In times past, the NCAA men's basketball tournament famously known as March Madness could only be seen on television and through select cable channels. However, thanks to advances in technology, there are more options to watch college basketball games in real time.
According to Will Oremus of Slate, all 67 games of this year's tournament will be streamed live online. However, only 22 of them will be streamed live to everyone for free; those games will be broadcast on CBS.
"Unfortunately, there's no March Madness Live app for Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, or other TV sticks or set-top boxes," Oremus wrote, citing a Turner spokeswoman.
"The games streamed on CBS include the national championship game on Monday, April 6, and a smattering of contests from each round-except for the Final Four," Oremus wrote. "For anyone who cares about the tournament, that's a pretty big exception."
According to Oremus, both the Final Four and "the majority of early-round contests" will air on TNT, TBS and TruTV. However, while games on those channels are also streamed online through official NCAA March Madness website and apps, viewers would need a login from their TV provider.
"You can only watch them by logging in with a username and password from your Cable TV provider," Oremus wrote. "Don't have cable? In the past, you would have simply been out of luck."
Rick Stella of Digital Trends reported that streaming options were available due to the fact some fans faced "broadcast limitations."
"Either your pesky job gets in the way of consuming March Madness, you've avoided shelling out extra dough for a TV, or have other hurdles preventing you from catching the action," Stella wrote.
Despite the restrictions placed on some of the games, Stella noted that NCAA fans may be able to watch some of them for free.
"The NCAA does offer viewers without a cable or satellite subscription limited preview access, though it's unlikely it lasts long enough to take in an entire game," Stella wrote.
Oremus reported that cord-cutters had one other legal option to watch March Madness games in the form of Sling TV.
"Sling TV, the new online-TV service aimed at cord-cutters, happens to include both TNT and TBS in its basic package, which costs $20 a month," Oremus wrote. "TruTV is now available as part of Sling TV's 'Lifestyle Extra' add-on pack, which goes for an additional $5 a month."
According to Stella, Sling TV could also be accessed through Microsoft's Xbox One. In addition, DISH Network offered Xbox One users a one-month free trial.
"Though the free trial includes just the basic package, it's more than worth checking out given the sheer amount of content users have access to for 30 days," Stella wrote. "Do keep in mind the free trial requires physical cancellation before the 30-day trial ends. Otherwise, you'll notice a one-month charge for the Sling TV service on your next bank statement."
Oremus reported that Sony PlayStation gamers in select U.S. cities can watch March Madness games through live streaming-TV service Playstation Vue. The service comes with a seven-day free trial and costs $50 a month.
"Playstation Vue's base package comes with 60 channels, including all four of those broadcasting this year's March Madness games," Oremus wrote. "It also comes with some serious cloud-DVR capabilities, so you can watch games that have already aired as well as those airing live."
Oremus added that "a Playstation Vue subscription will count as a cable login for the March Madness Live website and mobile apps, so you can watch on your computer or tablet as well as your console."
According to Turner Sports, March Madness reached a record 69.7 million live streams across all platforms last year.