This is a guest post from Stephen Lovely, an expert on cord cutting and the Managing Editor of Cordcutting.com.
The NBA is an exciting league. When LeBron James throws down a monster dunk or when Stephen Curry nails a long three, it’s hard not to jump out of your seat. But let’s be honest: the NBA is a whole lot more exciting this time of year. The regular season is a long and impressive grind, but this is the time on the calendar when the wins mean a whole lot more. This is when the season is really on the line. This is NBA Playoffs season.
You’re not going to want to miss a moment of this year’s thrilling NBA Playoffs. But, if you’re like me and the rest of the gang at Cordcutting.com, you’re not going to want to pay for cable, either. So what should you do? Never fear: we’re here to show you how to watch the NBA Playoffs on your TCL Roku TV, no cable required.
What We’re After: ESPN, ABC, and TNT
To watch the NBA Playoffs, we first need to know what channels the NBA Playoffs will be airing on. That’s easy enough: ESPN, ABC, and TNT are the channels with the rights to the playoffs this year, just as they have been in years past. So now we just need to figure out how to watch those channels without cable.
Luckily, that’s our specialty over at Cordcutting.com, so we have a lot of tips for those of you planning to use your TCL Roku TV to watch the NBA Playoffs. Our suggestions fall into two main methods: skinny bundle apps, which will allow you to watch all three of these channels, and free over-the-air TV, which is a good solution for ABC but won’t work for the others. Let’s discuss both in a bit more depth, shall we?
Skinny Bundles on Your TCL Roku TV
Sports are meant to be viewed live, and live TV is for folks with cable, right? No, wrong! Come on! This is what the whole article is about!
Thanks to skinny bundles—affordable multichannel bundles that offer live network TV over the internet—it’s possible for cord cutters to enjoy live streams of network channels like ESPN and TNT, as well as live feeds of broadcast channels like (in select markets) ABC.
Skinny bundles are pay TV services. But they’re cheaper than cable and, happily, all the major skinny bundles offer a free trial period. Here are a few of the best skinny bundles to try out on your TCL Roku TV — all of them offer ABC, ESPN, and TNT:
- DirecTV Now
- Hulu with Live TV
- PlayStation Vue
- Sling TV
Free Over-the-Air TV
Even if you choose not to get a skinny bundle, you can watch a good chunk of the NBA playoffs. In fact, you can watch it for free! The secret is free over-the-air TV.
To watch free TV over the air, all you need to do is get an antenna, plug it into your TV, and scan for channels. Among the channels available over the air - called "broadcast networks" - is ABC, home of some the NBA Playoffs’ biggest games.
To find the right antenna for your location, check out an online tool like this one from the FCC. Type in your address to find out which channels you might be able to pick and how far they are from you. This will be your guide when you’re picking out an antenna. Just get one that boasts an advertised range that easily covers the channels you want.
Once you’ve got your antenna, plug it into your TCL Roku TV and scan for channels. Switching between your free over-the-air TV and streaming apps is a breeze if you have a TCL Roku TV, because the TV’s inputs get their own channel icons on Roku’s user-friendly home screen.
With free over-the-air TV, you’ll get a good number of the biggest games on the NBA Playoffs schedule, making it a great consolation prize if you can’t justify getting a skinny bundle. And, since some regions won’t be able to get ABC through skinny bundles, free over-the-air TV can also serve as the missing puzzle piece in a skinny-bundle-and-OTA hybrid solution.
And there you have it, folks: you now know how to watch the NBA Playoffs on your TCL Roku TV. The games start on April 14th — enjoy!