How to watch the NBA Playoffs

nba playoffs graphic

Note: This article will be updated once COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted and schedules come out.

The NBA Playoffs is a tournament consisting of the eight best teams from the Eastern and Western conferences. The teams play against one another in a best of seven series to determine who moves on and who packs it up for the season. The playoffs start off with quarterfinal and semifinal rounds in both conferences. The winners of these matchups head to their respective conference finals. 

The NBA playoffs will typically air on ABC, ESPN, NBA TV, and TNT. ESPN has the rights to The Western Conference Finals and TNT broadcasts the Eastern Conference Finals. Games carried by local networks will be subject to blackout restrictions. 

When are the 2020 NBA Playoffs?

The 2020 NBA playoffs are currently on hold due to COVID-19 precautions. 

The 2019 season, however, ended with the Toronto Raptors hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. Only time will tell what the 2020 season has in store — will we see a new franchise etch its name into NBA history, or will a star-studded team like the Lakers come out on top if and when the season resumes?

Live TV streaming services for the NBA Playoffs

There are plenty of ways to stream the NBA playoffs. To do so, you’ll need a service that offers access to ABC, ESPN, and TNT.

One of the best ways to watch not only the NBA playoffs but the regular season as well is to go right to the source. NBA League Pass is a streaming service owned and operated by the NBA. The service has many plans to choose from starting at $29.99/yr. NBA League Pass will only let you view out-of-area matchups, and it doesn’t provide access to nationally televised action. You can watch the NBA Playoffs 2020 through the following services:

AT&T TV Now starts at $65/mo. and offers over 45 channels, including ABC, ESPN, TNT, and regional channels like FOX Sports and NBC. AT&T TV Now has plenty of DVR storage, up to 500 hours, so you can save as many games as you please. And you’re able to stream concurrently on up to three devices. AT&T TV Now offers a free seven-day trial. 

fuboTV is similar to Sling TV when it comes to limited coverage but matches Hulu + Live TV in price at $54.99/mo. While you’ll have access to regional networks like FOX Sports and NBC, for the playoffs, you’ll be limited to TNT and NBA.TV. That means you won’t be able to watch games on ABC or ESPN. You can stream on 2 devices concurrently, and with the $5.99/mo. Family Share add-on, you’ll be upgraded to 3 simultaneous streams. fuboTV offers 30 hours of DVR storage, which can be upgraded to 500 hours for $9.99/mo.  The service has a free seven-day trial. 

Hulu + Live TV costs $54.99/mo. and covers most of the channels you’ll need, including ABC, ESPN, and TNT. The service lets you stream on up to 2 devices simultaneously, and if you want more, you have the option to pay an additional $9.99/mo. for unlimited screens. Hulu + Live TV comes with 50 hours of DVR storage, which you can upgrade to 200 hours for an extra $15/mo. Hulu + Live TV has a free seven-day trial. 

Sling TV provides one of the more affordable options with both Sling TV Orange and Sling TV Blue starting at $30/mo. But you’ll only have access to select networks with either model. Sling TV Orange carries ESPN and TNT but not ABC. Sling TV Blue features TNT, but not ESPN. Sling Orange + Blue ($45/mo.) offers ABC, ESPN, and TNT. The NBA.TV add-on costs $10/mo. and is only available to Sling Blue subscribers.

The Sling TV Blue plan lets you stream on up to 3 screens simultaneously. Sling Orange is a single-streaming plan. The service provides 10 hours of cloud DVR storage with all packages. You can upgrade to 50 hours of storage for $5/mo. Sling TV gives new customers a $10 discount on their first month of service.  

YouTube TV provides access to ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA.TV for $49.99/mo. YouTube TV permits three simultaneous streams. One of the service’s best features is its DVR storage, which allows you to record an unlimited amount of content. The best part is you can keep saved content for nine months, giving you plenty of time to watch games you recorded but want to watch later. The service regularly offers a free 7-day trial, which it sometimes extends to 14-days.

How to watch the NBA Playoffs with an antenna 

If you’re having trouble picking up local sports, a cost-effective solution is installing an antenna. Local channels like FOX and NBC are available for free with an antenna. With an HDHome Run or Tablo DVR, you can stream over-the-air broadcasts to your Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, or Roku device. Antenna Web has information about what channels you have access to in your area. 

The final cut 

Several streaming services — including AT&T TV Now, FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV — provide access to ABC, ESPN, and TNT. So you have plenty of options when it comes to watching the NBA Playoffs. Most of these services offer free trials, making it easy to get started with streaming. 

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