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You may have heard of USTVnow, the streaming service that offers cable television packages that range in price from free to over $100.

USTVnow is ostensibly designed for Americans living abroad (military service members, for instance). The idea is that Americans would normally have access to these channels (perhaps even free over the air), but no longer can. However, USTVnow doesn't do anything to verify that you are American or living outside of the United States, so it's effectively a free-for-all.

That means you can get USTVnow no matter where you live. But should you? Here's our review.

The User Experience

Device support is fairly weak on USTVnow. There is a Roku private channel that is pretty good, and USTVnow works on your phone, tablet, computer, and smartphone. That's about it, though – don't expect support for Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV. The unlimited DVR feature is a nice touch (you can only get it with the paid account, though).

USTVnow's browser interface
USTVnow's browser interface

We weren't that impressed with USTVnow's UI. USTVnow's interface isn't bad, exactly, but it's also a constant reminder that the service exists on the fringe of legality. It's pretty basic, with stock photos, blue links, grey tones, and right angles galore. Using it was pretty painless, though it occasionally hit us with strange error dialogue boxes upon login. The USTVnow logo in the upper left corner of the screen indicated that the service is in Beta, and it shows.

All of this is no big deal for the free plan – you don't expect luxury when you're using a quasi-legal service and netting a bunch of free TV. But USTVnow's paid customers probably deserve better.

The Content

USTVnow's paid version includes more than 25 channels. That's not a bad selection, especially considering the big names that are included: you'll get the four major networks, plus AMC, CNN, ESPN, FX, TBS, and TNT, to name just a few. The free version includes six channels: ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, and PBS (those are free because they're the ones that Americans could theoretically get free over the air at home). Here's a quick breakdown of the pricing for the paid version:

USTV Now pricing

There's also a “premium plan” with over 200 channels, including HBO and Showtime. That will run you more than $99 and uses a different system.

It's hard to find reasons to complain about USTVnow's content. The only strange thing about the content is that it comes from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Since the major networks, PBS, and the rest have regionally-specific content, this can make for kind of weird moments. Local news, NFL games, and other programming will be based on whatever Harrisburg gets. There are also lots of local Harrisburg commercials, which is amusing. It's a little bootleg, for lack of a better word.

We mentioned the NFL up there. NFL games are a big boost to USTVnow's content selection, especially since most games are on the channels that you can get for free (the Monday night games on ESPN are the ones that will cost you extra). NFL games are really hard to get ahold of, so it's nice to be able to catch them. Note that the local broadcasts for Harrisburg cover the Steelers and Eagles, so you'll have to hope that your favorite team isn't playing in the same time slot.

Streaming Quality

Streaming through USTVnow is solid but unspectacular. The quality is determined largely by your internet bandwidth, but you can choose between low, medium, high, and HD quality at will. We experienced occasional pixelation and poor picture quality. Streaming on low quality was very consistent and smooth; at higher picture quality levels, we dealt with more freezes and choppiness. Internet bandwidth determines streaming success, so your milage may vary. For what it's worth, the low quality stream wasn't that blurry, so this wasn't the end of the world.

Low quality streaming worked best for us - here's what it looks like
Low quality streaming worked best for us – here's what it looks like

One annoying thing about the stream is that it re-loads every time you change the quality (understandable) or picture size (less understandable), and it takes a fair amount of time to do it. You'll miss 10+ seconds of your program if you make a switch from one video quality to another.

We did have some issues streaming content on Sunday, when NFL games were airing. This could have been because a high volume of users were streaming at once. Once again, it seemed like something you'd expect from a free illegal stream, but would be hard to swallow as a paying customer.

Our Conclusion

You can't beat the price of USTVnow's free plan. Even if USTVnow is eventually shut down, individual users will almost certainly never be prosecuted, so you might as well make a free account.

USTVnow's monthly rate of $29 for a paid plan is much tougher for us to justify based on our experience. Sling TV has fewer channels and a weaker content selection, but it's also $9 less, features more device support, and isn't illegal. That said, USTVnow's day passes are a very attractive option for appointment viewing like sports events and TV specials.

57 thoughts on “USTVnow Review

  1. Christie Kitchens says:

    I’ve used both versions and the paid one works ok on my laptop but isn’t worth it on a Roku. It buffers and stalls and goes back to the channel guide a lot, usually within the last few minutes of the few shows I do watch on it. If I have to watch the show the next day anyway, why pay for this? I cut the cord a couple of years ago and am thinking of going back to DirecTV.

    1. USTVnow says:

      We hope you try again, USTVnow has had a lot of updates since 2015.

      1. Chris in Boston says:

        I responded to an offer for first month’s service for $1 but was charged $29.
        Has that happened to other people?

        1. USTVnow says:

          Do submit a helpdesk ticket on our website so we can investigate. Thanks!

  2. Gary Williams says:

    USTVnow is a pain in the ass. Programs are cut short, channels scrambled, and their “Techs” don’t seem to be able to get any of the issues fixed. Make another choice.

  3. John says:

    Had USTVNOW for 7 months after getting fed up with high Direct TV prices. The content/channel selection was good but the constant buffering and stalling out drove me crazy. It was non stop regardless of what channel I had on. Went back to satellite (Dish) and will have to ante up more to pay but not worry about the buffering issues.

    1. jack says:

      USTV now is a waste…sporadic at best…save $ and time, go elsewhere

      1. Jack Darland, Jr. says:

        I am jack…here’s an update: while the programming was sporadic, USTV did give me 2 free weeks and did end up refunding some money – but the refund came only after I contacted the BBB and that happened right after, like almost immediately…moral: poor streaming that just quits in the middle of the show, customer service mediocre at best, a company that takes your money, but doesn’t deliver the service, then fights tooth and nail to keep $29.00 and only capitulated when the BBB was notified…

        1. Jose sande says:

          I love ustv dont need those silly vpn to watch from overseas..very happy costumer.

  4. John says:

    I’ve been using this service for a few months now. I’ve tried it at a few of my friends homes and as far as stream quality goes, if you have a RELIABLE connection to the internet, the channels play perfectly. All of them. Now during periods of net congestion, we experience some pixelation but nothing has made me want to discontinue use. For the price, kit’s perfect for me and my family. I have had 4 different high bandwidth streams all going at once on my home network and not one problem. When the ISP is having issues, there’s not much you can do. We switch to the antenna or play a DVD. Like I said, can’t beat the price for what you get.

    1. USTVnow says:

      Thanks John, we hope you are already using the new interface

      1. Michael Amadeo says:

        I am currently living in the US but will be vacationing in Huatulco, MX in mid-January 2017. I will be on a resort with Wi-Fi available in the room. I do want to watch US TV channels while on vacation. Will this work in Mexico? Will I need a VPN to use it?

        1. USTVnow says:

          Yes, USTVnow is designed to be accessed overseas. No need for a VPN.

  5. Matthew Masters says:

    This service constantly drops, stalls, or repeatedly won’t login. It is a pain to constantly try to re-stream their channel feeds. The login failures, resets, and frequent buffering (if you are lucky) is not worth $29.00 for all the frustrations!

  6. Charles says:

    If you’re having issues, ask them to do a “refresh”. That helped me big time. It still buffers a bit when you’re watching a highly demanded event/channel, but for the most part, things playback well.

  7. Vaughn Bell says:

    I live in Thailand so this gives me a sense of home. It was a huge source of laughter during the elections in the USA!

  8. Ray says:

    It won’t be big time until you can get locals in each city. Unless you live in Pennsylvania not close to being worth it. I do like the free version, because … well it’s free.

  9. Zanester says:

    No longer do they have the small packages. 1 day 3 day or week. All they have now is monthly with auto renew.

    Too bad, I enjoyed the small packages when I needed them.

    1. USTVnow says:

      We are always running very attractive promotions, do check the website and sign up for a free plan today.

  10. D. Lowd says:

    Probably the worst (small) investment I’ve ever made. Tried the “All Channels” package for about two months, and all channels never fail to drop out on shows that I really want to view, esp CNN at lunch time. Very frustrating. To me an example of monetary greed by some who lack the integrity (and intelligence) to produce a product of fair value, an unscrupulous sort of wanna be smartass GEEKS IMO. The world is actually better off without you, you self-absorbed f***s. Hope you rot in hell for stealing and wasting my time. Certainly not a good value by a long shot.

  11. Akela says:

    A little concerned about the auto renew thing for pay. Anyone had any problems with trying to cancel? I have not tried this service yet, but considering it. Question: Why is this described as “illegal?”

    1. USTVnow says:

      Cancellation is easy, you can cancel on the website, submit a ticket or call +1 917-746-8788.

  12. Akela says:

    Also, why will the service NOT be available on other streaming devices: “… don’t expect support for Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV”?

    1. USTVnow says:

      We now have support for Apple TV and Chromecast. Amazon Fire TV and LG app coming soon. New optimized interface for smart TVs ( and a remodeled website ( We are always running very attractive promotions, do check the website and sign up for a free plan today.

  13. Katt says:

    The service DOES check the IP location. Cannot use service… message is “the service cannot be used within the United States”… tells me to sign back in when I am travelling overseas…

  14. TedGuy says:

    I’m using this service with a Roku, I’m happy with it at this time.

    1. Tonya says:

      How do you get it full screen????

  15. Bill says:

    I have been on the free service for a little less than a month. As I live on the Mexican side of the US border I do get US channels through a digital antenna however I can’t consistently get some channels some networks and usually can’t get NBC at all. This service works well for me here in Reynosa. I’m trying out the free service first and if it works out I’ll go do the 25 channel option.

  16. Ray says:

    The service was a lifesaver for me in Germany. And being an Eagles fan, it was wildly convenient during football season. Back in the States, now in Maryland, I still use it to watch Eagles games when they’re not on Nationally.

    1. Jose sande says:

      Love ustv overseas no need for a silly vpn

  17. Franc R says:

    Using USTVnow right now in Canada. Cannot complain, especially for the price. Considering my cable bill was around $100 a month, I’m very happy to pay $30, even if there is a small glitch here and there… Wife and I are currently watching two separate channels on two separate Roku boxes and it’s working great!!!

    1. Tonya says:

      How do you get it to go full screen

  18. Les D says:

    Have been using USTVnow for several months on multiple devices & Roku. Works great. Yes once in awhile data buffer may not keep up, but I blame that on ISP and/or programs running in the background on your computer hogging processor time, not USTVnow.

  19. Paul says:

    Re: “… don’t expect support for Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV”? – here in the UK I use the Chromecast stick in the back of the TV and “cast” from my iPhone (not using Chrome because the “cast” option on the iPhone version of Chrome (the browser) doesn’t have it) using another app that allows you to cast any internet site with a video on it to your TV. This very useful app is unremarkably called “Video & TV Cast for Chromecast”. Its interface is also chronically ancient and clunking – but it does exactly what is says on the tin and allows you to cast the USTVnow videos from their website… via this app… to your TV… via the Chromecast stick.

    You don’t need Chromecast support – once your Chromecast stick is initially set up, the app on the iPhone or iPad will detect it to “cast” to.

    All you need is a good internet connection and you’ll be away. 🙂

  20. Dale says:

    I have a 100 Mbit connection with no other users in the household. Every Roku channel I use, i.e. Sling, Netflix, Youtube, etc., works perfectly, but USTVnow constantly buffers during sporting events. Right now I’m trying to watch the Green Bay – Dallas playoff game, and it is unwatchable due to the constant buffering. Luckily, I’m on the $19 per month promotion, so I’m not out very much. However, I absolutely will not be renewing because of the buffering issue.

  21. Richard says:

    Why does USTV always sign me out, even after I click on keep me signed in? I always have to punch in password. Is there a solution?

  22. J says:

    They’ve just revamped their lineup this weekend.

    Removed 4 channels – CNN, Cartoon Network, TBS, and TNT.

    Added 6 channels – ESPN2 HD, Freeform, Sundance, TLC, Universal HD, NBC Sports.

  23. Robert says:

    The revamped lineup is not good since we lost the weekday (night) sport on TNT and TBS, specially NBA games! The 2 ESPN channels are worthless because they carry the sport that are not popular: softball, volleyball, game, … It is frustrating.

  24. Tim Stewart says:

    I’ve used USTVnow for several years, and must say the past 6 months have been subpar, to say the least. The changing of channels? Really, why? I gave up TNT & TBS for ESPN2 & Universal, which carries no content whatsoever. And within the past week, Universal has been dropped for TLC? Why don’t you survey your current customers as to the channels they’d like to watch before filling in the guide with useless junk? The constant buffering is a pain… enough of a pain, that I am considering giving up USTVnow and switching to Sling TV. By the way, my internet downloading/uploading speeds are phenomenal, so again that leads me to believe USTVnow tweaked something they should have left well enough alone.

  25. Cynthia says:

    I’ve had the service for several years. It used to have issues where it would kick you out. It’s great now, except…
    1). The words aren’t with the mouths… on the DVR service. This doesn’t bother me because I mainly listen to my shows, but it really bothers other people.
    2). We lost a few channels in May/June. Some of the main channels I watched: A&E, History, and Lifetime. Someone else said CNN, I’m not sure, but I never watched that garbage. We did GAIN a few channels though: Free Form & TLC. Not sure if there were others.
    3). Now the icon pictures on the DVR are gone, and it makes it hard to see my recordings at a glance and fast forward through them, you have to click on each one.

    Please keep TLC, but please bring back Lifetime, A&E, and History!!! If not, we may cancel.

  26. Sue Hall says:

    The service worked well until this month… Had the free service several years with few problems. Now they cut you off saying “server overload.” I got the $1 special and was charged $4.99 plus the $1. It went to $19 for a couple months, then to $29, at which point I went back to free service, but didn’t get my month until I complained and they only restored it to the end of the pay period. Could not see paying $19 a month, let alone $29 when there were only 1 or 2 things in a month I was interested in with the full package. Now it seems they’re punishing us if we don’t pay by denying access for the free version.

  27. Jan Lustig says:

    Currently have the free version. Unable to watch what I want when I want it because of “network congestion.” Support says I will have better reception if I pay. Not willing to pay until I see better service. Don’t waste your money.

  28. James says:

    I have been using USTVnow in California for several years now and it works great for me. Very rarely do I have buffering issues but I have a very fast internet connection. I am a news junkie and mostly watch Fox News Channel. This service is great for me and a hell of a lot cheaper than basic cable.

  29. MovieBox says:

    nice post, thanks for sharing!

  30. Bob Williams says:

    How do I go about accessing free ustvnow. I have a dell lap top computer. Do I need to download something and is it safe?

  31. Jack Darland, Jr. says:

    USTV in my experience, is a sham/scam/waste of good time…I was watching a 2 hour documentary when in the last 15 minutes the stream died with the message, ‘working to correct a known problem’…this by no means an isolated case…watching sports seems to be a particular problem…watching a game with 7:32 left on the clock and the score tied at 10, suddenly, without warning, there is 12:21 on the clock and the score 10 – 3…then, just as suddenly, there is 7:32 left on the clock and the score 10 all again…again, this is not an infrequent occurrence…I complained numerous times asking that some of my money be refunded as I was paying 100% for the service, but only receiving perhaps 80% for what I was paying…their response was always, “sorry, we are working on it.” Finally they offered to give me two free weeks, which was better than nothing…I cancelled my service after that, USTVnow just not worth the hassle…

    1. Jack Darland, Jr. says:

      Update: After I cancelled – as mentioned in the above post shortly after Jan 2 – and stopped using the service, lo and behold, in March I was charged $29.00 for the monthly fee…in contact with USTV Now to point out and correct the error, the response was, “Sorry! No refund for you.” I complained again and again, pointing out that no money was taken in February…”Sorry! No refund for you.” So because I am a fair player, I sent them the statement I planned to send to the BBB and said I would wait a week before sending it. “Sorry! No refund for you.” A week later, I sent the formal complaint to the BBB – within 2 hours I received a message from Paypal, “$29.00 has been refunded to your account by USTVNow” Moral(IMHO): service that is sporadic, customer service mediocre at best, a ‘bottom line over customer satisfaction’ company…hope your luck/service is better than mine.

  32. Ray says:

    This is a ripoff I joined to watch sports I should have just threw the money in the street. They are basically stealing your money ….don’t join

  33. Jesse Fuller says:

    As an expat I live in Brazil and have had USTVnow for the past 3 yrs on a auto-renewal monthly paid programming. I was very disappointed when they did away with CNN a couple of years ago as that was one of the main selling points for me. For being paid programming the streaming is of poor quality and buffers often. Watching MSNBS is no longer possible for me as the streaming is constantly interrupted about every 8 to 10 minutes and a notice saying that the are sorry and a known issue is causing the interruption. If your a paid member please contact USATVnow. After 40 days and countless contacts with them, they are not able to fix whatever issue it is that they have. I am now seeking other alternatives rather than continue with paying for something I am not able to get.

  34. nothanks says:

    the free plan now streams in 244p..yes 244p!

    1. lima says:

      How do you get the free plan

  35. Tonya Ouimet says:

    How do u get it to be the size of the screen??????

  36. says:

    USTVnow is not working with Roku any more. Roku discontinued the USTVnow services so please update your article accordingly.

  37. douglas smith says:

    100 % scam! You never get all the channels you pay for. Service when they answer never tell the truth. They blame Google,Microsoft and computer companies for there many problems. They dont look at there site and never know when there is a problem. They blocked us from election info the night of the election.

    1. Ulfat says:

      I see what you mean, but I’m not entirely convinced. I am getting all the channels I am paying for, additionally ustvnow offered me 720 free movies. Their support is very responsive.

  38. Kyle says:

    I tried UStvnow while in Mexico on vacation. I signed up for a 5 day free trial. I cancelled prior to the free trial ending and was still charged. When I called to resolve the confusion, I was told they would not refund me and was accused of lying that I had actually cancelled the subscription. The confirmation emails had gone to spam so I did not have those initially to show them. Eventually found them and disputed the charges with my AMEX. The service was OK. Customer service is horrible and they are clearly not trustworthy. I would not ever do anything with this company again.

  39. radiochuck says:

    Are the Canadian networks available in the U.S.? (CBC, CTV, City, etc.)

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