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Whether it’s ‘The Little Couple’ or ‘Say Yes to the Dress,’ here’s what you need to know.
In a world full of reality TV, TLC certainly gives its competitors a run for their money. Thankfully, it’s no contest when it comes to choosing between cable plans and far more convenient, affordable streaming services. If you’re looking to cut the cord but keep your favorite TLC shows, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know to watch a TLC live stream for free.
What is TLC?
Of all the channels out there, TLC has one of the most twisty paths to its current state. Founded in 1972, TLC was originally called the Appalachian Community Service Network, an educational outlet partially organized by NASA. It broadened its scope in 1980, officially becoming The Learning Channel. By the turn of the century, TLC began to pull back on educational content in favor of straight-up entertainment.
Early reality favorites included Trading Spaces and Junkyard Wars, and another shift toward lifestyle programming brought about popular series like Jon & Kate Plus 8; Toddlers & Tiaras; Little People, Big World; and the infamous Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. You’ll now find The Little Couple, 90 Day Fiancé, and YouTube sensation Dr. Pimple Popper filling the airwaves.
TLC live stream: 4 ways to watch TLC online for free
While TLC is absent from some major live TV streaming services—including Hulu, Sling TV, and FuboTV—there are still plenty of ways to watch the channel. Three of the services that offer a TLC live stream come with at least a free seven-day trial, and one potential option is completely free.
- Cost: $16 per month
- Philo devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, iOS and Android devices
If you need to save some money, Philo is an incredible deal that includes your TLC live stream. The reality TV party doesn’t stop there, as you’ll also get MTV and MTV2, VH1, BET, A&E, and plenty of regular entertainment like Comedy Central and AMC. Philo’s optional add-on package has such a solid mix of reality and scripted programming that you might consider tacking it on for $4 extra per month. (Here’s a complete guide to Philo channels.)
2) 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 packages out there. Considering your options for getting TLC are somewhat limited, it might be the best choice if you want something well-rounded with sports, entertainment, and news. Besides your TLC live stream, you’ll also get VH1, BET, A&E, MTV, MTV2, and about 60 other channels. Sports fans won’t go hungry with the entry-level Live a Little package, but if you want all your bases covered, you’ll probably want the $65-per-month Go Big package. If you like your scripted drama as much as the “unscripted,” you can nab premium channels like HBO and Showtime for as little as $5 per month, the cheapest you’ll find on any reputable streaming service. (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)
PlayStation Vue has a reasonable selection, although it comes at a slightly higher price point than DirecTV Now’s entry-level package. Besides your TLC live stream, Vue’s entry-level Access package includes more scripted entertainment options than reality television, and sports fans will definitely want to go up one level to the Core package. (Here’s a complete guide to PlayStation Vue channels.)
4) Pluto TV
- Cost: Free
- Devices: Desktop/laptop, IOS, Android, Pluto TV app on select Smart TVs from Vizio, Samsung, Sony, and more.
Pluto TV may not have too many legitimate channels, instead opting to just cull content together into themed channels like the kung-fu-themed Flicks of Fury or the aptly titled Horror 24/7. For those wanting a TLC live stream, TLC owner Discovery announced a multi-year deal that will eventually lead to a channel hosting content from Discovery’s properties, including TLC, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, ID, Discovery Life, and the Science Channel. So if you’re patient (and more than a little frugal), give Pluto TV a shot in the near future.
Other ways to watch TLC online
Like many other channels, TLC allows people who subscribe to a cable or streaming service to access a TLC live stream or on-demand content from the official TLC website or the TLC Go app. For the site, simply go to TLC.com, then click the “Live Now” link near the top left. You’ll be prompted to sign in with a TV provider. For DirectTV Now customers, “DirecTV” is listed, but other channels often list “DirecTV Now” as an option, so you may have to check if your credentials work. Philo and PlayStation Vue users can search for the service on the list of accepted providers and log in using your information.
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, HLN, 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.