How to watch NESN without cable
For years, New England sports fans were at the mercy of cable companies overcharging them to watch the Boston Redsox or the Bruins. It’s hard to enjoy the game when you know you have an expensive cable bill looming over you. Thankfully, the rise of streaming services has removed the stranglehold that Comcast, Spectrum, and other cable companies had over Boston sports fans.
You can now stream NESN live to your TV or mobile device for a fraction of what you’re paying for cable. Not only that, but these services are contract free and don’t have any excessive hardware rentals.
This article will outline the three best ways to stream NESN without cable including fuboTV, YouTube TV, and
PlayStation Vue (NESN and Sony could not come to an agreement on pricing and NESN is no longer available on PlayStation Vue) to help you start enjoying the game without emptying your wallet.
What do I need to stream NESN?
You still need internet
NESN is available through the few different streaming services that we mentioned above. If you’ve never used a live TV streaming service before, they’re similar to Netflix or Hulu, but offer live TV channels instead of on-demand content. Each service is different due to varying channel lineups and package options, but they all work the same way.
Streaming services use your internet connection in order to stream the same live TV channels that you’d get with cable. What this means is you can stop paying for cable, but you still need to pay for internet.
You’ve probably heard that you’re getting a discount on internet due to a “bundle deal”, but that’s nothing more than a marketing tactic by cable companies. Standalone internet is not only much cheaper than bundle deals, you typically get faster speeds.
Since cable companies want you to keep spending extra money on their services, they don’t make their cheap standalone internet packages easy to find. Thankfully, there are a lot of really great (free!) tools online that can help. If you’re interested in seeing some of these free tools in action, we’ve written a guide to find cheaper internet providers at your location that outlines some of our favorites.
You need a streaming device
Besides paying for the service itself and an internet connection, the only other thing you might need is hardware. If you have a newer Smart TV, it’s worth checking to see if you can download your chosen streaming service’s app before you buy additional hardware. If the app isn’t available or your don’t own a Smart TV, you’ll probably need a streaming device.
Streaming devices are basically small computers that plug into your TV and allow you to download apps that play your content. While almost all streaming services can be played on your phone, watching the New England Patriots with your friends on a 4″ screen isn’t really a great idea. You’ll need one device for each TV you plan to watch NESN on.
We typically recommend a Roku brand streaming device for new and veteran cord cutters alike. Roku is a huge name in the streaming industry and is incredibly powerful, simple, and cost effective. Another benefit of watching NESN on your Roku is that it’s compatible with almost all of the major streaming services in case you switch in the future.
If you already have a different device, or if you’d like to weigh other options, we’ll make sure to put a list of compatible devices at the bottom of each service’s outline in this article.
Stream NESN on fuboTV without cable
There are pretty large overlaps between streaming services, but they all have something that sets them apart from the group. For example, fuboTV positions itself as the premier sports platform for cord cutters. Contrary to Philo TV‘s no-sports stance, fuboTV tries to include as many sports networks as possible.
For New England sports fans, fuboTV offers a lot of content. You’ll get CBS-WBZ, FOX 25, NECN, NBC Boston, NBC Sports Boston, and NBCSN in addition to NESN and NESN Plus included in their cheapest package.
Their smallest package, just called fubo, is $39.99 for the first month and $44.99 each month after that. Although it might seem expensive for sports, fuboTV isn’t a sports-only network. You’ll get A&E, Food Network, HGTV, USA, and plenty of other popular cable channels that the non-sports fanatics in your home can enjoy.
Keep in mind that these are not a watered down version of the cable channels. FuboTV is meant as a complete replacement for cable. $44.99 doesn’t look nearly as expensive when you figure out how much more than that you were spending on your cable bill!
The image below shows the current fuboTV channel lineup for our Boston location. Please note that local stations are location dependent and you should visit the fuboTV site for yourself to confirm their availability near you.
As important as it is to note the sports stations that fuboTV includes, there are some major sports stations that it’s missing. FuboTV DOES NOT include the ESPN stations. If missing out on ESPN content like Monday Night Football is a gamebreaker for you, fuboTV might not be the best option. However, ESPN+ was recently released and could be subscribed to in conjunction with fubo.
FuboTV also offers additional add-on packages that will give you extra channels for a little bit more money per month. If you’re a big soccer fan, you can add the International Sports Plus package to get FOX Soccer plus and 3 other channels for only $5.99 a month. For football fans, you can grab the Sports Plus package for $8.99 and get NFL RedZone, the PAC12 Networks, FOX College Sports, and a total of 21 channels.
These small packages allow fuboTV to keep their base package cheaper and adds extra flexibility for subscribers. You can see fuboTV’s other add-on package including NBA League Pass and SHOWTIME here.
FuboTV is compatible with the following devices:
- Android Phone
- Android Tablet
- Apple iPad
- Apple iPhone
- Android Tv
- Smart TV (Select Models)
- Apple TV
- Fire Stick
Watch NESN on YouTube TV
NESN has recently become available on YouTube TV. If you’re familiar with the internet then you’ve probably heard of YouTube. But you might not be aware that YouTube also has a paid service that offers live TV for a monthly fee.
Update: As of March 13, 2018 YouTube TV costs $40 a month instead of $35. They added a few additional channels to help offset the cost and it’s still the cheapest option for NESN without cable. Subscribers who bought in a $35 a month will be locked into the lower rate.
YouTube TV comes with about 60 channels on top of NESN. Since YouTube TV offers a lot of local stations, it’s important to check the current channel lineup for yourself to make sure it’s accurate for your location. The image below shows the current channel lineup for our Boston office.
As you can see from the Boston channel lineup, YouTube TV is a great option for sports fans. With most of the major local networks, the ESPN channels, Regional Sports Networks, and even the Olympic channel, you shouldn’t miss many games with YouTube TV. In fact, YouTube TV also earned a spot as one of the best ways to watch the NFL without cable if you’re a football fan.
It’s fantastic channel lineup for sports fans aside, YouTube TV is best known for its legendary DVR. Being owned by Google and stemming from the largest video library in the world has its perks. YouTube TV offers a free cloud DVR service included in your monthly price and allows you to record an unlimited amount of content. With unlimited storage it’s easy to record everything and anything you could possibly want to watch. Sports aren’t typically the most recorded programs, but the ability to record everything you want is a great plus.
YouTube TV is available on the following devices:
- Android Phone
- Android Tablet
- Apple iPad
- Apple iPhone
- Android Tv
- Smart TV (Select Models)
- Xbox One
Another benefit of YouTube TV is its reliability. YouTube is the leading provider of on-demand content in the world and handles enormous amounts of data every day. Unless an apocalyptic event takes down the internet itself, you won’t have to worry about YouTube TV being down. The company’s size and longevity also means there’s a lot of resources available online if you need support. If you can’t find the answer to your issue online, their customer support is there to help.
The price of YouTube TV might have increased, but the added channels also help sports fans. With the addition of major Turner networks like TNT and CNN, it’s easy to look passed the $5 price increase. Although it’s a bit more expensive than it was, it’s still a lot cheaper than most people’s cable bill.
Watch NESN with PlayStation Vue
As of May 2019, Sony could not come to an agreement with NESN for pricing to include the channel in their package options. NESN is no longer available on PlayStation Vue. If Sony and NESN come to an agreement in the future, we’ll make sure to re-update this post.
Can I use NESNgo?
NESN released a website and an app for live streaming in early 2017. The NESNgo app is available through Google Play or the App Store and the website can be found at NESNgo.com. The fact that they released NESNgo shows NESN’s intention to improve the live streaming experience for New England sports. However, due to license issues and contracts, the service is still behind a paywall.
In order to use NESNgo you’ll have to log in with your cable service provider. Even though you can watch the Red Sox or the Bruins on your mobile device, you’ll still be tethered to a cable subscription. The current service providers that allow you to log into NESNgo are:
- Atlantic Broadband
- Cox Communications
- Full Channel
- Verizon Fios
- Waitsfield Cable
It’s important to note that there is an additional services that let you log into NESNgo that we left off the list; PlayStation Vue. PlayStation Vue accounts are accepted to login to NESNgo the same way as a cable subscription. The NESNgo app and website can be useful, but you’re typically better off using the native PlayStation Vue app. The content is the same, but the NESN stream is a little less polished and more buggy than the alternative.
NESNgo is quite useful for people who currently have a cable subscription, but isn’t the best solution for those who want to watch it for cheap.