Now that there are a variety of ways to tune into History via the web, it’s even easier to take the plunge and cut the cord. Read on to find out everything you need to know about how to watch History Channel without cable.
- 1 Top “Skinny Bundles” That Have History Channel
- 2 History Vault
- 3 History Go
- 4 Our Verdict: The Best Way to Watch the History Channel Without Cable
Top “Skinny Bundles” That Have History Channel
So-called “skinny bundles” – internet-based subscription services that offer low-cost access to cable TV channels – are the best place to begin your cord-cutting quest.
Skinny bundles have most of the cable channels you would get with a traditional cable plan, only they are much less expensive. Plus, most skinny bundles come with advanced features like mobile apps and cloud DVR (Digital Video Recording).
Here’s a quick rundown of all the major skinny bundle services that have the History Channel.
DirecTV Now is a very solid up-and-coming skinny bundle service that is poised to make big gains next year when its new features debut.
If you have an AT&T wireless plan, DirecTV Now is the obvious choice for trying out a skinny TV bundle. That’s because you can get a $15 discount and sign up for “Live a Little” for just $20. Plus, if you have an unlimited wireless plan through AT&T you can get HBO content for free.
If you don’t have an AT&T mobile plan, DirecTV Now prices start at $35. That’s still not a bad deal, considering that “Live a Little” comes with 60+ channels.
Along with History Channel, you also get USA Network, AMC, FX/FXX, TBS, TNT, Spike, A&E, plus sports channels like ESPN and regional FOX Sports channels. You can get more channels if you opt to upgrade to Just Right, Go Big or Gotta Have It.
The HD picture quality you get with DirecTV Now is already better than what most skinny bundle services offer, and channels will look even sharper when the service upgrades to 4K. A few weeks ago, DirecTV Now started giving Apple TV 4K devices to DirecTV Now prepayers, which suggests that 4K channels are likely coming soon.
DirecTV Now’s app library is also excellent. There are apps for just about every type of streaming device including Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, and Apple TV, web browsers and iOS/Android mobile devices.
DirecTV Now doesn’t have DVR yet, but that’s coming soon too. DirecTV recently rolled out a cloud DVR beta – so DirecTV is likely on the verge of an official DVR release.
One potential downside: only two people can watch streams on one DirecTV Now account at once. Other skinny bundle services offer better value in this department.
DirecTV Now has over 25,000 titles in its on-demand catalog, including content from History Channel.
History Channel looks great with DirecTV Now, and it’ll look even better once DirecTV Now debuts 4K. DirecTV Now’s current $35/month price point is quite reasonable – and you can get a $15 discount if you’re an AT&T subscriber. When DirecTV rolls out its DVR feature, DirecTV Now will be an even better bargain.
If you’re curious about DirecTV Now, you can check it out free for 7 days and see what you think.
If you’re in the market for a cheap skinny bundle service that has History Channel and you also like sports, Sling TV is a good choice.
Because Sling TV’s Orange plan offers a cheap way to get ESPN, it’s not a bad deal. For $20, you’ll get History Channel plus around 30 other assorted cable TV standards.
Sling Blue ($25) has around 40 channels (History Channel included) and a few major sports channels including Fox Sports and NFL Network. However, Sling Blue doesn’t have ESPN or any of the other Disney-owned channels that you get with Sling Orange.
If you buy both Sling Blue and Sling Orange you can get a $5 discount, bringing the total cost to $40.
If you pay $5 extra for DVR, Sling TV will allow you to record History Channel and other channels. However, the fact that you can’t record ESPN, ABC or any other Disney-owned channels is a huge downside. On the other hand, Sling TV’s DVR does let you record 50 hours of content and keep your recordings as long as you want.
For whatever reason, Sling TV doesn’t offer simultaneous streaming with Sling TV Orange. However, they let you stream to 3 devices at once with Sling Blue.
Sling TV has a very strong lineup of apps, including apps for Amazon Fire TV devices, Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Android/iOS devices, LG/Samsung Smart TVs and Xbox One.
In addition to live channels, Sling TV has over 10,000 hours of content in its on-demand library. In other words, it has 10 times more on-demand content than Philo, but 60% less than DirecTV Now.
Sling TV has attached a lot of fine print to their services like the limitations on simultaneous streams. However, both Sling TV plans do come with History Channel. If you’re in the market for a low-cost skinny bundle and ESPN is a must, Sling TV’s Orange plan is worth a hard look.
If you’re looking for a bargain and don’t care about sports channels or the broadcast networks, you may want to give Philo a look. Philo has History Channel and it’s the cheapest skinny bundle out there right now.
Philo’s basic plan is only $16 per month. The $16 plan comes with 37 channels, but if you get the $20 plan you can get 9 more.
Philo has a pretty nifty DVR service that allows you to record as many shows as you want and view the recordings for up to 30 days.
Though Philo is still missing a few key apps, most of the main devices are on the menu. Philo works with Macs, Windows PCs, iPhone/iPads, Android phones/tablets and Rokus – but not Amazon Fire TVs.
In the future, Philo users may be able to share content from History Channel and other channels with friends via the upcoming Philo social network.
“Coming soon, Philo will integrate a social platform that connects you with your friends and family to discover new content, effortlessly share your favorite shows, and watch shows together.” – Philo press release
It’s hard to say whether or not Philo’s social network will catch on, but if it does Philo could stand to benefit since at the moment Philo is the only skinny bundle that plans to give their subscribers the ability to share content with their friends.
Philo does have a small supply (1,000 hours) of on-demand content, but not as much as other skinny bundle services.
If you use Philo in conjunction with a TV antenna, you might be able to make do with Philo’s channel lineup. Philo is super cheap, plus it has History Channel and surprisingly robust features. However, it doesn’t have any sports channels or broadcast networks.
Hulu With Live TV is pricey and still in beta, but History Channel is on the menu.
Hulu has only single “one size fits all” service package: a $40 / 55+ channel subscription plan.
In addition to History Channel, Hulu With Live TV subscribers also get TBS, FX, TNT, USA Network, A&E, SyFy and many other cable TV staples. However, AMC – perhaps best known for The Walking Dead – is not a part of Hulu’s lineup.
One of the biggest reasons to get Hulu With Live TV is its on-demand content catalog. With around 2,700 titles, Hulu isn’t the largest. However, Hulu does have excellent original shows and seems to have made acquiring the rights to new and high quality content a top priority.
Hulu’s premium add-on features are pricey but beneficial. For example, you can opt to get 100 hours of recording time instead of 50 by paying an extra $15 per month. The Unlimited Screens package ($15) lets you share your Hulu account out to an unlimited number of devices on your home network.
At first, Hulu With Live TV didn’t have many apps, but Hulu is hard working to improve in that department. Now, Hulu has apps for iOS/Android devices, 4th-gen and newer Apple TVs, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire devices, Samsung Smart TVs and Xbox 360/One consoles.
Once Hulu With Live TV moves out of beta, it could potentially corner the market. Hulu already has one of the best skinny bundles out there now and it will only get better as time goes on.
With Hulu With Live TV, you get History Channel plus lots of other good live TV channels that cover a wide range of interests. In addition, you get complimentary access to Hulu’s on-demand catalog as well and an excellent DVR. Hulu With Live TV can get pricey, though – especially if you decide to tack on extra features.
If you were disappointed when History Channel look a turn for the weird a few years back, you’ll definitely want to check out History’s new streaming service: History Vault.
History has gradually shifted away from hardcore history programming to make room for more paranormal docs and reality shows.
A History Vault subscription ($5-per-month / $50-per-year) gives you ad-free access to a wealth of serious, UFO-free (for the most part) documentaries about historical events.
History Vault’s content consists of various “collections,” like Ancient Discoveries, Ancient Greece, WWII: The World in Crisis, Secrets of the Dark Ages, Inside the Presidency, American Civil War: Brother vs. Brother and so on.
You won’t find any reality shows on History Vault’s menu of content.
History Vault works with iOS, Apple TV, Android, Roku and Google Chromecast – but not Amazon Fire TV devices.
Here’s what one reviewer had to say about History Vault for Android:
“Great content. I love the narration voices throughout the shows. The app has a nice GUI that is easy to navigate. The small subscription price is worth it not only for the content, but to NOT have annoying commercials is a big plus. 👍 I only wished I had more time to watch.”
Though the History Go app has content that you can’t unlock unless you have a cable TV subscription, it does have some free full episodes that you can watch without a TV Anywhere account.
If you like shows like Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Swamp People and other popular History shows, you may want to check it out.
In 2014, History Go won a Webby Award.
Our Verdict: The Best Way to Watch the History Channel Without Cable
There are several paths you can take if you want to see History content without a cable subscription. Here’s a quick recap of your best available choices.
The best skinny bundle for History Channel fans
Though it’s pricey compared to the competition, Hulu With Live TV has the all-around best skinny bundle features right now – and it’ll likely get even better as time goes on.
Like Hulu With Live TV, DirecTV Now is also improving by leaps and bounds. Soon, DirecTV Now will have 4K channels and a free DVR. Until those features come out, however, Hulu With Live TV remains the best overall skinny bundle option.
The cheapest way to watch History Channel without cable
Philo’s $16 basic plan is the least expensive way to catch History content without a cable subscription. History Vault is only $5 per month, but it doesn’t have the popular History shows that most people like.