Stream the 2018 Kentucky Derby Live on Your Apple TV without Cable

New racing enthusiasts may ask, "when is the Kentucky Derby?" Experienced fans will let you know; the Run for the Roses is always the first Saturday in May. The Kentucky Derby is an American tradition that's been going strong since 1875, and in 2018 we have more options than ever before for catching not only the race itself, which is over in less than three minutes, but all the pageantry and tradition surrounding the event. If you own an Apple TV, you can catch the 2018 Kentucky Derby in 4K high definition resolution, but first, you'll need to find what channel the Derby is on, and a Kentucky Derby live stream. Let's find out the Kentucky Derby race time, what channel the race is on this year, and how to live stream all the derby fun 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.

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.

What Channel Is the Kentucky Derby On?

Excellent news! All of the Kentucky Derby events leading up to the race will be broadcast on NBC Sports, and you'll find race coverage from 2:30–7:20 pm ET on NBC. Post Time is set for 6:34 p.m. ET, so be sure to have your live stream up and going well before then so you don't miss the race! All you need to do is find an over-the-air satellite, streaming service, or app that offers access to both NBC Sports and NBC, and you'll be able to catch every bit of Kentucky Derby coverage.

How to Stream the 2018 Kentucky Derby Live on Your Apple TV without Cable

I wish I could tell you to download the NBC app for free, then AirPlay all the derby coverage to your Apple TV, but sadly I can't. The NBC app requires you to enter a code from your satellite or cable provider to start streaming, so cable-cutters can't use this app. 

Watch the 2018 Kentucky Derby on OTA TV

kentucky derby live

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 look into whether NBC is broadcast in your area, or could be picked up with an antenna that features signal boosting. If you can pick up NBC with your OTA antenna, you'll be able to catch all of the main race-day coverage, including the race itself, and the Winner's Circle Ceremony. Some OTA buying options include AirTVHD HomeRun, and Mohu, but there are lots more out there. Check out the Mohu website for a handy tool that lets you enter your zip code to find out how far major broadcasting towers are from your location, then choose an antenna powerful enough to pick up those signals. 

Stream the 2018 Kentucky Derby with fuboTV

watch kentucky derby

Compatibility: fourth-generation Apple TV.

Cost: $19.99 a month for the first two months, $44.99 a month after that.

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

Con: Channel availability varies by region.
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 NBC Sports. 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 even this extra doesn't include NBC.

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

Stream Kentucky Derby 2018 on DirecTV Now

watch nbc live

Compatibility: fourth-generation Apple TV.

Cost: $35 per month.

Pros: First three months for $10 a month. Streaming included for AT&T Wireless Customers.
Cons: Some event access blocked for smartphones.

DirecTV Now is DirecTV's streaming offering, and I was super excited to find that its lowest cost plan includes NBC Sports and NBC. 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. Check with DirecTV Now to make sure that live, not VOD, NBC Sports and NBC are included 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.

2018 Kentucky Derby Live Coverage with Sling TV 

nbc streaming

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.

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 Kentucky Derby and watch it later if you have work or family plans to accommodate. Sling Blue, at $25 a month, includes both NBC and NBC Sports, but offerings vary from region to region. Make sure both channels are available in your area. 

Here are step-by-step instructions to help you find and install the Sling TV app on your Apple TV. 

Watch the Kentucky Derby 2018 on Apple TV with PlayStation Vue

stream kentucky derby

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 events are available to view on your iPhone.

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 NBC Sports and rings in at $39.99 a month. To my great disappointment, this service doesn't include NBC except as an on-demand offering, meaning you won't be able to catch the Kentucky Derby live from this streaming provider, just the pre-race events. 

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

Watch & Replay the Kentucky Derby 2018 with Hulu Live on your Apple TV

kentucky derby replay

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.

Hulu has made the jump and joined 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 and NBC Sports and the entire Kentucky Derby experience on 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 race, this could be slightly risky. Hulu customers have also complained about commercials with adult themes before, during, and after family and sports content, so if you're watching the tournament with kids, Hulu might not be the best choice for your family.

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

The Best Way to Watch the 2018 Kentucky Derby

It seems that DirecTV Now, Sling TV, and Hulu Live are the three best options for catching the Kentucky Derby in my area. Channel offerings may be different for you, so be sure to check well ahead of time to make sure both NBC Sports and NBC are offered live. As an alternative to streaming services, and if you only care about the race itself and not the lead-up, check if NBC broadcasts close enough to your home to pick up their signal on OTA. Of course, there's always the option to join a friend who has cable for derby day. Bring one of these excellent dishes to share, and I'm sure you'll get invited back every year!

Top image credit:

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's picture

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.