NBA Live Stream Guide 2017-2018: How to Legally Watch NBA Online without Cable

The NBA is back! Looking for a way to watch NBA online without cable? Check out our full guide to legal NBA live stream options.

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*Some games are region-locked and not available nationally -- check your local listings

If you’re visiting this page, it means that the NBA season is in session, or starting soon. And yes, you’re in the right place to learn how to watch the NBA online.

There’s so much to be excited about for the 2017–2018 NBA season. Will Isaiah Thomas be enough to convince LeBron James to stick with Cleveland? The Minnesota Timberwolves are actually good now? We all want answers, and that’s why we’re talking about how to livestream the NBA, so you don’t have to miss out on a single one.

Your options for watching the NBA without cable can be a bit overwhelming at first, but we’ve got your back. Below, we’ll be ranking the best streaming services that let you enjoy a quality NBA live stream on both national TV and local channels.

Watch NBA Online: National TV Coverage

First things first—there are four channels you’ll need to get NBA national coverage: ESPN, TNT, NBATV, and ABC. Now, let’s look at which of your streaming options carry the channels we need.

Playstation VueDIRECTV NOWSling TVfuboTVHulu Live TV
ABC
ESPN
NBATV
TNT
Free TrialFree TrialFree TrialFree TrialFree Trial
ABC
ESPN
NBATV
TNT
Playstation Vue DIRECTV NOW Sling TV fuboTV Hulu Live TV
Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial

Watch NBA Online: Local Coverage

Now that we know what services give us the best of NBA national games, let’s talk about local coverage. Things get a bit trickier in this section, but stick with us.

Here’s a look at the local coverage for every team. Keep in mind that you have to live within the respective regions to stream these channels.

Playstation Vue (Core)DIRECTV NOWSling TV (Blue)fuboTVHulu Live TV
Watch NowWatch NowWatch NowWatch NowWatch Now
Atlanta Hawks (Fox Sports South)
Boston Celtics (CSN New England)
Brooklyn Nets (YES Network)
Charlotte Hornets (FOX Sports Carolinas)
Chicago Bulls (CSN Chicago)
Cleveland Cavaliers (FOX Sports Ohio)
Dallas Mavericks (FOX Sports Southwest)
Denver Nuggets (Altitude) ***
Detroit Pistons (FOX Sports Detroit)
Golden State Warriors (CSN Bay Area)
Houston Rockets (Root Sports) ***
Indiana Pacers (FOX Sports Indiana)
Los Angeles Clippers (Fox Sports West)
Los Angeles Lakers (Spectrum Sportsnet) ***
Memphis Grizzlies (Fox Sports Tennessee)
Miami Heat (Fox Sports Sun)
Milwaukee Bucks (Fox Sports Wisconsin)
Minnesota Timberwolves (Fox Sports North)
New Orleans Pelicans (Fox Sports New Orleans)
New York Knicks (MSG Network) ***
Oklahoma City Thunder (Fox Sports Oklahoma)
Orlando Magic (Fox Sports Florida)
Philadelphia 76ers (CSN Philly)
Phoenix Suns (Fox Sports Arizona)
Portland Trailblazers (CSN Northwest) *
Sacramento Kings (CSN California)
San Antonio Spurs (Fox Sports Southwest) **
Toronto Raptors (TSN and SportsNet) ***
Utah Jazz (AT&T SportsNet) ***
Washington Wizards (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
Atlanta Hawks (Fox Sports South)
Boston Celtics (CSN New England)
Brooklyn Nets (YES Network)
Charlotte Hornets (FOX Sports Carolinas)
Chicago Bulls (CSN Chicago)
Cleveland Cavaliers (FOX Sports Ohio)
Dallas Mavericks (FOX Sports Southwest)
Denver Nuggets (Altitude) ***
Detroit Pistons (FOX Sports Detroit)
Golden State Warriors (CSN Bay Area)
Houston Rockets (Root Sports) ***
Indiana Pacers (FOX Sports Indiana)
Los Angeles Clippers (Fox Sports West)
Los Angeles Lakers (Spectrum Sportsnet) ***
Memphis Grizzlies (Fox Sports Tennessee)
Miami Heat (Fox Sports Sun)
Milwaukee Bucks (Fox Sports Wisconsin)
Minnesota Timberwolves (Fox Sports North)
New Orleans Pelicans (Fox Sports New Orleans)
New York Knicks (MSG Network) ***
Oklahoma City Thunder (Fox Sports Oklahoma)
Orlando Magic (Fox Sports Florida)
Philadelphia 76ers (CSN Philly)
Phoenix Suns (Fox Sports Arizona)
Portland Trailblazers (CSN Northwest) *
Sacramento Kings (CSN California)
San Antonio Spurs (Fox Sports Southwest) **
Toronto Raptors (TSN and SportsNet) ***
Utah Jazz (AT&T SportsNet) ***
Washington Wizards (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
Playstation Vue (Core) DIRECTV NOW Sling TV (Blue) fuboTV Hulu Live TV
Watch Now Watch Now Watch Now Watch Now Watch Now
*Portland Trailblazers split their games between CSN Northwest and NBC affiliate KGW, which you can stream for free here and should be available in your streaming package
** San Antonio Spurs will stream 10 games over the CBS affiliated KENS, which you can stream for free here and should be available in your streaming package
*** Don’t panic! We’ve got pages that explain how to livestream the NBA teams that aren’t carried by the major streaming services. Just click the name of your team above to learn more.

We get it—that’s a big table. So how should it influence which streaming service you ultimately pick to watch the NBA online? We recommend following these steps:

  1. Find your team on the regional coverage table and see which streaming services carry the local channels you need.
  2. After that, check out the national coverage table above and make sure you’re getting all the national channels needed too.
  3. If you find a good match, scroll down to see some of the pros and cons for each streaming service.

Best Services to Livestream the NBA

Without further ado, let’s get into our rankings for best streaming services to watch the NBA online. The main factors that go into our rankings are price, channel coverage, and bonus features like cloud DVRs.

#1
$44.99/mo
(Core Package)
Playstation Vue offers over 70 channels with strong local and national coverage to watch as much NBA as you can.
$44.99/mo
(Core Package)
#2
$50/mo.
(Just Right)
DIRECTV NOW provides over 80 channels with strong local and national coverage along with channel variety.
$50/mo.
(Just Right)
#3
$45/mo.
(Orange + Blue + Sports Extra)
Sling TV offers over 70 channels with moderate local and strong national coverage along with tons of add-on options.
$45/mo.
(Orange + Blue + Sports Extra)
#4
$19.99/mo.*
(Premier)
fuboTV provides over 60 channels with strong local and moderate national coverage for a lower price.
$19.99/mo.*
(Premier)
#5
$39.99/mo.
(Limited Commercials)
Hulu Live TV offers over 50 channels with strong local and moderate national coverage along with on-demand content.
$39.99/mo.
(Limited Commercials)
*$39.99 after first two months

#1 PlayStation Vue: The most reliable way to livestream the NBA

Playstation Vue(Core Package)

Price:
$44.99/mo
Contract:
None

  • Provides most ways to watch the NBA
  • Fantastic streaming quality

What we like about it: Can stream on PlayStation consoles

Who it’s perfect for: Fans looking for the best package

Drawbacks: Not the cheapest option

PlayStation Vue is our top recommendation for watching the NBA online without cable. It may not be the cheapest option available, but it’s the best for our money.

PlayStation Vue Pricing and Plans

With PlayStation Vue, you’re just getting so much value for that $44.99 a month. We’re talking tons of channels, strong national and local coverage, and cloud DVR automatically included in your subscription.

In terms of plans, you’ll probably want to opt for the Core package. You’ll get the ESPN suite, TNT, NBATV, and tons of local coverage. That being said, double check the table above to make sure PlayStation Vue carries the local coverage you need to livestream the NBA.

You can always upgrade to two higher priced packages, but as a sports fan, there’s really no need–you’re getting the essential channels with the Core package.

Watching the NBA on PlayStation Vue

One of the things PlayStation Vue has going for it is an incredible user interface–which you can read about in detail via our review. Long story short, it’s an easy-to-use service that looks great and works well. As any sports fan knows, it’s nearly impossible to watch every game, which is why cloud DVR is a big deal for the modern NBA fan.

PlayStation Vue Device Compatibility

One of the best parts about PlayStation Vue is that it has some of the most compatible devices out there. PlayStation Vue has exclusive rights to stream on PlayStation consoles. So, if you’re a PlayStation owner, Vue is for you. However, if you’re an Xbox owner, and you’re dedicated to streaming on it alone, you’re out of luck.

Here’s a list of devices that are compatible with PlayStation Vue:

TV & Video Players:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku

Phones & Tablets:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Amazon Fire tablets
  • Android phones
  • Android tablets

Gaming Consoles:

  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation 4

Laptops & Computers:

  • Macs
  • PCs

You can even watch the NBA for free using the PlayStation Vue trial.

#2 DIRECTV NOW: The streaming package with the most variety

DIRECTV NOW(Just Right)

Price:
$50/mo.
Contract:
None

  • Channels for the NBA and much more
  • Quality for the price you pay

What we like about it: Tons of channels to choose from

Who it’s perfect for: NBA fans and general TV fans

Drawbacks: Most expensive option

Coming in second place for how to livestream the NBA is DIRECTV NOW. Altogether, it has an insane number of channels for not all that much money.

DIRECTV NOW Pricing and Plans

At first glance, $50 a month may sound like a lot, but if we do a little math and breakdown the price, it’s about 62 cents a month per channel. Granted, some of those channels you’ll probably never watch, but paying roughly 62 cents each for TNT, ABC, ESPN, and NBATV doesn’t sound too bad.

We recommend going with the “Just Right” package, which is the service’s best price for livestreaming the NBA. Along with getting your national channels covered, DIRECTV NOW supports the majority of local sports networks. Of course, double check the tables above to make sure that DIRECTV NOW provides local sports coverage for your team. While you’re double checking things, take another look at the DIRECTV NOW channel list. If the “Just Right” package is missing some of your favorite channels, you can always opt to upgrade your package.

Watching the NBA on DIRECTV NOW

Unfortunately, when it comes to features, DIRECTV NOW doesn’t boast much. The lack of cloud DVR is the biggest reason why it fell behind PlayStation Vue. If you’re going to watch the NBA on DIRECTV NOW, you’ll need to be watching it live, friend. That may not be a problem for many of you who enjoy live-tweeting the game, but for those of you on a tight schedule, lack of cloud DVR may be a deal breaker.

In terms of user experience, DIRECTV NOW is as good as any streaming service. You’ll find it’s easy to navigate from channel to channel and find what you’re looking for.

DIRECTV NOW Compatibility

DIRECTV NOW doesn’t stream on any video game consoles. If you stream via PlayStation or Xbox, you’ll be better off opting for a different streaming service. For those of you who don’t stream on console, here are your options:

TV & Video Players:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku

Phones & Tablets:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android phones

Gaming Consoles:

  • none

Laptops & Computers:

  • Macs (Safari)
  • PCs (Chrome)

Watch the NBA for free using the DIRECTV NOW free trial.

#3 Sling TV: Decent overall package to watch the NBA online

Sling TV(Orange + Blue + Sports Extra)

Price:
$45/mo.
Contract:
None

  • Great user experience and streaming quality
  • Lots of add-on options

What we like about it: Upgrade variety

Who it’s perfect for: Fans who love variety

Drawbacks: Missing some local coverage

Sling TV offers a similar price to PlayStation Vue, but it doesn’t offer nearly as much. Yes, you’ll get TNT, NBATV, and ESPN, but the local channel coverage won’t be as strong. That doesn’t mean Sling TV is all bad. You can check out our review of Sling TV to learn that the user experience is awesome and the quality of the stream is excellent.

Sling TV Pricing and Plans

Let’s explain the best package for watching the NBA online with Sling TV. Sling TV splits their channels into two separate packages: Blue and Orange–which is a problem for live streaming the NBA. For instance, ESPN channels are in the Orange package, except TNT is in the Blue package. You’ll need to pay for both packages for $40 a month to cover the national games.

And it doesn’t stop there. NBATV is not included in either Blue or Orange packages, so we’ll need to tack on another $10 a month for the Sports Extra package. All in all, it costs $50 a month to livestream the NBA using Sling TV.

Watching the NBA on Sling TV

The nice thing about paying for all those separate packages is that you’re getting a ton of interesting channels. Yes, you’ll get the essentials for watching the NBA, but you’ll also get great channels like the NFL Redzone, NHL network, and the Golf channel. The downside is that local sports coverage can be a bit spotty. Check out the table above to make sure Sling TV covers your local team.

We do like that Sling TV offers a ton of upgrade variety. You can add news channels, international channels, or movie channels for a few extra bucks every month. Take a look at the options and see what you think. Speaking of upgrades, you’ll notice that ABC (part of the Broadcast Extra package) costs you another $5 a month, which you’ll need to watch big marquee games like the ones on Christmas day.

Sling TV Device Compatibility

You’ll be able to stream the NBA using major devices except for PlayStation consoles. Here’s a list of what streaming devices are compatible with Sling TV:

TV & Video Players:

  • Apple TV
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Roku
  • Chromecast
  • Android TV
  • Xiaomi
  • Leeco
  • AirTV Player
  • ZTE
  • Channel Master
  • LG Webos

Phones & Tablets:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android phones
  • Android tablets
  • Amazon Fire tablets

Gaming Consoles:

  • Xbox One

Laptops & Computers:

  • Chrome
  • Windows 10
  • Macs running Lion 10.7 or higher

#4 fuboTV: The cheapest way to watch the NBA online

fuboTV(Premier)

Price:
$19.99/mo.*
Contract:
None

  • Super cheap for the first 2 months
  • Great coverage of all sports

What we like about it: Super cheap for the first two months

Perfect for: Fans of all sports

Drawbacks: No ESPN or TNT

Coming in at fourth for how to livestream the NBA is fuboTV. At heart, we wanted to rank fuboTV higher on the list because of its great price, but the brain reminds us that not carrying ESPN and TNT is a big deal. If it weren’t for the lack of ESPN and TNT, fuboTV would easily outrank Sling TV, and perhaps even outrank PlayStation Vue and DIRECTV NOW. For our money, $19.99 (even for two months), for local team coverage and access to NBA TV, beats out what Hulu Live TV is offering.

fuboTV Pricing and Plans

For new users, the first two months of fuboTV only cost $20 a month. That means you’ll be getting NBATV and lots of local coverage for just $20 a month. That’s pretty amazing. You’ll just need to live without watching games that air on ESPN. After those first two months, fuboTV costs $39.99 a month going forward.

Watching the NBA on fuboTV

When it comes to watching sports, fuboTV is a great choice—except when it comes to ESPN and TNT content. Check out their channel list to see what we’re talking about. The service does its best to make up for it with tons of soccer channels, the NFL network for football fans, and of course NBATV.

The best part about fuboTV is the price and local sports coverage. As you can see from the table above, fuboTV has a pretty strong local sports representation. If you’re a fan of a team that doesn’t get much NBA national coverage, then fuboTV might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Also worth noting, fuboTV comes with cloud DVR built into its price. With cloud DVR, you can watch games at your convenience instead of arranging your schedule around the NBA.

fuboTV Device Compatibility

fuboTV mostly covers its bases with device compatibility, with the biggest exception being video game consoles. Besides that, pretty much every other major streaming device works with fuboTV. Here’s a complete list:

TV & Video Players:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku

Phones & Tablets:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android phones
  • Android tablets

Gaming Consoles:

  • none

Laptops & Computers:

  • Macs
  • PCs

#5 Hulu Live TV: Watch the NBA online and binge-watch

Hulu Live TV(Limited Commercials)

Price:
$39.99/mo.
Contract:
None

  • Access to Hulu's streaming library
  • Watch live NBA and on-demand shows

What we like about it: Access to Hulu’s stream library

Perfect for: Fans who love the NBA and binge-watching

Drawbacks: No NBATV

Hulu Live TV may be last on our list, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right choice for you. The reason why it’s at the bottom of our list is because it doesn’t carry NBATV. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a huge NBA fan, and you’ll want NBATV.

Hulu Live TV Pricing and Plans

Hulu Live TV costs $39.99 a month, but ABC, ESPN, and TNT and plenty of other great channels are included in that package. You’ll just need to live with missing the games and programs that air on NBATV. Which, for an NBA junkie, can be a pretty hard ask.

Currently, Hulu Live TV only has one package, and there isn’t much in the way of upgrades. Meaning, there’s little to no channel customization. But keep in mind that a subscription to Hulu Live TV includes access to Hulu’s entire streaming library, which means you can watch the Los Angeles Lakers play the Washington Wizards and then binge-watch Brooklyn 99 or Seinfeld.

Watching the NBA on Hulu Live TV

Despite the notable exception of not carrying NBATV (yet), Hulu Live TV does everything else really well. It carries tons of local sports coverage, includes cloud DVR, and covers most of the national NBA games. But until Hulu Live TV adds NBATV to their channel lineup, we can’t, in good conscience, recommend it for livestreaming the NBA. Once they do, they’ll shoot up our list.

Hulu Live TV Device Compatibility

You can stream the NBA on Hulu Live TV using pretty much any device that isn’t a PlayStation console or Samsung device. Here’s a complete list of compatible devices:

TV & Video Players:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku

Phones & Tablets:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android phones
  • Android tablets

Gaming Consoles:

  • Xbox One
  • Xbox 360

Laptops & Computers:

  • Macs
  • PCs

If you want to give Hulu Live TV a try, you can stream the NBA for free with a free trial.

Wild Card: NBA League Pass

NBA League Pass(NBA League Pass)

Price:
$39.99/mo.
Contract:
None

  • Watch the entire NBA league

What we like about it: So much NBA to watch

Who it’s perfect for: NBA junkies

Drawbacks: Can’t watch your local team, or national games

NBA League Pass is basically designed for NBA fans who want to watch teams that don’t pertain to your area. For example, if you’re a Golden State Warriors fan in Chicago, NBA League Pass is exactly what you’re looking for. Likewise, if you’re a fan of the Golden State Warriors, and you live in the Bay Area, you won’t be able to watch the Warriors, but you will be able to watch the rest of the teams in the NBA.

NBA League Pass Pricing and Plans

NBA League Pass is broken down into three different packages.

The cheapest of the three—the NBA Team Pass—gives you access to only one team, and it’ll cost you $119.99 for the season, or $17.99 a month. This is perfect for the NBA fan who lives in a different city than the one team they really root for. You’ll be able to catch every game except those that air nationally on ESPN, TNT, or NBATV.

The second and most popular package is the NBA League Pass subscription that costs $199.99 for the whole season, or $28.99 a month. With this package, you can stream the local games for literally every team in the NBA (except the team that lives in your area).

The third and most expensive package, NBA League Pass Premium, gives you access to the local coverage of every team and even provides in-arena streaming. Instead of watching commercials, the stream stays in the arena so you can watch the huddles and fan events. You’ll need to decide if the in-arena stream is worth the $249.99 for the season, or $39.99 a month.

Watching the NBA Online on NBA League Pass

When it comes to watching the NBA with League Pass, it’s important to understand blackouts. We briefly mentioned it in the previous section, but just to reiterate, you can’t watch your local NBA team using any NBA League Pass package. It’s kind of ironic, but that’s the truth of the matter

When you’re not blacked out, watching the NBA on League Pass is pretty amazing. You can pause, rewind, and watch replays of games. There’s tons of supplementary content like highlights and game breakdowns. It’s really an NBA junkie’s dream.

Wild Card: Cable

The irony of this recommendation is not lost on us, so we won’t spend long here.

Our focus is to help you cut the cord and find the best deals to watch your favorite shows, but in this case, we’re going to cheat a tiny bit. The fact of the matter is, for some of you, cable might be your only option. For example, consider the Lakers fans out there. If you’re a Lakers fan, and you live in the Los Angeles area, cable is your only choice for local games. You’ll be blacked out with NBA League Pass, and none of the streaming services pick up Spectrum Sports Net. Thankfully, this won’t be the case for most of you.

But if you’re one of the unlucky ones who have no choice but to opt for cable, check out our top recommendations so you can watch the NBA with the least amount of hassle.

International NBA Live Stream Information

Watch NBA Online without Blackouts with NBA League Pass International

If you live outside of the United States, you can subscribe to NBA League Pass International for the best NBA live stream experience. The international version of this service is very similar to the standard domestic version described above, with one big difference: the international version does not have blackouts. So, unlike the domestic version, subscribers to League Pass International will be able to watch live games from every single NBA team, all season long.

The exact price and content available can vary depending on which country you live in. Typically, the prices are about the same as the domestic version, but International does offer a better value since there aren’t blackouts. Here are some links to a few popular International League Pass pages:

Use a VPN to Watch NBA Games Live from Outside the US

If you live outside the US and are unable to access some of the best NBA streaming services, there is an alternative. You can use a VPN to access NBA live stream from your computer.

Who’s Your Pick Going to Be?

Whether you’re a diehard fan of a certain team or a general NBA fan, there’s tons of options out there. Make sure to double check the tables above and confirm that your streaming service of choice covers your local channels as well as national ones.

Most importantly, enjoy the NBA season. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.