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There's No Need for Cable TV During the MLB Playoffs

The MLB playoffs are about to kick off, and here's how you can follow along without traditional cable television.
October 4, 2016, 1:00pm
Citi Field, home of the future world champions. Image: Eric Kilby/Flickr

Sure the MLB season lasts forever, but it's all worth it when the playoffs get going in October. Beginning this week with the Wild Card games, 10 teams will fight for the chance to play in the World Series and ultimately become the 2016 champions.

Now, the MLB isn't exactly known for making it easy to watch baseball without cable. Blackouts continue to make things difficult, and even render the MLB's own streaming service useless unless you only care about out-of-market-games (or you use a VPN, which some frown upon).

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However, when the playoffs roll around, things get a bit easier. Coverage is spread across a number of networks, most of which are available to cord cutters. The MLB also has its own Postseason package that will let you stream some of the playoffs. Let's take a closer look at your options.

MLB.TV Post Season

Like MLB.TV during the regular season, the MLB.TV Postseason package is a limited solution for cord cutters. That's because it only shows a selection of games live (you can find out exactly which ones here).

Keep in mind, there are some additional caveats (thanks a lot, MLB). For example, to watch in the MLB.com At Bat app, you have to authenticate with a cable provider login, even after you pay the $9.99 for the Postseason package. The service is also subject to local blackouts.

However, if you're an international customer, the Postseason package will let you watch the playoffs in their entirety with no blackouts. Of course, that means if you use a VPN, you could gain access to this in the US and Canada, although it would likely violate the MLB's terms of service.

Sling TV

Watching the MLB playoffs without cable means you need access to FOX, FS1, ESPN, TBS, and MLB Network. Sling TV offers a solution to all of these, minus MLBN (although, it would appear that MLBN games are simulcast on FS1).

"We know for baseball fans, the superstition is real, and missing a game isn't an option. That's why we expanded our lineup to include all the postseason action," Ben Weinberger, Chief Product Officer of Sling TV, told Motherboard. "Starting this year, whether you're watching the games at home or on the go, we've got you covered from Wild Card games to the World Series."

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To get complete MLB playoff coverage, you'll need to subscribe to both Sling Orange and Blue packages. This will run you $40 a month. But keep in mind, there's no contract, and there's a 7-day free trial.

It's also important to note that the FOX live stream isn't available in all markets. So for the World Series, you might need an antenna (more on that later).

PlayStation Vue

Like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue will let you live stream all the channels required for the MLB playoffs. It also includes a FOX live stream in select markets. The Vue package you need will also run you $40 per month. However, if you're in a FOX live stream market, you get charged an additional $10 per month for local streams.

"PlayStation Vue has more sports channels than any other internet Pay TV service, including all of the Fox and CSN regional sports networks, ESPN, FS1, and TBS, so there is no better place to watch your favorite MLB team play live," Dwayne Benefield, VP and Head of PlayStation Vue, told Motherboard.

Benefield went on to highlight a key difference between Vue and Sling TV.

"The ability to pause, rewind, fast forward or even record MLB games on PlayStation Vue ensures fans won't miss any of the action, especially with the playoffs just around the corner."

Vue will work on pretty much any major streaming device except Apple TV. So don't let the "PlayStation" name throw you. Try it here free for 7 days.

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Antenna

Not interested in paying to stream? If you can hold out until the last two rounds of the playoffs, there's no need to. According to CBSSports.com, the American League and National League Championship Series, along with the World Series, will be on FOX.

That being the case, you should be able to pick up these games with a simple over-the-air (OTA) antenna. Of course, that means you have to watch them live as they air, unless you have an OTA DVR (yep, they make DVRs for antennas).

However you choose to watch, it's good to know you have options during this month's MLB playoffs. From a free antenna to a no-contract streaming service, there's no need to miss a single play.

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