Here in the United States, cable companies enjoy frustrating monopolies. These monopolies are a big part of why cable prices are so high and, in turn, a part of why the cord cutting trend is happening in the first place! But overseas, Americans have a different problem. There, our familiar TV channels often aren't available at all – or, at least, they weren't until USTVnow came along. USTVnow is a streaming service that offers three tiers of live multichannel TV service, including a free tier. You can think of it as a skinny bundle for customers outside of the United States. USTVnow puts a particular focus on American military members abroad, and its marketing seems to suggest that they form the bulk of USTVnow's customer base.
Whether or not this is actually true, though, is a different question. When we reviewed USTVnow back in 2015, we found that the service does virtually nothing to verify the location of its streamers. Now, years later, the internet is full of evidence that plenty of USTVnow users are still using the service to stream live TV while living inside the United States. While there are plenty of streaming services that treat VPNs and other blackout-dodging techniques with benign neglect, USTVnow's embrace of location-shifting streamers is so unusual that it seems certain to be by design. That's a little shady.
On top of that, reporting on other websites indicates that USTVnow does not actually have the licensing rights to the channels it offers. That could be the reason that an undisclosed copyright claim from a “third party” got USTVnow's channel booted from Roku.
It seems quite clear that USTVnow does not have agreements with local affiliates of major networks, as it offers just one Pennsylvania-area feed for each. It offers this local feed to all of its customers, regardless of location. It appears that USTVnow just forwards a local cable package to streamers without cutting deals with the channels themselves, which is… not really how this kind of thing is supposed to work, legally speaking.
USTVnow is probably best described as a quasi-legal streaming service – you probably won't get in any trouble for using it, but don't be surprised if it meets its end in a courtroom one of these days. Skeptical streamers should know that fully legal alternatives to USTVnow include skinny bundles like Sling TV. We'll cover everything else you may need to know about USTVnow below.
What channels are on USTVnow?
As far as end users are concerned, USTVnow functions as a skinny bundle: it offers live network television channels streaming online, and it is a leaner offering than the typical bloated cable or satellite package.
As of this writing, depending on which tier of USTVnow service you go with, you can get either five channels or 24 channels. Here are the five that are included in USTVnow's free tier:
- The CW
- MyTV 9
If you opt for the paid service, you'll also get channels like AMC, Fox, Fox News, FX, and USA Network.
USTVnow has one final tier of service, but it adds a DVR feature, not any new channels. We'll talk about USTVnow's pricing in a later section.
What devices can I use to watch USTVnow?
Price and channel selection are two big reasons to get a skinny bundle service. But don't underestimate convenience: a huge part of the appeal of services like Sling TV is that those services work on so many different streaming platforms and devices, allowing users to stream the content from wherever they are. So how does USTVnow measure up?
As of this writing, not so well. USTVnow's unceremonious exit from Roku (discussed in the introduction to this page) was a harsh blow, and the service is missing a few other key platforms, too. Though USTVnow does piggyback on some other services to sneak onto new platforms (more on that in a second), its core platform support leaves more than a bit to be desired.
Streaming platforms and devices
- Apple TV
- In-browser app
USTVnow can also be accessed as an add-on to the popular media center app Kodi. That effectively expands USTVnow's platform support to include all of the platforms that Kodi is available on. Kodi has had its own brushes with copyright law, but has done a better job than USTVnow of salvaging its reputation. Of course, it has done so by attempting to blacklist shady add-ons – so we'll see how long Kodi plays nice with USTVnow.
Perhaps a bit more surprisingly, USTVnow also has a plugin for the media server app Plex.
How much does USTVnow cost?
USTVnow has three price tiers, including a free tier.
The service's free tier offers five channels in standard definition. You can rent movies through the service on this tier and have limited DVR features.
For $29 per month, you can get access to 24 channels in HD, plus all the features of the free plan.
For $39 per month, you'll get the same 24 channels and features, plus expanded DVR functionality.
Both paid plans start at a lower promotional price (more on that in a moment).
USTVnow's prices are solid, if not mind-blowing. The $29-per-month plan is cheaper than most skinny bundles, which tend to start around $40 per month. But most skinny bundles have DVR features these days, and to get those same sorts of features on USTVnow, you'll have to pay pretty much the same price ($39 per month, the price of USTVnow's top tier).
Deals on USTVnow
USTVnow offers some price perks to get you on board with its service. The biggest ones are the promotional prices available for the service's two paid tiers.
The $29-per-month plan starts at $19 per month for the first three months before reverting to its standard price.
The $39-per-month plan starts at $29 per month for the first three months before reverting to its standard price. As of this writing, this deal has been sweetened with an extra $5 off: it's now $24 per month for the first three months.
Getting a USTVnow free trial
As of this writing, USTVnow is not advertising a free trial. However, they've been known to offer free trials in the past – so stay tuned!
A lot about USTVnow is unique, but its contract situation will be pretty familiar to anyone who has subscribed to a streaming service before: you can cancel USTVnow at any time and your service will simply end at the end of your current billing period. In other words, you'll get what you already paid for, and then your service will not renew.
How to cancel USTVnow
If you've had enough of USTVnow, you can log into your account on USTVnow's website to cancel or can call USTVnow customer service at 1-917-746-8788.
All about USTVnow
We've said plenty about USTVnow here, but you'll find still more coverage of USTVnow, Kodi, skinny bundles like Sling TV, and more right here at Cordcutting.com. Click here to check out our USTVnow review, or head over to our home page for the latest news, tips, how-tos, reviews, and more. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and like us on Twitter, too! We're your cord-cutting headquarters.