TLC, originally for The Learning Channel, is home to some iconic reality shows, such as What Not to Wear, 19 Kids and Counting/Counting On, and Cake Boss. However, cable subscriptions are dwindling in favor of streaming services like Netflix and Crunchyroll. Still, there is a little magic to watching shows as they air on TV. Some exclusive shows also aren’t available on streaming services yet. It’s a reminder of simpler times when you didn’t get to choose what you wanted to watch right away. If you’re not ready to sink the extra money into a cable subscription on top of your other streaming services, here are some options to get TLC without cable.
Philo is the newest addition to the TV streaming market and it’s an excellent way to watch TLC without cable. It comes in with the best price, as new additions to the market often do before raising their prices to accommodate the technological needs of the audience they gain. This service starts at the low price of $25 per month and features a 7-day free trial, which is a rarity in streaming services nowadays. So, you can try out the service before you commit to buying it. Philo also comes with many premium features, like DVR and TV on demand, that you can get for a low price.
This TV streaming service has over 70 channels, including TLC and other popular channels such as Lifetime, MTV, the Food Network, the History Channel, and HGTV. These are all included with the $25 package. So, at the moment, you don’t have to worry about being charged for premium channels. Additionally, when you sign up for Philo, you get 12 months of free unlimited DVR. So, you can watch your shows when they air or record them to watch later.
Regarding TLC, a Philo subscription also gives you access to TLC GO, TLC’s proprietary streaming app. TLC GO is available for Android, iOS, and browsers. It allows you to stream most of TLC’s shows, including ones unavailable on other streaming services. Philo users can link their TV service with TLC GO and stream shows they didn’t catch on air or want to binge instead of waiting for the next episode. There aren’t many options for TV streaming services that package TLC GO with their base service.
Sling TV is another live TV streaming service that allows you to watch TLC without cable. However, they cater to a different crowd than Philo. Sling is the best way to get sports and news channels, often not included in cheaper streaming packages. Their service is split into two packages: Orange, which features sports channels like ESPN, and Blue, which features news channels. Each package is $40 per month as a standalone service, and you can bundle them together for $55. Additionally, your first month is half off, so $20 for a single package and $22.75 for the bundle. Sling Blue or Orange and Blue is currently the only way to get TLC.
Like Philo, Sling TV features a DVR system. So, you can record shows when they air live and watch them later at your own pace. All users can store up to 50 hours of DVR TV content, and you can buy more storage for an extra $5 per month when you upgrade to DVR Plus. However, Sling’s DVR isn’t available on all of their channels. Digital channels such as ESPN3 cannot be recorded using DVR. You’ll need to catch shows on those channels live.
Sling also differentiates how many devices can stream concurrently by purchase plan. Orange-only subscribers can stream on just one device at a time. They don’t have access to concurrent streaming. Blue-only subscribers can stream on up to three devices at a time. Orange and Blue subscribers get the perks of both plans and can stream on up to four devices simultaneously. Subscribing to both Orange and Blue tiers is the only way to get concurrent streams with an Orange plan, as they don’t offer a simultaneous streaming option.
While expensive, Hulu is an excellent choice for people who want both an on-demand video streaming service and live TV streaming in one package. The Hulu + Live TV package starts at $79.99 per month, making it one of the more expensive options on this list if you want to watch TLC without cable. However, since it provides both on-demand streaming and live streaming, you’re getting more than you would get from a similarly priced cable package.
Hulu’s Live TV package comes with over 95 channels, giving it one of the widest channel breadths in live TV streaming. Most live TV streaming packages come with 40-70 channels. So, you won’t just get TLC with Hulu; you’ll get every other popular show, too. Since Hulu isn’t a cable network, it’s not bound by traditional network contracts either; you’ll find popular channels from multiple networks available to stream with this package.
When you sign up for Hulu + Live TV, you’ll also get access to a few on-demand network streaming options, such as Disney+ and ESPN+. This package has many features and additional subscriptions, making it very economical if you want Live TV without subscribing to a cable package.
However, it is worth noting that the $79.99 package includes ads on your Hulu Live TV. You’ll get a real cable experience with ads every so often to support the streaming service. If you want to upgrade to the $89.99 package, you can get the same features and also skip all the ads, even while streaming live TV.
Another option to watch TLC without cable on the more expensive side of the curve is DirecTV Stream. The cable provider DirecTV runs this streaming package. So, it’s cable’s answer to the rise of streaming services. You can watch TLC shows on-demand with DTV Stream and upwards of over 150 channels within the network. DTV Stream includes sports and news channels, as well as local channels. So, you can take your TV experience anywhere you need to go, no matter what you want to watch.
The real draw of this service is that DTV Stream also includes a subscription for TLC GO, allowing you greater access to on-demand streaming for TLC shows. This streaming service is slightly less expensive than Hulu + Live TV, with the base package starting at just $69.99. However, the most costly option for DTV Stream is the most expensive one on the list at $159.99 per month. That’s more expensive than a typical cable subscription. So, it may not be on the radar for people looking to get TLC at a discount. The top tier comes with the most channels of any package on this list, with over 150 channels, including TLC, sports, and news.
DTV Stream includes unlimited DVR with all packages, and unlike Philo, they don’t limit your DVR or remove it after a year. You’ll store the shows you record in a cloud instead of taking space on physical hardware, which can be attractive for people without many data storage options.