This is how you can watch the NBA live without cable to see your local teams, and far-flung favorites, without spending an arm and a leg on cable. We’re specifically focusing on cord-cutters who don’t want a traditional cable package. If you rely on Hulu and Netflix for TV shows, this is what you need to do to watch NBA games live without cable — and do so legally.
Most NBA games are on ESPN, ESPN 2, TNT and ABC with a few on a smattering of local channels. If you have access to these networks you will be able to watch most NBA games live on your TV, laptop, iPhone, Android, iPad or other device.
How to Watch NBA Games Live Without Cable
The 2017 NBA seasons kicks off on October 17th with the Kia Tip Off, and you will be able to watch most of these games with easy to subscribe to services that start at about $20 a month. You don’t need cable, a long-term commitment or any kind of special devices to watch NBA games without cable. You will need a high-speed Internet connection at home or for your phone.
Sling TV, Hulu Live Playstation Vue and DirecTV Now are the best ways to watch NBA games live on all of your devices and your TV.
Sling TV is $20 a month for the Orange package that includes ESPN, ESPN 2 and TNT. You can pay $5 more a month to get NBA TV added to your plan. You don’t get ABC. This is what you need to know before you sign up for Sling TV.
Hulu Live is $39.99 a month and it includes ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN News, TNT and ABC. This is pricier than Sling TV, but it includes a 50 Hour DVR and access to Hulu’s on demand services.
PlayStation Vue is $39.99 a month and includes ESPN, ESPN 2 and TNT. You can add in NBA TV for $5 more a month. You don’t get ABC live, only on demand. This is what you need to know before you subscribe to PS VUE.
You can watch most NBA Games without cable on these packages. The cheapest option is Sling TV, which includes almost all of the normal season and many of the playoffs as well as All Star Weekend. Add on NBA TV for $5 more to pick up a few more games each week. With Sling TV Orange, you can only watch one stream at a time, so if you plan to share the service with others in your family to watch a game on another TV, or watch other programming you may run into issues. You can get around some of this by watching in the Watch ESPN app.
The most full featured option is Hulu Live which has you covered for the regular season, All-Star Weekend, the playoffs and the NBA finals on ABC. The biggest thing missing here is NBA TV on Hulu Live TV. This is $39.99 and it lets you record to a Cloud DVR, so you can record games you might otherwise miss, or that you are late to start.
All of these services will let you watch NBA games live on your iPhone, iPad, Android, computer and on many connected devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV 4th gen and Chromecast. PlayStation Vue is on the pS3 and PS4, but not on the Xbox One. Sling TV and Hulu Live work on the Xbox One, but not on the PS4. DirecTV Now is not available on the Xbox One yet, and not listed as coming to the PS4.
If you currently watch some NBA games on local channels, you will need to verify that they are included in the package you are looking to get. This is trickier, and you may want to look into getting an antenna to watch some NBA games live without cable if you are close to your team.
NBA League Pass to Watch Your Favorite NBA Team Without Cable
Another option is to get NBA League Pass. This service starts at $17.99 a month for a single team and $28.99 a month for all teams. There is a $39.99 a month plan that includes extras.
Where the NBA League pass becomes an issue is when you live near the team you like or when that game is aired nationally. Based on my location in Ohio, I cannot see the Cleveland Cavaliers or Detroit Pistons live with NBA Team Pass. I also can’t watch any live nationally broadcast games. For that I would need to pair this with one of the services above. You can check your blackout restrictions on the NBA League Pass page.
You can watch the NBA League pass online, on the iPhone, iPad, Android, Amazon Fire tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Chromecast, Samsung Smart TVs and you can listen with Alexa and CarPlay.
More Realistic Player Movement
Speaking to Game Informer, NBA 2K18 gameplay director Mike Wang says that players can expect this year’s title to have a lot less animation in it.
“We’ve been accused of being animation heavy at times, and this year we’ve done a good job of making the game feel like you are in complete control,” Wang told the outlet in August.
The new physics system takes height, weight, acceleration and speed of each player into account before it renders any animation. That way, players react the way that you expect them to. It also means that transitioning for a layup or dunk is less jarring.
The NBA 2k18 images here are from GameInformer, to which 2K games shared new NBA 2K18 details.