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How To Watch PPV Streams Without Cable By Using TV Streaming Services

Sarah Osman-Mikesell - Writer for Top10.com
A group of people watching a PPV stream without cable.
Want to watch exclusive events and tailor-made content without the high cost of cable? I know how you can get direct access to high-quality streams, ranging from sports events to concerts, all at your convenience and at a more affordable price.

Cable can be costly, often including channels you may not want to watch. PPV (pay-per-view) streams through TV services, however, offer a way to access exclusive content without the hefty price tag. And with over 230 video streaming sites available, you're spoilt for choice.

In my role as a TV critic and pop culture writer, I've had the opportunity to explore various platforms that offer PPV events. My opinions on these services are shaped by their content and how they adapt to the changing TV and entertainment landscape. Here's a closer look at my top five ways to watch PPV streams without cable.

» Here's why you need to use a TV streaming service.

Our 5 Best PPV Streaming Services at a Glance:

  • ESPN+ - Best PPV streaming service overall
  • DIRECTV Stream - Best for a comprehensive cable-like experience online
  • fuboTV - Best for sports enthusiasts
  • DAZN - Best for combat sports fans
  • Amazon Prime Video - Best for general entertainment

1. ESPN+

Price - From $10.99/month

Trial - No

ESPN+ broadcasts a wide range of live sports, including UFC, baseball, college basketball, soccer, and golf. It also offers exclusive PPV content and archives of past UFC fights. Each PPV event costs $79.99, but you can bundle a new annual ESPN+ subscription with your first PPV event for $134.98.

You can also watch shows live, rewind, or replay on up to three devices simultaneously. I've experienced smooth and reliable streaming on ESPN+, with top-notch video and audio quality, especially during live sports events.

Why we chose ESPN+ for watching PPV stream:

  • Access to UFC Fight Nights
  • Features original content from sports icons like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady
  • Quality of live and archived content is impressive

» Want to catch the game from wherever you are? Check out our best sports streaming websites.

Supported devices:

  • Web browsers: Chrome (75+), Edge, Firefox (68+), Internet Explorer (11), Safari (11+)
  • Mobile devices: Apple (iOS 14.0+), Android (OS 5.0+), Amazon Fire tablets (Fire OS 5.0+)
  • TV-connected devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Cox Contour TV and Contour Stream Player, LG Smart TVs, Roku, Samsung Tizen Smart TVs, Xfinity Flex and X1 TV Box, Xumo TV and XiOne Box, Xbox, PlayStation

ESPN+ ESPN+ View Plans

2. DIRECTV Stream

Price - From $69.99/month

Trial - Yes (5 days)

DIRECTV Stream delivers multiple subscription options, including the "ENTERTAINMENT" package with over 75 channels and the "PREMIER" plan with 150+ channels. It also has specialty sports channels in higher tiers.

Because the service's navigation features are intuitive, it's easy to find and watch whatever show you're looking for. You can access PPV events up to 12 days in advance through DIRECTV Satellite. Additionally, the service lets you rent the latest Hollywood releases through DIRECTV Movies.

Why we chose DIRECTV Stream for watching PPV streams:

  • Unlimited cloud DVR recording
  • PREMIER package includes Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and Cinemax
  • Local sports coverage

Supported devices:

  • Web browsers: Chrome (68+), Edge, Safari (13+)
  • Mobile devices: Apple (iOS 14.0+), Android (OS 7.1+), Amazon Fire Tablet (Fire OS 7+)
  • TV-connected devices: Amazon Fire TV (2nd generation+), Android TV, Apple TV (4th generation), Google TV, Chromecast, Roku, Samsung, Telly TV

DirecTV Stream DirecTV Stream View Plans

3. fuboTV

Price - From $74.99/month

Trial - Yes (7 days)

fuboTV's PPV events are available for $24.95. The platform has exclusive US rights to stream select UEFA matches, including UEFA Nations League and European Qualifiers to FIFA World Cup 2026 and UEFA Euro 2024 and 2028. It also broadcasts various sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, MLS, and MMA.

I've found the streaming quality to be consistently good, with minimal buffering issues, which is crucial for live sports events. You can also watch your favorite matches or shows in 4K if you subscribe to a higher-tier plan.

Why we chose fuboTV for watching PPV streams:

  • Streams on up to 10 screens simultaneously
  • 1000 hours of Cloud DVR storage
  • Comprehensive package of live sports, PPV events, and entertainment channels

Supported devices:

  • Web browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari
  • Mobile devices: Apple (iOS 15.0+), Android (OS 5.0+),
  • TV-connected devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV (4th generation+), Google TV, Chromecast, Roku, Samsung, Vizio SmartCast, Hisense VIDAA, LG, Xbox

fuboTV fuboTV View Plans

» Find out how to stream the NFL games for the ultimate fan experience.

4. DAZN

Price - From $19.99/month

Trial - No

DAZN showcases over 100 fights a year, featuring big names in boxing like Canelo Alvarez, Anthony Joshua, and Katie Taylor. The platform also streams the UEFA Women's Champions League and other sports events, including darts, snooker, and sailing. Plus, as a subscriber, you can access interviews, archived shows, and documentaries.

In addition to regular content, DAZN offers select special events like "Day of Reckoning" on PPV. These cost $39.99 each and are available to both subscribers and non-subscribers. If you purchase a PPV through the app without a DAZN plan, you receive a free month's access to the streaming platform.

Why we chose DAZN for watching PPV streams:

  • Extensive coverage of combat sports
  • Features occasional Fight Nights
  • No contractual obligations

Supported devices:

  • Web browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari
  • Mobile devices: Apple (iOS 10.0+), Android (OS 5.0+), Amazon Fire Tablet
  • TV-connected devices: Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Android TV, Apple TV (4th generation), Chromecast, LG, Samsung, Roku, Vizio, Xfinity, Cox, Phillps, Xbox, PlayStation

DAZN DAZN View Plans

5. Amazon Prime Video

Price - From $8.99/month

Trial - Yes (30 days)

Prime Video, part of Amazon Prime, offers a vast selection of movies, TV shows, originals, and hidden gems that break the Hollywood mold, like "Mozart in the Jungle" and "The Underground Railroad."

Prime, in partnership with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), will distribute PPV events in the US starting March 2024. Anyone can purchase these events, regardless of whether you're an active subscriber. Amazon will also release original content related to PBC, including behind-the-scenes docu-series and live weigh-ins.

Why we chose Amazon Prime Video for watching PPV streams:

  • Exclusively streams a series of PBC Championship Boxing events
  • Growing lineup of live sports, including NFL and WNBA
  • Broadcasts the extended version of "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour"

Supported devices:

  • Web browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, Opera
  • Mobile devices: Apple, Android, Echo Devices, Amazon Fire Tablet
  • TV-connected devices: Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, LG, Vizio, Hisense, Phillips, Sharp, JVC, TCL, Konka, Insignia, Skyworth, Changhong, Haier, Xbox, PlayStation

Amazon Prime Amazon Prime View Plans

What Is PPV?

PPV means you pay to view an event. There's a one-time access fee, and the content is usually available for a limited time, like 24 hours, expiring after it airs. It's particularly useful for niche occasions like boxing, concerts, wrestling, MMA, and UFC matches with high production costs. These events often require specific licensing and rights.

Additionally, if an event is subject to broadcasting or geographical restrictions, PPV enables viewers in these areas to access it. For example, I can't attend every WrestleMania, so watching it at home via PPV is convenient.

Streaming services offer different PPV events. For instance, ESPN+ features UFC matches, but you won't find concerts there. Research where to stream your desired PPV event, as availability varies.

Can You Stream PPV Events for Free?

There's no legal way to watch PPV events for free, but some streaming services offer free trials that may include PPV events. Sling TV's 30-day trial, for example, doesn't allow you to stream major PPV matches or shows, but smaller ones shouldn't cost extra.

Peacock occasionally features PPV wrestling matches like SummerSlam, which you can access with Peacock Premium's seven-day free trial. My husband and I first watched SummerSlam this way and liked Peacock Premium enough to keep it.

Remember, illegally streaming PPV events can have serious consequences, including hefty fines or even imprisonment. Legal streaming options for PPV events include ESPN+, DIRECTV, fuboTV, DAZN, Fite, Peacock, Amazon Prime, and SHOWTIME, all holding the necessary licensing and distribution rights for these events.

PPV vs. Cable

When deciding between PPV and cable for accessing entertainment like concerts or sports matches, weigh their pros and cons. PPV asks you to pay a one-time fee for specific programs, while cable has a monthly subscription for a set price. Here's a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of each option:

PPV: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Flexibility: You choose and pay for specific content without needing a monthly subscription.
  • Cost-effective for big events: PPV can be cheaper than actual event tickets. For example, I couldn't attend the final KISS concert in person, so it only cost me $39.99 to stream it.
  • Convenience: There's no need to travel; you can watch from home comfortably. It also allows for social events, like hosting successful watch parties with friends.

Cons

  • Higher cost for single events: One PPV event can cost more than a monthly cable subscription.
  • Limited: PPV grants access to only one event, unlike cable or streaming services that offer multiple shows, movies, and events.

Cable: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Channel variety: Cable packages usually include a diverse range of channels covering shows, sports, and news.
  • Continuous programming: Cable airs all the time, whereas PPV events are only available for a specific amount of time.

Cons

  • Cost: Cable can be expensive, often including channels you don't watch. This is why over 75% of people will cut the cord by 2025.
  • Limited flexibility: Changing cable packages or contracts can be challenging, involving tedious customer service interactions. This isn’t true for streaming sites or PPV events—you can easily add or cancel a service via its website.

Maximize Your PPV Streaming Experience

Internet Speed

The last thing you need is to pay a lot for an event only to end up with a pixelated image. To ensure a crystal-clear stream, check that your internet speed is fast enough.

For high-definition (HD) events, you need at least 5 megabits per second (Mbps), but this can vary since UFC matches require about 20 Mbps. Always verify what internet speed you'll need; most PPV event websites provide this information.

Device Compatibility

Ensure your device supports the PPV event you plan to watch. Compatibility with different streamers varies, but most will work with:

  • Apple TVs
  • Samsung Smart TVs
  • Android TVs
  • iOS (Apple) devices
  • Android devices
  • Roku devices
  • Amazon Fire devices
  • LG devices

My husband and I've used an Apple TV for all our PPV events, and it's always worked well. We've also used an Amazon Fire TV.

Make sure to download the latest version of the app or the streaming service you're using. This step is crucial to avoid streaming issues during the event.

Remember, depending on the event, you may only be able to stream it on one device. So, if you purchase a PPV boxing match to watch on your smart TV, don't try to stream it on your phone, too. This limitation varies with the streaming service, so double-check their policies.

Network Requirements

The network requirements for streaming an event generally depend on the source, but typically include:

  • Computer operating system: Mac OS 11 or higher / Windows 10 or higher
  • Mobile operating system: iOS 15.0 or higher / Android 10 or higher
  • Browser: Chrome 107 or higher / Safari 14.0 or higher / Firefox 96 or higher / Edge 96 or higher
  • Internet speed: A minimum of 20 Mbps for optimal playback

Move Beyond Traditional TV With PPV Streams

These PPV streaming platforms cater to a variety of interests and provide the flexibility and convenience that modern viewers seek.

As you review these options, consider the unique benefits of each service to find the perfect match for your entertainment preferences. With the right choice, you can enjoy a tailored viewing experience and move beyond the constraints of traditional cable TV.

» Follow these 10 tips for choosing a TV streaming service for the entire family.

Sarah Osman-Mikesell - Writer for Top10.com
Sarah Osman-Mikesell has written about film and pop culture for over a decade. She holds a BA in creative writing and is pursuing her master’s degree in the same field. Aside from her work at Top10.com, Sarah’s writing has been featured in SheKnows, The Huffington Post, Success Magazine, and more.