Apple’s elegant Apple TV is one of the sleekest and most user-friendly streaming boxes out there — and one of the most powerful too. The top-of-the-line Apple TV 4K can do just about anything you’d want a streaming box to do, including streaming live TV. There are many ways to get this done, so we’re here to explain how to watch live TV on Apple TV devices.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream live TV on Apple TV:
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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. The first few services on our list 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.
The final few services on our list are sports league streaming services. The major American sports leagues (and some minor ones) have streaming services of their own, which, with a few exceptions, offer only content that is not airing on pay TV. In other words, expect to get every regular-season game except ones featuring teams in your market and ones that are nationally televised. For out-of-market fans, league streaming services are 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.
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.
Hulu + Live TV is an established player in the world of skinny bundles. This live TV streaming effort is strong, and it includes a great selection of live network channels. You can read our review of Hulu + Live TV to learn more about why we’re high on this service.
fuboTV now has channels such as AMC and FX in addition to its formidable lineup of sports- and soccer-focused channels. True to fuboTV’s roots, there’s a lot for sports fans here — yet there’s also a decent variety of other live TV available through the service. Read our review of fuboTV to learn more.
Sling TV lets you build your own skinny bundle. Start with a base bundle, then tack on “extras,” which are affordable mini-bundles of similar channels or, in some cases, stand-alone premium channels. When you’re done, you’ll have a cost-effective skinny bundle that requires 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 in our Sling TV review.
ESPN Plus does not offer a live feed of ESPN, but it does offer live sports broadcasts produced specifically for ESPN Plus. It also hosts an entire league streaming service: MLS Live, which is Major League Soccer’s answer to MLB.TV and the rest. NHL.TV will soon throw its offerings into ESPN Plus’ catalog too. All in all, ESPN Plus is a solid service at an affordable price.
Paramount Plus was built using the bones of CBS All Access, by which we mean Paramount Plus has a lot of the same features as its predecessor — but it has also expanded its programming lineup. Paramount Plus launched in early 2021, but it already works with Apple TV so you shouldn’t have trouble watching live TV here. You may want to read our Paramount Plus review to get more familiar with the service first.
YouTube TV is Google’s widely available skinny-bundle service. You may 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.
Baseball fans are lucky: MLB.TV is arguably the best league streaming service. It’s a smooth-streaming, easy-to-use app on Apple TV, and it includes perks such as the ability to overlay radio broadcast audio on live TV streams. The usual blackout rules apply, unfortunately, which means no local team broadcasts and no nationally televised games. For now, at least, that’s just how league streaming services work. That still leaves plenty of live TV to watch from outside your local market. 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 or nationally televised games — which can be a bit rough given the NBA’s strong presence on national TV. Still, it’s a great way to watch live TV on Apple TV if you’re an NBA super-fan.
NHL.TV is the National Hockey League’s streaming service, and the offering is pretty typical. As usual, you get every live regular-season game except the ones airing on TV in your region. For super-fans of the league at large and for fans who live outside their favorite team’s market, this is a great way to watch live TV on Apple TV.
6 thoughts on “How to Watch Live TV on Apple TV”
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.
This Apple TV is a rip off. I am going to make sure none of my friends get screwed like we did!
Thanks for the info , I was about to get apple TV, I change my mind
InstaTV + SiliconDust HDHR Connect have been great. Also, DTVNow has made incredible strides and works almost flawlessly for me.
Hulu Live with no ads is now $62/month.
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.