How to Watch the 2018 NBA Playoffs Without a Cable Subscription
With the NBA regular season coming to a close in the next couple of weeks, it’s time to start preparing ourselves for another fantastic postseason. Starting on Saturday, April 14, the league’s 16 best teams will vie for the 2018 NBA Championship. With how entertaining–and tight-knit–the playoff races in both conferences have been this season, you won’t want to miss a minute of action once the playoffs begin.
If you’re someone who’s cut the cord and no longer deals with a cable subscription, let us tell you how you can watch every game of this year’s playoffs.
For the 2018 playoffs, television coverage revolves around three channels. Every game will be televised on either ESPN, ABC, TNT, or NBA TV. Most games prior to the conference finals will air on ESPN or ABC but expect the occasional game on TNT or NBA TV. Also of note is that the Western Conference Finals will air on TNT in the middle of May, while the East Finals will air exclusively on ESPN.
We often talk about Sling TV as being the best option for watching sporting events without a cable subscription. For the NBA playoffs, we’d definitely recommend giving it a shot. However, there are some caveats.
If all you’re looking for is access to the three channels that will show playoff games this year, then you’ll be able to get away with the $20/month package. It includes the ESPN channels as well as TNT. But no matter what package you get, you’ll have to add the $5/month “Broadcast” package in order to access ABC as well as the $5/month “Sports Extra” package for NBA TV. $30 per month is still a wonderful deal and you can, of course, cancel at any time.
Try YouTube TV
Available in most cities throughout the country, YouTube TV is a lot like Sling TV, just with a few differences. The YouTube TV packages start at $40/month for base services without premium add-ons like Showtime or HBO. While it obviously won’t get you through the entire NBA playoffs, you can get a free, seven-day trial that you can cancel before your credit card is charged. YouTube TV offers access to ESPN, ABC, TNT, and NBA TV, meaning that you’ll never miss a minute of the action.
NOTE: YouTube TV offers access to all the broadcast networks, not just CBS. This is a big deal if you’re interested in keeping the service after the playoffs end, as the other streaming services don’t offer access to all of the “Big Four” networks in every region. However, you’ll want to check to make sure that your area offers access to the broadcast channels (ABC, specifically), as some cities won’t allow you to stream it.
Hulu with Live TV
Similar to YouTube TV, Hulu now offers live streaming television. The service offers access to ESPN, ABC, and TNT which means it’s another perfect platform for watching the 2018 NBA Playoffs. However, it doesn’t offer NBA TV as part of its channel lineup, so you may miss a game or two in the early rounds.
Hulu with Live TV costs $39.99 per month for the base package, which includes those channels. And just like with the other services, you can get free access for up to a week as long as you’ve never signed up for the live TV package in the past. This offer should work for current Hulu subscribers, as long as you’ve never had the Live TV option associated with your account.
Forget streaming–wanna’ go see the NBA playoffs in person? Shop tickets here.