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Major League Baseball has tried to return to normal in 2021 with a full-season schedule (even though some positive Covid-19 tests have gotten in the way). The playoffs will also feel more normal this year, because there will be only 10 teams in the postseason as opposed to the expanded 16-team field last year. Going beyond the regular season will be more difficult for teams this year, and winning the World Series — well, that’s always hard. Luckily, watching the playoffs without cable is a lot easier. Here’s your guide to watching the 2021 MLB playoffs without cable.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream the MLB playoffs:
The best way to watch the MLB playoffs without cable is to sign up for a streaming service that offers the networks you know and love from cable — albeit without the very unlovable high cable price. Channel selection may vary from service to service, though, so you need to be careful. You want to make sure you’re able to stream all the channels that carry live MLB playoff action. So which channels are those?
Now that you know what networks show awesome MLB playoff action, you’ll need to find a way to get them without cable. The best way is to subscribe to a live TV streaming service. Often called “skinny bundles” because of their slimmed-down channel selections (and their slimmed-down price tags), live TV streaming services are like better versions of cable or satellite. They stream online on all kinds of devices and offer great channels without as much bloat, and they don’t share cable’s obsession with long-term contracts.
We’ll talk about some of our favorite skinny bundles below, and we’ll also discuss free over-the-air TV. You won’t see MLB.TV on our list, because that subscription streaming service serves up only regular-season games. If you have a pay TV subscription and the MLB.TV app, however, you should note that MLB.TV allows you to log in with your pay TV credentials to unlock livestreams of playoff games. Since that’s not necessarily a true cord-cutting option, we’re leaving it off our list.
Here’s how to watch the MLB playoffs without cable.
Stream the MLB playoffs with DIRECTV Stream
DIRECTV Stream is a live TV streaming service mostly owned by AT&T. Any DIRECTV Stream subscription option is a good choice for watching the MLB playoffs live. We have a lot more to say about the service in our DIRECTV Stream review.
Stream the MLB playoffs with Hulu
Hulu has long been a favorite of on-demand streamers, and, over the past few years, it has also become an excellent choice for live TV. Hulu + Live TV offers a lot of great channels, including the ones baseball fans care about at this time of year: ABC, FOX, FS1, ESPN, ESPN2, and TBS.
Stream the MLB playoffs with fuboTV
fuboTV bills itself as the best live TV streaming service for sports fans. With a channel selection that includes ABC, FOX, FS1, TBS, ESPN, ESPN2, and MLB Network, it’s easy to see why. fuboTV is a great option for the 2021 MLB playoffs.
Stream the MLB playoffs with Sling TV
Sling TV is a skinny bundle designed to cater to your preferences. Using a combination of base bundles and add-on bundles called “Extras,” you can customize your channel selection to ensure you get everything you want without paying for any filler. Sling TV’s channel offerings include FS1, ESPN, ESPN2, and TBS. As of this writing, Sling TV also offers FOX in a few select markets.
YouTube TV is Google’s entry into the skinny-bundle derby, and it’s a worthy one. YouTube TV pairs a great and user-friendly app with a nice channel selection that includes ABC, FOX, FS1, ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and MLB Network. Our YouTube TV review has more about what to expect with this service.
FOX has the rights to the World Series, which means the biggest games of the postseason will air on the company’s flagship network. That means cord-cutters can get the big games for free over the air. In most areas, you’ll be able to pick up FOX (as well as the other major networks) for free over the air with an antenna. If you’re not sure which antenna is right for you, then check out our helpful antenna guide.
We love the MLB.TV streaming service, but you can’t watch the postseason with MLB.TV alone — the service requires a pay TV login to watch postseason games. But here’s the good news: Your MLB.TV subscription includes MLB Audio, which keeps right on truckin’ through the postseason with no blackouts. That means you can hear your local radio announcers call each game (none of that “unbiased” stuff — and no Joe Buck) through the MLB At Bat app. You can also grab an MLB Audio subscription on its own.
If you aren’t dead set on getting local radio broadcasts, then you could listen to ESPN Radio’s national coverage instead. The broadcasts are available for free on ESPN Radio’s website and app. You could also, of course, just use a regular radio. Your local ESPN Radio affiliate station will no doubt be broadcasting the game. Baseball is uniquely suited to radio, and if you have never tried listening instead of watching, you may want to give it a shot!
The MLB postseason is good at playing ball with streaming devices and platforms, so you can use Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast to watch all the matchups on your big-screen TV. The chart below provides all the details.
If you like playoff baseball, then you have excellent taste. But regular-season MLB action can also be a lot of fun. There’s not quite as much at stake in a random June game as there is during a September playoff game, but it’s still a good time. If you want to follow regular-season baseball, our guide to watching MLB without cable can help.
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