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True crime and hard-hitting mysteries await. Here’s everything you need to know.
They say “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time,” but thousands of people spend a ton of their free time brushing up on true crime stories. If you’re one of the folks who devoured Serial, lamented the loss of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark author Michelle McNamara, or read Devil in the White City in a single night, then HLN is probably one of your favorite channels. Thankfully, watching HLN online, free from the hassle of cable companies, isn’t a mystery and doesn’t feel like murder. If you’re looking to cut the cord and get a streaming service, here’s everything you need to know to watch an HLN live stream for free.
What is HLN?
Owned by CNN, HLN airs your average news material by day. As things get darker, so does HLN’s programming, and it’s one of the key channels for murder investigations and true crime stories. It wasn’t always that way, as it acted more or less as “CNN 2” for the first two decades of its existence, and the likes of Nancy Grace and Glenn Beck graced HLN’s primetime desks. Since then, HLN has changed its programming to the aforementioned murder mystery and crime content. Some of the most popular HLN shows include How it Really Happened with Hill Harper, Forensic Files, and Something’s Killing Me, which is hosted by Jurassic World’s BD Wong.
HLN live stream: 6 ways to watch HLN online for free
With the notable exception of Philo, most major TV streaming services offer an HLN live stream, and each offers at least a free seven-day trial.
- Cost: $40 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android devices
- Hulu local channels: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the CW (check your local availability here)
It’s just what it sounds like: Hulu’s on-demand library, plus a live stream with major channels. You’ll get your HLN live stream along with news options like CNN, CNBC, Fox News, MSNBC, and more. There’s no Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Spike, or MTV, but if sports are your jam, the big draw is three separate ESPN channels. You’re not limited to watching live, so you can enjoy Hulu’s movies, documentaries, anime, and comedies on-demand. (Here’s a complete guide to Hulu Live TV channels.)
2) Sling TV
- Cost: $25-$40 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Sling TV devices: Amazon Fire TVs, Android Fire Stick, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Xbox One, Google Chromecast, Oculus Go, and iOS and Android devices
- Sling TV local channels: NBC, Fox (check your local availability here)
Sling TV does indeed carry HLN. To get it, you’ll need to buy the Sling Blue package (Sling offers a general interest package with Sling Blue and a broader, more sports-heavy Sling Orange package). You’ll also need the $5 News Extra: Sling Blue add-on, which gets you MSNBC, BBC World News, and CNBC—plus The Blaze and Russian state media channel RT. (Here’s a complete guide to Sling TV channels.)
3) YouTube TV
- Cost: $40 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- YouTube TV devices: Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One, iOS and Android devices
- Local channels: NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, the CW (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
YouTube TV is one of the easiest ways to live stream sports, so if you like your news to mix with your basketball, baseball, and football, look no further. You’ll get your HLN live stream, plus four ESPN channels, two Fox Sports channels, MLB Network, NBC Golf and Sports, and NBA TV. You’ll even get some very niche channels, like New England Cable News. (Here’s a complete guide to YouTube TV channels.)
- Cost: $39.99 for your first month and $44.99 per month thereafter (after a 7-day free trial)
- FuboTV devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, iOS and Android devices
- FuboTV local channels: Fox, NBC, CBS (check local availability here)
FuboTV offers plenty of options for live streaming both U.S. and international sports. Besides your HLN live stream (plus a healthy smattering of news), you get CBS Sports, Big Ten Network, FS1 and 2, NBA TV, NBC Golf, the NFL Network, and even the Olympic Channel. Entertainment options include AMC, BBC America, and Syfy. Si hablas español, the service also offers Spanish-speaking channels. (Here’s a complete guide to FuboTV channels.)
4) DirecTV Now
- Cost: $40-$75 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- DirecTV Now devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Amazon Fire Stick
- Local channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, the CW (enter your ZIP code here to check local availability)
For the money, DirecTV Now is one of the best options. For the $40 “Live a Little” package, you’ll get your HLN live stream, every major news channel, plus entertainment options like BBC America, Comedy Central, HGTV, Investigation Discovery, and tons more. If you need sports channels, you can opt for bigger packages to include ESPN, ESPN2, and FS1. DirecTV Now also offers the cheapest way to get HBO at just $5 a month. (Here’s a complete guide to DirecTV Now channels.)
- Cost: $44.99-$79.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- PlayStation Vue devices: PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, Kodi, iOS and Android devices
- Local channels: NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
Luckily, you don’t need a PlayStation to watch an HLN live stream on PlayStation Vue. It’s a solid streaming option all around, and you’ll get an HLN live stream on the entry-level “Access” package. Other entertainment channels include BBC America, Discovery, Fox Sports, Investigation Discovery, and two ESPN channels. (Here’s a complete guide to PlayStation Vue channels.)
Other ways to watch HLN online
HLN website and HLN to Go app
Like a lot of other channels, HLN can be live streamed via the channel’s website on any desktop or laptop, or by the iOS/Android app HLN to Go. Simply navigate to go.cnn.com/?stream=hln to access an HLN live stream. It’s free for the first 10 minutes, but after that you’ll need to log in using a service provider ID. Unfortunately, of the streaming services listed above, browser streaming appears to only be compatible with PlayStation Vue.
New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2018 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for a specific channel, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, Starz, Sundance TV, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, Willow, AMC, FX, Fox News, Freeform, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, FS1, TBS, TNT, Tennis Channel, Golf Channel, Syfy, HGTV, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Bravo, Lifetime, Discovery, PBS, the CW, BBC, CSPAN, NBA TV, MTV, Comedy Central, Food Network, TLC, A&E, Animal Planet, National Geographic, the Weather Channel, the History Channel, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube. If you’re on the move, here’s how to watch Fox Sports Go and live stream NBC Sports.
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Joseph Knoop is a gaming writer for Daily Dot, a native Chicagoan, and a slave to all things Overwatch. He co-founded the college geek culture outlet ByteBSU, then interned at Game Informer, and now writes for a bunch websites his parents have never heard of.