The year was 1989. I was 11 years old, and MTV showed me everything a teenager should be. First off, I knew that those in the know were adorable like Debbie Gibson in “Electric Youth,” complete with jaunty hats and neon backgrounds. Second off, teens were disturbingly risqué, like Paula Abdul in “Cold Hearted Snake.” Those super-lame executives who watch her slinky dance with shock? Yup, that was me, wondering just what she and her scantily-clad fellow dancers were up to when the lights dimmed.
Thirty years later, MTV does not quite have the distinction of showing today’s youth all the possibilities of the mature world beyond. We have the internet for that kind of thing. (Plus, it must be said even back then I very quickly turned the TV channel to watch Star Trek. I decided I would don a Starfleet uniform before Debbie’s hat or Paula’s catsuit.)
Today, despite the “M” for music still in the name, MTV shows are more about the scandalous personalities in reality shows. Even the top-hits music video show “Total Request Live” is gone. Instead, MTV shows the drama and antics of “Jersey Shore,” “Teen Mom OG,” “Ex on the Beach,” and the show “Catfish,” which explores online romances gone wrong. You can still catch a few music videos on MTV Classic, but even that is nothing compared to the musical juggernaut that is YouTube.
That said, the annual Video Music Awards (or VMAs) still carry on the tradition of allowing the channel to rank and reward musicians, a bit like the good old days. Annually MTV fans get to vote via the channel’s web site and Instagram to say who had the best choreography, the best song of the summer, best power anthem, etc.
Fortunately, unlike 11-year-old me at my friend’s house, you do not need to have cable to check in on the VMAs or any of MTV’s other modern programming.
How to Watch MTV without Cable
As with most content on cable today, there are alternate ways to enjoy the channels and shows you want without forking over mountains of cash to a cable TV provider. Here are a few of the cable-subscription free ways you can stream MTV online in order of cost.
Watching MTV on Philo
The next cheapest option is Philo, which gives you MTV, MTV Classic, and MTV Live as well as 57 others for $20/month. You can check out a free trial and see if the service will meet your needs. Philo also includes a cloud DVR for you to record shows to watch later.
With online access to MTV streaming, you will never miss great shows like “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation,” “The Hills: New Beginnings” “Ghosted: Love Gone Missing,” “Teen Mom OG” “Ex on the Beach,” and “Are You the One?”
You can use your Philo credentials to sign on to the MTV app and watch at many episodes there.
MTV on AT&T Watch TV
AT&T Watch TV, which for just $15/month after a 7-day free-trial, gives you 35 channels including MTV. Through this service, you can stream the channel live as if it were being broadcast. However, it does not include DVR or other system to record shows for later. It also does not work with Roku. However, if you want to use it with Apple TV, iOS, Android, Amazon Firestick, Amazon Fire TV, or Google Chrome, this might work for you.
Check out our review of AT&T Watch TV for more information.
MTV on Sling TV
MTV is not in Sling’s base packages. However, you can get MTV through the Orange or the Blue package for $5 as part of its “Comedy Extra” add-on package. This would bring the total amount to $30/month.
Sling TV provides a live stream of MTV so you can watch what would be airing on MTV just as if you had cable. A Cloud DVR program is available for recording shows for an additional $5/month.
Sling TV is available on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and more, so it’s not a problem to enjoy it on a TV, tablet, computer, or other smart devices. There are more channels than I’ve mentioned available on Sling TV than what I’ve discussed here. To find out more about what Sling TV has to offer, and more information about Sling TV device compatibility, check out this detailed review of Sling TV or check out this free trial.
MTV Streaming on AT&T TV Now
AT&T’s DirecTV Now service is one way you can watch MTV. It is offered as part of their most affordable “Plus” package. At $50 per month, you get more than 40 channels including HBO, while at the highest level of $135 a month you get over 125. You can check out everything this service offers by reading our AT&T TV Now review.
MTV on FuboTV
FuboTV is a good place to go for sports, but it offers many other more general channels as well, including MTV. Over 90 channels are offered in its basic package for $54.99/month (after 7-day free trial). The FuboTV app is available on major platforms, including AppleTV, AndroidTV, Roku, and Amazon FireTV. You can sign up for a 1-week free trial or check out our review of FuboTV for more details.
Streaming MTV Online
You can watch MTV live, and many MTV shows on-demand on the web site or the MTV app. However, that content is locked such that you need a password to cable or Fubo or Philo.
Some MTV shows are available on Hulu’s subscription service as well, including “Awkward,” “Daria, “Jersey Shore,” “Catfish,” and “My Super Sweet 16.” The streaming service starts at $7.99/month, plus $4/month for no commercials.
Alternatively, you could purchase shows through a venue like Itunes or Amazon Prime Video. They vary in price, but you might want to consider this option if there are just a few movies you’d like to watch over and over again.
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