The Super Bowl is upon us, and that means it’s time for another team to see if they can beat the New England Patriots. This year, it’s the Los Angeles Rams. If you don’t care about either of those teams, we’ve included two fluffier alternatives. Regardless of which show tickles your fancy, it’s sometimes tough to figure out how to stream it without a cable subscription. We’re here to help, loyal readers. Below is the WIRED guide to streaming all the Bowls.
Be sure to check out our full list of the Best TV and Soundbar Deals for the Super Bowl. Whether or not you’re set for the game, it’s a good week to find killer discounts on home theater gear and other gadgets.
Sunday, February 3, 2019, is a busy day.
Kitten Bowl IV (2 pm ET): The sixth Kitten Bowl will kick off the day’s activities at 2 pm eastern time on the Hallmark Channel and will re-air at 5 pm. It features a ton of adorable kittens competing for the “Feline Football trophy” and a “forever home” to live. All these cuddly critters are up for adoption.
Puppy Bowl XV (3 pm ET): The 15th Puppy Bowl kicks off an hour later, at 3 pm ET, and airs on Animal Planet. Judging from the schedule, you can pretty much tune into Animal Planet anytime on Sunday and see some sort of puppy-related content. The Puppy Bowl XV starting lineup includes 39 puppies and pits Team Ruff against Team Fluff. They are also adoptable.
Super Bowl LIII (6:30 pm ET): The 2019 Super Bowl livestream begins Sunday, February 3, at 6 pm ET, and kickoff is at 6:30 pm. It airs live on CBS from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Gladys Knight will sing the national anthem, and Maroon 5 will dance around and sing halfway through the game. The TL;DR method to get the game is to watch free on CBSSports.com or sign up for a free 7-day trial of CBS All Access. There are a ton more details a few sections below.
For a complete day of baby-animal cuteness and Super Bowl insanity, you’d normally need a cable subscription that includes CBS for the Super Bowl, Animal Planet for the Puppy Bowl, and the Hallmark Channel for the Kitten Bowl. Luckily, there are now a lot of live TV streaming services that replicate cable for less and often have free trials.
DirecTV Now’s $40 “Live a Little” Plan Has Everything: This has all three channels for $40 a month, along with 62 others. Use the free 7-day trial to your advantage. The DirecTV Now app is available on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung TVs, and Roku devices. You can also Chromecast it to your TV using the iPad/iPhone or Android app, and it works on a PC or Mac if you visit DirecTVNow.com.
Sony’s $50 PlayStation Vue “Core” Plan Also Has It All: Vue has all three networks and a free 5-day trial. The $45 “Access” plan has Animal Planet and CBS, if you’re not so into the Kitten Bowl. It’s available on PS4, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Android TV.
There are three easy ways to watch the Kitten Bowl online. All of these services are basically websites/apps that offer live TV channels via the internet. Most of them have a website you can watch on and work on Roku and most of the best streaming devices.
Philo’s $16 Plan Has the Puppy Bowl and Kitten Bowl: Philo is a lesser-known live TV service that skips the big networks to deliver a cheap price. Its plan does have Animal Planet and the Hallmark Channel, so you’re in luck if you hate football that doesn’t revolve around cute pets. To get the Super Bowl, you’ll need an alternative way to access CBS, such as CBS All Access or a digital antenna to pick up your local station (see the sections below for details). Philo works on Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku, and has iPhone/Android apps.
Sling TV’s $30 Plan Is Kitten Friendly: Order the standard $25 Orange or Blue bundle (with a 7-day free trial) and add the $5 Lifestyle package to get the Hallmark Channel. Sling TV is compatible with most devices. Sadly, it does not have Animal Planet or CBS, though Sling will send you a free antenna to get local channels.
Fubo TV’s $40 Plan Has the Super Bowl and Kitten Bowl: Fubo has a higher price tag but has 85-plus channels, including Hallmark and CBS—and a free 7-day trial. It has good device support and you can watch it on a web browser, too.
AT&T’s $15 WatchTV App Has the Puppy and Kitten Bowl: This AT&T plan has Animal Planet and Hallmark, along with around 30 other channels. It has a free 7-day trial, and if you already have an AT&T Unlimited mobile plan you might already have access. It works on Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iPhone, and Android phones. Oddly, it does not support Roku.
You hardly belong on the internet if you hate cats, but there’s nothing wrong with being pro puppy. The services below offer live TV channels via the internet. Most of them have a website livestream and work on Roku and our other favorite streaming devices.
Services With Everything: DirecTV Now’s 7-day free trial is still your best option, and it has all three channels. So does PlayStation Vue. It carries CBS and Animal Planet on its Access plan for $45 per month and has a 5-day free trial. (The Core plan has Hallmark too.) Just browse to Animal Planet for the Puppy Bowl and CBS for the Super Bowl. Vue is available on PS4, PS3, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, and on the web at psvue.com/watch.
Services With Kittens and Puppies (but No Tom Brady): Philo’s $16 Live TV service has Animal Planet and the Hallmark Channel, along with 44 other channels, decent device support, and a free 7-day trial. AT&T’s $15 WatchTV service has about 30 other channels and a free 7-day trial, but it doesn’t support Roku. You might get it at no extra charge if you have an AT&T Unlimited phone plan.
Services With Puppies and Tom Brady: Hulu TV’s $40 plan has CBS and Animal Planet, so you can watch the Puppy Bowl and then see the LA Rams attempt to dethrone the New England Patriots. Like most services, it has a weeklong free trial. It works on a lot of devices, including the Nintendo Switch. This option is best if you’re already a Hulu subscriber.
If you aren’t feeling cuddly and want to get straight to the Rams vs. Patriots, there are a lot of options for you. Like we said in other sections, the services below offer on-demand programming and live TV channels via the internet. Most of them have a website livestream and work on Roku and other fantastic streaming devices.
CBS isn’t advertising it, but according to an NFL press release, you can watch the Super Bowl for free without logging in or authenticating yourself at CBSSports.com or on the CBS Sports app on streaming or mobile devices. The app supports Chromecast and is also available on Roku.
If the free CBS Sports stream isn’t working, try CBS All Access. It is CBS’ Netflix competitor. Sadly, it does require an account. Just sign up for the free trial. You can cancel (it’s not difficult) before the trial runs out, and even if you forget, the standard plan is only $6 per month with limited commercials or $10 with no commercials. You may want to check out some of CBS’ shows while you’re on the service, like Star Trek: Discovery and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
The All Access app is available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, iPhone/iPad, Android phones/tablets, Windows 10 PCs, Xbox, PS4, Chromecast, Samsung TVs, Vizio TVs, and web browsers.
If you want another option, there are a bunch of online live TV services that have CBS and a free trial. These are our favorites. They’re available on a wide variety of devices, and all of them have a free 7-day trial except for Vue, which gives you 5 days to evaluate. The only way you’ll run into trouble with these services is if you do not have a local CBS channel available in your area.
DirecTV Now costs $40 after a free trial (65+ channels)
PlayStation Vue costs $45 after a free trial (49 channels)
Hulu Live TV costs $40 after a free trial (60+ channels)
YouTube TV costs $40 after a free trial (60+ channels)
Fubo TV costs $40 after a free trial (85+ channels)
AT&T WatchTV costs $15 after a trial (30+ channels)
If you think you might live close enough to pick up a live CBS broadcast, you can purchase a digital indoor TV antenna. We’ve had good luck with flat window antennas. This $29 antenna is a solid pick and has good range. Just stick it right on your window, aimed in the general direction of the stations you’re hoping to reach, if at all possible, and go to ANT in your TV’s input list.
An acceptable looking antenna from AmazonBasics is also available via Amazon Prime Now same-day delivery in some areas.
The NFL GamePass will let you watch the game after it’s over (possibly starting around midnight) at your convenience on most major devices. It also has a free trial. Just be sure to put your phone away and stay away from every screen and person you know until you watch it.
If moving pictures aren’t your thing, or you’re going to be out somewhere, you can listen to the Super Bowl live in a few ways. TuneIn, SiriusXM, NFL GamePass, and Westwood One radio stations.
If none of these solutions work, I can only imagine you need a new TV or a new TV streaming box (just buy a Roku). Or maybe just bite the bullet and order cable.
Updated: An earlier version of this article listed Philo TV as a place to get the Super Bowl. This was an error. It does not get any sports channels. It does have the Puppy and Kitten bowls, as stated in those sections.
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