Hockey season is almost here! Are you ready to catch all of the action as a cord cutter? Keeping up with hockey without cable isn’t as hard as it used to be, and you have lots of options if you want to enjoy some on-ice action without having to pay a hefty cable bill. Our complete guide below is up to date for the 2016-17 season, so give it a read and get ready to watch!
How to Watch NHL Games Online, Over the Air, and More
NHL.TV is the NHL’s league-wide streaming service. It works in much the same way as MLB.TV or NBA League Pass: you’ll get live home and away broadcasts for all out-of-market regular season games. If you want to root for your local team or watch a national broadcast (like the ones on NBC Sports), you’re out of luck, but NHL.TV is a great solution for fans living outside of their favorite team’s local market. NHL.TV was previously known as NHL GameCenter LIVE (catchy name!), so this is the same product, just rebranded. You can read our review of NHL.TV here (we reviewed it back when it was still going by the old name).
NBC owns the rights to national NHL broadcasts, but they air most games on their NBC Sports channel rather than the flagship station. That means that OTA will only get you limited regular season coverage. Thankfully, OTT has you covered for the rest. Sling TV makes NBC Sports available through a base package, so you can get Wednesday Night Rivalry games and some playoff games for far less than you’d pay your cable company. Sling TV also includes some regional FOX Sports Networks, which could give you access to your home team’s local broadcasts, depending on where you live. You can test out Sling TV with their free trial – time it right to get some great games without paying! You can read our full review of Sling TV here.
Like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue is an OTT skinny bundle. It includes NBC Sports as well, making it a worthy option for NHL fans who want to catch those weekly national broadcasts and some key playoff games. PlayStation Vue has a free trial of its own, so be sure to check that out if you want to catch a key regular-season matchup or enjoy some free playoff coverage. You can read our review of PlayStation Vue here, and you can see how it measures up to rival Sling TV here.
DIRECTV NOW is the newest of the three major skinny bundle services, and it works in much the same way as Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. Like its competitors, DIRECTV NOW gives you a way to access NBC Sports without paying high cable bills. Some areas will get regional sports network broadcasts as well, which is ideal for fans of a local NHL team. You can check out our full review of DIRECTV NOW here, and sign up for a DIRECTV NOW free trial here.
NBC has the rights to the NHL’s national broadcasts. For the most part, they keep those broadcasts on NBC Sports, but the games that do find their way over the NBC’s flagship station are a big deal. NBC airs playoff games and Stanley Cup Finals games, among others, so it’s worth investing in an antenna if you’re an NHL fan. It’s very likely that a good antenna will get you NBC broadcasts for free over the air, though availability will depend on where you live.
The NHL is a little looser with its radio restrictions than other leagues. While you’ll have to pay a subscription fee to stream, for instance, MLB radio broadcasts online, NHL radio broadcasts are often available for free online. If you’re in your favorite team’s market, of course, those same broadcasts will be available over the air. NHL coverage is also available on satellite radio.
NBC Sports App
This isn’t a true cord cutting option, because NBC still requires a cable login for NBC Sports streams. Still, it’s worth mentioning that a pay TV login will give you access to NBC Sports broadcasts on the go or on a streaming box. This is an option for password sharers or skinny bundle subscribers.
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