Few channels have better reality TV than MTV. Surpassing its all-music-video origins, MTV is now the go-to channel for (somewhat scripted) real life stories. And while MTV has traditionally been only available on cable, that’s no longer the case.

Below, we’ll explore several options to get access to MTV’s sought-after TV shows without cable. For those that just can’t get enough of MTV, most of the options we explore below also offer MTV2 alongside MTV, expanding your lifestyle, reality TV and overall entertainment TV options.

The ‘Skinny” on Skinny Bundles with MTV

As we explore different options to watch MTV without cable, you’ll see a word pop up across the article: “skinny bundles.” Wondering what this means?

“Skinny bundle” is the term currently used to identify internet TV services that provide access to cable channels. There are several key differences between internet TV services that sell a skinny bundle and cable TV services.

The most notable difference is price. Skinny bundles get their name from the fact that they “bundle” together various cable TV channels for a lower cost and deliver these channels live streaming over an internet connection. This reduces costs significantly. The average cost of a “skinny bundle” is around $40-$50 per month, compared to the $100 average cost of a cable bill.

In contrast, traditional cable TV services usually sell their channels for a high cost and with a large number of channels. Skinny bundles are to users want fewer channels for a lower cost.

Internet TV is growing in popularity, so you have  a lot of great options if you want to use a skinny bundle for MTV. You can get MTV for just $16 per month (Philo), or pay $35 per month (DirecTV Now) to get access to both MTV and MTV2.

In addition, since skinny bundle services work on almost any device, including a web browser, mobile devices, and streaming TV devices like the Roku, you’ll likely have no need to purchase additional equipment to enjoy your favorite content.

Your Top 3 Options to Watch MTV Without Cable

Let’s explore the top 3 options for watching MTV without cable: Philo, Sling TV, and DirecTV Now.


mtv without cable
Source: Philo

Philo is currently the lowest-cost internet TV skinny bundle service available. Starting at just $16-per-month, Philo offers up 43 channels for its low, low cost, including both MTV and MTV2.

Those who want both MTV and MTV2 will find that Philo offers a hard-to-beat price among the competition, although there are certainly some downsides that might turn your eye toward another service.

 Package 1Package 2
Simultaneous Streams33
Fire TV SupportNoNo
Roku SupportYesYes

First, however, the good. As stated, Philo comes in at an extremely low cost. For $16-per-month, you get MTV, MTV2 and a bundle of other highly-attractive entertainment and lifestyle networks, such as Discovery Channel, HGTV, IFC, History Channel, A&E, AMC, BBC America, and more.

Should you want a few additional channels from Philo, you can upgrade your service to their $20-per-month option that includes 55 channels, like MTV Live, Nicktoons, Destination America, and more.

Philo is unique among the other skinny bundle internet TV services in that it does not offer any sports channels. That means if you love both MTV and ESPN, Philo is not the service for you. By eschewing sports channels, Philo is able to offer entertainment-only networks for a low cost, but this does ultimately create a more niche service, compared to other options like Sling TV and DirecTV Now. You won’t get any sports coverage at all with Philo.

Additional Philo benefits

The low cost is an attractive feature for Philo, but there are other positives. The service allows you to have up to three simultaneous streams at once at no additional cost. This is actually more than some other, more pricey services, like DirecTV Now and Sling Orange, even if you pay extra for add-ons.

You can also save shows using Philo’s DVR function, with recordings lasting up to 30 days past the recording date. There are no other limits, so you can save as many shows as you like, and watch them on your own time.

Philo limitations

Philo’s biggest weakness used to be a lack of app support, but as of 2018, the company has added much more devices to its lineup, including internet browsers, iOS, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.

However, there is no Android app. For Android users, the company suggests using your included Chrome browser, which is not optimal. From testing, using Philo on an Android device through the web browser is extremely battery draining and might cause your device to heat up significantly with the added processing power needed to stream videos through the browser.

In addition, Philo still falls short compared to other skinny bundle companies like Hulu With Live TV, which support even more platforms, like gaming consoles and Smart TVs.

Also, while the “saved shows” option is generous, you can’t carry those saved episodes beyond that 30-day limit. So if you really loved an episode and want to view it well into the future, you’ll either have to hope that Philo holds onto that episode on its own, or be forced to lose it after the 30-day window.

Philo offers a free trial for those interested. The service is free for 7 days and does not require a credit card for the first few days to during the trial period.

Philo Shortcode


Sling TV

mtv without cable
Source: Sling TV

The most well-known, oldest, and most popular of the internet TV skinny bundle services, Sling TV is often viewed as helping lead the way for these types of services. It should come as no surprise, then, that the service provides most channels TV viewers are looking for, including MTV and MTV 2.

With Sling TV, users will only pay $25-per-month to get access to both MTV channels through the Sling Orange channel package.

Unlike Philo, however, Sling TV offers both sports and entertainment channels in its packages. So while you’ll get MTV and MTV2, you will also be well served if you’re looking for sports channels like Fox Sports and ESPN. Sling Orange offers around 30 channels, depending on your location.

 Sling OrangeSling BlueSling Orange + Blue
Simultaneous Streams134*
Fire TV SupportYesYesYes
Roku SupportYesYesYes
* You get one stream with Sling Orange and up to 3 simultaneous streams with Sling Blue.

Sling TV offers three different TV packages: Sling Orange ($25/month), Sling Blue ($25/month) and Sling Orange + Blue ($40/month). By combining these two packages, you can get around 50 total channels. MTV and MTV2 are both available, regardless of which option you choose.

Additional Sling TV benefits

For Sling TV, choice is a big factor. Sling TV is the undisputed king of add-on channels. You’ll find over a dozen different add-on channel packages using Sling TV. They offer everything from news channels to additional sports channels. You can even find a long list of non-English networks from various parts of the world, as well as popular movie channels for an additional cost (such as HBO).

Sling TV is also available on an extremely long list of devices.That includes Smart TVs, iOS and Android devices, Windows and Mac computers, and almost every streaming device you can think of (Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, etc.).

Additionally, Sling TV offers a growing list of local TV options, and even integrates some over-the-air TV devices to help expand your TV viewing options.

Sling TV limitations

Unfortunately, Sling TV is fairly limited in how many users can stream at the same time with its base package. If you sign up for Sling Orange, the bare minimum required to get MTV, you can only stream on one device at a time. If you expand to Sling Blue, Sling TV opens that up to 3 simultaneous streams.

However, if you go all in with Sling Orange + Blue, you won’t get any additional simultaneous streams out of the service, despite the added expense. You can still only stream Sling Orange channels on 1 device, and Sling Blue on 3 devices.

Alongside this, Sling TV mixes and matches channels in its Orange and Blue packages, instead of offering different channels. As such, when you go for Sling Orange + Blue, you’re actually double paying for networks. You’ll get most channels twice.

Every other internet skinny bundle service uses a method that just adds additional channels as the price goes up, making Sling TV’s model a bit confusing.

Finally, Sling TV does offer a DVR, but you’ll need to pay an extra $5 per month to get it. On a positive note, however, the DVR comes with 50 hours of recording time, and the recordings last indefinitely. They are only deleted once you’ve reached the storage limit.

Sling TV offers a 7-day free trial for new customers. You’ll need to create an account first, but there’s no commitment to continue if you don’t like the service following the free trial.


DirecTV Now

mtv without cable
Source: DirecTV

DirecTV has made quite a few strides in 2018, and is now a great alternative to other popular internet TV services like YouTube TV.

Why? Partly due to its long-standing relationship with cable companies, DirecTV Now is able to offer a large number of channels to cord-cutters for a good price. Those looking to get MTV will find the channel available through DirecTV Now’s lowest-cost, $40-per-month “Live a Little” package.

DirecTV Now’s cheapest package is also jam packed with other channels. For that $40-per-month price, you’re getting a total of over 65 channels. That’s more than what Sling TV offers – even with its highest-cost channel package.

Additional DirecTV Now benefits

The number of channel options alone makes DirecTV Now a good option for those who want MTV, MTV2, and a lot of other channel options. With the $40 package offering a healthy mixture of sports and entertainment channels for the price, it’s a good option for those who need a good alternative to everything that cable offers.

DirecTV Now is also great for those who don’t want to purchase additional equipment. The service works on a growing number of smart TVs, Windows and Mac computers, most Android and iOS mobile devices, and most streaming devices that connect to your TV, like Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV.

Like Sling TV, DirecTV Now is also focused on providing deals for new customers. That includes discounts on the cost of the service for the first few months, and discounted or free devices.

DirecTV Now limitations

As for its limitations, DirecTV Now has a few rather notable ones. The recently-launched cloud DVR, for example, only lets you record 20 hours of content, which is incredibly restrictive.

Beyond the DVR issue, DirecTV Now is one of the stingiest services we’ve seen when it comes to simultaneous screens. You can only stream on two devices at a time, regardless of which channel package you choose. So even if you put down good money to get the $70-per-month “Gotta Have It” channel package with 120 channels, you still won’t get any additional streams added to your account.

If you’d like to try it for yourself, you can get a free 7-day trial with DirecTV Now.

Philo vs. Sling TV vs. DirecTV Now

Each of these services has a little bit of something different to offer. Making a final decision might be a bit hard, but here are a few things to consider.

Price vs. channel options

What are you most concerned about? Lowest cost or more additional channels? If you only watch entertainment channels and don’t care about sports or local news coverage, Philo is the clear winner, especially since you can get MTV and MTV2 with its basic $16/month package.

However, if you want a mixture of entertainment, sports, and news, Sling TV or DirecTV Now will be a better choice for you. Between those, it might come down to deciding between price and features.


All of these services have some unique features that make them worthwhile, but DirecTV Now is a clear loser on this end. It simply does not have good additional features to make it as attractive as Philo and Sling TV. Though it has good on-demand options, the DVR and streaming limits are a big issue.

If you want features like a spacious DVR, you’re going to be choosing between Philo and Sling TV. There, it may come down, again, to whether you do or do not need sports and news alongside your entertainment shows.

Which service is better for MTV without cable?

Hopefully, these considerations help you decide on a choice between the three above options.

Regardless of which option you select, however, there is one benefit you will get with all of them: access to MTV’s live streams through the web browser or app. You can log into MTV.com with your Sling, Philo, or DirecTV Now credentials.

This is a great way to bump up the number of simultaneous streams you’re using. You can log into the MTV mobile app or website and stream MTV content – and this will not count against how many people are using your internet TV subscription. This fact can help make DirecTV Now more attractive to some users.

Regardless of which internet TV service you try, you’ll get a much better deal on MTV than you would with cable, given that the average cost of a cable package is now nearly $100. So give each one of these a try, and see which one is right for your needs.