If you are a cord cutter who wants to see the conference tournaments and how to stream the NCAA Tournament Now is the time to add one of the many live streaming services and take them for a spin, Why? Because everyone has a trial period of some sort. So you can probably hop skip and jump your way across Hulu, DirecTV Now and others with trial periods long enough to watch conference championships and the majority of March Madness unfold. All of the major streaming services will offer ESPN, but that is only important before the NCAA Tournament. The big bracket takes place across multiple unrelated networks.
First off in order to have access to all of the games you need to find a package that includes TBS, TNT and True TV and CBS. For cable users, the NCAA gives you a guide to find the channels the game will be on. That’s actually kind of snazzy. You can see it here.
Do you need all of the channels to enjoy the tournament? No. You can see tons of games on TBS, TNT and even just CBS if you can get it on an antenna. But you need all the channels to see all of the games including the championship. And if you have a particular rooting interest you may find yourself on the outs if say their game is on Tru TV and you don’t have a package with that otherwise under watched network.
Sling Orange customers can access games on TBS and TNT ($20/mo) and subscribe to Comedy Extra to access games on truTV ($5/mo) Sling Blue customers can access all games on TBS, TNT and truTV ($25/mo) You can try out Sling TV for 7 days.
DirecTV Now provides all of the needed channels in its introductory offer called Live a Little. It even includes CBS. This though will depend on your area CBS provider. If they do not have a deal with DTV Now you won’t get the channel. But In the past, you could stream the games from CBS online for free. So you may just get lucky on that. We will be following up to see if that is the case this year. DTV Now has a 7-day free trial and will cost is $35.00 per month afterward.
Play Station Vue
The Play Station Vue Access package includes All four needed channels if your area CBS channel plays along as well. It costs 39.99 per month. Vue has a 5-day free trial
YouTube TV has all of the requisite networks and comes in at the price of $35.00 per month. 7-day free trial.
Hulu will get you set to watch the tournament with 1-week free week then $39.99 per month afterward.
Ironically, Fubo TV, the Streaming service set up to be the bastion of sports does not have any of the channels where the action will take place. Philo TV users won’t get the needed channels either, though that should not be an issue since Philo is marketed as the streaming service for people who don’t want to pay for sports.
Keep up with what you are trying out though. If you sign up for 4 services and lose track you will put a hurting on your budget. On the other hand, you could conceivably try out a number of services during the duration of the tournament. And if you never had them before it can be a great way to shop around and see what you think of the live streaming market.
Your biggest problem will be CBS. In your area. Without the ability to use an antenna that can be iffy. The problem is that for all that the big services talk up providing access to local channel affiliates, there are still holes all over the map. A solution might be CBS All Access. But like the bundles listed above, it is possible that CBS All Access cannot provide you with a live feed of CBS in your area. The service has a tool that will let you know if that is an option where you live. CBS All Access only costs $5.99 per month. So its not too bad if you forget you added that one.