How to Watch Live TV on Fire TV

How to Watch Live TV on Fire TV

Amazon’s Fire TV is one of our favorite streaming boxes, and like all great streaming boxes, it makes cutting out cable a whole lot easier. That’s because the Fire TV can act as a hub for all kinds of streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, and more. But on-demand content alone isn’t enough to replace cable – after all, cable is all about live TV. Can your Fire TV be a path to the same kind of live network channels that the legacy pay TV giants? Well, hey, I wouldn’t be writing this article if it couldn’t. Here are the best ways to watch live television on your Fire TV (you can check out our similar piece on Roku here).

How to Watch Live TV on Fire TV

The best replacement for live cable TV is live streaming TV. And when we say “live streaming TV,” we’re talking, for the most part, about skinny bundles.

Skinny bundles are a relatively new type of streaming service that aim to beat cable and satellite services at their own game. Skinny bundles offer the same live network channels that cable does, but they charge you less because they cut out the fat, allow you pay only for the channels you want, and deliver your content “over the top” instead of through cable. Once a fairly small part of the cord cutting economy, skinny bundles are everywhere now. We’ll start this list by meeting the best skinny bundles that you can use to watch live TV on Fire TV, and then we’ll move right on into other options, including ways to watch over-the-air TV on Fire TV and other non-skinny bundle solutions.

Hulu with Live TV

Watch live TV on Fire TV: Hulu with Live TV

Hulu, of course, has long been known for its streaming video on demand (SVOD) service, which competes with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. But Hulu also has a skinny bundle service called Hulu with Live TV. This one keeps things simple by just offering one package for $39.99 a month. The only add-ons available are premium channels. Here’s our review of the service. You can test out Hulu with Live TV on your Fire TV device by clicking the link below, signing up for Hulu with Live TV’s free trial offer, and then logging into your Hulu account on your Fire TV.

Try Hulu with Live TV for free

Philo

Watch live TV on Fire TV without cable: Philo

Philo is a skinny bundle that was built with affordability in mind. You won’t get local channels or sports channels on Philo, but those omissions allow the service to charge a stunningly affordable $16-per-month subscription fee. A larger bundle option can up that to a still-amazing $20 per month. You can test out Philo for free by clicking the link below — the service offers a one-week free trial.

Try Philo for free

Sling TV

Watch live TV on Fire TV: Sling TV

Sling TV is an intuitive and solid service, and it can cost as little as $25 per month, depending on which base package you choose. Once you have your base package, Sling TV allows you to tack on “add-on” packages, which are low-priced mini-bundles that are sorted by category. The result is a more customized, à la carte skinny bundle experience. Sling TV is Dish’s entry into the skinny bundle market, and it’s been widely available on multiple platforms for longer than any other service on this list. You can test out Sling TV for yourself by clicking on the link below and signing up for the service’s free trial offer.

Try Sling TV for free

fuboTV

fuboTV

fuboTV used to be a soccer-only skinny bundle, but that’s ancient history now: these days, it competes a bit more generally with the others in the skinny bundle space. fuboTV still has a definite sports bent, but it also has channels for news, entertainment, movies, and more. fuboTV’s two base bundles are “fubo” ($44.99 per month) and “fubo Extra” ($49.99 per month — fubo Extra has more channels than fubo, as you may have guessed), and some add-ons are available, too. Check out our full review of the service here. Sign up for fuboTV’s free trial offer via the link below.

Try fuboTV for free

PlayStation Vue

Watch live TV on Fire TV: PlayStation Vue

Sony’s live TV streaming service is a great way to watch live TV on Fire TV without cable. PlayStation Vue offers tiered bundle options, with the cheapest and smallest being Access ($44.99 per month). And yes, despite the fact that it shares its branding with Sony’s gaming console, this app will work just fine on Fire TV. Read our review of PlayStation Vue here, or sign up for the service’s five-day free trial offer by clicking the link below.

Try PlayStation Vue for free

DirecTV Now

DIRECTV NOW

DirecTV Now is a skinny bundle, though you might recognize its branding from a certain legacy pay TV service. Hey, that’s okay – it just goes to show that even the old-school companies are seeing just how important these skinny bundles are. You can get DirecTV Now for as little as $40 per month, but you can choose to pay more for one of several larger channel bundles if you so desire. DirecTV Now also offers a week-long free trial.

Try DirecTV Now for free

Over-the-Air Broadcasts

Watch live TV on Fire TV: OTA

There’s no way to hook up an antenna to your Fire TV. But does that mean you can’t watch free over-the-air TV on your Fire TV? Happily, it does not. There are ways to convert your over-the-air content into streaming content and then watch live OTA TV on Fire TV. One way is to combine your antenna with a PC TV tuner and a computer running the media server app Plex. From there, you can access your over-the-air TV through Plex on devices that support the feature – including Fire TV. Another option is to use a OTA DVR. Tablo, for instance, has an app for Fire TV that makes it easy to stream recorded and live content from your Tablo (which must be connected to an antenna, of course).

Check out free over-the-air TV, Plex, and Tablo

CBS All Access

Watch live TV on Fire TV: CBS All Access

CBS All Access is a subscription streaming service that covers just one channel (CBS, of course). CBS’s direct-to-consumer OTT solution includes both on-demand content and – in some regions – live streams. Check to see if your area gets live streaming here. CBS All Access will set you back $5.99/month. You can opt to pay $9.99/month for a version without ads in the on-demand content, but remember that the live CBS stream will have ads regardless.

Try CBS All Access for free

NewsON

Watch live TV on Fire TV: NewsON

NewsON is a live TV streaming service that’s entirely focused on local news. It’s designed to automatically connect you to the nearest participating station and to stream live news from that station to your TV. It can be hit or miss depending on how many of your local news stations are on board, but the good news is that it’s free and replicates the live local news viewing experience pretty well.

Check out NewsON

Sports League Streaming Apps

Watch live TV on Fire TV: sports streaming apps

Want live sports? America’s major leagues have you covered with their OTT services. You can subscribe directly and watch live baseball, basketball, and hockey on your Fire TV. Local and national blackouts apply in most cases (the exception is MLS Live), but for out-of-market fans, the league streaming services are a godsend. Read our review of MLB.TV here and our review of NHL GameCenter LIVE – now NHL.TV – here.

Check out MLB.TV, MLS Live (now available as part of ESPN+), NBA League Pass, and NHL.TV

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About the Author

Tyler Stample
Tyler Stample
Tyler Stample is managing partner of Cordcutting.com. He enjoys testing the latest and greatest wireless technologies with the ultimate goal of not having any wires in his life.

28 Comments on "How to Watch Live TV on Fire TV"

  1. Michael Hamrick | October 8, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Reply

    I’m new to Roku. I’m still learning about all the devices out there. Is Amazon better than Roku? Which is the best device? I am happy with Roku, however, I’m curious about the other devices.

  2. Michael,

    I’m already an Amazon Prime member, so I had not problem picking up a few Fire TV boxes (not stick) and enjoy the content that comes with the membership. The frame rate is noticeably different when watching PS Vue, and the response time switching between menus is faster. If you’re not an Amazon Prime member and it does not interest you, then Roku is certainly a great alternative, but given “my” situation I like Amazon over Roku. To be fair I’m comparing the stick, not the new box Roku just released. Hope this helps.

  3. I use PlayStation Vue. My non-techie wife loves it. It allows five devices while the others are more limited, and that’s a big deal with kids in the house.

  4. The Fire Stick doesn’t seem to work with Time Warner Spectrum.

  5. Can I use any of these devices in Canada?

  6. Penelope Morton | July 20, 2017 at 6:31 am | Reply

    Can you use the Amazon Fire TV Stick in Australia?

  7. Don’t like cc that can not be disabled. Why would they make a format like this? Makes no sense to not be able to turn this feature off. Will cancel service of CBS All Access soon.

  8. Tried both PS Vue and DirecTV Now. The clear winner is PS Vue. No buffering on PS Vue during prime time hours. DirecTV Now buffered every night while watching NBA games on TNT, ESPN and NBA TV. I had both subscriptions active and would go back and forth between Vue and DTVN just to see if Vue had the buffering issues. It did not. Until DTVN gets their servers upgraded, go with Vue. Plus Vue has cloud DVR.

  9. I have TiVo for recording shows. How does Amazon Fire and DirecTV Now work with TiVo?

  10. I LOVE NEWS!!! I would have never purchased or installed a Fire Stick if I would have known that I would have NO NEWS! To me, that’s just crazy! I don’t want to READ news, even online. I want to SEE news — all networks plus CNN, Headline News, Fox News, etc., etc. I want to be able to tune in to real-time news sources from different perspectives at ANY time.

    PLUS, as a medical professional, I enjoy watching network medical dramas, especially “The Good Doctor.” I will now have to PAY for each episode with the Amazon Fire Stick!!! Is there any solution? Does anyone have a remedy?

    • You need to get Hulu. Episodes of most prime-time shows, including the medical shows, are on Hulu the day after they air on live TV.

    • This guy has no idea what he is talking about. He says there is not way to connect an antenna to the Fire TV when you absolutely can hook up an antenna, Amazon even sells the Fire TV and antenna bundle for people to set it all up easily. So yes you can get live news feeds via the Fire stick or box and antenna. Also, there are several “free” news channel apps that you can download or sideload.

      • Cordcutting.com | March 12, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Reply

        Ron,

        According to Amazon’s description: “Just connect the AmazonBasics HD Antenna directly to your TV.” So, yes, you can connect the antenna to your TV, but not to your Fire TV.

  11. Does using the Fire Stick cost monthly fees even if you have Prime?

    • No, the Fire Stick has no monthly fees. You don’t even have to have Prime to use it. Prime is just nice for streaming the TV and movies that are offered to its subscribers. You can still download other apps like Netflix, Pandora, Hulu, etc.

  12. Joni Blankenheim | January 8, 2018 at 11:46 pm | Reply

    We have a Fire TV box and absolutely love it. You have to get use to it. I also have the Amazon Fire tablet, which I can use w/Fire TV as a remote, and Alexa also comes with the tablet. We have an outdoor antenna which came with a box to hook up to the Fire TV box, and a remote to turn the antenna. We get 24 HD channels and local TV. We had to purchase a cord to go from the antenna to the Fire TV box. We have Sling TV for 20.00 a month and Netflix. We have Amazon Prime also. We paid a one time fee of $79.99 for the Fire TV box. We have been using it for a year now and will never go back to $160.00 a month cable bill.

  13. Hi,

    I don’t understand a lot of all this. I got an Amazon Fire Stick, and I want to watch cable channels, but I don’t know how. I have a smart TV. We plugged the stick, we already subscribe to Netflix, but I looked for a movie that is free on Netflix, and here we had to pay if we wanted to watch it. I wonder if with the stick you do not have to pay monthly fees for Netflix or Hulu, etc.? Does the stick make a non-smart TV smart? I was told I could watch everything. If I have to pay, what’s the point? Sorry but can someone explain me easily?

    • The Fire TV Stick makes a non-smart TV smart, and makes a smart TV smart in a different way. So, you have Netflix, and you need to sign onto Netflix to use it. Your Fire Stick does not know you have Netflix until you tell it you have Netflix. You will need to download the Netflix app in the apps section (unless it is already downloaded under the “your apps” section). Open up that app. Program your Netflix account information into that app on the Fire Stick. Then enter that Netflix app and watch Netflix. You will need to open the Netflix app each time you want to watch Netflix on your Fire Stick (you don’t have to enter your account info anymore, just the first time). You will need to do the same thing for any “non-Amazon” app you download, ie., Hulu, CBS All Access, or any subscription service (like Netflix) you download. All of the stuff you see when you fist turn on the Fire Stick, is the Amazon stuff (hence “Amazon” Fire Stick), and Amazon has some stuff that is free (if you pay for Amazon Prime, $99.00 a year) and some stuff that you need to pay for (just like the “pay on demand” with cable companies, for newer movies that you rent through “pay on demand”). It sounds like you turned on the Fire Stick and went to the movie you wanted to watch (under Amazons selections), and did not go to the Netflix app first and turn on Netflix, and then look up that movie while in Netflix. That movie was not free under Amazon, but was under Netflix. Amazon also has movies that are free, that Netflix does not have. That is why they are competing companies. You can “access” Netflix through the Fire Stick (and Hulu and all the other subscription services), just like you can “access” Netflix and Amazon Prime through a Roku stick, but you need to sign in to those features first. Hope that kind of helps.

  14. For those stating that they are not sure how a Fire Stick works; to put it simply, it’s a way to connect your TV to the internet. I suggest you watch a few YouTube videos to find out how to download apps that will allow to watch TV and movies for free. There are also services that are less expensive then cable that have live TV you may stream. We subscribe to Sling TV and use apps like Terrarium TV and several of the major network apps. We still pay but much, much less then we used to and we get a lot more options.

  15. Why is there no mention of the fact that Sling service does not provide 100% of the content on a channel offering, like TCM for example. Sling will not stream to you 100% of TCMs content. But they don’t bother to warn you of this fact when you subscribe, nor warn you in advance of its eminent occurrence. They will just block a movie. And you’re SOL. Nice customer service. Includes no refunds.

  16. Sling is the worst.

  17. I have Apple TV via which I get Netflix, movies and TV channels. The last two need to pay for per item. I use the Clearview antenna which in Oakville gets me PBS clearly, City occasionally and National. How can I access sports channels for tennis, golf, hockey and cricket?

  18. James Schoening | May 18, 2018 at 5:28 am | Reply

    Where do you find the 6 digit code that EPIX wants to activate the Fire Stick?

  19. Cyd Merrick | May 18, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Reply

    Can I get live tv with my Fire Stick? What about local stations?

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