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How to watch March Madness (even without cable)

Games will be streamed online and through the NCAA March Madness Live app. There's even a trick to gain access to the games without a cable subscription.

Now playing: Watch this: Ways to watch March Madness

It's that time of the year again. The time when Internet speeds begin to slow and productivity dips. Yup, it's March Madness time. Millions of people will tune in online and over-the-air to watch the best college basketball teams in the nation go head-to-head.

There's a total of 67 games, which will be broadcast across CBS (the parent company of CNET), TNT, TBS and TruTV starting on Tuesday, March 17. The championship game is scheduled for Monday, April 6, on CBS.

Here's how you can tune in on your devices:


Don't have time to sit on the couch and enjoy the games? Head over to the NCAA's March Madness Live website, where you will be able to stream all 67 games live. You may be wondering what's the catch? While games airing on CBS can be accessed for free on the Web, you will be required to enter credentials from a participating cable or satellite provider to watch games on TNT, TBS and TruTV. The NCAA is offering a limited preview for people without a cable subscription, although it's unclear how long it will run (likely only a few hours or even minutes).

Smartphone or tablet

Smartphone and tablet owners can tune in through the NCAA March Madness Live app. The same restrictions apply, however, as the website. CBS games will be streamed for free and a participating cable or satellite subscription will be required for the other games. The March Madness Live app is available for Android, iOS, Amazon and Windows devices.


Don't pay for a traditional cable package? All hope is not lost. As mentioned above, CBS games are streamed on the Web and through the mobile app for free. If you rather watch them on your TV, you can pick up a digital TV antenna to access CBS over-the-air. The hottest clips and highlights from the tournament will also be posted on the official NCAA March Madness YouTube channel.

Another option is the new Sling TV streaming service, which includes access to TBS, TNT, ESPN, Food Network, AMC and more for only $20 a month. TruTV can be added for an additional $5 a month as part of the Lifestyle extra channel package. As noted by Brad Tuttle over at Time, Sling offers a 7-day free trial that you could sign up for prior to tip off and use to watch the first week of games. Alternately, you may want to wait to begin the trial until later in the tournament to see potentially better match-ups, such as the two Final Four games on April 4 on TBS.

Microsoft on Tuesday added Sling TV to the Xbox One. As part of a special promotion for Xbox owners, the company is offering a free month long trial to test Sling. While the trial only includes access to the basic $20 plan (which doesn't include TruTV), it's the easiest way to get access to a majority of March Madness games for free.

Just be sure you remember to cancel the service before the trial is up or you will be automatically billed for the first month. This can be done online or over the phone by calling customer service at 888-909-4087.

Last updated on Wednesday, March 18 at 2 pm ET: An earlier version of this article stated that Sling TV could not be canceled online. This has been corrected.