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Amazon Fire TV and the Amazon Fire TV stick are both very popular tools for cord-cutters. These pint-sized powerhouses let you enjoy a wide variety of streaming content on your TV. This includes ESPN, the most widely-watched cable sports network in America.
If you’re a cord-cutter and a sports lover, you may be wondering how you can watch ESPN on your Amazon Fire TV. Here are your top five options.
ESPN and the Rise of Internet TV
In the past, the only way to watch ESPN on the internet was with a paid subscription to a cable or satellite TV provider. But not anymore.
As Americans have continued to cut the cord at a record rate and ditch cable, ESPN has partnered with a number of internet TV services, sometimes known as “skinny bundles”.
These “skinny bundles” like Sling TV or DirecTV Now sell packages of cable channels. Content is delivered directly over the internet – no cable required.
Skinny bundles have fewer channels overall, but also cost much less and do not require a long-term contract. While cable usually costs $100+ per month, most skinny bundles cost between $20-$50, depending on the channels you want.
Here are the four best options for watching ESPN on your Amazon Fire TV.
DirecTV Now provides both live TV streams and a good selection of on-demand programming, with over 25,000+ titles available.
Plans and channels
DirecTV Now offers you a number of subscription choices. There are four total subscription tiers.
Live A Little – 60+ channels, $35/month
Just Right – 80+ channels, $50/month
Go Big – 100+ channels, $60/month
Gotta Have It – 120+ channels, $70/month
The “Live A Little” plan includes both ESPN and ESPN2, as well as sports coverage from NBCSN and FOX Sports, so it’s your best choice on a budget.
If you upgrade to the “Just Right” plan, though, you will also get ESPNews and ESPNU, as well as the SEC Network and a few other sports channels.
DirecTV Now still does not have a DVR, despite the fact a beta program has been ongoing for months. You won’t be able to record any sports coverage on ESPN while using DirecTV Now, and that’s a big problem.
DirecTV Now is also pretty restrictive when it comes to simultaneous streaming. You can only stream on 2 devices at once, so it’s not the best choice if you’re replacing cable for the whole family. However, DirecTV Now plans to support 3 simultaneous streams by spring 2018.
DirecTV Now is available for all supported Amazon Fire devices, including the Amazon Fire Stick and the brand-new Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote.
However, DirecTV Now also does not support 4K content, so you won’t be able to watch live shows in 4K on your Amazon Fire TV – at least, not yet.
You can give DirecTV Now a shot with a free, 7-day trial.
Sling TV was one of the first internet TV services in America. At only $20/month for the lowest-tier package, it’s a very cheap alternative to cable.
Plans and channels
Sling TV has a confusing subscription plan structure. There are two primary streaming services: Sling Orange, and Sling Blue. You can choose to subscribe to either service, or to both for $40 per month.
Sling Orange comes with 30 channels, and costs $20 per month. Sling Orange includes ESPN and ESPN2, as well as a number of other sports channels.
Sling Blue has 45 channels, and costs $25 per month. It does not include ESPN, but does have other sports networks like NBC Sports and FOX Sports Networks.
You can only get ESPN and ESPN2 if you subscribe to Sling Orange, or Sling Orange + Blue.
However, you can also add even more sports coverage with the “Sports Extra” package. The Sports Extra add-on has ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Goal Line, ESPNU and ESPNews, and additional sports channels like NBC Golf and NFL RedZone.
Sling TV offers a cloud DVR, but it’s not part of its standard streaming service. You will have to pay $5/month extra to get DVR service. You get 50 hours of storage, with no slot restrictions. Notably, though, the DVR will not work with ESPN or other Disney-owned channels, which is a big drawback.
Sling TV’s streaming limits are also somewhat confusing. The Sling Orange plan only lets you stream on 1 device at a time in your home. With Sling Blue, you can stream on 3 devices. If you get Sling Blue + Orange, these limits still apply.
Sling TV is available for Amazon Fire TV, as well as a number of other platforms. You can download it from the Amazon App Store now. You also can try it out with a free 7-day trial now.
This video streaming giant is dipping its toes into the internet TV space. Hulu With Live TV was released late last year, and is still technically in its beta stages. However, Hulu has already created a highly competitive streaming service.
Plans and channels
Hulu With Live TV offers only one subscription streaming plan. For $40/month, you get a select package of cable channels. You get between 40 and 70 channels, depending on your geographic location.
If you’re looking for a full complement of ESPN channels for a low price, Hulu With Live TV is hard to beat. For your $40 subscription, you get ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, and ESPN Goal Line. Other sports programming includes CBS Sports Network, NBC Golf, NBCSN, and the Olympic Channel.
You also get a free base-tier Hulu subscription for free with your Hulu With Live TV subscription. That means you can watch Hulu’s entire library of on-demand content, and even Hulu Originals like The Handmaid’s Tale for no extra charge.
As part of your monthly subscription, Hulu With Live TV includes a cloud DVR. You get up to 50 hours of recording time, with no slots or expiration dates. If you need to record even more shows, you can buy a “Enhanced DVR” package for an extra $15/month. This will boost your capacity to 200 hours.
As with DirecTV Now, you are limited to 2 simultaneous streams at a time. However, you can pay $15/month to remove this limit, with the “Unlimited Screens” package. Then, you can stream on as many devices as you want in your home network, and on up to 3 devices outside your home network.
The Enhanced DVR and Unlimited Screens package can be combined, and you’ll get a reasonable discount for doing so. You’ll pay $20/month if you choose to add both upgrades.
Hulu With Live TV is available on the Amazon App Store, and compatible with all Fire devices.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a PlayStation to watch PlayStation Vue. It’s available on Amazon Fire TV and quite a few other devices. It’s just saddled with an unfortunate name – which may be the reason it’s struggling to gain a market share.
Plans and channels
PlayStation Vue offers a set of 4 different channel packages. These packages are quite similar to those offered by DirecTV Now.
Access – 45 channels, $40/month
Core – 60 channels, $45/month
Elite – 84 channels, $55/month
Ultra – All Elite channels plus HBO/Showtime, $75/month
The least expensive Access package gives you ESPN and ESPN2, so it’s the best choice for the budget-minded. You’ll also get FOX Sports 1 and 2, local broadcast networks, and NBCSN.
For just $5 more per month, you can get the Core package. This will get you ESPNU, and ESPNews, as well as the MLB Network, NBA TV, the NFL Network and several other sports channels.
If you want ESPN Deportes, you’ll have to shell out $55/month for the Elite package. This channel primarily shows Spanish-language casts of ESPN games, and international soccer.
You can add even more sports coverage with a $10/month “sports pack”. You can only get this add-on if you have a Core, Elite, or Ultra plan – the $40/month Access plan is ineligible. The sports pack includes 12 total channels. You’ll get ESPN Classic, ESPN Goal Line, and ESPN Bases Loaded, as well as NBC Sports and a selection of regional Fox Sports affiliates.
If you have a large family, PlayStation Vue has the best set of features for you. It’s an ideal service for sharing among many different people.
Primarily, this is because of its excellent simultaneous streaming policy. You can stream on 5 devices simultaneously with PlayStation Vue. That’s better than any other pick on this list, with the exception of the Hulu With Live TV + Unlimited Screens package.
You also get a pretty good DVR. You can only save shows for 28 days, but the DVR is unlimited in every other regard. You can record any channel, and save as many shows as you want. This makes it easy to share – no more arguing about which shows to delete from the DVR.
PlayStation Vue is available on the Amazon App Store, and can be used on all Amazon Fire devices, and most other modern streaming platforms. Just don’t expect to be able to stream PlayStation Vue on your Xbox console!
You can give this streaming service a shot now with a free, 5-day trial subscription.
WatchESPN is a great way to, well, watch ESPN on your Amazon Fire device! It’s available for all Amazon Fire devices on the Amazon App Store, and lets you stream dozens of live TV channels. These include:
ESPN Bases Loaded
ESPN Goal Line
And quite a few others. If you have a cable subscription, you can log into the WatchESPN app with your cable login, and view all of the channels that are available in your area.
You can also log into WatchESPN using the login credentials from any “skinny bundle” internet TV service, like PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, or DirecTV Now.
However, the channels that you can watch may vary, depending on your geographic location and the streaming package you subscribe to.
Wondering why YouTube TV isn’t on our list?
Unfortunately, due to continued bad blood between Amazon and Google, you can’t download the YouTube TV app on Amazon Fire devices. In fact, you can’t even download the standard YouTube app!
This is a shame, because YouTube TV is a great way to watch ESPN without cable. It costs only $35/month, and includes ESPN, ESPNews, ESPNU, and some other good sports networks such as the Big Ten Network, CBS Sports, and NBCSN.
The features of YouTube TV are also really good. You can stream on 3 devices at once, and up to 10 different user profiles are supported. You also get completely unlimited DVR recordings for 9 months.
A workaround for existing YouTube TV Subscribers.
Disappointed that you can’t watch ESPN on your Amazon Fire devices? Lucky for you, there is a workaround you can use if you want to watch ESPN on your Amazon Fire TV.
YouTube TV, like all of the other streaming services on our list, will allow you to log into WatchESPN with your account credentials. There’s no way for Google to stop you from simply downloading WatchESPN, logging in, and enjoying your content on Amazon Fire TV.
Obviously, this is not an ideal workaround, but it’s better than nothing if you’re an existing YouTube TV subscriber, and don’t want to buy a Chromecast or an Android TV.
Hopefully, Google and Amazon will work out their petty problems sometime soon, and YouTube TV will come to the Amazon Fire TV.