The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is underway on CBS, TBS and TruTV. Don’t miss a second of the action, no matter where you are. Here’s how.
Where do I find TruTV on my cable or satellite provider?
What am I, psychic? Not knowing where you live or which cable or satellite provider you use, I have no idea what channel number it is for you. But if you go to trutv.com. click on the schedule site, then “Channel Finder” and enter your ZIP code, you should get your answer. I’m assuming you know where TNT, TBS and CBS are.
How long do I have to remember TruTV?
Just through the first weekend of the tournament. By the Round of 16, all the games are on CBS or TBS. The Final Four, on April 6, and title game, on April 8, are on CBS.
Can I just stream the games?
Sure. You can stream on desktop and mobile web via NCAA.com, as well as the websites and apps for each channel. You also can use the March Madness Live app, available for such platforms as Android, Android TV, iOS, Apple TV, Amazon Echo, Amazon Fire tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, Roku, Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR. That’s not an exhaustive list, just exhausting. You get the idea.
That sounds almost too easy. What am I missing?
After watching long enough to see a little more than one game, Turner will require the log-in from a cable, satellite or streaming provider. CBS requires a subscription sign-in for its “All Access” site. The March Madness Live app will stream CBS games but will not allow you to use a digital media player to watch them on a TV or with a video projector.
What do I do if I’m not paying for my TV service now and don’t want to start?
Get some friends. Go to a bar. Seriously? For the cable games, live-streaming services such as YouTube TV, Hulu+Live TV, Sling TV and Fubo TV have five- to seven-day free-trial periods. That won’t get you access to the whole tournament gratis — how diabolically clever of them — but it’s better than nothing. The good news is all you should need is a digital antenna and TV to get the CBS games on free TV.
I’m going to stop you right there. I’m sure there are other hacks. But while I think the multibillion-dollar CBS/Turner TV deal with the NCAA is obscene, especially given where that money goes and doesn’t go, it would be somewhat hypocritical for someone who writes for a media outlet reliant on paid subscriptions and advertising revenue to get too deep in the weeds on how to circumvent another outlet’s turnstile. That’s what Google is for.
So that’s it?
You can always listen to the games. All the games’ radio broadcasts are available on the March Madness Live website and app. Funny story: One year I was in Ecuador and had no access to tournament games. Video was unavailable, but thanks to the app I was able to listen on my phone as my alma mater was bounced from the regional semifinals by one point in overtime.