By Chris Brantner, guest blogger
Catching every game of the NHL playoffs can seem slightly complicated — especially for cord cutters. Coverage is shared across multiple networks, including NBC, NBCSN, USA, CNBC and NHL Network.
If you’re reading this article, odds are you’re in the Apple ecosystem and you’re wondering how to watch the Stanley Cup games online. Luckily, plenty of options for watching the NHL playoffs exist, many of which work great on Apple TV, iPhone, iPad and Mac.
How to watch NHL playoffs on Apple devices
Let’s look at the top ways to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs, which start this Wednesday and run well into June, on your preferred Apple device. (To find out when all the action goes down, see the 2017 NHL playoffs schedule.)
1) Sling TV
One of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to watch all of the NHL playoffs is with Sling TV, a live-streaming app that doesn’t require a cable login. Instead, you pay a monthly fee to stream a bundle of channels, no contract required.
What channels does Sling TV carry? All five that you need, although it all depends on which Sling TV packages you choose and which market you live in.
If you choose Sling Blue, you can get NBCSN (the most important channel to stream for the playoffs) and USA for $25 per month. Also, depending on where you live, you may get a live stream of NBC at no additional cost. (You can check NBC markets here.)
If you want to watch the games on CNBC or NHL Network, various add-on packages will help you out. CNBC is available in Sling TV’s News Extra add-on for an additional $5. For NHL Network, you need to add the Sports Extra package for an additional $10 a month.
That brings you to a total of $40 per month if you carry all the packages. Keep in mind that you can add or subtract packages each month with no penalty, so choose whatever works best for you. You’re not locked in. The service is also free to test for seven days.
Sling TV will work on all your Apple devices. If you want to watch on your iPhone on the go, no problem — just get the Sling TV app. If you want to stream to your big screen, just install the Sling TV app on your Apple TV.
2) DIRECTV NOW
DIRECTV NOW is similar to Sling TV, with a few caveats. While Sling TV positions itself as a skinny bundle service, DIRECTV NOW is more like cable TV without the contract or satellite. So rather than low-priced add-on packages, DIRECTV NOW uses a tiered approach similar to traditional pay TV. That means a bit higher price, but more channels.
The other thing that feels more like cable is the DIRECTV NOW guide. If you’re looking for the feel and experience of surfing through channels, this service might be a better option for you.
In terms of channels for the Stanley Cup playoffs, if you want all the channels including CNBC and NHL Network, you’ll need to go all the way up to DIRECTV NOW’s $60 tier. However, you can drop down to the $50 tier if you forego NHL Network, which only covers a few of the games anyway. Also note that NBC is only available in the same markets as Sling TV.
Like Sling TV, you can use DIRECTV NOW on all your Apple devices. If you want to watch on your iPhone, you gain the additional benefit of being able to get unlimited streaming if you’re an AT&T customer, making it really easy to watch on the go without fear of burning through data. DIRECTV NOW also offers a free seven-day trial.
3) NBC Sports app
If you don’t want to pay for all the channels and you are a cable customer (or feel like borrowing a buddy’s cable credentials), you can download the NBC Sports app or go the NBC Sports site and stream for free. Just log in and you can stream any of the NBC or NBCSN games. You can download the app on any of your Apple devices, or open your Safari browser on your Mac to watch.
Chris Brantner founded Cut Cable Today, a website for cord cutters.