How to watch the NBA on Philo, Hulu and Sling TV


Nov 24, 2020 — 5 min read

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If you’ve cut back on your household expenses by getting rid of the expensive cable TV bill, you’ll need a good cable alternative to watch your favorite basketball games this season. NBA games air on ABC, ESPN, NBA TV and TNT. You may also be able to catch your local team on regional sports networks. The 2020-2021 season is set to tip off on Dec. 22, 2020 so now is a good time to figure out how you’ll be tuning in.

With so many streaming services out there, it may be difficult to figure out what service you’ll use to watch all your favorite basketball teams this season. You may be tempted to get a subscription with a service like Hulu + Live TV because of its 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage, or like Sling TV because of its channel offerings. The bottom line is there is a lot to consider when figuring out how you’ll watch the NBA.

Read on to learn how to watch the NBA on Philo TV, Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV and what service may be right for you.

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Which service should you use to watch the NBA?

There are several streaming services available that can replace a traditional cable TV subscription. They provide live streaming through your internet connection of many of your favorite shows. Philo, Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV all hold rank as three of the most popular live TV streaming services out right now, and are attractive options for those looking to cut the cord. However, sports fans might be surprised to find out that two of these services offers more than their competitors when it comes to streaming the big game. That’s because Philo, the cheapest of all the options, doesn’t offer any sports.


Philo is $20/mo., which is impressive when you compare it to the cost of most TV streaming services which generally land around $60/mo. Viewers looking for a cheap service with on-demand and live TV streaming capabilities will love Philo, but there are trade-offs. 

Philo doesn’t provide any broadcast networks or sports channels, which means you can’t watch the NBA. Though this is not the best streaming service for sports fans, those looking for a service that gives you unlimited Cloud DVR for no extra charge at sign up, and one that allows you stream simultaneously on three devices, will find that Philo is the perfect choice for them. The service also has an impressive channel lineup including channels like MTV, Food Network, BBC America and more.

Hulu + Live TV

Hulu Live is the oldest live TV streaming service of the three services listed. It’s relatively expensive at $55/mo., but a basic plan with the service will give you access to local channels like ESPN, FS1, FOX and NBCSN. 

While this service has been praised in the past for its user interface and wide selection of content, it’s the most expensive option of the three listed and the add-ons available with it are pretty pricey as well. You should also know that Hulu + Live TV no longer carries Fox regional sports networks, so if you are looking to stream other sports, like the MLB or NHL, through those channels you won’t be able to do so with a Hulu Live subscription.

But, you’ll be able to tune into your favorite NBA matchups whenever you want. A basic subscription comes with 50 hours of Cloud DVR, so you should have plenty of space to record the games you miss as well. And, the current version of Hulu lets you stream from three devices at once, so you and your family and friends never have to argue over what game to watch. 

Sling TV

Sling TV comes with three plans. Sling Orange, for sports lovers and families, Sling Blue, for entertainment and news, and Sling Blue + Orange. Sling Blue and Sling Orange are priced at $30/mo., while Sling Orange + Blue will cost you $45/mo.

You’ll want Sling Orange to watch sports, and you’ll need the Sports Extra add-on to watch the NBA channel directly. You can tune into NBA games without the Sports Extra package via ESPN and TNT, which is included in a basic Sling Orange subscription. 

But, Sports Extra will give you access to the NBA TV channel thereby giving you more ways to interact with and watch your favorite teams and basketball content. If you choose to purchase this add-on with Sling Orange, you’ll spend $40/mo. in total.

Additionally, you can purchase 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage as an add-on with Sling TV for an extra $5/mo. This add-on is perfect for sports fans who follow more than one team or enjoy rewatching moments from games, and want more DVR space than the 10 hours included with every package. In comparison, Hulu + Live TV’s Enhanced Cloud DVR add-on gives you 200 hours of Cloud DVR storage for an extra $10/mo., making Sling TV’s add-on the cheaper, but skimpier, option.

What devices do you need to watch the NBA?

You can watch the NBA on Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV using a few different devices. Compatible streaming devices include:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Amazon Fire tablets
  • Android
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • iOS
  • Roku
  • Smart TVs
  • Web browser
  • PlayStation
  • Chromecast

Do you need an app?

Unless you’re planning on watching Hulu + Live TV or Sling TV through a web browser, you’ll need an app. Both of these services have apps for iOS, Android, smart TVs and the supported devices listed above. 

To sum it up 

If you want to cut the cord and stream NBA, Philo isn’t the right choice. At $20/mo., the streaming service is a great, low-cost option when you want to stream movies and TV shows but doesn’t provide any sports channels or broadcast networks that air NBA games. 

Your best bet is to try either Hulu + Live TV or Sling TV. Both of which will allow you to stream a variety of content beyond just the NBA. And, you can purchase add-ons with both of these services to upgrade your subscription.

By Malin Curry

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