NCAA Basketball Championship 2018: Live Streaming without Cable on Apple TV

The March Madness 2018 schedule was just released, so with less than a month until the First Four games, of course it's time to talk about how to live stream the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament! Maybe you caught March Madness 2017 via cable last year, but want to cut the cord this year and live stream March Madness 2018. Possibly you've been streaming national championship basketball games for some time but are searching for a new way to watch NCAA basketball online or on your Apple TV. Either way, there are lots of options you can use to stream the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament games. Let's get started learning how to live stream all the March Madness games to our Apple TVs.

Related: Apple TV: Your Complete Guide to Setting Up & Streaming On-Demand Content

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

NCAA Basketball Championship 2018: Live Streaming without Cable on Apple TV

Live Streaming Schedule: March Madness Bracket 2018

We'll find out which teams have made the cut for this year's championships on Selection Sunday, March 11, at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, followed by the First Four on March 13 and 14. That gives us a little less than a month until the First Four, so let's get cracking!

march madness schedule

Now that you know which days to anticipate live streaming, you can decide which games you'd like to catch as soon as Selection Sunday announcements happen. Here's the official bracket for 2018 so you can fill it in as the 68 teams are announced. Remember, you can't catch every game live, but the beauty of many of the streaming services we'll learn about is their ability to archive games to watch another time. This is perfect if you have work or other obligations, if there is more than one game you'd like to see happening simultaneously, or if you'd just like to record a favorite team playing so you can watch again later! 

For any of the options below, you need to know that offerings vary from region to region. The key to discovering whether or not you'll be able to watch March Madness with one or more of these choices is to know which games will be on which channels.

2018 march madness tv schedule

Now that you know where to catch the games, check with each cable alternative to see if these channels are offered in your area so you can discover whether the games you'd like to see will be streaming. In an unfortunate new twist on live streaming sports, the First Four will be shown only on tru tv. Tru tv is a live-streaming website that is free, but only as long as you're subscribed to cable through one of their affiliates. Another way to access Tru TV is to subscribe to a streaming service that includes it in their offerings.

is tru tv free


Stream March Madness 2018 With OTA TV

Compatability: Varies between manufacturers. 

Cost: Prices vary from company to company; I've seen anywhere from $17.99 - $149.99. 

Pros: Free content from local broadcasters.

Cons: Some companies charge a monthly fee to use the app associated with their antenna. 

watch ncaa basketball online free streaming

OTA stands for over the air, in other words, an antenna! Yes, it's true, you can legally pick up locally broadcasted channels and stream them to your Apple TV with an antenna. While you might be envisioning the old-fashioned version that looks like a laundry rack attached to your roof, there are now lots of OTA options that stay right inside your house. Some can boost signals, as well, which is really helpful if you live in a rural area. There are lots of choices, so use this cool tool the NCAA provides to figure out which games are broadcast in your area, or could be picked up with an antenna that features signal boosting. It's really easy to use, just enter your zip code, then choose Local Over the Air Broadcast from the drop-down menu under Select Your TV Provider. Just remember you won't be able to catch any games that are streaming on Tru TV, which means you'll miss all the First Four and some of the First-Second Rounds. If it's really important to you to catch all of the March Madness games, OTA isn't your best choice. If you don't mind missing some of the games, some OTA options include: AirTVHD HomeRun, and Mohu, but there are lots more out there!

Stream the NCAA Men's Basketball Championships with fuboTV

Compatibility: fourth-generation Apple TV

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

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

Con: Channel availability varies by region.

watch ncaa basketball online

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. Unfortunately, it seems that this content doesn't include much of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championships. In my area, CBSN and CBS Sports Network are offered, but no TNT, TBS, or Tru TV. It's possible that the necessary channels are offered in other areas, you have to do your research with this one. If you live in an area where FuboTV includes TBS, CBS, TNT, and Tru TV, you'll be ready to live stream the entire 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. If not, read on to find an option that will work for you! 

To sign up for FuboTV and find the Apple TV app, click here.

Streaming on DirecTV Now

Compatibility: fourth generation Apple TV 

Cost: $35 per month for the lowest cost package.

Pros: Seven day free trial period. Streaming included for AT&T Wireless Customers.
Cons: Coverage varies by region
ncaa final four live streaming.
DirecTV Now is DirecTV's streaming offering, and I was happy to find that its lowest cost plan includes TBS, TNT, CBS, and Tru TV in many areas. Check with DirecTV Now to see which channels are streaming in your area. If you decide to go with this option, here's a tutorial on how to set up DirecTV Now on your Apple TV.

Stream 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.

2018 ncaa men's basketball tournament

Sling TV is an à 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 the NCAA championship games and watch them later if you have work or family plans to accommodate. If you live in the right area, Sling offers TBS, TNT, and Tru TV, but not CBS. Once again, offerings vary from region to region; make sure the  NCAA broadcasts are available in your area.

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

Stream 2018 March Madness 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 ncaa basketball streaming

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 TNT and Tru TV in my area, and rings in at $39.99 a month. Other channels, including TBS are available if you live in the right service area—check with PlayStation Vue to be sure. Even if you live in the right service area to get TNT, Tru TV, and TBS, you'll need to also subscribe to CBS All Access or use OTA tv as described above to tune in to CBS so you can watch all the NCAA Championship games this year.

Click here to learn all about setting PlayStation Vue up on your Apple TV.

Watch the 2018 NCAA Championship 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

2018 ncaa men's basketball tournament

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 NBC, TBS, TNT, and even Tru TV! All the championship 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 2018 Championships, 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 games with kids Hulu might not be the best choice for your family.

If you live in an area where Hulu Live provides all the , you can learn how to set it up on your Apple TV here

Watch the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament with CBS All Access

Compatability: Requires iOS 9.0 or later.

Cost: Three day free trial, $5.99 plus tax per month thereafter.

Pros: Live stream sports content as well as popular shows - commercial free available for recorded events.

Cons: Available in limited markets.

ncaa basketball championship 2018

Some of the NCAA Championship games will run only on CBS this year, which means that if you don't have cable you need to either have a method to stream CBS, or get CBS over the air with an OTA antenna as described at the beginning of the article. If you need to subscribe to CBS All Access to watch some of the games, here's a link explaining how to get the app for your Apple TV.

Live Stream March Madness 2018 to Your Apple TV

I hope that one of these options will help you live stream all the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship games you'd like to see to your Apple TV!

Top image credit: Aspen Photo /

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.

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.