NCAA Tournament: How to Stream March Madness OnlineVariety — Tim Chan
The rankings are in, and the 68-team field is set. March Madness is officially upon us, and if you want to catch the action from home, from the office, or on-the-go, there are a couple ways to stream March Madness online for free.
The first game kicks off today, and the tournament runs until April 8. Oddsmakers have Duke as the favorite to win, with 11/5 odds. The Blue Devils are followed by Gonzaga and North Carolina with 5/1 and 6/1 odds, respectively. The games are airing across a number of networks, including CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.
You can download the March Madness Live app (find it here) to watch all 67 games live, and stream videos and highlights from every matchup. The app works with Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku Streaming Stick and Xbox One, among others. Keep in mind that the app only gets you a free three-hour preview – you’ll have to log-in with your cable provider to access content after that.
Our hack: sign-up for a live TV-streaming service, which will get you access to all four networks airing the games, as well as plenty of other sports channels for post-game analysis and highlights. Hulu is currently offering a 7-day free trial to its Hulu + Live TV service (sign up here). Time it to watch the Final Four for free, or test drive it now and then stay on for the remainder of the tournament. Hulu offers the service for just $45/month, which gets you a ton of live TV channels, in addition to Hulu originals like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Shrill,” plus on-demand movies, documentaries and television shows.
Sling TV is another solid bet, and it’ll get you access to TBS, TNT and truTV, but not CBS (You can stream CBS games through CBS.com). Sling is currently offering 40% off the first three months of service to new customers, bringing their basic Sling Blue service down to just $15/month.
Both Hulu and Sling let you stream content over your phone, on your computer, tablet or through your TV.
A couple of streaming tips: make sure you free up your Internet for the game, to avoid buffering issues or slower speeds. That means closing background apps on your phone, and not running a movie or show on another device that may be sharing your signal. You’ll also want to make sure your router is on the same floor of the home as your TV, to ensure the best possible signal.
“Routers are good at sending signals horizontally, not vertically,” said Brandon Bogle, an analyst at global tech care company Asurion. “If your router isn’t on the same floor as your TV, you may have more buffering issues during the big game. Better yet, consider hardwiring your router with an ethernet cable.”
One last tip: even if you’re streaming or casting the games from your phone, make sure you are connected to your home Internet, versus using your phone network. You’ll likely have a faster, more reliable signal that way, which means less interruptions and more time focusing on the plays at hand.
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