How to Watch ESPN Without Cable—Your 3 Best Options

Live TV Streaming Services

If you have recently decided to cut the cord, you might be confused with the number of streaming options available. Plenty of services offer ESPN, but which one is best for you?

Whether you enjoy live sports or sports analyses, you will find more than one way to watch ESPN without paying the high monthly cable bill.

For many sport fans, ESPN is a necessity. Here are the top three streaming services to watch ESPN without cable.

Streaming Services

Before we dive into the three recommended services, we must first understand the role of streaming services.

Essentially, streaming services are alternatives to cable TV offering 3 basic functions:

  • An array of networks for a monthly price
  • The ability of subscribers to watch live TV, on their own schedule
  • DVR and on-demand content

However, there are key differences:

  • A streaming service requires an Internet connection rather than an analog wire or a satellite dish.
  • As long as you have Wi-Fi, you can stream all your favorite shows and movies using a streaming-supported device outside your home.
  • Cable TV is generally more expensive than streaming services—with some plans costing more than $100 a month.
  • Cable plans have contracts, so canceling early could lead to additional fees.

For die-hard sports fans who want to cut the cord, it’s hard to give up cable and satellite TV.

But, with a little work, you can find your preferred sports package for less than cable/satellite, when streaming online.

If you want to know more about streaming services, read our article on How to Watch TV Without Cable or Satellite here.

Sling TV Orange Plan

  • $30/month
  • 32 Channels
  • 3-Day Trial

Sling TV offers two plans: Blue and Orange. However, Orange is the only plan that provides ESPN.

Sling TV Orange is the cheapest option to watch ESPN. For $30 a month, you gain access to three ESPN channels alongside family-centered networks like the Disney Channel, TBS, TNT and more.

In addition to some of the more popular networks, local channels are also available. To access them, you need to enter your zip code on the website to find availability.

However, we always recommend separately purchasing a good antenna to view your local channels. Depending on your area, a good antenna could double the number of channels the streaming service offers.

If you want to know more about local channels and antennas, you can read How to Reduce Your Cable Bill in 2020: 8 Hacks They Don’t Want You to Know here.

For those who want even more sports, you can pay an additional $10 a month for the Sports Extra add-on. The add-on contains 15 sports channels like NBA TV, ESPNU, NHL Network and ESPNEWS.

If you have a child in the household, the Kids Extra add-on offers Disney Junior, NickToons, Boomerang and more. There are more extras available. See below:

Sling Orange ExtrasPrice Channels Offered
Sports Extra$10/MonthSEC Network, ACC Network, Pac-12, The Longhorn Network, etc
Comedy Extra$5/MonthMTV, Paramount Network, FETV, etc
Kids Extra$5/MonthDisney Junior, Disney XD, NickToons, TeenNick, Boomerang, Baby TV, etc
News Extra$5/MonthHLN, Weather Nation, BBC World News, Newsmax TV, etc
Lifestyle Extra$5/MonthVH1, Oxygen, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, etc
Hollywood Extra$5/MonthHeroes & Icons, REELZ, Start TV, HDNet Movies, etc
Heartland Extra$5/MonthWorld Fishing Network, Pursuit, Sportsman Channel, RFD-TV, etc
Sling TV Orange Extras

Sling TV also offers premium channels. The cost increases as you add more networks, but you may find the quality worth it.

Some of the available more notable premiums are:

  • SHOWTIME – $10/mo
  • STARZ– $9/mo
  • EPIX – $5/mo

Sling TV is supported by plenty of streaming devices, including but not limited to Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and mobile devices.

However, the service has its limitations. Even if you own more than one of the supported devices, you can only watch one stream at a time. 

Additionally, the DVR function is also limited. You only get 10 hours of storage with the basic plan. You can upgrade this to 50 hours with the Cloud DVR Plus add-on, but this will cost you an extra $5 a month.

Thankfully, even with all its limitations, Sling TV offers text chat and live video chat with its watch party feature.

It only works on Chrome desktop browsers for now with limitations. The feature doesn’t work with local channels, premium networks or recorded programs on the Cloud DVR.

The feature allows you to invite up to three friends. If you are the host, you control when to play, rewind and pause on-demand content. Participants will have full control of their video-chat volume and streaming volume.

All Sling customers can enjoy watch parties. If your friends and families are not subscribers yet, they can join your watch party once for free.

Follow the steps below to host a Sling Watch Party:

  1. Sign in to Sling on Google Chrome
  2. Select your live or on-demand content
  3. Click “Create Watch Party” from the title’s information screen
  4. Invite guests with a unique link
  5. Start watching

TVision Live TV

  • $40/month
  • 33 Channels
  • No free trial

TVision is the newest streaming service in the market launching on November 1st, 2020.

As of now, only T-Mobile postpaid wireless customers can sign up for the service. However, in 2021, T-Mobile plans to offer the service to everyone.

TVision has a variety of plans starting at $10/month but TVision Live TV is the cheapest option providing ESPN.

TVision Live plan has a mix of entertainment, sports, news and local TV channels. Alongside ESPN and ESPN2, you also get access to FOX, TBS, TNT, ABC and more.

However, the service lacks CBS and CW. Additionally, depending on where you live, some local channels might not be available. To fix this, consider purchasing a quality antenna.

Moreover, you can purchase premium channels as extras. These are as follows:

  • SHOWTIME – $10.99/mo
  • STARZ – $8.99/mo
  • EPIX – $5.99/mo

TVision is currently not available on Roku and web browsers, but it does support Android TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google TV and mobile devices.

If you do not have a supported device, you can purchase the TVision Hub Kit for a one-time cost of $49.99. It is an Android-powered HDMI device which can be used to browse through your other streaming subscriptions.

Unlike Sling TV Orange, three concurrent streams are allowed. This feature is especially helpful because you can create up to 10 profiles in one account.

TVision Live TV also has a cloud DVR feature allowing you to record up to 100 hours of television. It allows you to freely fast forward and rewind through your recordings. In addition, they are saved for up to nine months. If you use all 100 hours, the first recording is automatically deleted.

Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the service does not offer a free trial. This means, T-Mobile customers cannot test drive the service before signing up.

Vidgo Core

  • $45/month ($40/month for the first three months)
  • 68 Channels
  • 3-Day Trial

Like the earlier two services mentioned, Vidgo offers multiple plans. However, Vidgo Core is the cheapest plan providing ESPN.

If you love sports, you will love Vidgo. For $40 a month, the service gives you five ESPN channels, FOX Sports, beIN Sports, NFL Network, Pac-12 Network, ABC and more.

Unfortunately, regional sports networks are unavailable. Purchasing a quality antenna can remedy this, but the basic sports channel lineup has enough to satisfy most sports fan.

Whatever your family’s preferences are, they will probably find what they are looking for in the service’s initial lineup of 68 channels.

But unlike the other two streaming options described ealier, you cannot purchase premium or add-on packages. If you want more channels, choose Vidgo Plus, which gives you 20+ more channels for $55 a month.

Vidgo Core allows you to watch three separate streams at once. You can watch on Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, Android TV, mobile devices and more.

Despite Vidgo Core’s all-star channel lineup, you cannot record any shows or movies. To make up for this, Vidgo allows users to catch up on content aired within the last twenty-four hours with its Playback feature.

The service gives you access to its Video On Demand library, allowing you to watch your favorite shows from the networks whenever you want.

Since Vidgo encourages social interactions while watching TV, the service provides a watch party feature called Social TV Experience.

Unlike Sling TV’s watch party function, you can watch shows and events from your smart TV and mobile devices.

You can join or schedule your watch parties with friends. If you like interacting with others while watching shows and games, Vidgo gives you many options. You can chat, post memes, GIFs, or live video reactions to funny scenes, goals, or good comebacks.

Sling TV vs TVision vs Vidgo

Conclusion

Cutting the cord doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our favorite channels. Even without cable, you can watch NFL, MLB, NBA, college sports and many more of the popular cable channels each service provides.

Since all the streaming services we mentioned above offer two or more ESPN channels, your choice will ultimately revolve around your preferences.

Sling TV Orange is the cheapest of the three. However, if you want to add more channels, the price increases.

Unfortunately, TVision is limited to T-Mobile customers. But despite this and its infancy, the service provides features and networks rivaling other streaming services.

Vidgo Core lacks DVR, but we still recommend the service because of its social features and numerous sports channels.

Unlike cable TV, all three streaming services do not require contracts and canceling does not lead to additional fees.

How are you watching ESPN? Are you still using traditional cable TV? Would you consider streaming ESPN on one of the services we covered? Let us know in the comments below.

Lloyd Rano Opalec

Additional Resources

Read our previous blogs below:

What is the Cheapest Way to Watch Fox News here

How To Watch TV Without Cable or Satellite here

How to Watch HGTV Online Without Cable here

How to Watch TNT Without Cable here.

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