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Last modified: February 12, 2019
By Stephen Lovely
National Geographic's television channel is home to nonfiction shows of all types, from the weird and the wild to more thoughtful and informative content. National Geographic knows how to highlight the things about our world that are truly bizarre, and it does a good enough job of it that some of its fans are tempted to do something pretty bizarre themselves: pay for cable. See, cable and satellite companies charge top dollar for channel bundles that include National Geographic, but that doesn't actually mean that you have to pay big bucks to see the shows and documentaries that you crave. You can watch National Geographic without cable, and we're going to show you how. Below, we'll cover the techniques and services that you need to know about in order to secure a National Geographic live stream and ditch your legacy pay TV contract for good. Here's how to watch National Geographic without cable.
A few of our favorite ways to stream National Geographic:
National Geographic is a network television channel, so you'd be forgiven for thinking that it's only available through cable or satellite. After all, cable and satellite providers have had a monopoly on network television channels for a long, long time.
But not anymore. Thanks to the rise of a new type of streaming service — called, appropriately enough, live TV streaming services — you can now watch National Geographic without cable (and a whole lot of other channels without cable, too). We're talking live TV here: not clips, not on-demand shows, but a real, actual National Geographic live stream.
These live TV streaming services, also called “skinny bundles,” have some distinct advantages over their cable counterparts. Since they stream online, they can be viewed on lots of different devices — not just your TV. Load up one of these services on a Roku, Fire TV, or other streaming device, and you can easily watch on your big screen; opt for a mobile device or laptop instead, and you can watch on the go.
There are no regional monopolies to worry about here, either, and the slimmed-down channel bundles (which are why these services are sometimes called “skinny bundles”) offer a just-the-hits menu of channels for a lot less than the bloated cable and satellite bundles cost. Did we mention the free trials and lack of long-term contracts?
Some of these live TV services include National Geographic, making them the perfect ways to watch National Geographic without cable. Let's get to the know the ones that matter for our purposes.
Stream National Geographic for Free with Hulu
Hulu with Live TV is exactly what it sounds like: Hulu, but with live TV. Hulu already has lots of fans thanks to its streaming video on demand (SVOD) service, which works like (and competes with) well-known SVOD services like Netflix. To this, Hulu has added a live TV service to rival those on this list. It's been a while since Hulu with Live TV's launch, and things are going pretty well for the service. Hulu with Live TV costs $39.99 per month. Its lone base package offers a nice selection of channels that includes a National Geographic live stream. You can read our review of Hulu with Live TV now, and you can sign up for the service's free trial via the link above.
Stream National Geographic for Free with FuboTV
fuboTV's core packages, “fubo” and “fubo Extra,” each feature a nice selection of channels that includes (drumroll, please) National Geographic. fubo will cost you $44.99 per month, while the larger fubo Extra will cost you $49.99 per month. fuboTV offers channels of all types, but is particularly attractive to sports fans. You can read our review of the service, or you can just take a look at it yourself by signing up for the service's free trial via the link above. fuboTV also offers a discount for your first month of either fubo or fubo Extra.
Stream National Geographic for Free with Sling TV
Sling TV offers subscribers a choice of two base packages: Sling Orange ($25 per month) or Sling Blue ($25 per month). Sign up for one or both (if you choose both, you'll pay $40 per month), then tack on “Extras” — small add-on bundles — at will to create a custom bundle. To get National Geographic, just start with Sling Blue, which includes the channel in its base selection. Sling TV offers a week-long free trial offer, which you can sign up for using the link above. You can read our review of Sling TV.
Stream National Geographic for Free with PlayStation Vue
PlayStation Vue allows subscribers to choose from channel bundles that start with the $44.99 per month “Access” and range up from there in terms of both channel selection and price. All of your options are open if you're a National Geographic fan, because each and every one of PlayStation Vue's bundles includes National Geographic. Despite the name, this service works on a wide range of platforms: you can use PlayStation Vue to watch National Geographic without cable on your Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast, to name just a few of your many options. PlayStation Vue's free trial is five days long. You can sign up for that free trial by clicking the link above, or you can learn more about the service from our PlayStation Vue review.
YouTube TV is Google's skinny bundle service. It shares the branding of Google's popular YouTube streaming video platform, but this is a different service: instead of user-generated content, you'll get the live network television you'd expect from a top-flight skinny bundle. Among the channels on offer through YouTube TV's $40-per-month service is National Geographic. You can check out YouTube TV for free for a week by signing up for the service's free trial offer. For more information, check out our YouTube TV review.
DirecTV Now offers a National Geographic live stream in every one of its bundles. And, yes, there are multiple bundles: the cheapest is the $40 per month “Live a Little” deal, but there are other channel counts and price points to choose from. You can read our review of DirecTV Now, or you can check out the service for yourself. To do the latter, sign up for the seven-day free trial – that's more than enough time to see what they're doing right over at DirecTV Now.
National Geographic looks best on the big screen. It's easy to get it there when you sign up for one of the services above, because the major skinny bundle services tend to work great on major streaming platforms like Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast.
Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now each offer great apps for Roku devices.
Fire TV users can choose between Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV Now; as of this writing, YouTube TV is missing a Fire TV app.
Apple TV fans can choose between Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now.
Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now each also play nice with Chromecast devices.
Android TV, the Google-backed streaming platform used by the Nvidia Shield, AirTV, and some smart TVs (among other devices), has apps for Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV. DirecTV Now is the odd one out here, at least for now.
Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now all also work on laptops and desktops via in-browser apps. And if you want to watch National Geographic without cable on the go, you'll have no problem: Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now all work on iOS and Android mobile devices, including iPhones and Android phones.
PlayStation Vue has an app for PlayStation video game consoles. Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV all work on modern Xbox systems.