TV One provides true crime and other programming aimed at a middle-aged Black audience. But it’s enjoyed by a much broader group. And no one need a cable contract to enjoy it. Read on to learn your options.
In a hurry? TV One is not as widely available online as some channels. But you still have a few good options:
- DIRECTV STREAM: This is the way to go if you fear missing something by switching for cable because it has it all. A 5-day free trial is now available for DIRECTV STREAM.
- Philo: Although it’s missing local and sports channels, this $25/mo plan is hard to beat. Try out Philo free for 7 days.
- Vidgo: Get 100+ channels with lots of entertainment, news, and sports.
TV One is among several channels launched in the last twenty years to feature programming produced by and for people of color. It differentiates itself from its predecessor (and competitor) BET by targeting an older demographic, 25- to 54-year-olds.
But you don’t need a cable or satellite subscription to catch the latest episode of Unsung. Read on to find out how you can watch the largest Black-owned network without the cable company taking you for a ride.
What Is TV One
TV One’s parent company, Urban One, was founded as Radio One back in 1980 (the same year as BET). TV One itself came along in 2004, in response to criticism of BET’s representation of people of color and a desire from older African-Americans for content that wasn’t wall-to-wall music videos or obnoxious teen reality.
The channel has grown to become the largest African-American-owned media conglomerate, encompassing over 50 radio stations, two TV channels, a syndication service, a set of online brands, and a brand-management agency to support the whole media empire.
TV One is not the only network vying for Black viewers. Aside from its own sister-station Cleo TV (targeting women of color), there’s:
- Allblk (AMC)
- aspireTV (UP Entertainment)
- BET (Paramount Global)
- BET Her
- BET Gospel
- BET Jams
- BET Soul
- Black News Channel (BNC — a newcomer to the industry)
- Bounce TV (the first African-American targeted broadcast channel)
- Fox Soul (Fox’s digital streaming local-ish channel)
- Oprah Winfrey Network (also known as OWN, targeting Black women)
- Revolt (urban music channel founded by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs).
TV One Shows
TV One’s content consists mostly of true-crime series (For My Man, Sins of the City, Fatal Attraction), documentaries on Black America and notable individuals (Uncensored, Unsung, Hey, Black America!), lifestyle reality and talk shows (One Stage to the Next, Life Therapy, Sister Circle), original movies (Christmas Dilemma, Blood on Her Badge, Bad Dad Rehab), and classic African-American series (In Living Color, Empire, What’s Happening!!, Family Matters).
It also airs the annual Urban One Honors, which celebrates entertainers, artists, educators, and community leaders of color.
Featured original series include:
- Fatal Attraction: True crime series that centers around a different romance-turned-homicidal each week.
- Life Therapy: Actress-turned-life-coach AJ Johnson gives clients a dose of straight talk to help them improve their lives.
- Rickey Smiley for Real: Reality show that follows the professional and personal life of the comedian.
- Sins of the City: Limited anthology true-crime docuseries that examines the dark side of a different city each week via an in-depth review of a crime that had a major impact on that city, from initial discovery to the trial aftermath.
- Unsung: TV One’s award-winning breakout biography series spotlights overlooked and under-credited R&B, hip-hop, soul, and gospel musicians from the 1960s on. It has spawned spin-off series Unsung Hollywood (focusing on actors and shows), Unsung Presents: The Decades, and at least two Unsung Films made-for-TV biopics.
Stream TV One
Many cable TV companies carry TV One, but you can watch it cheaper and with no long-term contracts and commitments with a live TV streaming service. The biggest services (Hulu + Live TV, FuboTV, Sling TV, YouTube TV) do not offer it. But a few others do.
If the saying is, “Go big or go home,” DIRECTV STREAM (formerly AT&T TV) is not going home. Urban One fans can get both TV One and Cleo TV in the Choice Package for $89.99/mo, as well as the Oprah Winfrey Network, BET, and Black News Channel (the only streaming service that carries BNC). Get DIRECTV STREAM free for 5 days.
You also get all your local regional sports networks so you can follow your home team on the court, diamond, rink, or field. If you sign-up online, all plans come with unlimited cloud DVR and streaming on up to 20 devices at once. (DIRECTV STREAM review)
Philo is a great choice for those looking to save a little (actually a lot) on their TV provider. You get over 60 channels for $25/mo, including TV One, Cleo TV, aspireTV, BET, BET Her, OWN, and Revolt. But it is missing all local channels. Try Philo free for 7 days.
No messing around with tiers or packages; they have one plan, three add-ons for movies, unlimited DVR, and simultaneous streaming on up to 3 devices for all accounts. Just note that this service has no sports channels or local stations. (Philo review)
Vidgo costs $59.95/mo. In all, you get 100+ channel lineup, which includes TV One, aspireTV, BET, and OWN. It also includes a lot of content that is family-friendly (Disney Channel) and sports-oriented (ESPN).
Note that Vidgo does not offer any DVR service or on-demand content, and offers limited local network support. You can, however, stream on up to three devices at once. (Vidgo review)
Streaming Devices for TV Now
You can watch TV Now on most streaming devices regardless of the service you select:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android phones and tablets
- Apple TV
- iOS (iPhone, iPad)
- Web browser.
DIRECTV STREAM makes things very easy by providing the option of using its own device (it costs $120 or $5/mo for 24 months). You can also use Samsung smart TVs with it.
Vidgo and Philo support devices built on Android TV. And Philo allows you to use the Amazon Fire tablet.
So you don’t have to rely on cable to get your True Crime Mondays on, or catch all the inspiring stories over Women’s History Month. Just subscribe to one of the services listed above, and you can cut the cord without cutting off Fatal Attraction.
Our top choice to stream TV One is DIRECTV STREAM since it offers a full lineup of channels and great extras.
What awards shows does TV One broadcast?
Currently, TV One airs the Urban One Honors, run by its parent company for various artistic and community contributions. In the past, it has carried the Stellar Gospel Music Awards and the NAACP Image Awards (both have since moved to BET). It has also previously broadcast the Triumph Awards, presented by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
Can I watch TV One through its app or website?
There are some full episodes available on the website (particularly in the Rewind section), and you can watch Rewind episodes (prior seasons) on the iOS app, but newer episodes require a TV provider login. The Roku and Android apps require a TV provider login to watch anything. None of the streaming services seem to provide TV Everywhere access to TV One, however.
Can I watch TV One with an antenna?
No. Over-the-air (OTA) networks, like your local ABC, NBC, Fox, or CBS broadcast stations, are free for anyone to pick up with an antenna, but are also included in many pay TV subscriptions as well. TV One is not OTA; it’s a pay channel, like Discovery, BET, or TBS. That means you need to subscribe to a pay TV provider to get it: cable, satellite, or internet streaming (like the services above).
Who owns TV One?
TV One is wholly owned by Urban One, originally founded as Radio One by Cathy Hughes. It was built starting from a single radio station in Washington, DC in 1980, by Hughes and her son Alfred Liggins. When Radio One went public in 1999, Hughes became the first woman of color to lead a publicly-traded company.
Urban One has since acquired Reach Media, HelloBeautiful.com, and Elev8.com. Hughes and Liggins have both been inducted into the Broadcast & Cable Hall of Fame.