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Published on March 12th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson


How to watch the NCAA tournament and Final Four on Apple TV

The dance is about to begin. The 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship officially starts with first-round games on Tuesday.

The Final Four will be played Sunday, March 31st with the championship game on Monday, April 2nd. A complete schedule of all games is available at this link.

So how do you watch it all on your Apple TV? Here’s the very basics…All games to be broadcast on local CBS affiliate stations will be available to watch for free on Apple TV through the March Madness Live app. To watch the games televised on other networks via March Madness Live, viewers will need the log-in credentials that come with a pay-TV subscription.

Here’s everything you need to know…

March Madness Live app

This year, the NCAA will live stream all 67 games in 60 frames per second quality and for the first time  – exclusively on the Apple TV platform – stream three games at once through the March Madness Live app for Apple TV.

If your TV package from either a paid cable provider, satellite provider, or streaming provider includes CBS and the Turner channels (TBS, TNT, and truTV), you will be able to use your pay-TV credentials to watch all the games on March Madness Live after a free, three-hour preview ends.

The March Madness app will try something new this year similar to the NFL RedZone channel. The Fast Break video channel will cover all the close games in their final minutes with live, multiple look-ins all on one screen.

NCAA March Madness 1The March Madness app – with a pay-TV sign-in, has so many ways to watch games and highlights, it’s really the only way to watch.

Through the app, consumers can also listen to live radio broadcast for all 67 games. Other features will include videos on-demand of in-depth analysis, highlights, and behind-the-scenes features, live game notifications for upsets, overtime games, close games, and favorite teams, up-to-the-minute scores, stats, and the official bracket onscreen.

Games to be broadcast on only CBS will be available through the March Madness Live app and will not require a paid TV subscription login.

CBS Games Only Through CBS All Access

Because of the arrangement between the NCAA, CBS and Turner Sports, subscribing to CBS All Access – the subscription streaming video service of CBS – will get you streaming of games through that app that will be shown only on that network. A subscription to the service costs as little as $5.99 a month and is available through its own app on Apple TV.

Other March Madness Streaming Options

If you don’t have a cable or satellite subscription, you can use a month-to-month live TV streaming service for as little as $25 a month to access March Madness games through your local CBS affiliate, TBS, TNT, or TruTV, if they are available through a selected streaming service. It’s very important that potential subscribers check first before subscribing to make sure these networks are available.

With a free trial period on these services of up to a week, your risk in trying them out is minimal.

Here’s a breakdown of the available streaming services…

DirecTV Now – The AT&T-owned service has CBS channels in 43 markets as well as TBS, TNT and truTV channels in its cheapest package of $35 a month. A special offer gets you the first three months of service for $10 a month if you use code YESNOW3.

Sling TV – The good news with Sling TV is that it broadcasts the Turner networks, but has no local affiliates starting at $20 a month with a free seven-day trial.

Hulu with Live TV – With the most local CBS affiliates of any streaming service (135), Hulu with Live TV has the best chance to find games through CBS stations. The service also offers all the Turner networks with a free seven-day trial. Hulu is taking it one step further by sending notification alerts to mobile devices when selected teams’ games are about to start. Subscribers will also be able to pick favorite teams and have those games automatically recorded for DVR playback.

YouTube TV – Available in more than 90 markets, YouTube TV, at $35 a month after a free seven-day trial, has CBS live channels in 87 markets and all the Turner networks.

PlayStation Vue – With 109 local CBS stations and all the Turner networks, PlayStation Vue is another streaming alternative available through their Apple TV app starting at $35 a month with a seven-day free trial.

FuboTV – While FuboTV has access to 61 local CBS affiliates, it does not carry any of the Turner networks. After a free seven-day trial, it is $20 for the first month, then $45 monthly.

Another nice thing about subscribing to a streaming service is that you can use the authentication credentials of that service to watch games through the March Madness Live app on Apple TV if you so desire.

And If That’s Not Enough…

While the March Madness Live app will be the ultimate way to watch NCAA games, the Turner networks will offer streaming of their games on each one of their networks – TBS, TNT and TruTV – through their associated Apple TV apps. Again, you’ll need authentication credentials through a pay-TV service to log-in. Just use the App Store on Apple TV to find their apps.

Probably more than any other major sports event to date, March Madness has one of the best packages of options to watch games on Apple TV. The technology now offers multiple ways of watching and enjoying what many see as basketball madness.


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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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