Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
Last modified: February 15, 2019
By Stephen Lovely
Some things age well. That's why Turner Classic Movies, or TCM, is such a great channel: it recognizes the timeless classics of Hollywood's Golden Age. But, unfortunately, not everything ages well. Take your cable bill, for example. It made some sense back when cable was simply the only way to watch TCM, but that's just not true anymore – so why are you still paying top dollar? Paying for cable when there are better alternatives would be like watching a channel full of only the bad movies from the old days. It just doesn't make sense. You need to learn how to watch TCM without cable, so that you can ditch the outdated things while still holding onto the classics. Below, we'll lay out how to get a legal TCM live stream, so that you can watch your classic movies in the most modern (and most cost-effective) possible way.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream TCM:
The key to getting a legal TCM live stream is to turn to a new type of pay TV service: the live TV streaming service.
Live TV streaming services are sometimes called “skinny bundles,” because they tend to pare down the bulky and overpriced bundles that cable and satellite push and create leaner bundles that save subscribers money while still delivering the best that network television has to offer. Fortunately, a few of the skinny bundles in the market have seen fit to keep TCM in their slimmer selection — which makes them the perfect way to watch TCM without cable.
It's not just the slimmed-down bundles that make live TV streaming services cheaper than cable or satellite, though. There's also the fact that these streaming services compete with each other – there are no infrastructure concerns, and therefore there are no big regional monopolies of the sort that cable is known for.
And that's not the only benefit of using a streaming service to watch live TV. Since these services stream over the internet, you can watch them on just about any device you choose. Your phone, computer, and (of course) your big screen are all options when you use a live TV streaming service to watch TCM online without cable.
Let's take a closer look at the live TV streaming services that include a TCM live stream in their bundles!
Stream TCM for Free with Hulu
Hulu with Live TV is a live TV streaming service from Hulu, a streaming industry veteran that has already won a big fan base through its streaming video on demand (SVOD) service, which competes with Netflix and other on-demand giants. Hulu with Live TV has quickly made its mark on the skinny bundle scene, and its $39.99-per-month bundle (the price will go up to $44.99 per month in late February) includes the channel we care about in this post: TCM. Click here to read our review of Hulu with Live TV, or check out the service for yourself by clicking on the link above and signing up for a seven-day Hulu with Live TV free trial.
Stream TCM for Free with Fubo
fuboTV is a skinny bundle service that offers TCM in both of its major bundle offerings. About those two offerings: there's “fubo,” the entry-level package that costs $44.99 per month, and then there's “fubo Extra,” the larger bundle that costs $49.99 per month. Either bundle can be further expanded with add-on bundles. You can sign up for a free trial of fuboTV via the link above. Check out our fuboTV review to learn more.
Stream TCM for Free with Sling TV
The tricky thing about crafting a skinny bundle is, of course, that it's hard to get customers to agree which channels should be cut. Sling TV has figured out a great way to solve this problem: they simply have you design the skinny bundle for them.
You start with either Sling Orange ($25 per month), Sling Blue (also $25 per month), or both ($40 per month). Then you add in as many or as few “extras” as you'd like — the extras are little mini-bundles of channels grouped by type and priced attractively. TCM fans will want to sign up for the $5 per month “Hollywood Extra” bundle, which includes a TCM live stream. That makes the cheapest way to watch TCM without cable $30 per month, though you are of course free to come up with a different combination — that's the whole joy of Sling TV! You can try Sling TV for free for seven days by clicking the link above. To read our review of Sling TV, click here.
Stream TCM for Free with PlayStation Vue
PlayStation Vue shares a name with a modern video game console, so you might not assume that it would be a good way to watch TCM without cable. But you'd be wrong, because PlayStation Vue works on a wide variety of platforms, not just the PlayStation 4. PlayStation Vue offers a range of bundles at different sizes and price points. “Core,” which costs $49.99 per month, is the first to include a TCM live stream, and all of the bundles larger than Core also include it. You can try PlayStation Vue for free for five days by clicking the link below. If you want our opinion on the service, read our PlayStation Vue review.
YouTube TV is an option that TCM fans should definitely consider. Not to be confused with regular old YouTube, YouTube TV is a full-fledged skinny bundle service offered by Google. It costs $40 per month and offers live streams of lots of great network television channels —€” including, of course, TCM. You can test out YouTube TV for freeby signing up for the service's free trial offer. For our take on the service, read our YouTube TV review.
The legacy pay TV services aren't dumb — they can see the advantage of live TV streaming services. So it's no surprise to find old-school telecom players like AT&T backing some of the biggest and best services on the live TV streaming service market. DirecTV Now includes TCM in each of its bundles, which range from the $40-per-month “Live a Little” bundle on up to bundles that are significantly larger (and a little less cheap). You can check out our take on DirecTV Now, or you can make up your own mind by signing up for the services risk-free free trial — it's seven days long.
Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV Now all offer great platform support, making it easy to watch TCM on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast.
Roku devices have apps for Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now.
Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV Now all have apps for Fire TV devices.
Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now each have an app for Apple TV, too.
Through their in-browser and/or mobile apps, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now work great on Chromecast.
Android TV users can choose between Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV.
You can watch on the go, too, of course: Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now all work on Android and iOS mobile devices.
You can also use the desktop and/or in-browser apps available from Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now to watch TCM without cable on your desktop or laptop computer.
Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV all work on Xbox One video game consoles, while PlayStation Vue works on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 video game consoles. Hulu works on Nintendo Switch.
If I sign up for Roku, do I still need Sling?
Yes, Sling TV or some other live TV streaming service.
I am new to cord cutting, but TCM is a favorite. Although TCM continues to be listed on this site and others as being available on Sling TV, it is not. When you look at Sling’s official site, the TCM logo is no longer there.
Like Mustangman commented, TCM is available in Sling TV’s Hollywood Extra package.
@MasillonMovieBuff. TCM is available in the Hollywood Extra package for an additional $5.00/mo from Sling TV.
If I switch to streaming TCM, will I receive the channel precisely as I received it on DirecTV, that is, with all the wonderful movie introductions and commentaries?
Yes, it’s the same channel.
I am interested only in TCM. How can I purchase that channel alone without having cable TV? I don’t want 6 channels of sports to get TCM.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to purchase TCM alone currently. 🙁
There is a channel, FilmStruck, that has a large selection of TCM movies from every decade, including 30s, 40s, 50s, etc., that costs $10 a month. I’m running a free trial right now. It’s great to see all the classics again.
Thanks for the tip on Filmstruck. Trying it now and it looks pretty good.
$39.99 a month for Hulu? $20-$40 a month for Sling TV? Seriously? TCM was practically the only reason I kept my cable subscription as long as I did. But as much as I love it, I’m not going to pay that kind of money for it. I’m already paying for Netflix and Amazon Prime. Another $20 or more would put me right back up there in the ballpark of what I was paying with cable TV.
There is always FilmStruck, which is an on-demand service. You will see TCM promote it on air and their website. Call it part of the TCM family and the next best thing to not paying for TCM.
Is the back catalog available?
I really miss TCM, as a DAV living on a fixed income I could no longer afford DirecTV when my monthly bill jumped from $63.99 a month to $187.00 a month. The cheapest mid-level plan that offered TCM is $117.00 a month. I can’t afford that either. I haven’t been able to watch TCM for almost 2 years now and it’s the only channel I miss! It appears to me that the action’s of AT&T (and the other big cable companies) are to build a monopoly as they had in the day’s of Ma Bell. They appear to be approaching that objective, when they can prevent anyone other than themselves to subscribe to a service. Could we (the people) possibly file an anti-trust lawsuit against them and the producers of the product they are restricting access to?
Couldn’t agree with you more, Roy. Ditto to every word. Am looking right now for cheapest way to get TCM via my Roku, which I just started using now that I have Internet again (via Frontier for $30 a month + $10 a month for the modem, which I will likely replace). Am in 7-day free trial with Sling. Will cancel on Day 7 and try the other like services, one at a time. I watched Close Encounters last night on Pluto TV (a free channel). My goal is to get everything I want for $60 a month. We’ve been watching only free broadcast TV with an HD antenna for 3 months (before getting Internet from Frontier) for 3 months & really enjoy StartTV network and ion network. Will keep posting our results.
Roy, I agree with you. We stopped DirecTV because we only watched TCM. We went to streaming with a Roku device. As the article says, Sling TV offers TCM as an add-on to its other channels. Monthly cost is around $30. You must have wireless internet service to use Roku, and a Roku device (quite affordable). You can also access PBS and other free channels on Roku. Hopefully using Roku would make TCM affordable for you.
Hi all Filmstruck is no longer available. Shuts down Nov 29 2018. Just found out myself.
TCM fan, got fire tv stick but when I go to TCM it keeps asking me to sign on to my cable account which is what I am trying to get away from. Any suggestions? Lost in the world of tech.
Thanks for reading! The TCM app will require you to prove that you pay for TCM in some way. But you don’t have to use cable — you could use one of the live TV streaming services we listed in this piece. There’s no free way to watch TCM, unfortunately, but the streaming options are cheaper than cable and offer free trials. Hope that helps!
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