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How to stream Super Bowl LV without cable

The state of the world isn’t even close to normal, no matter how much we wish it were. But against all odds, a Super Bowl will be played on schedule this year.

It may not have been a great idea due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the NFL managed to play a full season without cancelling any games. The defending champion Kansas City Chiefs will take on the newly relevant Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 7. There will be commercials, a halftime show courtesy of The Weeknd, and even a limited number of fans at the game. Life might actually feel sort of normal for a few hours.

And one of the most normal things about this year’s game is that people without cable have to figure out how to stream it. CBS is carrying Super Bowl LV, which makes it pretty easy to track down legal streaming options and figure out which one is best for you. Allow us to walk you through all the easiest ways to stream the Super Bowl this year.

Official CBS options

CBS carrying Super Bowl LV makes it pretty dang easy to watch without cable. According to the network itself, you can watch the game live for free on the CBS Sports website or the CBS Sports app on streaming devices. Easy, right?

If for some reason you don’t like either of those options, CBS All Access is going to be the second-easiest way to see the Super Bowl. I’ve watched several NFL games on the All Access app this season and the streaming quality has been largely excellent, though you might be a play or two behind people who watch it on broadcast TV. You can start a free trial the day of the game if you’ve never used All Access before, or shell out $5.99 for a month of the service.

Cable alternative services

There’s really no reason to use anything other than the options listed above, but hey, maybe you don’t want to bother with official CBS apps. The best excuse for that is if you already pay for one of the many internet-based cable alternatives like Fubo, YouTube TV, and Hulu with Live TV.

You should be able to watch Super Bowl LV using any of those three services, as they all broadly carry CBS stations. That said, be sure to check your zip code on a service’s website (find the “channel lineup” section) to make sure your local CBS affiliate is supported because there’s a slight chance it isn’t. Local broadcasting rights are weird and explaining that is above my pay grade. 

The reason each of these are a less convenient option than the CBS apps has to do with price. All three of the services we’re talking about start at $64.99 per month. Unless you plan on milking that for all it’s worth, it makes more sense to pony up $6 for CBS All Access. That said, Fubo, YouTube TV, and Hulu all offer seven-day free trials, in case you haven’t exhausted that option already.

In case you haven't followed along this year, Tom Brady is somehow playing in yet another Super Bowl at age 43.

In case you haven’t followed along this year, Tom Brady is somehow playing in yet another Super Bowl at age 43.

Image: Dylan Buell / Getty Images

Going old-school

Let’s be honest: The internet is kind of a drag, right? It loves to stop working for no apparent reason whatsoever, potentially leaving you staring at an interminable buffering icon during the most important moments of the most important football game of the season. You’d be forgiven for not trusting the internet here.

The good news is you can still totally buy an old-fashioned TV antenna and possibly get your local CBS affiliate over the air. There are HDMI-compatible antennas available on Amazon like this one from Mujay, which outputs at 1080p and can pick up a signal from as far as 85 miles away. Plug it in, attach it to a wall or window, and you should be able to pick up local stations. 

When it comes to placement, higher is better. It might take some trial-and-error to get a clean signal out of an indoor antenna, so if you plan on watching Super Bowl LV this way, take care of that step sooner rather than later.

Mobile-only options

If you can’t or don’t want to watch the Super Bowl on a TV or computer, there are some solid mobile-only methods of seeing the game. According to the NFL’s website, the following mobile apps will stream the game for free on Super Bowl Sunday:

That’s obviously not going to be the most luxurious way to see the Super Bowl, but it might be the most convenient option for some. No matter which way you choose to watch the big game, we hope it at least provides a temporary distraction from, well, everything else that’s going on. It’s a perfect excuse to eat way too much and call in sick on Monday morning, if nothing else.

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