The 2021 NBA season is here! And there is no reason to miss any of your favorite teams’ games with all the national and regional sports networks (RSNs) available from streaming services. Read on to learn all your options!
In a hurry? If you just want to start the new NBA season right, these are your best options:
- Hulu + Live TV: provides everything you need to catch all the nationally televised games in its 85+ live TV channel selection. Try it free for one week!
- FuboTV: provides over 100 channels including most of the national NBA channels plus a good collection of RSNs so you can watch all the games of your local team. Check it out with a 7-day free trial!
- DIRECTV STREAM: Although more expensive, it provides RSNs for even the most remote areas plus all the national channels. Comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee!
Table Of Contents
Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the United States, and its international popularity is growing, as well. While NCAA basketball remains popular, nothing beats the intense action of the pros in the NBA. But what happens if you don’t have cable? Can you watch NBA online without cable TV in 2021?
You sure can! It’s now easier than ever to watch NBA games without cable. In the guide below, we’ll explore how you can get an NBA live stream from home without spending a fortune on cable.
Not in the US? Click to see international streaming options.
Channels You Need to Watch NBA Games Without Cable
NBA coverage is shared by several different channels. This season, coverage is split between the following channels, all of which are available on streaming services like fuboTV (free trial), Vidgo (free trial), Hulu with Live TV, and others:
You will want to have access to all or most of these channels in order to keep up with your favorite basketball teams. But don’t worry – we’ll explain how to get these channels in this guide!
How to Watch NBA Online Without Cable: At a Glance
For sports fans who have cut the cord, there are a couple of different ways to watch NBA online without cable TV. Keep in mind that these are all paid options — there’s no legal way to watch NBA online for free outside a handful of games on ABC, which you can watch with an antenna. Here are our top recommendations for NBA streaming services:
FuboTV has most of the national channels that feature NBA as well as a good selection of RSNs. You can test it out for free here.
Hulu + Live TV offers a great way to stream NBA without cable and enjoy 85+ other great channels. You’ll get ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TNT (a must for the NBA All-Star Game and Slam Dunk Contest), regional sports networks, and much more. There’s a free 7-day trial available.
Sling TV is a great low-cost option. For $50/mo, you can get TNT and all the ESPN channels. And with the Sports Extra for $11/mo, you also get NBA Network. Try it for a month for $10.
Vidgo is another cheaper option for watching NBA online. For $55/mo, you get the ESPN channels. It’s especially good for football fans. For $10, try it for a month.
DIRECTV STREAM is the most expensive option at $84.99/mo, but it has it all: all the national channels in addition to the best selection of regional sports networks in the industry. You can try it with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
NBA League Pass is a good way to watch NBA games without cable. It allows you to watch all out-market games for $199.99 per season. Blackout restrictions apply, however. So if you are a fan of your local team, this is not a good option. We’ll explain more in the guide below.
Using Live TV Streaming Services to Watch NBA Online
If you’re new to the world of cable-free viewing options, you may be unsure of your options. If you’re looking for a complete cable TV alternative, a good option is to get a live TV streaming service.
These services, such as Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV, offer a package of TV channels to watch live. You’ll get a broad selection of networks, covering everything from sports to news to entertainment. You can get anywhere from 30 to 100+ channels, depending on which package you choose. Essentially, they function a lot like a cable package.
The difference? Price, and flexibility.
Flexibility is also a big plus. These services are contract-free, so you are able to cancel at any time without penalty.
These streaming options work over the internet. You will need a solid internet connection in order to use them. You will also need a compatible device. But if you are reading this, you almost certainly already have both! (See below for the many supported devices and TVs.)
Once you’re signed up for a service, watching NBA online is as easy as tuning in at game time. Keep reading for the specific services we recommend for online NBA streaming.
Hulu + Live TV
One of the best methods to get an NBA live stream without cable is to use Hulu with Live TV. It supplies all the channels you’ll need for NBA (excluding NBA TV), and offers some of the best coverage of local teams and local sports networks.
Hulu Live TV is an affordable cable TV alternative that gives you over 85 great channels to watch live. It’s easy to use, works on most devices, and is far cheaper than many alternatives. Here’s the scoop:
- Ideal for anyone who wants live and on-demand entertainment
- Over 85 channels to watch live
- $64.99 per month
- No contract or commitment
- Get NBA streaming channels like ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, TNT, local channels, and some regional sports networks
- Watch your favorite local team and many nationally broadcast NBA games, including Christmas Day games, as well as events like the NBA Draft
- A great way to watch sports without cable
- Comes with free access to a HUGE on-demand library to enjoy any time
- There’s a free 7-day trial to start off with.
Hulu + Live TV comes highly recommended because it’s a one-stop-shop for all your entertainment. The 85+ live TV channels cover almost everything you’ll need, and the on-demand library means that you’ll always have something to watch.
For more information, check out our Hulu Live TV review.
FuboTV started as a sports-oriented streaming service and has grown into one of the best all-around streaming services with a great sports selection. The only major NBA channel that it is missing is TNT. And to get NBA Network, you will get to get the Fubo Extra add-on for $7.99/mo. But that gives you over 150 channels for a total cost of $72.98/mo.
In addition, FuboTV has a good selection of RSNs. So you will get to see almost all the games of the following teams if you are in their local broadcasting area:
- Boston Celtics
- Chicago Bulls
- Golden State Warriors
- Houston Rockets
- New York Knicks
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Sacramento Kings
- Utah Jazz
- Washington Wizards.
If you aren’t in one of these areas and still want to access your local regional sports network, see DIRECTV STREAM — it’s more expensive, but worth it.
In addition to the channels NBA games are featured on, Fubo offers an amazing sports selection. Of its over 100 channel selection, over one-third are sports-oriented. But it also has more than enough other channels to please the whole household.
See our thorough FuboTV review for all the details.
DIRECTV STREAM (formerly AT&T TV) offers the Choice plan for $84.99/mo. So it’s more expensive than the other plans discussed here. But it’s also a dream come true for NBA fans.
This plan includes all of the national channels you want to watch NBA games. But it also comes with the regional sports networks (RSNs) in your area. If your area is supported by one of the teams listed above under FuboTV, you should go with it because it’s cheaper. But if you are a local fan of any of the other teams, DIRECTV STREAM has you covered!
Note that these RSNs also cover MLB, NHL, and MLS teams. So DIRECTV STREAM provides the whole package. For more details, see our DIRECTV STREAM review.
NBA League Pass
NBA League Pass is the official streaming service of the NBA. Unlike the other options we’ve discussed, NBA League Pass is only useful for watching NBA without cable. You won’t get any other entertainment options.
To add to that, League Pass comes with severe blackouts for local teams. Basically, you can’t watch your local NBA team(s) on League Pass because they will be blacked out. You also can’t watch any nationally broadcast games. (You can watch blacked-out games after the fact, but it usually takes 3 days to gain access.)
Thus, the service is most useful for fans who don’t live near their favorite teams — a Lakers fan living in Denver, for example.
Here’s the scoop:
- Best for hardcore NBA fans — ideally those who don’t live near their favorite teams
- Only good for NBA streaming – no other content or channels included
- $199.99/year ($119.99/yr for Team Pass)
- You can purchase a single game pass to test the service out ($6.99)
- Watch live games for out-of-market teams
- Live NBA games for local teams are blacked out
- Three-day wait to watch game replays on-demand
- Relive epic NBA moments with a huge on-demand library
- Choose from condensed or full-game replays
- Watch up to 4 games at once with Mosaic View
Basically, we recommend League Pass for two types of people: (1) NBA fans who live far away from their favorite teams and (2) NBA fans that don’t mind waiting for replays after the game. Beyond these groups, the blackouts are a problem.
But for some people, League Pass represents a good way to watch basketball without cable TV. It’s a bit on the expensive side, but for hardcore fans, the special features and ability to watch out-of-market teams may be worthwhile.
Other Options for Watching NBA Without Cable
There are other ways to stream NBA without a cable subscription. Hulu + Live TV, FuboTV, DIRECTV STREAM, and League Pass are our top recommendations depending on your needs. But here are some others to consider:
- Sling TV: Highly customizable plans from $35/mo that offer ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, NBA TV, TNT and more. See our Sling TV review for more information.
- Vidgo: Great service for football fans (NFL, NCAA) with good coverage of NBA for $55/mo. Learn more in our Vidgo review.
- YouTube TV: Similar to Hulu + Live TV, it’s $64.99/mo plan offers ESPN, ESPN2, NBA TV, TNT, and more.
Watch the NBA Online Internationally
While there are multiple options for watching the NBA online depending on where you live, we recommend you check out EVPN. VPNs allow you to stream without geo-restrictions. So you’ll be able to access streams across the world, and protect your privacy in the process. Learn more about how to use EVPN to stream the NBA here.
TVs and Other Devices to Watch NBA
All these streaming services provide apps that run on the most popular devices in use today.
Samsung smart TVs are universally supported. Hulu and Fubo also support smart TVs from LG, Vizio, and Android TV-based TVs. FuboTV supports Hisense TVs.
The popular “stick” devices that allow ordinary TVs to run apps (Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku) are universally supported. And so are Android and iOS mobile devices. And you can use them to cast to your TV with Chromecast.
FuboTV, Hulu, and NBA League Pass support the Xbox One gaming console. Hulu and League Pass also support the PlayStation. And Hulu + Live TV supports the Nintendo Switch.
And, of course, you can watch via a web browser on most devices (which you can connect to your TV). Check our streaming service reviews for complete lists of supported devices.
So there you have it – the best ways to get an NBA live stream without cable. We hope this guide was helpful. Do note that there is no real way to follow the NBA season for free. You can watch a couple of games on ABC through an antenna. Otherwise, you can watch a couple of highlights on the league’s website.
For further information, check out our guide on how to watch sports online. We explain all the different ways to get rid of cable while still watching the TV you love without spending a fortune! And if you want to catch the G League, read our guide on how to watch NBA G League online.
Watch Your Favorite NBA Team Online
Click to learn about watching your favorite team without cable: