How to watch National Geographic online for free

Explore history and nature's wonders without the hassle of cable.

Dec 18, 2018, 7:30 am


Joseph Knoop 

Joseph Knoop


National Geographic/ Youtube


In a sea of channels that have transitioned to reality television, National Geographic is an oasis for those still wanting panoramic shots of the world’s most epic vistas and intimate corners. That said, cable companies are keeping you tied down to your modest patch of dirt—and doing it at an expensive rate. If you’re ready to cut the cord and ditch your cable company for a cheaper streaming service, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know to watch a National Geographic live stream.

What is National Geographic?

The world-class magazine has existed since 1888, but the National Geographic channel was launched back in 2001. On the NatGeo channel, you’ll find factual documentaries focusing on nature, science, history, and culture, plus some pseudo-scientific offerings. The channel’s sister network, Nat Geo Wild, offers a ton of animal-themed content. Popular National Geographic shows include StarTalk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Inside North Korea, the Genius series, and the Mars series.

watch national geographic online free National Geographic/YouTube

National Geographic live stream: 6 ways to watch National Geographic online for free

With the notable exception of Philo, National Geographic is available on most major TV live streaming services, and each comes with at least a free seven-day trial.

1) Hulu with Live TV

watch national geographic online free Hulu
Hulu with Live TV
  • Cost: $54.99 per month ($60.99 no Ads)
  • Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, Samsung, TV, Echo Show, LG TV, Vizio Smartcast TV, and iOS and Android devices
  • Hulu local channels: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the CW (check your local availability here)

It’s exactly what it sounds like: Hulu’s on-demand movie and show library plus 58 channels worth of live streams, including both a National Geographic live stream and a Nat Geo Wild live stream. No Discovery or Animal Planet, but you’ll appreciate the History Channel. If you’re yearning for more nonfiction content, here are the best 15 documentaries on Hulu(Here’s the complete guide to Hulu with Live TV channels.)


2) Sling TV

watch national geographic online free Sling TV
Sling Blue

Sling TV is split up between two packages: Sling Orange and Sling Blue, which you can combine for $45 a month. Thankfully, National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild are available on the much bigger Sling Blue. If you can live without ESPN, it’s a great deal. National Geographic live stream viewers will also appreciate having the History Channel and the Travel Channel (but no Discovery or Animal Channel). Sling TV also offers more add-on options than its competitors. (Here’s the complete guide to Sling TV channels.)


3) FuboTV

watch national geographic online free Fubo TV

Aside from a National Geographic live stream, FuboTV will caters anyone who needs a good helping of sports content. If you can do without ESPN, you’ll still get NBA TV, Big Ten, CBS Sports, NFL Network, and more—plus international sports add-on options. You’ll also love having the History Channel, the Smithsonian Channel, and the animal-themed Nat Geo Wild live stream. (Here’s the complete guide to FuboTV channels.)


4) YouTube TV

watch national geographic online free YouTube TV
YouTube TV

If you’ve got a big family of streamers, YouTube’s six accounts will take care of you. Aside from your National Geographic stream (and Nat Geo Wild), there’s a good mix of entertainment (BBC, AMC, FX), but no Discovery or Animal Planet. You’ll have to make do with the Smithsonian Channel. Sports lovers will fare well with multiple ESPNs, NBA TV, NBC Sports, and more. (Here’s the complete guide to YouTube TV channels.)


National Geographic live stream: Other ways to watch

National Geographic website & app

You can watch a National Geographic live stream or on-demand content from the comfort of a desktop PC, laptop, or the Nat Geo TV app, which is available on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire. Simply go to, and click “Live TV & Schedule.” Hover over the free preview timer, and you’ll see a prompt to sign in. Then find your streaming service provider, and log in using the credentials from that subscription. If you’re subscribed to one of the streaming services listed above, you’re all set.

It’s the same trick for the app, and you’ll find the app recommends content suited to your tastes over time.

watch national geographic online free National Geographic TV

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, HLN, A&E, Animal Planet, 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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Last updated Feb 12, 2020, 11:12 am