The baseball season is underway, but cordcutters may be struggling to watch the Houston Astros online. The team’s television deal means most of the broadcast games this year can’t be streamed without a cable subscription. This article explains how to catch as many Astros games as possible.

Which Channels Stream Astros Baseball?

Most of the televised Astros games in the 2019 season will appear on the regional sports channel AT&T SportsNet-Southwest. Nationally broadcast Astros games will appear on the MLB’s partners ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1, TBS or on the MLB Network.

Cordcutters living in the Houston area get a bad deal because none of the streaming services carry the AT&T regional sports channels. They are also impacted by the MLB Network’s blackout policies. As a result, Houstonians will only be able to stream the national broadcasts — assuming those aren’t blacked out on game day.

Astros fans living anywhere else will be able to watch the national telecasts as well as the MLB Network’s live streams.

Wherever you live, you will need to make sure a streaming service carries your favorite local stations before you subscribe. Even though a service may have a deal with a national network, it may not have a deal with the local station owners. The streaming services all have search boxes that let you see your local coverage by zip code. We checked and all of the streaming services carry Houston’s Fox26.

Streaming Services for Astros Fans

fuboTV

watch fubotv
Source: fuboTV

With its origins as a sports-only streaming service, it’s little surprise that fuboTV is a popular choice for sports fans. Now that you can get the most popular basic cable stations, fuboTV is becoming a popular choice for families as well. But Astros fans may want to look closely before signing up.

Channels and packages

ESPN is the main issue for Astros fans. FuboTV doesn’t carry it or any other Disney-owned channels. Since Disney owns the MLB’s distribution system, you can’t get the MLB Network either. Regardless of which subscription plan you choose, you can get FS1 and TBS. Houstonians can get their local Fox station.

You get twenty more channels by upgrading from the fubo plan to the fubo Extra plan. The extra money gets you a mix of entertainment, sports and international news channels.

Features and extras

Both fuboTV subscription plans come standard with a cloud DVR. It lets you record up to thirty hours of programming, which is middle-of-the-road for streaming services. A $10 monthly upgrade expands the recording capacity to five hundred hours.

By default, you can only stream fuboTV to two devices at the same time. Paying a $6 upgrade expands the simultaneous streaming to a third device.

  • Living room devices: Android TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Devices based on Fire TV, Roku and Android TV.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: None.
  • Desktop browsers: fuboTV recommends Chrome.

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Sling TV

watch sling tv
Source: Sling TV

Owned by the satellite TV company DISH, Sling TV is one of the oldest streaming television services in the United States. It used to be the most popular service as well, but new competitors have eaten away at its market share. Sling TV’s most compelling feature is the ability to customize your channel lineup.

Channels and packages

The MLB Network and AT&T SportsNet are the only channels Astros fans can’t get. Houstonians can get the local Fox station. However, you won’t be able to get just one of the low-cost subscriptions. The only way to get ESPN, Fox, FS1 and TBS is to subscribe to both the Sling Orange plan and the Sling Blue plan.

Sling Orange
Free Roku Deal
$25.00/ month

34 channels

ESPN

Free Roku Express

1 simultaneous stream.

SIGN UP
Sling Blue
Free Roku Deal$25.00/ month

49 channels

ESPN

Free Roku Express

3 simultaneous streams

SIGN UP
Sling Orange + Blue
Free Roku Deal
$40.00/ month

56 channels

ESPN

Free Roku Express

4* simultaneous streams

SIGN UP
* You get 1 stream for Sling Orange channels and up to 3 simultaneous streams for Sling Blue channels.

Although it won’t help you stream Astros baseball, Sling TV’s add-on packages let you tailor your TV-watching experience by adding more sports channels, movie channels or add channels from other countries.

Features and extras

Sling TV’s low pricing is deceptive since it does not include a cloud DVR. Standard with every other streaming service, cloud DVR capability will cost you another $5. Although it does let you record as much as fifty hours of programming, you can’t record channels like ESPN that are exclusive to the Sling Orange plan.

In addition, only one device can stream the Sling Orange exclusive channels while three devices can stream channels listed on Sling Blue. Despite those limitations, Sling TV has one of the largest device ecosystems of any streaming service.

  • Living room devices: Azulle Mini PC Sticks, Air TV Player, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and Xaomi Mi TV.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Models based on Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku. Also, certain models from LG and Samsung.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Amazon Fire tablets, Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome.

Hulu with Live TV

watch hulu with live tv
Source: Hulu with Live TV

Best known for its on-demand library of currently-airing TV shows, Hulu with Live TV has also become a strong competitor in the live TV arena. Still, it’s the huge selection of on-demand content that makes Hulu worth considering.

Channels and packages

The $45-per-month subscription lets you watch ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1 and TBS on Hulu with Live TV, but you won’t be able to watch the MLB Network or AT&T SportsNet. The local Fox station is available in Houston.

In addition to the fifty-channel listing, a Hulu with Live TV subscription includes access to the on-demand catalog. There’s no way to get rid of commercials on the live TV streams, but adding $4 to each month’s bill activates the “limited commercial” plan. Ads will disappear from just about every on-demand video.

Features and extras

Hulu with Live TV’s fifty-hour cloud DVR and two-device simultaneous streaming limit are fairly standard. For $20 per month, you can get two hundred hours of recording capacity as well as support for a third streaming device.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Certain Samsung and LG televisions as well as some devices based on Amazon Fire TV or Roku.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Xbox 360.
  • Desktop browsers: Most browsers.

DirecTV Now

watch directv now
Source: DirecTV Now

Owned by AT&T, DirecTV Now hit the market shortly after Sling TV. Although its features do not compare as well to newer competitors, it offers subscriptions with a large number of basic cable and premium channels.

Channels and packages

In order to get the most Astros coverage possible, you will need to subscribe to the Just Right plan. That carries all of the cable channels. People willing to skip out on the MLB Network, however, can save a little with the Live a Little plan. Either way, Houstonians will be able to watch their local Fox station. Surprisingly, AT&T-owned DirecTV Now can’t get the AT&T SportsNet channels.

  • Live a Little: 65+ channels / $40 per month.
  • Just Right: 85+ channels / $55 per month.
  • Go Big: 105+ channels / $65 per month.
  • Gotta Have It: 125+ channels / $75 per month.
  • Todo y Más: 90+ spanish-language channels / $45 per month.

Features and extras

DirecTV Now’s twenty-hour cloud DVR is the least impressive of all the streaming services. You can’t even upgrade it. You can, however, add a third streaming device for an extra $5.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Samsung and Amazon Fire TV televisions.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: None, but Xbox One support is “coming soon”.
  • Desktop browsers: DirecTV Now only streams to Chrome and Safari browsers. With Internet Explorer and Firefox, you can only manage your settings.

PlayStation Vue

watch playstation vue
Source: PlayStation Vue

Even though it shares branding with Sony’s game console, PlayStation Vue works on a wide range of devices. The confusingly-named streaming service offers premium features at competitive prices, which makes it worth considering.

Channels and packages

With one exception, all of the national channels that carry Astros baseball are available with Sony’s entry-level plan. This includes Houston’s Fox affiliate for people living in southeastern Texas. To get the MLB Network, however, you will need to pay for the Core plan.

  • Access: 45+ channels for $45 per month.
  • Core: 70+ channels for $50 per month.
  • Elite: 94 channels for $60 per month.
  • Ultra: 96 channels for $80 per month.

Features and extras

The features that come standard with PlayStation Vue look like the premium upgrades on other services. The cloud DVR lets you record an unlimited number of programs — although they do expire after four weeks. Your family can also be streaming PlayStation Vue on as many as five devices at once.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Televisions based on Amazon Fire TC, Android TV and Roku.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android, Amazon Fire Tablets and iOS.
  • Game consoles: PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge.

YouTube TV

watch youtube tv
Source: YouTube TV

Far from being just a destination for PewDiePie and cat videos, YouTube TV is one of the newest live TV streaming services. The biggest advantage YouTube TV has over its competitors is support for local network affiliates. Almost every market gets the local ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC stations.

Channels and packages

All of the national networks that carry the Astros are part of YouTube TV’s single $40-per-month subscription plan. As with the other services, AT&T SportsNet is not a regional option, but Houstonians will get their Fox live streams.

Features and extras

Along with PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV offers the strongest set of standard features. The unlimited cloud DVR only deletes programs after nine months. You can also setup user profiles with their own DVR libraries.

Device support is YouTube TV’s main weakness. You can only stream to three devices at the same time. More significantly, Amazon Fire TV devices and Echo devices don’t have YouTube TV apps.

  • Living room devices: Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Certain models from HiSense, LG, Samsung and Sharp as well as televisions based on Android TV and Roku.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome.

MLB.TV

Stream Yankees Baseball on MLB.TV
Source: MLB

Major League Baseball’s own streaming service, MLB.TV, lets you watch every baseball game live — sometimes. People who live outside the Houston region will be able to stream Astros baseball. Houstonians, however, can’t watch the Astros on MLB.TV.

Plans and coverage

The All Teams subscription plan will cost you $119 per year. A Single Team subscription plan for $92 per year, but only applies to teams beyond your viewing region.

With either subscription, you can stream most regular season games live and watch all games on demand. For the postseason, you will need to pay extra.

Blackout rules

Major League Baseball’s blackout policies apply to its own streaming service. People living near Houston can’t watch the Astros. Nobody can watch the weekend games streamed on ESPN using the MLB.TV app.

Features

On mobile devices, you will use the MLB’s At Bat app while other devices use the MLB.TV app.

  • Living room devices: MLB.TV app for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Sticks and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: MLB.TV app for certain Samsung televisions and devices based on certain versions of Amazon Fire TV, Android TV or Roku.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: At Bat app for Amazon Fire tablets, Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: MLB.TV app for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Most browsers.

Most devices will get high-speed 60 frames per second video. Android devices are the exception. You can pause, rewind and fast forward any video stream as well as toggle between the TV audio, local radio broadcasts and Spanish-language broadcasts.

Available on the Apple TV, Catch-Up is a new feature that recaps whatever part of the game you’ve missed. The 90-second clip shows you key plays and roster changes before switching to the live stream. Other devices will get Catch-Up as the 2019 season goes on.