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If you’re a political junkie, you may not be able to give up C-SPAN — not even if you really want to save money by cutting cable or satellite. Here’s the good news: You don’t have to. There are legal live TV streaming services that will let you watch familiar channels on the streaming device of your choice, whether that’s a Roku, laptop computer, iOS mobile device, or any other streaming-capable tech. Among these services, you’ll be able to choose an option that includes C-SPAN. Below, you’ll find out how to take advantage of a skinny bundle service and put a legal C-SPAN livestream on your big or small screen. Here’s how to watch C-SPAN without cable.

Here is our favorite way to stream C-SPAN:

  Price Channels Free Trial  
$69.99 – $139.99 65+ None

See Offer

How to Watch C-SPAN Online Without Cable

C-SPAN is a tough channel to track down! Since we first published this piece, one skinny bundle carrying C-SPAN stopped doing so, and then started again — while also changing its name. You don’t have a ton of options for streaming C-SPAN without cable, but we’re thrilled you have at least one.

You can technically stream C-SPAN on the network’s website, but that option requires you to log in with your cable or satellite credentials. That gets a big “boo” from us, even though booing is probably frowned upon in the kind of congressional hearings you can view on C-SPAN. We keep our How to Watch lists strictly to cord-cutting options, so we skip over websites and apps that require cable logins.

Stream C-SPAN for free with DIRECTV Stream

See Offers

DIRECTV Stream has gone through many name changes (its most recent moniker was AT&T TV), but it's still the best way to watch C-SPAN without cable. Check out our DIRECTV Stream review to learn more about the only live TV streaming service that lets you do that.

Can I Watch C-SPAN on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast?

We won’t sugarcoat it: You don’t have a lot of options for watching C-SPAN online. But if you’ll allow us to put on our best State of the Union voice for a minute, the state of the platform support is strong (pauses for applause). My fellow Americans, it’s true: You can watch C-SPAN on a wide range of platforms and devices. Some people will prefer to watch it on their biggest TV at home, while others will want to watch it on their iPhone while commuting to and from work. Both options are equally valid, as you’ll see on the chart below.

Roku Fire TV Apple TV Android TV Chromecast iOS Android Web browser
DIRECTV Stream Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes

More to Watch for C-SPAN Fans

C-SPAN lets you watch important events without added commentary. A lot of people appreciate watching things like congressional hearings without having to worry about talking heads constantly interrupting each other. Sometimes it’s nice to have a little more context for what you’re watching on C-SPAN, though, so you may want to switch to a cable news network.

There are three big ones that appeal to different demographics: CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. Fox News often fares best in ratings, but cable news ratings in general are down compared to 2020. That may be because 2020 was both a hotly contested presidential election year and the year everything shut down for a pandemic.

To get news from anchors such as Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer, check out How to Watch CNN Without Cable. If you prefer to tune in to personalities such as Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, refer to How to Watch Fox News Without Cable. And if Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes are more your style, click over to our guide to watching MSNBC without cable.

38 thoughts on “How to Watch C-SPAN Without Cable

  1. MARY says:

    I thought C-Span was the networks “pennance” for getting to monopolize the airwaves…how come they are not required to offer it in every bundle?

    1. William says:

      I don’t know if anyone’s required to carry it, but what they always say is “C-SPAN is a public service created by the American Cable Television Industry”. The streaming services aren’t “cable”, and they aren’t local monopolies — they operate in a competitive environment. That’s mostly a good thing, but it also means they’re not subject to the regulations that create public access channels, etc.

      1. Ray says:

        I believe Mary meant “how come [cable systems] are not required to offer it in every bundle?”, not streaming services.

    2. joe friday says:

      Great point

  2. See-Saw Sam says:

    Minor correction, C-Span is NOT available on Amazon Fire TV or Roku. I have both and upon searching I could not find any apps for C-Span, I contacted Amazon and Roku and they both confirmed that there is currently no C-Span app for their service

    1. Craig says:

      Maybe the above article is not as clear as it could be, but it’s saying you can use the YouTube app on any platform, including Fire TV (I assume it’s available) and Roku (definitely), and then you can watch the events that C-Span live streams.

    2. FRANK WILSON says:

      Actuslly, if you already have the AT&T TV app on your Roku, it contunues to work fine. You just can’t install it since 1/1/20.

      Fram att.com: “Starting January 1, 2020, you won’t be able to add the AT&T TV channel to your Roku device. Already have AT&T TV on your Roku device? You can keep using it as long as you don’t delete the app. We’re actively working on a new agreement with Roku and hope to resolve this soon.”

      1. Jeanne says:

        Please hurry, too much going on to not be able to watch CSpan.

    3. Anonymous says:

      thank you!

    4. Susan P says:

      I also have Amazon Fire and wanted C-SPAN. The YouTube app is FREE to download on Amazon Fire. Then you can access C-SPAN through YouTube. I downloaded it today and it works beautifully.

    5. Susan P says:

      Download the free YouTube app on your Amazon Fire. You can then access C-SPAN through YouTube. I have Amazon Fire and downloaded it earlier today. It works beautifully.

  3. Shama Carolyn says:

    I have C-SPAN saved on my laptop and stream all3 C-SPAN channels to my tvvia an hdmi conbection

    1. John Gonzales says:

      That’s great info. Could you please explain how to do that. I have a MacBook, an hdmi cable and a smart tv. Now….how do I get to streaming C-Span? Thanks!

      1. Glen Gilbert says:

        Ditto! How? Please share. Thank you.

    2. Phyllis says:

      What browser do you use?

    3. Jessica Haines says:

      when I go to C-SPAN. Org on my smartphone it says I need to enter my television provider information in order to stream. I don’t have a television provider LOL.

      right now I use DirecTV but their prices have been going up steadily over the past two years. I have the basic patch package and HBO and it’s 60 bucks a month. Omph.

      1. RRiggs says:

        There’s no LOL – if people don’t pay for cable, then C-SPAN will eventually disappear – no revenue, no C-SPAN

    4. CINDY MONTGOMERY says:

      That is the only way I have found to get it as well. I just need to buy the hdmi cable so I can link the laptop to my TV.

  4. Art says:

    Thanks for wasting my time with this disingenuine article

    1. Pair says:

      Disingenuous

  5. Judy says:

    I use my internet connection on my smart TV. Go to c-span.org and you can click on schedule to see what is going on. You can watch live streams from there.

  6. Kram says:

    Its been on the internet @ https://www.c-span.org for years now

    or just Google it. How you get it from your computer to your TV screen is up to you…

    1. ktwelch says:

      Thanks for the info. cspan.org works

    2. Steve Brophy NYC says:

      That is only one C-span channel. There are three. The two others are the more interesting ones.

  7. John Mader says:

    I can cast from my pc to Roku Streaming Stick+. I haven’t tried CSPAN specifically but it is available and I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Of course, it’s an extra step and truly an annoyance to go through. But it’s the only way I can watch our State’s legislative action live.

  8. John says:

    I can cast from my pc to Roku Streaming Stick+. I haven’t tried CSPAN specifically but it is available and I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Of course, it’s an extra step and truly an annoyance to go through. But it’s the only way I can watch our State’s legislative action live.

  9. Lorenzo says:

    C-SPAN radio app can be obtained on Google app store.

  10. Cheryl says:

    OK. Here is what I just did. I have a Macbook and tried to get C-Span without a service. When I tried to livestream, I was told I could not but that I could get an app on my phone (android or iphone) or ipad. I have an ipad and went to the app store and downloaded “C-Span radio.” I can listen to (but not watch) C-SPAN radio and C-SPAN 1, 2, and 3.

  11. FrostyWinnipeg says:

    I can cast CSPAN from Google Chrome to my Xiaomi Mibox which runs Android TV. Should be same for Chromecast.

  12. c laughton says:

    I remember when, back in the “olden days” of internet, on a much older computer, of being able to just go to the site and tune in.

    Now it seems like a big pain-in-the-butt scam to lessen the number of viewers for whom our government’s activities are available.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I cancelled YouTubeTV and re-subscribed to DishNetwork which carries C-Span. We are quickly approaching a lack of free-speech and information in the USA. Sad.

    1. JJJ jr says:

      That’s because we do not have elected public servants interested in truly serving the people. What they are interested in is using censorship and the media as a means to power. The new Democrats have become obsessed with grabbing power instead of freedom and serving constituents.

  14. James L Jones says:

    Try using a VPN with overseas connections. This has worked for me after trying several countries. Whether it is worth it is a different matter. If a neighbor has just painted his house you might enjoy using binoculars to watch it dry.

  15. clmcd says:

    We are impressed now with the importance of improving civics education. How about if we write to every streaming service and television provider and elected official to lobby for wide availability of cspan so government is transparent? I cannot believe it is so hard to watch cspan in this age!

  16. Linda Jones says:

    I am also worried that C-Span is going away. I think Congress needs to legislate alternate funding. Viewers should be able to subscribe directly to C-Span and large media conglomerates like the Sinclair Group should be taxed to supplement subscriber funds to keep C-Span going. Does anyone know about a group working on this issue??? Democracy needs information such as C-Span provides. It’s crucial !

  17. Steve Brophy NYC says:

    Stephen: The LAST thing I watch CSpan for is to watch politicians. Ugh! CSPAN has so many other great channels ,2,3 like Book TV and HistoryTV, lectures from professors including the Civil War. I watch it and tape it all weekend.

    1. Stephen Lovely says:

      Point taken, Steve! Next time we update this piece, we’ll be sure to mention some of the other programming CSPAN has 🙂

  18. Anonymous says:

    C-Span and its enormous libraries should be available on any big screen TV, not just my laptop. PBS, for example requires a donation for full viewing of their libraries. But, C-Span is already paid for by the networks. Or is it only the cable part???

    Otherwise a C-Span app would be fine.

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