NCIS is one of the biggest shows on television right now. In the 2019-2020 season, NCIS was the highest rated scripted TV program. The only thing that got better Nielsen ratings was Sunday Night Football. If you have cable, you ought to be watching NCIS. But what if you don’t have cable? Can you stream NCIS online or watch it for free without cable?
That’s a good question (with a good answer — read on!), and one we could ask about more than one NCIS show. Crime procedurals are always popular, and NCIS has fast become a franchise of its own: Since the first NCIS debuted all the way back in 2003, spin-offs set in Los Angeles and New Orleans have popped up as well. NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans are nearly as popular as the original. They were both among the 30 highest-rated shows last season. At this point, NCIS is an even bigger deal than the Law & Order franchise, and it’s not that close!
So, can we watch NCIS without cable? The answer is yes! In fact, we have lots of options. All three versions of NCIS air on CBS. CBS is a broadcast network, which is helpful because it means you have a wide range of options for watching NCIS without cable.
How to watch NCIS Online or Over the Air Without Cable
Maybe you like the guys and gals at NCIS, but you want off the sinking ship that is cable. Now is a good time to do that, because you have more options than ever.
For the most part, your options for watching NCIS without cable fall into one of two categories: skinny bundles and free over-the-air TV. However, there is one important on-demand option that doesn’t fit into these categories — but don’t worry, we’ll cover that in a moment.
First, the skinny bundles: Skinny bundles sound like a weight loss plan, but they are not. Instead, they’re a form of streaming TV. They’re a bit like cable TV packages, except there’s less fat that needs trimming (hence the name). Many of them are cheaper than cable TV, and you don’t have to fret about things like contracts and early termination fees.
Many live streaming services include a live stream of CBS, which is good. Less good is the fact that your CBS coverage will vary depending on your region. For instance, just because Hulu + Live TV has CBS in one market doesn’t mean they’ll have it in another market. You’ll need to check with your preferred streaming service to make sure you can watch CBS without cable in your neighborhood. The good news is that coverage is pretty broad — you’ll almost definitely have access to your local CBS station with services that offer CBS streams.
Let’s get to this list. We’ll start with our live TV streaming services, then dive into a couple of other key options.
Hulu’s got both on-demand content and live TV in the aptly named “Hulu + Live TV” package. It’s a solid option for watching NCIS without cable, especially since Hulu is a well-known brand with a lot of built-in fans. The beta version of Hulu debuted in 2007, and back then, most people didn’t know what to make of this new service with the weird name. But now it’s a non-cable mainstay. Want to know more? Check out our full review of Hulu + Live TV. You can also get a free trial by clicking on the link right here on this page.
fuboTV is a favorite among sports fans, but don’t pigeonhole it as a streaming service that is only good with things like football and hockey. fuboTV has a lot of range, including many local channels like CBS. And if you can watch CBS without cable, that means you can also watch NCIS without cable via fuboTV. Click on our link to get a free trial and see for yourself what fuboTV has to offer.
It’s true: the people behind YouTube have a streaming service, and you can use it to stream NCIS online in some markets. Like the rest of YouTube, YouTubeTV is owned by Google. Like most streaming services, there’s a risk-free trial offer as well. Click on the free trial link right here on this page to give it a shot without committing.
A lot of other networks have their own streaming services, so why shouldn’t CBS join in the fun? Paramount Plus lets you watch shows like NCIS on-demand anytime you want. In many markets, you can also watch CBS programming live. That means you can watch it live on Tuesday nights if you want. Or you can wait and watch it on your lunch break Wednesday; it’s completely up to you. Half the fun of on-demand is figuring out how it fits into your particular schedule.
Free TV does still exist. It’s not a thing that ended when TVs went from black and white to color. Thanks to modern antennas, you can get more channels than ever before, including CBS. All it takes is a nearby broadcast tower, and “nearby” can be a relative term depending on how powerful an antenna you’re willing to buy. You’ll even get these channels in beautiful high-quality HD! Speaking of high quality: Our antenna guide can tell you more about this underrated method of watching NCIS without cable.
Can I Watch NCIS on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast?
Now you know a lot more about how to get NCIS without a cable subscription, but do you know what device or devices you’re going to watch it on? You’ve got Smart TV options like Roku and Fire TV, but the list is a lot longer than that. These services are made for flexibility, which means you can watch them at home on your TV or on the go while you’re waiting for your dental hygienist to call you back (just be polite and wear headphones or earbuds; there’s a good chance the people around you don’t want to watch NCIS with you).
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Watch Whatever Floats Your Boat, NCIS Fans!
You can watch one or all of the NCIS shows without cable. If, at some point in the future, CBS decides to greenlight NCIS: Portland (Oregon or Maine) or NCIS: Anchorage, we’re sure you’ll be able to watch those shows without cable as well.
But what if you’re all caught up on NCIS and want something else to watch? NBC is another broadcast network with a solid programming lineup, from crime procedurals like Law and Order to crime dramedies like Good Girls. Watching NBC without cable is just as easy, so you might as well get started!