How to watch the 2018 Olympics without paying for cable

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How to watch the 2018 Olympics without paying for cable

My husband and I cut the cord a year ago, when we realized our cable box was only plugged in during "Dancing With the Stars." The decision saved us about $50 a month (TV is, after all, expensive) — and the only difference is I watch shows 12 hours after they air on Hulu. So the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, set to air on NBCUniversal Feb. 8 to Feb. 25, mark the first time I'm slightly put out by my decision to get rid of cable. I suspect I'm not alone. (#IceDancing4Eva.) Here's how to watch the 2018 Olympics without paying for cable.

The 2018 Olympic Winter Games

NBCUniversal is broadcasting the games across its channels. Most events will air on NBC and NBCSN, but some stuff (mostly hockey games, curling and recaps) are slated for CNBC, USA and the Olympic Channel. You can find a full schedule of events here.

The network is streaming everything live or on-demand via NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sportsapp. (Note: Pyeongchang is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and 17 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.) You need to verify your cable subscription to watch events via the app or website. So, if you don't have one, you'll need an alternative. Fortunately, there are bunch.

How to watch the Olympics without cable

A variety of streaming services will air the games. Each one will cost you something — unless you have a subscription already or are using a free trial. (Almost all of them offer seven days free.) But internet streaming services, unlike many cable subscriptions, are contract-free. So you can pay for a month and cancel the service sans fees or penalties. Here's a summary of your options. Be sure to check what channels are available in your area and whether you can get them live, as there's variation across markets.

1. Sling TV

How it works: Sling's Blue plan includes NBCSN, USA and, so long as it's available in your area, NBC proper.
Cost: $25 per month; $30 per month if you want CNBC (included in the sort-of a la carte service's news bundle)
Supported devices: AirTV; Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets; Android TV; Android phones and tablets on 4.4 or higher; Apple TV; Apple iPhones and iPads on iOS 9 or higher; Chrome and Chromecast; LeEco; select LG TVs; Roku; select Samsung TVs; Windows 10; XBox One; ZTE

2. YouTube TV

How it works: YouTube TV (full review here), available in more than 80 major metro markets, streams NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and USA live.
Cost: $35 per month
Supported devices: Android TV; Android phones and tablets L or above; Apple TV; Apple iPhones and iPads on iOS 9.1 or higher; Chrome; Chromecast; select LG TVs; Roku; select Samsung TVs; Xbox One

3. DirectTV Now

How it works: AT&T's live TV streaming service includes NBCSN, CNBC and USA in its base "Live a Little" package. NBC proper is included so long as it's offered in your local market.
Cost: $35 per month
Supported devices: Amazon Fire TVs and Fire Sticks; Android phones and tablets 4.4 and higher; Apple TV; Apple iPhone, iPads and iPod Touchs iOS 9 and higher Chrome; Chromecast; Roku; Safari

4. Hulu With Live TV

How it works: The over-the-top internet TV service carries CNBC, NBCSN and USA. NBC proper is included when it's available in your area. You can use your username and password to watch coverage on the NBC Sports app.
Cost: $39.99 a month
Supported devices: Amazon Fire TVs and Fire Sticks; Android phones and tablets on 4.0 or higher; Apple iPhones and iPads on iOS 8 or higher; Apple TV (4th generation); Chromecast; Roku; select Samsung TVs, Xbox One and Xbox 360

5. PlayStation Vue

How it works: Sony's streaming service offers CNBC, NBCSN and USA and, when available locally, NBC proper as part of its base Access package. You can also use your login credentials to watch coverage on the NBC Sports app.
Cost: $39.99 a month
Supported devices: Amazon Fire TV; Amazon Fire tablets HD6 and above; Android phones and tablets with OS 4.4 and higher; Apple TV; Apple iPhones 5 or later; Apple mini-iPad; Apple iPad 2 or later, running on iOS 8 or higher; Apple iPod Touch fourth generation or later; Chrome; Chromecast; Firefox; Microsoft Edge; PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 consoles; Roku; Safari

6. Fubo TV

How it works: The sports-centric streaming service includes CNBC, NBCSN, USA and, when available locally, NBC proper as part of its Premier package, which is currently touting a special offer of 55% off your first month.
Cost: $19.99 for the first month; $44.99 per month after that
Supported devices: Amazon Fire TV; Android TV 4.4 and higher; Android phones; Apple TV fourth and fifth generation; Apple iPhones and iPads; Chrome; Chromecast; Roku 2, 3 and 4

Non-streaming alternative: Get an antenna

Local channels, like, ahem, NBC, broadcast for free. Websites like TV Fool can help you track down what channels are available in your area — and how clear they're likely to appear on your TV screen.

Image: mbbirdy