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NBA Preseason Live Stream Guide 2018: Watch Online Without Cable

The 2018 NBA preseason is here and you don't want to miss any of the action! Learn how you can watch the NBA preseason live stream without cable.




Sling TV offers small channel packages so the price you pay is much cheaper. Perfect for budget buyers.
Free Trial


Youtube TV

YouTube TV offers only one channel package, but it includes all the essential channels and unlimited cloud DVR .
Free Trial


Core Package

PlayStation Vue offers top-notch streaming quality, lots of channels to choose from, and unlimited cloud DVR.
Free Trial


Go Big

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


NBA Team Pass

NBA League Pass is a stand-alone streaming service that hooks you up with every out-of-market NBA game.
See Plans

It’s been a long summer NBA fans, but there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel—the NBA preseason is upon us. If you’re a true NBA fan, watching the NBA preseason is a must. And if you want to learn how to watch the NBA preseason online without cable, you’re in the right place.

Our goal is to find a package that allows you to stream the NBA preseason. Luckily, we know NBA TV, ESPN, and TNT are the big three channels needed to watch the NBA preseason games, so we just have to find the streaming plan that will give us the best of each.

Breakdown of How to Watch the NBA Preseason 

Let’s run through your options of how to watch the NBA preseason.

#1 Sling TV: The Most Cost-effective Way to Watch the NBA Preseason

Best Choice
$25 - $40
26 - 58

What we like about it: The cheapest option by far

Who it’s perfect for: Fans looking for the best bargain

Drawbacks: No local channels

Sling TV Pricing and Plans

Sling TV’s orange package, combined with the Sports Extra add-on, is our top recommendation for live streaming the NBA preseason. You’ll be getting ESPN, NBA TV, and TNT for $25 a month, not to mention a couple dozen other channels to check out. That’s not a bad deal, especially when you look how much it costs to get those channels with the competition.

You might think that because Sling TV is the cheapest option, it means your overall channel selection must be less impressive. Well, no worries. Assuming you’re a sports fan, you should be excited about the channel package since it includes the whole suite of ESPNs, college football channels, and even the NHL network. Plus, if you’re feeling like enjoying a bit of drama and comedy on the side, you can stream AMC, TBS, or Comedy Central.

Watching the NBA Preseason on Sling TV

You’ll be able to watch every nationally televised NBA preseason game with Sling TV, but the biggest problem is that you won’t get local channels. Meaning, if your local team is playing a preseason game not being televised on ESPN, TNT, or NBA TV, you may be out of luck. We recommend checking to see what local channels you can pick up using an antenna. Just enter your zip code and see what you pick up in your area.

You may also consider paying the extra $5 per month for cloud DVR with your Sling TV subscription. That way, when you can’t carve time out of your schedule to watch your favorite team’s preseason game live, you could always record it for later. Just make sure to stay off Twitter—nobody likes game spoilers.

In the meantime, you can stream the NBA preseason free with a Sling TV 7-day trial.

Sling TV Device Compatibility

You’ll be able to stream the NBA preseason with all the major devices, the biggest exceptions being PlayStation consoles. Here’s a list of what streaming devices are compatible with Sling TV:

TV & Video Players:

  • Apple TV
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Roku
  • Chromecast
  • Android TV
  • Xiaomi
  • Leeco
  • AirTV Player
  • ZTE
  • Channel Master
  • LG Webos

Phones & Tablets:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android phones
  • Android tablets
  • Amazon Fire tablets

Gaming Consoles:

  • Xbox One

Laptops & Computers:

  • Chrome
  • Windows 10
  • Macs running Lion 10.7 or higher

#2 YouTube TV: NBA coverage that lasts beyond the preseason


What we like about it: Tons of local coverage

Perfect for: Fans looking for a long-term NBA solution

What we don’t like: Not compatible with many devices

YouTube TV gives you a lot of NBA coverage for $40 a month, just make sure you have a supported device before signing up.

One size fits all

There’s only one package to choose from with YouTube TV, but thankfully, it’s got all of your NBA preseason channels. On top of checking the ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV boxes, YouTube TV comes with over 50 other channels for $40 a month.

So, you know you’ve got preseason and nationally televised games covered with YouTube TV, but what about your local games? Fortunately, YouTube TV has lots of local sports coverage, as opposed to Sling TV. That means you can catch tons of regular season games too.

Unlimited cloud DVR (that lasts nine months)

Your YouTube TV subscription comes with unlimited cloud DVR. But that’s not even the best part—everything you record lasts for a whopping nine months. To put that number in context, PlayStation Vue also offers unlimited cloud DVR, but recordings only last 28 days.

So with YouTube TV, you can record essentially every game and keep every game for several months after the fact. You’ll have a treasure trove of NBA games to cozy up with every night. Why not watch the Knicks take on the Suns if you can fast-forward through every commercial break?

YouTube TV device compatibility

YouTube TV covers its bases with Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku, but it doesn’t support much beyond that.

#3 PlayStation Vue: Balancing Price and Quality

$44.99 - $79.99
47 - 72

What we like: Compatible with PlayStation consoles

Perfect for: Fans looking for the balance between price and variety

Drawbacks: Expensive

Coming in third place for watching the NBA preseason online is PlayStation Vue. Yes, it does cost $15 more than Sling TV, which is easily its biggest drawback, but that doesn’t mean PlayStation Vue isn’t worth the money.

PlayStation Vue Pricing and Plans

The cheapest monthly subscription for PlayStation Vue (the Core package) that includes ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV, costs $44.99 a month. That may sound like a lot, but it still definitely beats paying for cable. The package includes cloud DVR, more than 70 channels, and a really solid interface. If you’re a sports fan, you’ll really like the channels included in the PlayStation Vue package. You’ve got all the ESPNs, the NFL Network, and plenty of local channel coverage.

Watching the NBA Preseason on PlayStation Vue

With PlayStation Vue, you’ll have access to the big three NBA preseason channels: NBA TV, TNT, and ESPN. What’s more, cloud DVR comes built in to your subscription, so you can watch the game whenever you want after it aired. For all the local coverage of NBA preseason in your area, PlayStation Vue is your best bet to get access. PlayStation Vue carries CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX. Hopefully your local affiliate station will carry the games that don’t make it to national television.

Watch the NBA preseason for free using PlayStation Vue’s 5-day trial.

PlayStation Vue Device Compatibility

This is one of PlayStation Vue’s strongest cases. Considering it’s owned by Sony, PlayStation Vue has exclusive rights to live stream on PlayStation consoles. So if your PlayStation is your primary streaming device, you’re in luck. On the flipside, you won’t be able to stream on Xbox. Those console wars can be pretty brutal. Here’s a list of devices that are compatible with PlayStation Vue:

TV & Video Players:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku

Phones & Tablets:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Amazon Fire tablets
  • Android phones
  • Android tablets

Gaming Consoles:

  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation 4

Laptops & Computers:

  • Macs
  • PCs

#4 DIRECTV NOW: NBA Preseason Plus Tons of Channel Variety

Also Great
$40 - $75
64 - 99

What we like: Tons of channels

Who it’s perfect for: Fans looking for the most complete package that includes the NBA preseason

Drawback: Expensive

There’s no hiding it—the DIRECTV NOW package that includes NBA TV is pretty dang expensive (by streaming standards). That doesn’t mean it’s not a good choice, however; you’re getting what you pay for in terms of channel variety.

DIRECTV NOW Pricing and Plans

If you decide to go with DIRECTV NOW to watch the NBA preseason, you’ll be paying $60 a month for the “Go Big” package, which includes over 100 channels. Ultimately, justifying the price tag will completely depend on what you think of all those channels you’ll be getting. Along with ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV, you can stream a plethora of sports, popular TV shows, and news networks. There will be no shortages of potential TV viewing in your house, that’s for sure.

Watching the NBA Preseason on DIRECTV NOW

One important thing to note is that you’ll be needing to watch the NBA preseason live. Currently, DIRECTV NOW doesn’t offer cloud DVR, which means you’ll need to arrange your schedule around your favorite team’s games. On the other hand, sports are best viewed live, especially if you’re an avid social media user.

DIRECTV NOW also offers the main local channels, which means if your team isn’t playing on ESPN, TNT, or NBA TV, you’ll have a better chance of watching the game.

Watch the NBA preseason free with a DIRECTV NOW 7-day free trial.

DIRECTV NOW Compatibility

One of DIRECTV NOW’s biggest issues is that it doesn’t currently stream on any video game consoles. That will affect some of you, but for you streaming-device owners, you should have no problem finding something that’s compatible. Here’s a complete list:

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)

#5 NBA LEAGUE PASS: Wild Card for NBA Fanatics

$17.99 - $49.99

What we like: Access to every team in the NBA

Perfect for: NBA fanatics

Drawbacks: Blackouts

For whatever reason, the NBA League Pass FAQ page doesn’t broach the subject of the preseason. But that’s what we’re here for.

We’ve confirmed that you can watch the NBA preseason online free with a league pass account. Your NBA League Pass subscription will include the preseason as well.

NBA League Pass Pricing and Plans

NBA League Pass pricing is broken down into three different packages. The cheapest package allows you to choose one team and get access to all its non-nationally televised games for $17.99 a month, or $119.99 for the whole season. It’s perfect for the fan who mostly just cares about watching their particular team.

The middle package gives you access to every teams’ non-nationally televised games for $28 a month or $199.99 for the entire season. The only thing you’d missing out on compared to the most expensive package is the in-arena streaming.

In-arena streaming means you don’t need to watch commercials during timeouts—you can stay tuned into the action that’s happening in between plays. The in-arena streaming package will cost you $39.99 a month or $249.99 for the whole season, so you’ll need to decide if watching the Red Panda juggle plates and bowls during halftime is worth the extra cash.

Watching the NBA Preseason on NBA League Pass

If you’re interested in signing up for NBA League Pass, you need to know about its blackout policy. Long story short: you can’t stream your local team on NBA League Pass. When you create an account, you’ll enter your zip code, and if you’re within the region of a local team, you won’t be able to stream their games.

For example, if I’m a fan of the Jazz, and I live in Salt Lake City (or a surrounding city), I won’t be able to stream the Jazz using League Pass. That’s why NBA League Pass is perfect for more general fans of the NBA who want to watch every team compete rather than their local ones. Make sure to keep that in mind when deciding how to watch the NBA preseason.

Speaking of blackouts, you also can’t watch nationally televised games using League Pass. Meaning, if the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing on TNT on a Thursday evening, you’ll need to watch the game on TNT. Same story for games airing on ESPN, ABC, or NBA TV.

That may sound like a lot of blackouts, but rest assured, NBA League Pass is the best way to consume massive amounts of wonderful NBA hoops.

NBA League Pass Compatibility

One thing NBA League Pass has going for it is incredible device coverage. You can stream NBA League Pass on pretty much every conceivable device.

Make Your Choice

No matter what you choose from our recommendations, you’ll be able to watch the major NBA preseason games. What matters most is that the NBA is back, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

Let us know what you decided in the comments, and keep us updated on how the experience goes! We’re all in this together.

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