Local Now, UPtv, Outdoor Channel, Game Show Network — basically a lineup of cable TV’s Most Inoffensive Channels, ranging from completely neutral (The Weather Channel) to religious-tinged (Dove Channel, BYU TV) to determinedly wholesome (Hallmark, INSP). They just acquired the A+E Networks channels, including A&E.

Alanna Baker

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