You can watch the Pittsburgh Pirates online even when you’ve canceled your cable subscription. Thanks to a new generation of streaming TV services, you can get all the channels you want without the high monthly bills. Here are seven ways to watch the Pirates cable-free.

Which Channels Stream Pirates Baseball?

Major League Baseball has deals letting ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1 and TBS broadcast games nationally. In addition, the MLB Network televises a huge number of games. Pirates fans will want to make sure their streaming service carries ESPN, Fox and FS1.

The main thing to watch out for is Fox. Some streaming services have better coverage than others. Zip code lookup tools on each service’s website will tell you if you can get the Fox live streams.

Unfortunately, most of the broadcast Pirates games air on AT&T’s regional cable channel, SportsNet Pittsburgh. None of the streaming services — even AT&T’s own DirecTV — carry SportsNet. That means you can’t stream those games without a cable subscription.

Streaming Services for Pirates Fans


Watch fuboTV
Source: fuboTV

As focused on sports as fuboTV is, the streaming service doesn’t do a great job of supporting baseball fans. Fox, FS1 and TBS are the only channels on its listing that air baseball games.

Channels and packages

The biggest gap in fuboTV’s lineup for fans of America’s major sports is ESPN. On the other hand, fuboTV is perfect if your tastes run to more international sports like soccer, rugby or cycling. Nearly half of the channels in the two subscription plans, fubo and fuboExtra, are pure sports channels.

But fuboTV isn’t just for sports fans. Over the past few years, the service has added some of the most popular news, lifestyle and entertainment channels. It also supports all four of the major networks, although local coverage can vary.

Features and extras

Both subscription plans come with a thirty-hour cloud DVR to record shows when you’re out. For just $10 per month, you can max out the capacity at five hundred hours.

Another upgrade, this one only $6 per month, lets your household stream to three devices at the same time. The standard simultaneous streaming limit is two devices.

  • 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

DISH, the satellite TV provider, was the first company to launch an official streaming TV service. Low prices and a channel lineup like basic cable made Sling TV a hit with early cord-cutters. Since then, new services have taken away its lead in the market. Still, Sling TV offers features that no other company does.

Channels and packages

All of the channels that carry Pirates games and MLB games, in general, are available through Sling TV. However, baseball fans can’t pick just one of the low-cost subscription planss. The Sling Orange and Sling Blue plans have slightly different channel lineups forcing you to subscribe to both. The MLB Network is the only channel you can’t get through Sling TV.

Sling Orange
Free Roku Deal
$25.00/ month

34 channels


Free Roku Express

1 simultaneous stream.

Sling Blue
Free Roku Deal$25.00/ month

49 channels


Free Roku Express

3 simultaneous streams

Sling Orange + Blue
Free Roku Deal
$40.00/ month

56 channels


Free Roku Express

4* simultaneous streams

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

What really sets Sling TV apart from other streaming services is the way you can customize your channel lineup. Expansion packs called “Extras” lets you add sports, news or movie channels to your subscription.

Features and extras

One thing to watch out for when comparing Sling TV to other services is the fact that Sling TV subscriptions don’t include a cloud DVR. You have to pay another $5 per month to get fifty hours of recording capacity. In addition, the channels that are exclusive to Sling Orange — like ESPN — cannot be recorded.

Simultaneous streaming is another area where Sling TV has strange limitations. The standard three-device limit does not apply to Orange-exclusive channels like ESPN and Disney. Only one device can use Sling Orange.

Having said that, Sling TV’s device availability is very good. The service has been around the longest and supports a wide array of streaming platforms.

  • 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

Hulu is backed by the major broadcast networks, which gives it an advantage for on-demand TV viewing. A couple of years ago, Hulu with Live TV launched with the goal of bringing the same kind of experience for cord-cutters.

Channels and packages

Hulu with Live TV has a one-size-fits-all approach. The $45 monthly subscription gives you roughly fifty broadcast and basic cable channels. ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1 and TBS are all part of the standard lineup. There’s no way to get MLB Network on Hulu, however.

Although you have to watch all the ads on live streamed channels, there is a way to get rid of them when you watch on-demand programs. Simply pay the $4 monthly upgrade and ads will disappear from just about every TV show.

Features and extras

Hulu with Live TV has a standard cloud DVR that includes fifty hours of recording capacity. A $15 upgrade will bump that up to two hundred hours — and let you fast forward through commercials. One nice thing about Hulu is that when you “record” a TV show that’s part of Hulu’s on-demand library, you won’t have to watch all of the broadcast commercials.

Only two devices can stream Hulu with Live TV simultaneously. Another $15 upgrade will let you use an unlimited number of devices on your home WiFi network and another three devices anywhere else in the country.

When you get both upgrades, you’ll only have to pay $20 per month.

  • 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

Even though AT&T owns DirecTV Now, its streaming service does not carry AT&T SportsNet-Pittsburgh. That limits its appeal to Pirates fans, but other baseball fans will appreciate getting all of the national channels they need.

Channels and packages

DirecTV Now has four cable-replacement subscription plans and a single plan for Spanish-speaking households. The Live A Little plan is the cheapest and includes the Fox channels and ESPN. In order to get the MLB Network, however, you’ll have to step up to the Just Right plan.

  • 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.

The more expensive plans will add even more channels. Get the Gotta Have It plan if you want premium movie channels.

Features and extras

DirecTV Now has been pretty slow when it comes to innovations. It took years for the streaming service to offer a cloud DVR — and it’s still a limited beta feature. The recording capacity tops out at twenty hours without any option for upgrades.

The upgrade for simultaneous streaming isn’t particularly great either. For $5 per month, the two-device limit gets bumped up to three devices.

  • 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

DISH, AT&T and Sony all launched streaming TV services at the same time. Despite having one of the best offerings, however, PlayStation Vue was slow to take off. That may be due to confusion over the name. You don’t need to have a PlayStation game console to use Sony’s service.

Channels and packages

Going with PlayStation Vue’s entry-level subscription plan will get you Fox, ESPN and other national channels, but the only way to get all of the MLB broadcasts is to go with 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.

All of the basic cable channels PlayStation Vue offers are included in the Elite plan. The extra $20 for the Ultra plan gets you premium movie channels.

Features and extras

Unlike all of the other streaming services, PlayStation Vue does not make you pay for premium features. Even the entry-level plan has a cloud DVR with unlimited recording capacity. PlayStation Vue is also the most generous when it comes to how many devices can stream at the same time — five devices.

  • 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

User-generated content isn’t the only thing to watch on YouTube. A subscription to YouTube TV will let you replace your basic cable subscription. Even better, YouTube TV has signed deals with most ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC affiliate stations. For most areas of the country, YouTube TV is the best choice for local TV streaming.

Channels and packages

A $40 monthly subscription to YouTube TV comes with more than seventy channels, including all of the channels that carry MLB games. An à-la-carte menu of a dozen premium channels lets you round out the lineup with channels like Showtime and Sundance Now.

Features and extras

YouTube TV’s cloud DVR is one of YouTube TV’s standout features. Not only is the recording capacity unlimited, but you can keep those recording for as long as nine months.

Each YouTube TV account supports up to six user profiles. That lets everyone in your house get their own DVR library, watch history and personalized recommendations.

YouTube TV isn’t perfect, though. Despite allowing six user profiles, it still limits accounts to three simultaneous streams. In addition, YouTube’s on-going disagreement with Amazon means devices based on Fire TV or Echo 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.


Stream MLB.TV
Source: MLB

Major League Baseball has its own streaming subscription service, but it’s designed to let you watch games outside your home market. People who live near Pittsburgh can’t use MLB.TV to stream Pirates games. Pirates fans in the rest of the country, however, can watch almost every regular-season Pirates game.

Plans and coverage

If the Pirates are the only baseball team you care about, you can save a little money by getting the $92 MLB.TV Single Team subscription. Most baseball fans, however, will opt to pay a little more for the $119 All Teams plan.

Blackout rules

A strict blackout policy is not the only restriction that MLB.TV subscribers have to deal with. The same thing happens to weekend games ESPN airs on the weekend. Blackouts also apply In the rare cases when end-of-season tie-breakers have to be played for post-season wild card spots.


Depending on the device you use, you’ll either use the MLB.TV app or the At Bat mobile 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.

With the exception of Android devices, both MLB.TV apps capture fast-paced plays, thanks to 60 frames-per-second video streams. All of the apps support simulcasts of local radio broadcasts and Spanish-language broadcasts where available.

Chris Casper is a former tech industry product manager who escaped from California for New Mexico. Now he writes about science and tech while searching for the perfect green chile sauce.