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Watch Riverdale Online: How To Stream Riverdale For Free Without Cable

Read our guide and learn how to watch Riverdale online. Stream episodes for free and stay up-to-date with series, all without a cable subscription.

Airs on

1

Package

Live a Little

DIRECTV NOW offers loads of great channels for an overall cheap price. Channel flippers will love this one.
$40/mo.
Free Trial
2

Package

Limited Commercials

Hulu with Live TV comes with lots of live channels and includes its entire on-demand library too.
$39.99/mo.
Free Trial
3

Package

fubo

fuboTV focuses on lots of sports coverage, but it also includes channels for the non-sports fan.
$44.99/mo
Free Trial

Season 1 of Riverdale arrived on the CW last year and took the world by storm. Who knew that a show based on the quaint old Archie comics could be so dark, compelling, and quite frankly addictive? We’re dying to find out who shot Fred, whether Jughead and Betty will clash over Jughead joining the Southside Serpents, and how exactly the showrunners are going to introduce the upcoming Sabrina the Teenage Witch spin-off.

If you, like us, can’t wait to watch the latest escapades of Archie and the gang, but are looking to cut the cord with cable, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got the scoop on how to watch Riverdale season 2 without paying for that expensive cable package.

#1 DIRECTV NOW: The Best Option for Diverse Entertainment

Best Choice
Price
$40 - $75
Channels
64 - 99

What We Like: Live CW streaming and affordable premium channel add-ons

Drawbacks: Still no DVR service (but supposed to be coming soon)

Who It’s Perfect for: Riverdale fans who want a variety of programming options without breaking the bank

DIRECTV NOW isn’t the cheapest option on our list, but it securely lands in our #1 spot because it offers widespread and convenient access to live CW streaming. The CW is currently very selective about which services can offer live CW programming, so DIRECTV NOW automatically jumps high on the list of options for Riverdale fans. And while it has no DVR service (yet), its 60+ channels, $35-per-month price tag, and affordable access to premium channels make the basic DIRECTV NOW package a pretty decent deal for anyone looking to watch Riverdale online.

DIRECTV NOW Pricing

The basic Live a Little package from DIRECTV NOW costs $35 per month, which is pretty average compared to other streaming services. Plus, DIRECTV NOW offers HBO®, SHOWTIME®, and other premium channel add-ons for just $5 each per month. Most streaming services offer those channels for twice that much, which makes DIRECTV NOW the obvious choice for Riverdale fans who also follow shows like Game of Thrones and Homeland.

Watching Riverdale on DIRECTV NOW

As mentioned above, DIRECTV NOW is one of the few streaming services that actually offers live CW feeds, which makes it easier to get your Riverdale fix without having to wait. However, live feed availability depends a lot on your region, so we’d highly recommend checking out DIRECTV NOW’s channel offerings for your specific area before signing up. Customers living in areas without a live CW stream can still watch the latest Riverdale episodes on demand, but if you don’t want to wait and risk hearing spoilers, you may want to consider an antenna or another streaming service.

No DVR with DIRECTV NOW

One of the biggest drawbacks to DIRECTV NOW is the service’s lack of DVR options. As things stand, you can’t record shows for later, so Riverdale fans have to make due with what’s available on demand. That’s bad news for anyone looking to binge-watch the latest season, but if you’re just looking for a way to watch Riverdale on your own schedule, DIRECTV NOW’s on-demand option should work just fine for you.

DIRECTV NOW Device Compatibility

DIRECTV NOW is available on all the most popular streaming devices with the notable exception of gaming consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation. So if you’re a gamer looking for a streaming service that won’t require you to buy another device, you might want to try a different option on our list, like Hulu Live.

TV & Video Players:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku

Phones & Tablets:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android phones

Gaming Consoles:

  • none

Laptops & Computers:

  • Macs (Safari)
  • PCs (Chrome)

Save more on your DIRECTV NOW subscription with AT&T! Right now, AT&T customers can enjoy DIRECTV NOW service for just $10 per month after a $25 video credit. To learn more, visit AT&T’s offer page.

#2 CW App: Free CW Streaming with a Bit of Wait Time

What We Like: It’s completely free—no logins or subscriptions

Drawbacks: No live streaming

Who It’s Perfect for: Viewers on a budget who don’t mind waiting until the latest Riverdale episodes are released on demand

Of all the options on our list, the CW app is the only one that allows you to watch Riverdale online for free. However, it ultimately misses out on our #1 spot because the app only allows you to watch CW content on demand. If you don’t mind waiting a little longer to catch up with Archie and the gang, though, the CW app is likely your best (and least expensive) option.

CW App Pricing

The biggest perk of the CW app is that it’s free. Unlike a lot of other channel-specific apps, it doesn’t require you to log in with your cable package credentials. You simply download the app and start streaming.

Watching Riverdale on the CW App

Since the CW app is actually owned and operated by the CW, it features extensive access to Riverdale, Arrow, Supernatural, and all your other CW favorites. The only downside is that the app only features the five most recent episodes from each season, so if you get further behind than that, you’re out of luck until Season 2 is released in full on Netflix. And, as mentioned above, the app doesn’t offer live streaming, so you’ll have to wait until the latest episodes are released on demand. Beware of spoilers!

No DVR Options with the CW App

As a channel-specific streaming app, the CW app is pretty bare-bones, which means it doesn’t offer a DVR option. However, since all the content is available on demand, there’s not really a need for a DVR unless you want to binge-watch more than five episodes at a time. If you’re looking for a way to save older episodes for later, you might want to consider fuboTV or Hulu Live.

CW App Device Compatibility

The CW app is available on pretty much all major devices. If you’re using your laptop or desktop computer to watch, however, you don’t need the app—just watch directly on the CW website’s Riverdale page.

TVs & Video Players:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku

Phones & Tablets:

  • Amazon Fire tablets
  • Android phones
  • Android tablets
  • iPads
  • iPhones
  • Windows phones
  • Windows tablets

Gaming Consoles:

  • Xbox One

Laptops & Computers:

  • None

#3 Digital Antenna: Fantastic Low-Budget Option If You Have a CW Station Nearby

What We Like: No monthly fees or subscriptions

Drawbacks: Lack of universal CW availability

Who It’s Perfect for: Viewers who live in an area with a locally broadcast CW channel

If you’re wondering where to watch Riverdale on a budget, a digital antenna may be the best option for you. Digital antennas get you access to over-the-air broadcasts from any local ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and CW affiliates. However, while pretty much every area has a regional ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC station, not all areas have a local, over-the-air CW station, so be sure to check your area’s channel offerings before going all in on a digital antenna.

Digital Antenna Pricing

The cost of your digital antenna will depend on the model you choose to buy. While we tend to lean toward the Mohu Leaf 50 for its affordability and 50-mile reception radius, the right antenna for your needs will depend on your household (see our guide to choosing the best TV antenna for more details). In general, though, you can expect to pay at least $30 for a new antenna.

Of course, the biggest upside to getting an antenna is that you only have to pay for the device up front. After that, it’s free to watch your locally broadcast channels, so you don’t have to worry about monthly fees, trial periods, or subscriptions.

Watching Riverdale with an Antenna

In areas where there’s a local CW station, an antenna should allow you unrestricted access to the latest Riverdale episodes. However, there are two big caveats. First, an antenna will only give you access to live programming, so if you miss an episode, you’re out of luck unless you also download the CW App. Second, as we mentioned above, the CW doesn’t have as many affiliate stations as other networks. So if you live in an area without a local CW channel, an antenna will likely not be the right choice for you.

No DVR without Additional Purchases

While modern antennas are much sleeker and prettier than the rabbit ears of yesteryear, they still only get you access to live, over-the-air broadcasts. That means you’re stuck watching episodes live as they air—no recording it for later.

Of course, you can get around this by purchasing an additional DVR device, but it will cost you extra. The TiVo BOLT®,for instance, retails for $199.99 up front and requires you to pay a monthly service fee of $14.99 per month. That’s certainly more than you’d pay watching live, but if viewing flexibility is a must-have for your household, pairing a DVR with your antenna could still wind up being the cheapest option for your home.

Antenna Compatibility

Antennas are generally compatible with any TV—all you need is a co-ax input. In some cases, you can also plug your antenna into your video player directly or via an adapter, which allows you to watch your over-the-air programming and streaming services on a single input. Check out the compatibility page for your device to see if it’s compatible with your antenna.

Get a free indoor antenna when you prepay for two months of Sling TV service! Check out the Sling TV offer page for more details on how to enjoy your over-the-air stations and a selection of non-broadcast channels (like ESPN) for one low monthly rate.

#4 Hulu Live: More Money for More Programming Options

Great
Price
$39.99 - $43.99
Channels
55

What We Like: Original programming and an extensive on-demand library

Drawbacks: Higher-than-average price tag

Who It’s Perfect for: Fans who want access to a wide variety of on-demand options in addition to live CW streaming

Hulu Live is a solid choice for fans looking for live streams of the latest Riverdale episodes, thanks in large part to the renewed cooperation between Hulu and the CW. This increased availability is key for fans who are trying to avoid spoilers, but it does come with a higher price tag, which is why this option gets our #4 spot.

Hulu Live Pricing

Hulu Live starts at $39.99 per month, which makes it a more expensive option than most other streaming services. It should be noted, however, that Hulu Live customers do get a lot more than they’d get with another service. In addition to live channel feeds and on-demand access to this season’s shows, Hulu Live also offers an extensive movie library and a collection of original programming. If having that kind of variety is important to you, we think the slightly higher price is certainly worth the investment.

Watching Riverdale on Hulu Live

Hulu will be offering both live and on-demand streaming of this season’s Riverdale episodes. However, live feeds are not available in every area, so be sure to check Hulu’s live channel availability in your area before signing up.

Hulu Live also offers an enhanced viewing experience compared to other providers in the form of its No Commercials plan. This option costs an additional $4 per month, but it allows you to watch on-demand Riverdale episodes without having to sit through commercials. So if you hate watching ads, your viewing experience may be best with a Hulu Live subscription.

Limited DVR Included

With Hulu Live service, you do get 50 hours’ worth of cloud DVR storage space. But as anyone who’s ever owned a DVR knows, that 50 hours can get used up in no time. Of course, if you’re willing to pay an extra $14.99 a month, Hulu Live does offer an additional 150 hours of storage. It’s not particularly economical, but it may be worth it for viewers who want both the programming diversity offered by Hulu and the added flexibility that comes with more DVR space.

Hulu Live Device Compatibility

While Hulu’s on-demand business has been going strong for years now, Hulu Live is still a fledgling service. That translates to more limited device compatibility than the traditional Hulu service, but Hulu Live is still pretty widely available.

TV & Video Players:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku

Phones & Tablets:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android phones
  • Android tablets

Gaming Consoles:

  • Xbox One
  • Xbox 360

Laptops & Computers:

  • Macs
  • PCs

#5 fuboTV: A Good Way to Follow Both Riverdale and Your Favorite Sports Teams

Also Great
Price
$44.99 - $49.99
Channels
60 - 64

What We Like: Tons of local sports programming in addition to CW streams

Drawbacks: Limited CW availability

Who It’s Perfect for: Riverdale fans who also want access to their local sports teams

fuboTV is a sports-centric streaming service, but they did announce in June that they’d be adding live CW streaming to their line-up. This makes fuboTV a good option for Riverdale fans, sports fans, and households looking to appease both. However, fuboTV does come in at #5 on our list simply because its CW availability is extremely limited. If you do live in an area where fuboTV offers a live CW feed however, it’s a quality choice for a decent (if slightly higher-than-average) price.

fuboTV Pricing

fuboTV recently upped its price for new subscribers from $34.99 per month to $39.99 per month to offset the additional channel offerings that the company has announced in recent months. It’s not a bad price, but it is higher than average, particularly when you consider the limited availability of local channels on fuboTV.

Watching Riverdale on fuboTV

fuboTV announced this past summer that the CW would be joining CBS, NBC, and a number of other major networks on the service’s list of offerings. However, fuboTV has not been forthcoming about how soon we can expect to see CW programming or what regional availability will look like. If other networks are any indication, there is a good chance that CW streaming will be available to customers in just a few select areas within the U.S.

Long story short: Riverdale fans in most areas of the country will find it difficult to stream the CW using fuboTV. However, if it is available in your area and your family loves to keep up with regional sports teams, fuboTV could easily provide the best viewing experience for your needs.

DVR Service Included with Upgrades Available

fuboTV service does come with a very basic 30 hours of cloud-based DVR service. That’s less than you get with basic Hulu Live service, but the upgrade option for fuboTV’s DVR is a lot better. When you upgrade your fuboTV DVR, you get an additional 450 hours of recording space for just $9.99 per month. That’s more than twice as much recording space as Hulu Live’s upgraded DVR for $5 less per month.

fuboTV Device Compatibility

If fuboTV offers a CW feed in your area, the service makes it pretty easy to watch Riverdale online via popular video players, your standard phones and tablets, and your browser. However, fuboTV is not compatible with consoles like the PlayStation or Xbox systems, so gamers may want to try another option.

TV & Video Players:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku

Phones & Tablets:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android phones
  • Android tablets

Gaming Consoles:

  • none

Laptops & Computers:

  • Macs
  • PCs

Can You Watch Riverdale on Hulu?

We talked about Hulu Live above, but you can also opt to sign up for Hulu’s traditional on-demand service and get access to new Riverdale episodes the day after they air. Hulu’s Limited Commercials package is currently just $5.99 per month for the first year ($7.99 per month thereafter), which makes it a great option for Archie fans who want to watch season 2 on a budget and don’t mind waiting a day.

If you upgrade to the No Commercials plan ($11.99 per month), you can even watch the latest episodes ad-free. Hulu offers a free 7-day trial, so it’s certainly worth checking to see if it’s right for you.

Watch Past Season of Riverdale on Netflix

If you’re looking to watch Riverdale season 2 on Netflix, you’ll have to wait a while, as the company holds streaming rights only for past seasons of the show. For access to live CW streaming, we’d recommend going with one of the services recommended above. But if you’re looking to get caught up on Riverdale season 1, Netflix is a great option.

New subscribers can even try out Netflix free for one month, which should be more than enough time to binge-watch season 1. After that, plans start at $7.99 a month. Overall, we think that’s a great deal considering how many shows and movies you can watch, including original programming like Stranger Things.

How do you prefer to stream Riverdale? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to keep us updated on everything you love and hate about the maple syrup–soaked escapades of Archie, Veronica, Jughead, and Betty this season.

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