This is a guest post from Stephen Lovely, an expert on cord cutting and the Managing Editor of Cordcutting.com.
The long and brutal NHL regular season is just now coming to an end - but we aren’t finished just yet. Ahead of us is the most thrilling playoff in professional sports: the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. You can expect hard hits, dramatic plays, upsets, and some extremely high-stress moments for fans of teams in the hunt for sports’ most iconic trophy.
You’d be crazy not to want to watch every moment of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But there’s no need to do anything desperate - like going back to cable or satellite - just to get coverage. It’s perfectly possible to watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final without cable on your TCL Roku TV, and I’ve come all the way from Cordcutting.com to show you how.
What We’re After: NBC, NBCSN, and USA
NBC has the rights to the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year, just as they have in years past. That means that the bulk of the action is going to be airing on NBC and NBCSN, and that some games will be pushed to USA Network.
So how can you get live feeds of NBC, NBCSN, and USA on your TCL Roku TV? It’s easier than you might think. We’re going to cover two main methods here: skinny bundles and free over-the-air TV. The first will give you access to NBCSN and USA, plus a live stream of NBC in many markets. The latter will give you NBC alone, but - given the quality of games that NBC is reserving for its flagship network - having NBC alone is a whole lot better than nothing! Let’s get started.
First up: skinny bundles. These multichannel pay TV services may remind you of cable, and that’s kind of the point. But there’s one time when you definitely won’t think of cable, and that’s when the bill comes due.
Skinny bundles offer packages of live network television channels. They’re often trimmer than cable’s bulky bundles, and they’re always cheaper. And since they stream over the internet, you can watch them anywhere and on almost any device - including, of course, your TCL Roku TV. The only drawback is that NBC, like the other major broadcast networks, is available on skinny bundles in select markets only. Fortunately, coverage is pretty good.
Skinny bundles are pay TV services, but the major ones offer attractive free trial periods. Here are a few that are available in Roku’s huge channel store and that make great ways to watch the NHL playoffs on NBC, NBCSN, and USA! All of the options below offer NBC (in select markets) and NBCSN, and all besides fuboTV offer USA.
- DirecTV Now
- Hulu with Live TV
- PlayStation Vue
- Sling TV
Free Over-the-Air TV
Over-the-air TV is one of the most under-appreciated and under-utilized tools in a cord cutter’s arsenal - but people are wising up fast. It’s easy to see why, because OTA offers a deal that’s hard to beat: free live TV.
Channels that broadcast over the air are called "broadcast networks," and NBC is one of them. And since NBC will be putting the biggest games of the NHL playoffs on its flagship channel, it pays to invest in an antenna for your TCL Roku TV.
Just head to a site like this FCC-backed one to get a read on which channels are available over the air in your region. Get an antenna that has a range that comfortably includes your local NBC station, plug it into your TCL Roku TV, and scan for channels. That’s all there is to it! And your TCL Roku TV will make it easy as pie to switch between OTA TV and streaming options, because the antenna input gets its own channel icon on Roku’s home screen on TCL Roku TV models.
And there you have it: everything you need to know to watch the NHL playoffs on your TCL Roku TV. All you need to do know is wait until April 11th, when the first round officially kicks off. Good luck to you and your team!