New England Sports Network (NESN) is one of the best regional sports channels in New England, with news and content related to the Bruins and Red Sox, as well as live games all season long. If you’re a cord-cutter wondering how to watch NESN without cable, you’re not alone. In this guide, we’ll discuss your top options for getting NESN – without a pricey cable or satellite TV subscription package. Let’s get started.
A Note About NESN and Regional Sports Networks (RSNs)
NESN, like many other channels, is a regional sports network, or RSN. This means that in the vast majority of cases you’ll only be able to get it as part of an internet TV service if you live in the proper broadcast region, which is New England, in this case.
In other words, if you live in New England or anywhere else that NESN is typically broadcast, you’ll probably be able to get it with our following picks. But if you live somewhere far away from New England – Ohio, for example – you’re going to be pretty much out of luck. It’s not usually possible to get an RSN outside of its typical broadcast area.
fuboTV is a great choice for any cord-cutter who is interested in a reasonably-priced cable alternative chock-full of great sports channels, including NESN. Let’s get into the details now, and discuss whether or not you should choose fuboTV to watch NESN without cable.
Channels & packages
fuboTV has two primary channel packages, as you can see above. The base-tier fubo package comes with NESN, as well as a huge variety of other top sports channels, including NESN Plus, NBC Sports Boston, NBCSN, Fox Sports 1, and PAC-12 channel, as well as a number of news, entertainment, and local channels.
If you upgrade to the $50/month fubo Extra package, you’ll get a number of other channels, including BBC World News, Stadium Network, and a few dozen additional channels, bringing your total to around 100. The specific number will vary based on your location.
If that’s not enough sports coverage for you, you can choose from a handful of other add-ons as well, like the fubo Cycling add-on, International Sports Plus, Sports Plus, and NBA League Pass packages, for an additional monthly fee which varies based on the packages you choose.
The number of channels you get in each package will vary by region, however, so you may have fewer channels depending on where you live.
Overall, it’s a really good package of channels. However, there’s one major problem – ESPN is not included in any fuboTV package. While this may not be a deal-breaker for everyone, it makes it harder to choose fuboTV, as you’ll miss out on some great prime-time sports coverage, as well as top shows like SportsCenter.
Features and extras
To add to its appeal, fuboTV has a pretty good set of features that are useful for cord-cutters and NESN fans.
One of the nice additions to fuboTV is a DVR which includes 50 hours of storage, included at no extra charge. You can record all of your favorite content and watch it later, with no time limits. If you need more storage, you can boost your DVR to 500 hours for a $10/month fee.
fuboTV also offers a 72-hour “rewind” feature, which lets you watch most shows and events up to 72 hours after they’ve aired, even if you forgot to record them.
Simultaneous streaming is an area where fuboTV falls a bit short, compared to the other options on our list. You only get to stream on 2 devices at once by default, but you can pay $6 per month for the “Family Share” add-on, which will let you stream on 3 devices.
On a more positive note, though, fuboTV offers great device support. You probably already own a device – or several – which are supported by this service. Currently, you can stream fuboTV on iOS and Android, as well as web browsers, and on the Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and Apple TV, as well as Android TV devices.
If you’d like to give it a try yourself, you can get a free 7-day trial now, and fuboTV often runs discounts for your first month of service, so you can get a great deal.
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PlayStation Vue is one of the most consistently well-regarded internet TV services out there but has struggled to get a large market share, despite launching over 3 years ago, in March 2015. But is it a good way to watch NESN without cable? Find out now.
Channels & packages
PlayStation Vue offers four distinct channel packages, allowing you to choose how many channels you’d like. They are as follows:
- Access – 45 channels, $45/month
- Core – 60 channels, $50/month
- Elite – 100+ channels, $60/month
- Ultra – All Elite channels plus HBO/Showtime, $80/month
To get NESN, you won’t be able to pick the cheapest, $45/month package. You’ll need to spring for the $50/month, 60+ channel Core package. However, you’ll get a really good lineup of channels for your money, despite the higher price. Other included sports channels include FS1 and FS2, as well as CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN U, and ESPNews, as well as NBC Sports Boston, NBCSN, SEC Network, NFL Network and more. You’ll also get plenty of news and entertainment channels.
If that’s not enough, you can bump yourself up to the pricier Elite or Ultra subscription to get even more channels, or unlock even more sports channels with the $10/month Sports Pack, which includes Eleven Sports, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Classic, and a number of other channels – most notably, NESN National.
The fact that you can get NESN National makes PlayStation Vue the best choice for New England sports fans who live outside of the typical NESN broadcast area. Unlike the standard NESN channel, NESN National is available to you no matter where you are in the country. You can watch the Sox, Bruins, and all of the content on NESN – from any state in America.
Doing so will cost you $60/month – $50 for the Core package and $10 for the Sports Pack – but this is still cheaper than cable, and you can watch NESN anywhere in America, which can’t be said for fuboTV or YouTube TV, the other two internet TV services on this list.
Features and extras
Though PlayStation Vue is on the more expensive side, its features help make up for this. First, and most notably, you can watch PlayStation Vue on up to 5 devices at once for no extra fee, depending on which ones you’re using. This means Vue blows the competition out of the water.
You also get a pretty good DVR. You can record unlimited shows, but only for 28 days. This may seem too limited, but in practice, that’s almost always enough time to watch a game or a show that you may have missed.
Device support is also excellent. You can stream PlayStation Vue on the PlayStation 3 and 4, naturally (don’t expect to get Vue support on the Xbox any time soon!), as well as on iOS and Android devices, and your web browser. Further still, Vue supports the Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and all modern Roku devices. (7.7 firmware and up.)
Overall, PlayStation Vue is more expensive than the other picks on our list, but a good choice for watching NESN without cable. You can get a free 5-day trial now and see if you like the service.
YouTube TV had its official launch in late 2017 when it exited Beta and became available in most areas of the country. Today, it’s available in New England, and it’s a good alternative to cable if you want to watch NESN.
Channels & packages
YouTube TV keeps things simple. You only have a single subscription plan to choose from, which comes with around 70 channels, though this varies based on your location. For your money, you’ll get both NESN and NESN Plus, as well as a number of other top sports channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPN U, FS1 and FS2, Big Ten Network, MLB Network, NBC Sports Boston, NBCSN, The Tennis Channel, The Golf Channel and more.
You’ll also get a full complement of entertainment, lifestyle and news channels. Overall, YouTube TV offers you more channels for your money than any other choice on our list, making it a great pick as a total cable TV replacer.
Features and extras
YouTube TV doesn’t just have a fantastic lineup of channels. Its features are equally good, making it a fantastic choice if you want to watch NESN without cable. Let’s start with the DVR. You get 9 months of storage, with no other limits. You can record as much content as you want, and it won’t be deleted until it’s been saved for 9 months.
As far as simultaneous streaming is concerned, you can stream on up to 3 devices at once, which is more generous than fuboTV, though not quite as many as PlayStation Vue. In practice, though, 3 streams is plenty for most families and households.
And, speaking of families, YouTube TV also lets you create up to 6 profiles for your family members. Each one gets a separate DVR, preferences and content suggestions, making it easy to share your subscription.
Finally, while YouTube TV device support used to be quite disappointing, it’s improved by quite a bit in the last year or so. Today, you can stream on Android and iOS, as well as on the Chrome web browser while you’re on-the-go. At home, supported devices include Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV, as well as a number of different smart TVs from Hisense, VIZIO, Sharp, LG, and Samsung. You can also watch YouTube TV on the Xbox One.
YouTube TV is definitely one of the best ways to watch NESN without cable. If you’d like to try it out for yourself, you can get a free trial of YouTube TV now, and see if it’s right for you.
One of the best things about using an internet TV service to get NESN is that, like using a traditional cable provider, you can use your login information to access first-party streams from NESN, using the NESNgo website and app.
The NESNgo website and app allow you to watch live and on-demand content from NESN, directly from your computer or mobile device. Interestingly, only YouTube TV and PlayStation Vue are currently supporting NESN logins. You can’t use your fuboTV login to access NESNgo, which is a bit disappointing.
Why would you want to use NESNgo, rather than your PlayStation Vue or YouTube TV subscription? Well, the main reason is that streaming content using NESNgo doesn’t count towards your simultaneous stream limit. If your family is watching YouTube TV content on 3 devices at once, you can still log into NESNgo, and watch the Boston Bruins or the Red Sox live, without exceeding your 3-device limit. The same is true of PlayStation Vue.
NESNgo is a bit primitive and the mobile app has pretty bad reviews – but it does its job, and the fact you can access it with YouTube TV and PlayStation Vue means those services are even more attractive if you want to watch NESN without cable.
What’s the Best Choice for Me?
This depends somewhat on your personal preferences. fuboTV and YouTube TV are the best options for folks who live in New England, as they are cheaper than PlayStation Vue. fuboTV lacks ESPN, though, which makes YouTube TV a more attractive option.
If you want to watch NESN without cable outside of New England, though, PlayStation Vue isn’t just your best option – it’s your only option. None of these other services offer NESN National, which is the only way you can watch NESN if you live outside of the standard broadcast regions.
So, what’s the best? We recommend you try each service and see for yourself. The best part about internet TV is that, unlike cable, there are no contracts, hidden fees or other “catches.” You’re free to try each service using its free trial period to discover which one is the best for your needs.