It doesn’t matter whether you watch TBS for March Madness or Samantha Bee’s biting political commentary—if you’re a TBS fan looking to get rid of your cable TV provider, you need a streaming solution that actually gets you the exclusive shows and live sports you want.
Here’s what we recommend:
Okay, that’s the short answer. The long answer is that while these services tend to be the best for watching TBS, the right streaming solution for your household will depend on your specific needs.
In general, we recommend using the following steps to figure out which service will be exactly right for your home.
If you follow these steps, you should be able to find a streaming service that checks all of your boxes and lets you seamlessly cut the cord.
But, if you’re short on time and need a way to livestream your favorite college basketball team or MLB team on TBS, like tonight, these top services are good bets for getting TBS online without cable.
What we like: Unlimited cloud DVR
Drawbacks: Limited availability
Who it’s perfect for: The TBS fans who want to record and rewatch to their heart’s content
YouTube TV gets our number-one pick for a couple of reasons. For starters, it has a great user-friendly interface and cloud DVR. Combine that with its low pricing, YouTube TV is a great option for TBS fans.
YouTube TV’s price speaks for itself. $40 a month with no contract, no cable box, unlimited cloud DVR storage, and access to 65+ channels. Need we say more? We don’t think so, but we will just in case.
YouTube TV also offers 6 accounts per household—more than any other streaming service on this list—and 3 simultaneous streams.
You know what that means: no more arguments over what to watch. With YouTube TV, everyone (or at least almost everyone) can watch what they want.
Whether it’s Big Bang Theory or Conan or March Madness that’s got you obsessed, YouTube TV has your TBS needs covered. You get not only the channel, but also some of the best streaming reliability on the market.
To top it all off, you’re going to love how user friendly the service is.
Most people are familiar with the YouTube interface, so you don’t have to learn how to navigate a new service from scratch. And since YouTube is owned by Google, it’s really easy to search for the shows, movies, and games you want.
Combine all that with the 1080p livestreaming, and you’ve got a service that’s easy and pleasant to use.
A main reason YouTube TV snags the number one spot on our list is its unlimited DVR storage. With this cloud DVR, you can record every single episode of Search Party or American Dad! without having to worry about recording space. (You can also record a ton of MLB action and NCAA basketball to watch on your own clock—score!)
Recently, YouTube TV has really upped its compatibility game by including Roku and Apple TV. That means YouTube TV now works on almost all streaming devices—except Amazon Fire TV.
If you’re a Amazon Fire lover, you’ll want to skip ahead to find the best options for you.
Laptops and computers:
What we like: The sports-watching experience
Drawbacks: The DVR time limit
Who it’s perfect for: The TBS fan who also likes to keep up with the big game
PlayStation Vue has a lot of the same benefits you get with YouTube TV, albeit a bit more restricted and with a tad higher price.
PlayStation Vue offers four packages, and even the most basic gets you the channel you want.
If TBS is your main goal, then we recommend the ever-affordable Access package which also grants you access—see what we did there?—to 50 other popular channels like ESPN.
If you want to add more sports to the mix, the Core package offers the most popular sports channels for $49.99 a month, including MLB Network to complement your TBS baseball coverage.
That still not enough sports? Well, you can add the Sports Pack for $10 more a month and enjoy MLB Network Strike Zone too.
Basically, if your goal is getting sports 24/7, PlayStation Vue has your back.
Absolutely. Like YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue brings you the TBS shows you crave. Plus, PlayStation Vue’s known for its consistent streaming quality—perfect for March Madness in particular. But, at 720p, its max picture resolution isn’t as high as YouTube TV’s.
That being said, PlayStation Vue does have a few benefits over YouTube TV.
For example, PlayStation Vue’s Core package offers more sports channels than YouTube TV, and it’s only a few dollars more. In fact, it carries every channel you’ll need for March Madness—including over 100 CBS affiliates and truTV (which just means you’re more likely to get that channel wherever you live).
So while this service is second on our list, it could be at the top of yours.
PlayStation Vue has an unlimited DVR so you can record your favorite TBS show as much as you want. That’s the good news. The bad news is we ultimately had to rank PlayStation Vue below YouTube TV because it’s just not in the same weight class.
While both services offer unlimited recording space, PlayStation Vue lets you keep your recordings for up to only 28 days. Meanwhile, YouTube TV lets you keep recordings for up to nine months.
So unless you’re planning to watch all your recorded Bob’s Burgers episodes within a few weeks, you might be better off with YouTube TV. That said, its storage time limit probably wouldn’t affect your March Madness viewing at all.
Don’t let its name fool you; PlayStation Vue is actually compatible with most devices. Amazon Fire, Apple, Android, Roku—you name it and PlayStation Vue will most likely work on it.
Laptops and computers:
What we like: Price per channel
Drawbacks: Limited DVR
Who it’s perfect for: The TV fans who want the most channels possible
Coming in at number three is DIRECTV NOW. Overall, we like DIRECTV NOW. It’s fairly reliable, offers a decent number of playback features, and the resolution is good (720p–1080p).
A big advantage of DIRECTV NOW is its price-per-channel value. DIRECTV NOW’s Live a Little package ($40 a month) is less expensive than PlayStation Vue, and it offers one of the highest channel counts of all streaming services.
Another major deal from DIRECTV NOW is its premium channel add-ons. You can get channels like SHOWTIME or STARZ for as low as $8 a month each and get shows that aren’t even options on most streaming services. Outlander watch party, anyone?
Of course. Would we rank it third if it didn’t?
In fact, TBS is included in all of DIRECTV NOW’s huge channel lineups. Plus, if your group can’t decide which of these channels to watch, you can use DIRECTV NOW’s two simultaneous streams and watch them both.
Sounds great, right? Not so fast—DIRECTV NOW’s interface is simple and easy to use, but it’s nothing special. That combined with its so-so streaming quality keeps it solidly below YouTube TV and PlayStation Vue.
The main reason DIRECTV NOW doesn’t rank higher on our list is a bit of doozy. It’s cloud DVR kind of stinks.
While it’s at least included in the price, the a 20-hour cloud DVR automatically deletes your recording after 30 days.
Now, we know that’s not a deal breaker for everyone. If you mostly watch your favorite shows live or on demand, it’s likely you won’t even notice a difference. But if you do want to be able to record and binge-watch every episode of Miracle Workers, DIRECTV NOW may not be the best option for you.
DIRECTV NOW can run on almost any smartphone, computer, or casting device.
It’s not compatible with Android TV, however, so if you own one you might want to look at one of our other picks.
Laptops and computers:
What we like: The dirt-cheap price
Drawbacks: Poor streaming quality
Who it’s perfect for: The TBS fan who doesn’t want their wallet to take a hit
If price is everything to you, then Sling TV is your streaming service. It’s missing some bonuses of other services, but no one can help loving Sling’s basic price tag.
At $25 a month, Sling’s Orange package is hard to beat. But be warned, the price matches what you get. Sling Orange grants you access to 30 channels, including ESPN. But it’s missing some popular channels that have been purposefully separated into Sling’s Blue package instead.
Fortunately, Sling Orange has you covered if you want to watch The Guest Book on TBS. Unfortunately, if you want to catch additional March Madness action on truTV, you’re out of luck unless you get either Sling Blue ($25 per month) or Sling Orange + Sling Blue ($40 per month for both packages together). Confusing, we know.
Basically, while Sling TV is initially cheap, you might end up paying as much as $50 a month to keep up with all your shows.
Yes, for the most part.
You do get TBS through either Sling TV’s Orange or Blue packages, but the streaming quality is a bit glitchy. You’ll be safe with a really strong internet connection, but we know how important it is to see whether your college team’s shot beats the buzzer, so we felt the need to warn you.
Honestly, Sling TV’s cloud DVR is a major downer.
That’s mainly because there isn’t one included in your monthly subscription. You can get a 50-hour cloud DVR add-on for $5 a month, but that takes the price closer to some of the other streaming services that offer better perks.
One thing strongly in Sling TV’s favor is its compatibility. Sling can run on almost anything, including mobile devices.
So if you’re looking for a cheap option to view TBS on the go, you might want to give Sling a try.
Laptops and computers:
What we like: Cloud DVR options
Drawbacks: Less channel variety
Who it’s perfect for: The niche sports fan
fuboTV was designed for the sports enthusiast but has become so much more. We love it for its niche-sports coverage and solid cloud DVR options, but it falls short of amazing in its lack of channel variety.
Starting at $44.99 a month, fuboTV is right up there with the most expensive services on our list, and the price keeps growing from there with add-ons.
Of course, we do appreciate that fuboTV allows you to tailor your experience with add-ons. For example, if you’re into a niche sport like golf or cycling, then they have an add-on specifically for you.
But be careful because at $5.99 or $8.99 a pop, these small add-ons can start adding up.
Yep. fuboTV’s got your TBS watching needs covered. With its basic package—so basic, in fact, that it’s actually just called fubo—you get the TBS you need and access to 90 other channels.
Plus, if you want TBS for sports, you’ll probably notice that fuboTV has a lot of them.
With the Big Ten Network and NFL Network, you’re pretty well covered, but notice it’s missing something big—ESPN. While this might not be a deal breaker for everyone, it’s a pretty big gap in fuboTV’s sports lineup.
fuboTV includes a 30-hour cloud DVR free with your subscription. On its own that’s nothing special, but we really like fuboTV’s other DVR option—namely, 500 hours for $9.99 a month. While it can’t hold up against YouTube TV’s unlimited DVR, it’s still pretty nice.
Also, if you’re the type of person who often forgets to set the DVR, you’ll be happy to know fuboTV offers a three-day game replay. With that, you can watch or rewatch the game without even filling up your DVR space.
fuboTV works on all common streaming devices including Android TV, Roku, Chromecast, and Apple TV.
Laptops and computers:
What we like: Tons of on-demand shows
Drawbacks: Overpriced add-ons
Who it’s perfect for: The TV enthusiast who wants to binge on-demand shows all the time
Hulu + Live TV combines the on-demand content from Hulu we know and love with select live channels you want—in this case, TBS.
While we’re in love with the gobs of binge-worthy TV, Hulu Live’s difficult interface and expensive add-ons bring its overall rating down.
Hulu Live offers two options for its live TV package. For $39.99 per month, you can sign up for Hulu Live’s basic plan with 50 live channels. But for only a few dollars more, you can cut out the peskiest part of TV watching—the commercials.
That’s right, at $43.99 per month you score Hulu on-demand channels without the commercial interruptions. You’ll still have to endure commercials on live channels, but at least your next Friends binge can go uninterrupted.
While we love the no-commercial option, Hulu Live’s add-ons are super expensive with channels like HBO clocking in at $14.99 each per month. Ouch. So if you have to get your Game of Thrones fix, Hulu Live might not be the best choice for you.
Hulu Live’s got your back when it comes to keeping up with your favorite TBS shows like Search Party or People of the Earth, or faithfully watching tons of games during the 2019 MLB season or March Madness.
The problem with Hulu Live isn’t that it doesn’t have your channel, it’s getting to your channel.
To put it simply, navigating through the Hulu Live app can be a pain in the butt. While the concept of its My Stuff recommendation-based algorithm is great, the many different screens and sub-tabs make the in-app experience difficult.
We do, however, like the possibility of unlimited personal streams. But with Hulu Live it comes at a price—$14.99 a month to be exact. While that’s pretty expensive, it’s also a perk no one else can match. For more details, check out our full Hulu + Live TV review.
Hulu Live includes a 50-hour cloud DVR with your basic subscription. But unless you fork over money for the no-commercial plan, you don’t get to fast-forward through any of those commercials. Yep, that’s even on your recorded shows.
If 50 hours doesn’t sound like enough for you, Hulu Live does offer a 200-hour DVR add-on for a fee of $14.99 a month—are you seeing the same pattern that we are?
The list of compatible Hulu Live devices is about as long as the list of its on-demand content. From Amazon Fire TV to to anything Roku, Hulu Live has you covered.
Laptops and computers:
The TBS channel app (Watch TBS) is great for on-the-go living. You can livestream TBS and watch current shows on demand from just about any device. But for as great as it is, it’s probably not going to work as a stand-alone streaming solution.
In order to access TBS content on the app, you have to log in using credentials from either a cable provider or a streaming service. So in the end, it really only works when used in conjunction with another service.
Hulu Live not only lets you watch TBS live, but also owns the streaming rights for most of the syndicated sitcoms that TBS airs. And since Hulu is one of the current kings of on-demand TV, you can binge-watch your favorites on your own schedule.
If you watch TBS for the MLB or March Madness, we recommend signing up for PlayStation Vue.
This service offers just about every channel a sports fan could want as part of its Core package ($49.99 per month). College basketball fans can get CBS (depending on local availability) and truTV too when they go with Core. In fact, it’s typically the cheapest way to get all the sports coverage you want.
PlayStation Vue’s streaming is also extremely smooth, so you don’t have to worry about missing an important play just because your streaming service suddenly decided to buffer.
If you’re simply looking to watch TBS for the lowest price possible, we advise signing up for Sling TV.
Sling TV didn’t make a good score in our rankings above for a number of reasons (unreliable streaming quality, poor local channel availability, complicated package structure, etc.). But TBS fans on a budget are sure to appreciate both the Sling Orange and Sling Blue packages’ $25-per-month price tag.
Keep in mind, though, that Sling TV’s pricing can be a bit misleading. If all you want is TBS, we say go for it. But if you’re a sports fan trying to catch TBS, you may need to upgrade to the Sling Orange + Sling Blue package ($40 per month) in order to get Fox Sports and the other channels you want—and that’s if you can get over the glitchy streaming quality.
The right device for watching TBS depends a lot on which service you choose because each streaming provider has a different list of compatible devices.
There are lots of different ways to watch TBS, and we’ve covered only a few of them. To find out more about how you can enjoy TBS, check out our best best streaming services guide. We’re always happy to answer specific inquiries about what services best suit your particular needs.