How to Watch North Carolina Basketball This Season
Orange + Blue
Live a Little
The Tar Heel are in the Big Dance looking for a chance at repeating as National Champions. Find out how to watch March Madness without cable.
After an extremely successful March Madness run earlier this year, North Carolina basketball is back and looks primed for another deep run at the big dance. We don’t want to jinx anything here, but it feels like this North Carolina team is poised for a successful season.
So if you’re looking for a way to watch North Carolina basketball even after cutting the cord, we get it. And we’re here for you. Our goal is to help you find the best way to livestream North Carolina’s exciting upcoming season, ideally free of commercials.
If you take a look at North Carolina’s schedule, every season game is going to air on the ACC Network, CBS, ESPN, or ESPN2. March Madness, on the other hand, plays on TBS, TNT, and TruTV.
Guide to Watching North Carolina Basketball 2017–2018
|Sling TV||DIRECTV NOW||PlayStation Vue||Hulu Live TV|
|Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial|
|ACC Network Extra|
#1 Sling TV: Your Source for the Most ACC Action
What We Like about It: Only streaming service that carries ACC Network Extra
Drawbacks: No CBS coverage
Who It’s Perfect For: Fans who own an antenna
If you’re reading this page, chances are you’re a devoted North Carolina fan, which means you want to watch every game. Among streaming services, that can be a bit of a tall order, but Sling TV can deliver—especially if you combine it with the right things to get additional CBS coverage. You can watch North Carolina for free with a Sling TV trial.
Pricing and Plans for Sling TV
Sling TV breaks down its channels into three different packages, Sling Orange, Sling Blue, and Sling Orange + Sling Blue (which is just a combo of the first two). To watch every North Carolina game throughout the year, you’ll need to pay for the combo, Sling Orange + Sling Blue, at $40 a month. It may sound expensive, but we have a few recommendations that can save you some money.
If you look at the channel packages, you can see Sling Orange offers ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, and ACC Network Extra (plus 30 other channels) for only $20 a month. The vast majority of the regular season games air on these channels, so you can get away with just Sling Orange for the first part of the season. Then, once March Madness arrives, upgrade your package to include Sling Blue. That way, you’ll get almost every channel you need to livestream North Carolina and the whole March Madness tournament without paying more than necessary.
You’ll notice we said almost every channel—Sling TV currently doesn’t carry CBS. Hopefully that will change in the near future, but in the meantime, we have another tip for you.
We recommend pairing your Sling TV subscription with an HD antenna to get access to your local CBS channels. You can get an HD antenna for a cheap, one-time $25 and watch North Carolina basketball on CBS that way, or you can opt for Sling TV’s promotion to get an antenna for free. Just make sure you double-check you can get CBS in your area. You can enter your ZIP code here to make sure.
If you can’t get local CBS access with an antenna, don’t worry—there’s another option. You can also subscribe to the CBS All Access app for $5.99 a month. Check out our thoughts about this app if you’re unsure.
Watch North Carolina Basketball on Sling TV
Our experience with Sling TV has been positive. The streaming quality looks great, with fuzzy images and laggy connection being fairly rare (though not unheard of). Even after multiple hours of continuous streaming, the stream stayed pretty steady. Assuming you have at least average internet speeds, you should have a positive experience watching North Carolina basketball live.
If you’re a streamer who wants cloud DVR, you’ll need to pay an extra $5 a month for the service. You’ll get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage, and you can keep your recordings for as long as you want. It may be difficult to catch every single North Carolina basketball game, so being able to record games can make your viewing schedule a lot more convenient.
Sling TV Device Compatibility
You can stream North Carolina basketball on most streaming devices, except for some video game consoles. Here’s a complete list:
#2 DIRECTV NOW: Most Channels for the Best Price
What We Like about It: Tons of channel variety
Drawbacks: Few CBS affiliate markets
Who It’s Perfect For: Fans willing to share
Our second-place spot goes to DIRECTV NOW, largely because it offers the cheapest price per channel. You can watch North Carolina basketball online for free with a DIRECTV NOW trial.
Pricing and Plans for DIRECTV NOW
You can get all the channels you need to watch North Carolina basketball with DIRECTV NOW’s least expensive package, the Live a Little package for $35 a month. You’ll get CBS ( available in only 15 markets, so double-check you’re in one of them), ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, TruTV, TNT, and 60 other channel to choose from. In case you’re wondering—yes, that is a lot of channels for $35 a month.
We’ve got a tip for you to cut that monthly bill in half. DIRECTV NOW allows for simultaneous streaming on two different screens, which means you can split a subscription with a friend. Considering there are so many channels, it shouldn’t be hard to find someone willing to share a subscription with you.
Watching North Carolina Basketball on DIRECTV NOW
DIRECTV NOW offers a decent stream with only a few quirks. That being said, occasionally the stream would hiccup when we switched back and forth between inputs, and the guide would freeze up if we scrolled through too quickly. These issues will likely be patched out soon, but in the meantime, they can be a little annoying.
Cloud DVR is on the horizon for DIRECTV NOW, but you might be out of luck for the majority of the North Carolina basketball season. You’ll need to coordinate your schedule around games, which can be difficult, especially during the holiday tournaments. DIRECTV NOW is for only the most dedicated fans wanting to watch North Carolina basketball online.
DIRECTV NOW Compatibility
You can stream North Carolina basketball on almost any device using DIRECTV NOW, with the biggest exception being video game consoles. Here is a full list of compatible devices:
#3 PlayStation Vue: The Best Streaming Picture Around
What We Like about It: Most CBS affiliate markets
Drawbacks: A little on the expensive side
Who It’s Perfect For: Fans with a nice TV
PlayStation Vue offers the best overall streaming quality, but it comes at a price. You can watch North Carolina basketball for free with a PlayStation Vue trial.
Pricing and Plans for PlayStation Vue
If we’re talking about price per channel, PlayStation Vue’s price is quite a bit more expensive than DIRECTV NOW’s. The cheapest package on PlayStation Vue, called Access, costs $39.99 a month and offers around 45 channels, including what we need to livestream North Carolina basketball. But PlayStation Vue does three things to make up the price difference: 1) excellent streaming quality, 2) unlimited cloud DVR, and 3) plenty of CBS affiliate stations.
If you want more college basketball, you may want to consider paying an extra $5 a month and upgrading to the Core package. With the Core package, you’ll get the Big Ten Network, ESPNews, ESPNU, the SEC Network, and more. Of course, if you can live without those channels, don’t worry about upgrading your package. The basic Access package will let you watch North Carolina basketball online just fine.
Watching North Carolina Basketball with PlayStation Vue
If you’re looking for the best overall streaming experience, we recommend going with PlayStation Vue. Had we based our ranking around streaming quality alone, PlayStation Vue would come in at the number-one spot, but we factor in price, channels, and other things too. We streamed PlayStation Vue for several hours and didn’t experience a single fuzzy picture or glitchy menu. While we’re talking about menus, Playstation Vue also has the most user-friendly interface we’ve tested.
One of our favorite things about PlayStation is that it comes with unlimited cloud DVR. You can record shows to your heart’s content. There is a catch, however—after 28 days, your recorded content gets deleted. So make sure to watch everything before time runs out.
PlayStation Vue Device Compatibility
Even though it sounds like you need a PlayStation console to stream PlayStation Vue, you don’t. In fact, PlayStation Vue streams on almost every device that isn’t an Xbox console. Here’s a complete list:
#4 Hulu Live TV: Stream North Carolina Basketball and Binge-Watch Your Favorite Shows
What We Like about It: Tons of on-demand content
Drawbacks: No package upgrade options
Who It’s Perfect For: Fans who want to stream more than sports
Coming in as our number-four recommendation for streaming North Carolina basketball is Hulu Live TV. It offers more on-demand content than any other streaming service out there. You can watch North Carolina basketball for free with a Hulu Live TV trial.
Pricing and Plans for Hulu Live TV
Hulu Live TV has only one package, and it costs $39.99 a month and carries eight of the nine main channels you’ll need to watch North Carolina basketball. You’ll have to live without the games on ACC Network Extra, but you’ll still be able to stream the majority of games. You’ll get about 50 other channels you can stream as well, including the Big Ten Network, SEC Network, and TNT.
We do have an issue with Hulu Live TV—there are no options to upgrade your channel package. If you decide to go with Hulu Live TV, you’ll be stuck with the 50 channels that it comes with. You can add HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime to your plan for a few extra bucks a month, but that’s as far as customization goes.
However, Hulu Live TV makes up for the lack of à la carte by offering a staggering amount of on-demand streaming. The entire Hulu streaming library is included in your subscription, which is a $7.99 value.
Watching North Carolina Basketball on Hulu Live TV
After all our testing, we have to admit we’re pretty impressed with Hulu Live TV’s streaming quality. The few issues of low streaming quality and fuzzy pictures we did encounter were very rare and didn’t disrupt the experience much. We have to admit the user interface wasn’t our favorite, though, and the guide wasn’t as intuitive as PlayStation Vue’s. But we got used to it after a while.
Here’s some good news: Hulu Live TV also comes with cloud DVR. Your basic subscription includes 50 hours of cloud DVR storage, and you don’t need to worry about your recordings being deleted after 28 days since they last as long as you keep them.
If 50 hours isn’t enough, you can upgrade to 200 hours of cloud DVR storage for an additional $14.99 a month. Either way, you’ll be able to record hours of North Carolina basketball and enjoy it at your convenience. While we’re talking about upgrades, you can also pay an extra $4 a month and watch Hulu’s on-demand content free of commercials.
Hulu Live TV Device Compatibility
You can stream Hulu Live TV on almost any device that isn’t a PlayStation console. Here’s a complete list of compatible devices:
WatchESPN Offers Select North Carolina Basketball Live Stream
ESPN has agreements with select internet service providers to provide free access to ESPN3 via the WatchESPN app. If your ISP is on the approved list, you may be able to stream ESPN3-hosted games for free. ESPN3 does host Tar Heels game live stream sometimes, but it’s pretty limited. Still, it’s a free option for some people.
Watch CBS-Hosted Tar Heels Basketball Games for Free with an Antenna
North Carolina is one of the bluebloods of college basketball and thus makes regular-season appearances from time to time on CBS. Luckily for cord-cutters, CBS is an over-the-air channel. What does that mean? Basically, it means you can watch CBS for free using an antenna.
Don’t have an antenna? We recommend a few solid options here. Also, if you want to record the games to watch later, use a good DVR to record. This lets you watch North Carolina basketball live stream on your own schedule, when games air on CBS.
Take Your Pick
We’ve laid out the best options to watch North Carolina basketball online. Now you just have to decide what works best for you. Once you do, let us know how your experience streaming North Carolina basketball goes.
Want to follow your other teams? Check out our guide to college basketball streaming, or our ACC streaming guide for other ACC teams. To learn about other popular sports and how you can watch them online, read our live sports streaming guide.
What service did you go with? How’s the streaming quality? We’re always taking your comments into account, so please let us know how the streaming experience is going!