New advances in streaming video technology have made it easy to catch more college sports action than ever before without going through Comcast and other traditional cable companies. Continue on for a complete guide that’ll show you how to watch Big Ten Network without cable.



Here Come the Cable Replacers

So-called “skinny bundles” let you get a smaller selection of cable TV channels over the internet for a greatly reduced price.

The average cable subscriber currently pays around $100, but typical skinny bundles cost half of that amount — and sometimes far less.



Because skinny bundles use the internet instead of cable to deliver TV, they let you tune in using a vast array of next-generation TV gadgets including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and even with your mobile phone. In addition, most skinny bundle services offer recording functionality and other advanced features.

With so many skinny bundle services out there, it’s a wise idea to do your homework first before you commit. Some skinny bundles offer hundreds of channels and aim to replicate the classic cable TV experience, but others cater to specific niche audiences.

Here’s a quick look at all the major skinny bundle cable replacers that carry BTN.



DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now Review
Source: DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now’s $50 “Just Right” subscription has 80+ channels in addition to BTN. If you want more channels, you can  “Go Big” for $60 and get 100+ channels or buy the “Gotta Have It” subscription, which has 120+ channels and costs $70.

Because DirecTV Now has more channels on the menu than any other skinny bundle service, it’s the best option for replicating the cable TV experience without a cable subscription. Other skinny bundles are less expensive, but they limit you to a smaller selection of channels.

With DirecTV Now, you can either watch BTN through DirecTV Now’s excellent app, or you can unlock the BTN2Go app with your DirecTV Now credentials.



The BTN2Go app is convenient if you miss a game. Every single BTN game is recorded and available on the app for a full day after it airs. You can log into BTN2Go and catch up on games on Android, iOS and via the BTN2Go website.

The main downside of DirecTV Now is that AT&T isn’t finished building it yet. AT&T rushed DirecTV Now to the market last year without a DVR and other key features. However, DirecTV Now is testing out a DVR and it should be out of beta soon. In addition, 4K channels and other new features will be added in coming months.

DirecTV Now has 4 different plans, but you have to get Just Right, Go Big or Gotta Have It to get BTN.

  • Live a Little: 60+ channels / $35 per month.
  • Just Right: 80+ channels / $50 per month.
  • Go Big: 100+ channels / $60 per month.
  • Gotta Have It: 120+ channels / $70 per month.

For an extra $5 each, you can add HBO and Cinemax to any plan. Showtime and Starz are available too, but they cost $8 each.

Though DirecTV Now doesn’t currently work with any game consoles, it does have apps for all the most popular TV devices.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: None.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: None.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome and Safari.

DirecTV Now has a 7-day free trial period.

Shortcode TV Subscription Desktop Directv black 700px

fuboTV

fuboTV
Source: fuboTV

fuboTV’s fubo Premier subscription costs $40-$50 depending on your location. It comes with BTN and 80+ other channels.

Sports fans are fuboTV’s target demographic. With fuboTV, you can get all kinds of sports channels including 10 BeIN channels, NFL Network, NBA TV, Pac 12 Networks, CBS Sports, The Olympic Channel and more.

ESPN is fuboTV’s achilles heel. The top sports network in the US is not on fuboTV’s menu. But if fuboTV ever manages to work out a deal with Disney to broadcast ESPN, it could serve up some stiff competition to other skinny bundle services.

Like DirecTV Now, fuboTV credentials will unlock BTN2Go. As mentioned above, BTN2Go lets you watch recordings of every BTN2Go game for up to 1 day after it originally airs.

fuboTV has a cloud DVR that lets you record 30 hours of content. You can schedule your own BTN recordings if you like via the fuboTV app. Many skinny bundle services will automatically delete your recordings after a certain amount of time, but fuboTV lets you keep your recordings for as long as you like.

fuboTV offers 3 different core plans:

  • fubo Premier: 80+ channels / $45 per month.
  • fubo Latino: 13 channels / $18 per month.
  • fubo Portuguese: 5 channels / $20 per month.

fuboTV’s various add-on packs let you get more channels. The $9 Sports Pack adds 15 sports channels and the $11 Showtime pack adds 9 premium movie channels.

Like DirecTV Now, fuboTV lacks game console apps. However, fuboTV apps cover most of the other major platforms.

  • Living room devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: None.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: None.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome is recommended.

If you’re curious about fuboTV, you can try it free for 7 days.

FuboTV Shortcode

Hulu with Live TV

Hulu TV welcome screen
Source: Hulu

On-demand giant Hulu recently unveiled its own skinny bundle service: Hulu with Live TV. Hulu with Live TV’s $40 one-size-fits-all subscription includes BTN and comes with about 50-70 channels, depending on your location.

The main advantage Hulu has over the competition is its large library of on-demand content. Subscribers to Hulu with Live TV can access Hulu’s thousands of TV shows and movies. Also, Hulu has some very good original series, including The Handmaid’s Tale, Stephen King’s 11.22.63, Morgan Spurlock’s A Day In the Life and others.

Hulu has a competitive cloud DVR that lets you record 50 hours of content. If you need more hours, you can upgrade to 200 hours for $20 extra.

Like fuboTV and DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV credentials can unlock BTN2Go. The key benefit of BTN2Go is that it keeps recordings of games for 24 hours, which gives you a chance to catch the game if you miss the live broadcast.

Hulu with Live TV’s main disadvantage is that it can get very pricey depending on what you order. Hulu makes you pay extra to get premium channels. HBO costs $15 extra. Cinemax is $10 and Showtime is $9.

Another problem with Hulu with Live TV is that it lacks a full channel guide. Unlike most skinny bundle services, you can’t use a guide to scroll through upcoming programs on every channel. The information is there, but you have to look at the schedule on a channel-by-channel basis. Alternatively, you can see a list of what’s on now — but there’s no big picture view that lets you quickly navigate upcoming programs across multiple channels.

Of all the streaming services, Hulu supports the widest range of devices:

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Nexus Player, Roku and TiVo.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Certain models from LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Amazon Fire Tablets, Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8
  • Game consoles: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari.

PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue
Source: PlayStation

Despite what PlayStation Vue’s name suggests, you don’t have to own a PlayStation to use PlayStation Vue. Vue is an internet-based streaming service that works with several different platforms, just like DirecTV Now, fuboTV and Hulu with Live TV.

Vue’s basic $40 “Access” subscription doesn’t have BTN, but its $45 “Core” plan does. BTN also comes with the Elite ($55) and Ultra ($75) plans.

  • Access: 45 channels / $40 per month.
  • Core: 60 channels / $45 per month.
  • Elite: 84 channels / $55 per month.
  • Ultra: 87 channels / $75 per month (comes with HBO and Showtime).

The only way to get premium channels on Vue is by upgrading to Ultra. There are, however, various add-on packs that let you add other channels. Vue’s $10 Sports Pack comes with 10 sports channels, including 3 Fox College Sports channels and NFL Red Zone.

Only PlayStation Vue lets you stream to 5 different devices at once. No other skinny bundle service is quite as flexible as far as account sharing goes.

Vue’s cloud DVR has no storage limits, but recordings expire after 28 days.

Overall, PlayStation Vue has good app support.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: None.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android, Amazon Fire Tablets and iOS.
  • Game consoles: PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV live previews
Source: YouTube

Like Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV offers a small, inexpensive, one-size-fits-all menu of channels.

For $35 per month, YouTube TV delivers BTN and around 50 other channels. Add-ons include Fox Soccer Plus ($15), Showtime ($11), s/n ($7), and Shudder ($5).

YouTube TV’s easy-to-use interface is divided into four menus: Home, Live, Library and Search. The Home menu is populated by content suggestions that Google thinks you may want to watch. The Live menu is basically a classic cable TV style program guide. Library is where you go to access your recorded shows and movies that you’ve bought.

YouTube TV’s best feature is its unlimited cloud DVR. You can record as much as you want and keep your recordings for up to 9 months before they expire.

Because Google and Amazon aren’t getting along very well right now, YouTube TV lacks Amazon Fire TV apps.

Another weakness of YouTube TV is that its originals are cheesy. Many of them feature YouTube celebrities that can’t act very well.

  • Living room devices: Android TV and Chromecast.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Certain models from LG and Samsung.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome.

Big Ten Apps

There are two different apps that carry Big 10 games: BTNGo and BTN Plus.

BTN2Go

BTN2Go is the Big 10’s official app. Though there is some free content on BTN2Go, to get the most out of it you have to log in with TV Everywhere credentials.

As mentioned above, BTN2Go’s key benefit is that it lets you watch recently broadcast games. Recordings last for 24 hours before they expire.

Another cool thing about BTN2Go is that it lets you watch out-of-market games. If your local BTN broadcast doesn’t have the game you want, you can use the BTN2Go app to stream a different one.

In addition to live games, BTN2Go carries original BTN programming like The Journey, Big Ten Elite and other BTN shows.

DirecTV Now, fuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV can all unlock BTN2Go.

BTN Plus

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Source: Big10

BTN Plus is a niche subscription service for Big 10 super fans that lets you watch Big 10 games that aren’t televised. The service costs $80 a year or $10 per month.

Unfortunately, televised games are not available through BTN Plus. You have to get the BTN2Go app to watch televised games, and for that you need TV Everywhere credentials.

Another big downside to BTN Plus is that it doesn’t have any football content. Instead, it focuses on sports that get less coverage like volleyball, softball and lacrosse.

The Best Way to Watch Big Ten Network Without Cable

Here’s a quick comparison of all the different ways to stream BTN online.

The best bang for the buck

If you want to cut the cord without sacrificing the amount of channels you can watch, DirecTV Now’s 120+ channel “Gotta Have It” subscription plan comes the closest to replicating the traditional cable TV experience. No other skinny bundle service has as many channels.

The cheapest option

YouTube TV is the least expensive way to watch BTN without cable. For $35, YouTubeTV delivers BTN and 50+ other channels as part of its one-size-fits-all subscription package.

The best option for sports fanatics

fuboTV has a ton of sports channels, including many rare sports networks that you can’t get anywhere else. However, fuboTV still hasn’t reached a deal to broadcast ESPN.

PlayStation Vue is expensive compared to fuboTV, but it also has a very good selection of sports channels. Vue is the only streaming service that carries the Fox College Sports networks.