If Lifetime is one of your favorite channels you probably got started by watching it on cable. This is no longer the best way to watch it. Read on to find out how you can enjoy Lifetime while leaving your cable subscription behind.
In a hurry? If you’ve already decided to ditch cable but want to make sure Lifetime is still available, these services all provide great plans:
- DIRECTV STREAM: Makes it easy to switch from cable to streaming with their 75+ channel Entertainment plan and options for much more. A 5-day free trial is now available for DIRECTV STREAM.
- Sling TV: The top low-cost streaming service provides a great base channel lineup in both its plans. Save 50% on your first month of Sling TV.
- Hulu + Live TV: This service adds 85+ live TV channel to their outstanding on demand service as well as Disney+ and ESPN+.
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Marketed in the nineties as “Television for Women,” Lifetime is best known for its ubiquitous, overwrought, sensationalistic made-for-tv movies featuring lurid plots — often ripped from the headlines.
While some (okay, many) Lifetime movies do fall into the “guilty pleasures” category, the network received its first of many Emmy nominations in 2006 and continues to receive accolades from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Producers Guild of America Award, the NAACP, and GLAAD, among others.
Lifetime as a network also makes surprisingly good on their “for women” marketing. Between 1994 and 2016, 73% of Lifetime’s original movies were written or directed by women, and today it’s still known as a Hollywood oasis of female solidarity for women in front of and behind the camera.
Whether you enjoy Lifetime’s cringier movies, or you watch for the genuine gems like the 2012 remake of Steel Magnolias (more Emmys), you can say goodbye forever to your cable company and still not miss the October premiere of Switched at Birth.
How to Watch Lifetime Live Without Cable
Lifetime Entertainment encompasses both the original Lifetime channel and the Lifetime Movie Network (LMN), as well as the all-but abandoned Lifetime Real Women (LRW) channel. Its parent company is A+E Television Networks, which, besides A&E, also own Crime + Investigation (C+I), FYI, History Channel, and Vice TV (Viceland).
Channels marketed to women generally fall into three categories, with some overlap. There’s the “lifestyle” programming (home, beauty, family, with maybe a dash of celebrity dish): Bravo, Dabl, TLC, Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), and We TV. There’s the tear-jerker drama/romances of the Hallmark channels. And then there are the police/court procedural and true crime networks: Oxygen, C+I, and Start TV.
Lifetime and LMN are cable channels, meaning you can’t pick them up with an antenna over the air (OTA). You need a subscription with a third-party provider. This is the part where, in the past, you’ve had to order a package of way more channels for way more money than you wanted. No more!
These OTT (over the top) streaming services do everything cable does, for less with no contracts or hidden fees! Read on to see which services carry Lifetime.
Streaming Services with Lifetime
As one of the older basic cable channels, Lifetime is considered a staple network in a pay-TV lineup. So it’s not surprising that nearly all of the streaming services carry it and its companion movie network. Notable exceptions are YouTube TV and FuboTV, which ended its contract with A&E in mid-2021.
Read on to see where you can catch the next episode of Little Women: Atlanta.
DIRECTV STREAM (formerly AT&T TV) actually does the best on this list of carrying the most channels that, stereotypes aside, are more popular with the ladies. It is a little more expensive though, especially since you will have to aspire to the second-highest tier to get all the channels.
The first tier, the Entertainment package, has over 65 channels for $69.99/mo, including Lifetime, A&E, Bravo, History, Vice, the Hallmark channels, TLC, and We TV.
If you upgrade to Choice ($89.99/mo), you get all those, plus regional sports networks, plus three months free HBO Max, and OWN is now included. For $10/mo more, the Ultimate package gets you Oxygen, Lifetime Movies, and FYI. Crime + Investigation is available as an add-on. The only ones you can’t get at all are Dabl and Start TV.
All packages come with your local stations, a free for 5 days, unlimited Cloud DVR storage as long as you sign-up online, and streaming on up to 20 devices in your home. See our DIRECTV STREAM review.
Next up, Sling TV. The Sling Blue plan includes Lifetime, A&E, Bravo, History, TLC, and Viceland in all its packages for just $35/mo.
You can upgrade this with the Lifestyle Extra add-on for $6/mo more. This gives you Lifetime Movie Network as well as FYI, all 3 Hallmark channels, Oxygen, and We TV. You can also add the Hollywood Extra for $6/mo and this will give you Start TV as well as 9 other channels including favorites FXX, FXM, and TCM.
Note that Crime + Investigation, Dabl, and OWN are not currently available in any of the packages or add-ons.
Sling Blue comes with 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage and streaming on up to 3 devices at one time. For more details, see our Sling TV review.
Hulu + Live TV
Streaming giant Hulu launched its live-streaming service, Hulu + Live TV, in 2017. Not only do you get over 85 live TV channels, but you also get access to Hulu exclusive series like Castle Rock, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Only Murders in the Building.
You also get unlimited cloud DVR (9 month storage) and you can stream your shows on up to 2 devices at once. They even throw in all your local network affiliates. All for just $69.99 a month.
Besides Lifetime and LMN, they’ve got the rest of the A&E family, TLC, Dabl, and Oxygen. Missing from your girls’ night selection are the channels We TV, OWN, and all three Hallmark channels. But hey, that’s fewer tissues you have to stock up on, right?
Check out our thorough Hulu review for more information.
Philo is awesome if all you want is to slice your cable bill down to next to nothing. You get over 60 channels for $25/mo. Try Philo free for 7 days. No local channels and no sports. But you do get up to 3 simultaneous streams and unlimited cloud DVR.
Philo’s lineup includes Lifetime and LMN, A&E, C+I, FYI, History, Viceland, Hallmark channels, OWN, TLC, and We TV. It leaves out Bravo, Dabl, Oxygen, and Start TV. For more information, see our Philo review.
Let’s start with what Vidgo does have: Lifetime and LMN, plus A&E, FYI, History, Vice, the Hallmark trio, OWN, and TLC, plus over 100 other channels, watchable on up to 3 devices at a time, for $59.95/mo. You also get ABC and Fox depending on your area.
On the downside, Vidgo doesn’t carry Crime + Investigation, Bravo, Dabl, Oxygen, Start TV, or We TV. So, it’s weak on the true-crime/police and court procedural genre, if that’s your thing. Also a bummer: no cloud DVR storage.
But it’s a great price given all the sports, news, and local channels you get.
Read our review for more details.
Other Ways to Stream Lifetime
But the female-centric fun doesn’t stop there! Take a look at these other ways to watch the September premiere of Imperfect High:
- Lifetime App: You can watch BlackLove, Dance Moms, and select episodes of Married at First Sight, The Rap Game, Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, and Bring It! without even logging in! The same goes for their website. Live Streaming and new episodes require a TV provider account.
- Lifetime Movie Club: Features a curated library of new and classic Lifetime movies to binge commercial-free. You also get some exclusive films. The service is $3.99/mo, with a 7-day free trial. It only has on-demand movies, though, no series, and no live-streaming.
- On-Demand: You can stream some Lifetime programming free with Amazon Prime Video (with Prime account), PlutoTV (free service), or Hoopla (also free, but requires a library card). Some Lifetime series and movies are available for purchase on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and other digital video sales platforms.
Watch Lifetime With Popular Streaming Devices and TVs
Over the past few years, most streaming devices and TVs have gained support from major services. So you will likely be able to watch Lifetime on the hardware you already own unless it is really old or unusual.
Android TV-based devices are supported by all services (except DIRECTV STREAM). This includes a lot of smart TVs. Casting to TVs from smartphones or web browsers is very popular and it is possible to do this with Chromecast — both built-in to TVs and as an external device. All the services support this.
The popular TV stick devices Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku are universally supported. So are phones and tablets based on iOS and Android.
Sling TV and Hulu support the Xbox One gaming console. Hulu also supports the PlayStation and Nintendo Switch. And Sling TV supports the Oculus VR system.
There are more supported devices than these. Check our service reviews for Sling TV and Hulu or their websites if you don’t see your device listed here.
If you’ve been holding on to your cable company because you are hooked on Lifetime movies and you gotta watch Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace for the tenth time — honey, it’s time!
Get set up with one of the streaming services above and wave goodbye to cable, and hello to Do You Trust Your Boyfriend?
Watch Other Channels Without Cable
To watch other entertainment channels without cable, check out the chart below.