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Apple‘s elegant Apple TV is one of the sleekest and more user-friendly streaming boxes out there, and the arrival of the Apple TV 4K has made Apple's offering one of the most powerful streaming boxes, too (you can read our Apple TV 4K review here). It can do almost anything you'd want a streaming box to do, including streaming live TV. There are a number of ways to get this done, which is why we're here to explain how to watch live TV on Apple TV.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream live TV on Apple TV:

  Price Channels Free Trial  
$4.99 8+ 30 days

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$16 – $20 44 – 57 7 days

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$5.99 – $85.96 68 – 88 7 or 30 days

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$54.99 – $86.96 100+ 7 days

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$30 – $70 50+ 3 days

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How to Watch Live TV on Apple TV

There are a lot of services that will allow you to watch live TV on Apple TV, but many of them fall into a few basic categories. Rather than repeat ourselves below, let's chat about the basic types of services now.

The first few services we'll list here are live TV streaming services. Also called “skinny bundles,” these are pay TV services that offer live network television channels. That makes them look and feel a lot like cable, but you'll notice the difference when the bill comes: these slimmed-down channel bundles are significantly more affordable than the bulky cable bundles they're making obsolete.

After a few other services that we'll talk more about below, we'll reach the last few services on this list, which are all sports league streaming services. The major American sports leagues (and some more minor ones) have streaming services of their own. These services generally (with a few exceptions) offer only content that is not airing on pay TV near you. In other words, you can expect to get every regular-season game except for ones featuring teams in your market and for those games which are nationally televised. For out-of-market fans, these league streaming services represent a fantastic option for streaming live TV on Apple TV.

Ready to meet the specific services? Here's how to watch live TV on Apple TV.

Stream live TV on Apple TV for free with Philo

Free Trial

If you're looking for the most affordable way to watch live TV online using Apple TV, then look no further than Philo. Philo cuts out sports channels, local channels, and most news channels in an effort to keep costs down, and it succeeds admirably. To learn more, read our review of Philo. To try out Philo for free for seven days, just click the link in this section.

Stream live TV on Apple TV for free with Hulu

Free Trial

Hulu + Live TV comes to us from a brand that's already trusted in the streaming world: Hulu, which has long been a player in the on-demand streaming market. This live TV effort is a strong one, and it includes a great selection of live network channels. You can read our review of Hulu + Live TV to learn more, or you can try things out for yourself through the free trial.

Stream live TV on Apple TV for free with fuboTV

Free Trial

In a past life, fuboTV was solely focused on soccer fans. That's not the case anymore: now, fuboTV has channels like AMC and FX in addition to its formidable lineup of sports- and soccer-focused channels. There's still a sports bias here, but there's a decent variety of live TV available through the service. Read our review of fuboTV to learn more, or check out the service for yourself by clicking the link in this section and signing up for the service's free trial.

Stream live TV on Apple TV with Sling TV

Try It

Sling TV is a live TV streaming service that lets you build your own skinny bundle. Start with a base bundle, then start tacking on “Extras,” which are affordable mini-bundles of like-minded channels or, in some cases, standalone premium channels. When you're all done, you'll have a cost-effective skinny bundle that asks you to pay only for channels you actually want to watch. It's a great way to customize your selection and watch live TV on Apple TV. You can learn more about Sling TV by reading our Sling TV review — or you could just sign up for Sling TV and see for yourself by clicking the link above.

AT&T TV Now

AT&T TV Now is the live TV streaming service from AT&T. Like its competitors, AT&T TV Now offers a slimmed-down package of network TV stations for far less than cable charges. Streaming quality is great, and AT&T TV Now also has some quality on-demand content. You can read our AT&T TV Now review to learn more, of you can just try out the service yourself for free by clicking the link above.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is Google's skinny bundle service. Not to be confused with regular old YouTube, this service is all about live TV, not user-generated content. It is finally widely available, and users will find that it makes a fantastic way to watch live TV on all sorts of devices — including, of course, your Apple TV. You can read our YouTube TV review to learn more, or you can investigate the service for yourself by clicking on the link in this section and signing up for a YouTube TV free trial.

CBS All Access

CBS All Access is, of course, an app from CBS. It offers on-demand content but also allows for live TV viewing in some markets, which is how it ended up on this list of ways to watch live TV on Apple TV. If you're lucky enough to live in one of the markets that allows for live TV viewing, CBS All Access will give you a stream of your local CBS station (including local news and some, but not all, live sporting events). You can try out CBS All Access for free by taking advantage of its free trial offer. Read our CBS All Access review to learn more.

MLB.TV

Baseball fans are lucky: MLB.TV is the best of the league streaming services. It's a smooth-streaming, easy-to-use app on Apple TV, and it includes perks like being able to overlay radio broadcast audio on live TV streams. The usual blackout rules apply here, unfortunately: no local team broadcasts and no nationally televised games. For now, at least, that's just how league streaming services work. For more on MLB.TV, check out our review.

NBA League Pass

NBA League Pass is the league streaming service from the National Basketball Association. The usual blackout rules apply – no local games and no nationally televised ones, either — which can be a bit rough given the NBA's strong presence on national TV. Still, this is a great way to watch live TV on Apple TV if you're an NBA super-fan.

NHL.TV

NHL.TV is a league streaming service. The National Hockey League‘s offering is pretty typical: as always, you get every live regular-season game except for the ones that are airing on TV in your region. For super-fans of the league at large and for fans who happen to live outside of their favorite team's market, this is a great way to watch live TV on Apple TV.

Stream live TV on Apple TV with ESPN+

Try It

ESPN+ does not offer a live feed of ESPN, but it does offer live sports broadcasts produced specifically for ESPN+, and it also plays host to an entire league streaming service: MLS Live, which is Major League Soccer's answer to MLB.TV and the rest. ESPN+ is a solid service with a low price ($4.99 per month).

5 thoughts on “How to Watch Live TV on Apple TV

  1. Avatar SJ says:

    DirecTV Now is c***. It has constant buffering issues and error messages galore. Its on demand is slim pickings. Local channels are only available if you live in a market where that affiliate is owned by ABC, NBC, or Fox. CBS isn’t available at all. Just go on social media and you’ll read all the complaints about DirecTV Now and their lack of customer support. It’s not ready for prime time. Just consider it a couple for Apple TV if you pre pay 3 months.

    1. Avatar Anonymous says:

      This Apple TV is a rip off. I am going to make sure none of my friends get screwed like we did!

  2. Avatar RW says:

    InstaTV + SiliconDust HDHR Connect have been great. Also, DTVNow has made incredible strides and works almost flawlessly for me.

  3. Avatar Redhead says:

    Hulu Live with no ads is now $62/month.

  4. Avatar josh says:

    Apple’s fifth-generation Apple TV features an A10X Fusion processor and 32 to 64GB of storage, along with support for 4K HDR for the first time. this is really cool they are going forward to new levels.

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