How to Live Stream the 2018 NFL Playoffs on Apple TV

If you're an NFL fan who's cut the cable cord, it can be difficult to watch all the games you'd like via live streaming options. National Football League broadcast rights are a lucrative and sought-after prize, fiercly competed for by national television networks including Fox, ABC, CBS, and NBC. Of course ESPN is in the mix, as well as the NFL Network, and all the local affiliates of national networks who broadcast the earliest games of the season. This is the first NFL season to include live streaming of every game, but which service is able to bring you all these games? It's a dizzying question. Let's narrow the field a little and focus on how to live stream the NFL Playoffs to your Apple TV. We'll check out the NFL Playoff Bracket for 2018 to see which games are broadcast by which networks, then find out how to live stream those networks to your Apple TV. Let's get started on our live stream NFL Playoffs journey!

Related: Watch NCAA Playoffs with Apple TV: College Football Streaming without Cable

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NFL Playoff Bracket 2018

Le's check out the NFL Playoff Bracket to see which games are broadcast by which networks, then we can go about finding streaming providers that offer those broadcasters. Ideally, we'll find one streaming tv provider for all the playoff games!

nfl schedule grid

Thanks to CBS for this bracket.

Don't Forget the Pro Bowl!

Although not included in the official Playoff Bracket, live tv streamers won't want to miss the Pro Bowl on January 28th—it's airing on ESPN this year.

How to Live Stream the 2018 NFL Playoffs on Apple TV  

The Divisional Round is split between Fox, CBS, and NBC. The Championship Round will be aired by CBS and Fox, and the Superbowl goes to NBC this year. So to see all the games remaining, including the Pro Bowl, we need Fox, CBS, NBC, and ESPN. Let's get searching!

Stream NFL Playoffs with fuboTV

Compatibility: fourth-generation Apple TV

Cost: $19.99 a month for the first two months, $39.99 a month thereafter.

Pros: Seven day free trial period with no commitment, then a two month special reduced price. 

Con: All Playoff games not available.

live stream nfl

FuboTV is a tv streaming service with a heavy focus on live sports. The basic package, fubo Premier, offers more than 70 channels of content and in my area includes Fox and the NFL Network, but not NBC, CBS, or ESPN. NBC is available in other areas, CBS in still others, you have to do your research with this one! If you live in Iowa like me, you'll see the January 14th Divisional game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings, but that's it. The NFL Network will give you "NFL Gameday Morning" and "NFL Gameday Highlights", but no actual live streamed playoff games. But before you I out FuboTV as an option, let's look at the add-on packages.

sports channel live stream nfl games

For $8.99 more a month FuboTV will give you Sports Plus, 16 channels of sports content ranging from the mainstream to the extremely obscure but including one very important NFL broadcaster: Red Zone. NFL Red Zone is a subsidiary of the NFL Network, but again, disappointment. Lots of cool features and shows, but no live streamed playoff games. So fubo TV, even with the Sports Plus package, will only allow viewers in my area to watch one out of four Division Round games, and one Championship Round game. Pop in your zip code to see if you have better luck!

NFL Playoffs on CBS All Access?

Compatibility: fourth generation Apple TV

Cost: $5.99 a month plus tax, $9.99 a month plus tax for the commercial free package.

Pros: Seven day free trial period with no commitment. 

Cons: Not available in all areas, NFL games are not available via CBS All Access on mobile phones.

live stream nfl

Apple TV owners can subscribe to CBS All Access for a very reasonable price, and catch two of the four Divisional Round games and one Championship Round game. Here's a link to find answers about getting and installing the CBS All Access app on your Apple TV.

NFL Playoffs Streaming on DirecTV Now

Comaptability: fourth generation Apple TV 

Cost: $35 per month

Pros: Seven day free trial period. Streaming included for AT+T Wireless Customers.

Cons: NFL game access blocked for smartphones.
live stream nfl playoffs

DirecTV Now is DirecTV's streaming offering, and I was super excited to find that their lowest cost plan includes ABC, CBS, NBC, and ESPN! Then I looked at the small print to the right of each channel and noticed small boxes indicating "Live", "Vod" or both. Live is pretty obvious, live streaming is available, but "vod?" That stands for video on demand and if only vod is offered, you won't be able to live stream games from that network. For DirecTV viewers in my area this means that CBS and ESPN are live streamed, ABC, Fox, and NBC are not. So football fans in my area can catch two out of four Divisional Round games, one Championship Round game, and the Pro Bowl. Again, channels offered may not be the same in your area, check with DirecTV Now for details. If you decide to go with this option, here's a tutorial on how to set up DirecTV Now on your Apple TV.

Stream NFL Playoffs With Sling TV 

Compatibility: fourth-generation Apple TV

Cost: Sling TV Orange Plan, $20 per month, Blue Plan, $25 per month, Orange and Blue, $40 per month

Pros: Seven day free trial period with no commitment. 

Con: Channel availability varies by region.

nfl playoffs streaming

Sling TV is an a la carte, streaming tv service that allows viewers to pay far less than a cable subscription would cost. Customers can choose Sling Orange, Sling Blue, or both. As an added bonus, Sling offers a Cloud DVR option for $5 a month.  This way you can record games and watch them later if you have work or family plans to accomodate. Digging around the website reveals that ESPN, ABC, and Fox are available if I purchase Sling Orange and Blue. However,  once again, offerings vary from region to region and I'm left disappointed. If I type in my zip code Sling reveals that no NFL football games are available this week. Typing in an LA zip code reveals that Sling viewers there get to see two Divisional Playoff games, offered by NBC and Fox. If those folks also get CBS All Access, that means they can watch all four Divisional games, both Championship games, and the Pro Bowl. I'm getting a little bitter, but willing to keep searching a few more services! 

Here's a step-by-step instructional to help you find and install the Sling TV app on your Apple TV. 

Stream NFL Playoffs on Apple TV with PlayStation Vue

Compatability: fourth generation Apple TV running tvOS 10.0 and up.

Cost: Five day free trial, then $39.99 per month.

Pros: Stream on up to five devices at once. 

Cons: Some channels are restricted outside of your home network, not all games are available to view on your iPhone.

live stream nfl playoffs super bowl probowl

You don't need a PlayStation to subscribe to PlayStation Vue, a live-streaming TV service that includes cloud DVR and the ability to stream on five devices at once. The least expensive package, Access, includes ESPN and rings in at $39.99 a month. After researching PlayStation Vue's offerings I must conclude, although I never believed this before, that living in Iowa may have drawbacks. When I enter an LA zip code everything I want is right at my fingertips, and at the lowest package price, too! NBC, ABC, Fox, and ESPN are all there. All that needs doing is to add CBS All Access, and for less than $50 a month every Playoff game, the Pro Bowl, and even the Super Bowl are available to live stream! But in Iowa the options are bleak and limited. ESPN, ABC on demand, Fox on demand, NBC on demand. No CBS of course. No NFL live streaming, zero playoff games. 

If you're one of the fortunate individuals who can access the full offerings of PlayStation Vue, click here to learn all about setting it up on your Apple TV.

Watch NFL Playoffs with Hulu Live on your Apple TV

Compatability: fourth generation Apple TV.

Cost: seven day free trial, then $39.99 a month.

Pros: watch on two devices at once.

Cons: Beta version, subject to glitches.

live stream nfl playoffs apple tv

Hulu makes the jump and joins the live-streaming tv game with their Hulu Live offering, which includes access to the entire Hulu streaming library. If you live in the right area, $39.99 a month will get you ABC, NBC, Fox, ESPN, and even CBS! All the games, one live streaming service. A few cautions, though, Hulu warns right up front that this is a beta version and therefore subject to bugs and hiccups, so if you want to ensure the smoothest possible streaming of the NFL Playoffs, this could be slightly risky. As well, Hulu customers have complained about commercials with adult themes before, during, and after family and sports content, so if you're watching the Playoffs with kids Hulu might not be the best choice for your family.

If you live in an area where Hulu Live is at full capacity, you can learn how to set it up on your Apple TV here

YouTube TV: NCAA games

Compatability: iPad and iPhone, no Apple TV app yet

Cost: $35 a month

Pros: No contract, up to six accounts per household.

Cons: Not available nationwide.

nfl live stream apple tv youtube live

YouTube TV launched in 2017, and with 40+ channels it's another great option for NFL fans. Though not available country wide, for those in full-service areas, YouTube TV offers ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN, and lots of other sports extras. The tv streaming service includes cloud dvr with no storage limits, so you can save your favorite shows and movies for later viewing at no extra cost. There is no Apple TV app as yet, although one is slated for release this quarter. For now, you'll have to use your iPhone or iPad and AirPlay wireless streaming to get the Playoffs on your Apple TV. 

Live Stream the 2018 NFL Playoffs to Your Apple TV

I hope that one of these options will help you live stream the Playoffs to your Apple TV. Think fondly of those of us in rural America as you watch the games. We'll be at a favorite bar, or hanging out with friends who still have cable, drinking a toast to the fine day that live streaming is available for every NFL fan.

Top image credit: Jeff Bukowski /

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Leanne Hays is a Feature Web Writer at iPhone Life.  She loves reading and blogging, and is never without a book in her backpack or an audiobook on her phone. Short-term goals include finishing painting her house and starting an aquaponics farm, long-term goals include a bike tour of Italy and writing a novel.