How to Watch PBS Live Stream Online without Cable

While it may not be the first network you think of, PBS is synonymous with quality entertainment. PBS, which stands for Public Broadcasting Service, is a free network meant to provide people with quality education. PBS is known for The Great British Baking Show, Masterpiece Theater favorites including Downton Abbey, Poldark, and Sherlock, and a selection of children’s programming.

You don’t need cable to watch PBS. That said, if you don’t have a digital antenna or would prefer to watch PBS online you might feel your choices are limited. While it’s true that none of the subscription services currently offer the PBS live stream, there are several ways to watch PBS online on-demand.

If you want the PBS live stream your best option will be an antenna. While it’s likely that live stream services will offer PBS in the future, for now you’ll need to consider strictly on-demand options.

Watch PBS Online with Amazon Prime

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Amazon Prime is home to two-day shipping and tons of more perks. You also receive a music library, an e-book library, free audiobooks, exclusive sales and specials, and the Amazon Prime Video library filled with access to TV shows and movies. You won’t be able to watch the PBS live stream, but there are plenty of PBS shows available. You’ll have access to full seasons of some popular shows including:

  • Breathless
  • Poldark
  • Mercy Street
  • Nova
  • Home Fires
  • Endeavour
  • Indian Summers
  • Downton Abbey
  • Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood 1987

This is just a small selection of the content from PBS that is available. You can watch PBS online on Roku, game consoles, smart TV, iOS, Apple TV, and many other devices. You can also add channels to your Amazon Prime package. For a few dollars more, depending on the channel, you can add channels like PBS Kids, HBO, Starz, and several other options.

Amazon is available for $99 a year or you can pay monthly at rates of $10.99 for the full membership or $8.99 if you just want Prime Video. Either way you’ll have a 30-day trial to give Amazon a try.

You can learn more about Amazon in our Amazon Prime review.

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With Amazon Prime, get access to an extensive library of on-demand movies and shows, and additional entertainment with Amazon Channels.

Watch PBS Online with Netflix


Netflix does not have a lineup where you’d receive the PBS live stream, but if you want to watch a vast amount of PBS shows, Netflix does have quite the collection of them. Netflix offers TV shows and movies, though people usually stick around for the fabulous selection of Netflix originals. When it comes to PBS, Netflix offers:

  • Forces of Nature
  • Great Human Odyssey
  • Ken Burns Presents: The West
  • The Civil War
  • Prohibition
  • The Mind of a Chef
  • Vikings Unearthed
  • Mind of a Rampage Killer

The most you’ll pay for a Netflix membership is $12. This gives you access to run four screens at one time and have five profiles so that everyone gets their own watch list. If you don’t need four screens you can save a little money and get the pack that starts at $8/month.

You can watch Netflix with Roku, Xbox, iOS, Android, Chromecast, Apple TV, Smart TVs, and most other devices. Our Netflix review has further details.

Watch PBS Online with the PBS App

If you have a Roku, PBS has an app. You can also watch through, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire. Mobile apps are also available. If you’re looking for ways to entertain the kids, PBS Kids has their own app, too. At worst, you may need a login, but you should be able to watch shows for free. To watch PBS online this way, you won’t have access to full seasons or older shows, but you should be able to watch most newer episodes once they are available.

Are there Other Ways to Watch PBS Online?

Unfortunately, you can’t watch the PBS live stream at this point, but at least there are ways to watch many of the most popular shows until its being offered. The streaming services mentioned are the easiest ways to watch PBS online. Hulu also offers a very select amount of PBS shows, specifically Bob Ross: The Joy of Painting. Our Hulu review can tell you more about what Hulu has to offer. And if you’re familiar and ready to give Hulu a try, you can sign up for your free trial, here.

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Get 65+ channels along with a library of 80,000+ TV episodes and movies on-demand! Bundle with Disney+ and ESPN+ for even more great content.

Ashtyn Evans