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Update: Games airing on CBS are not available for streaming on Apple TV as of right now. The company’s reasoning for this is unclear, but we’re looking into it and will update further if we’re able to get to the bottom of it. CBS games are streaming via iOS devices and the web, so you can AirPlay to the Apple TV.

Furthermore, TruTV, TNT, and TBS games require a cable login for streaming on Apple TV.

Original Post:

Every basketball fan’s favorite time of year kicks off later today with the play-in round of the NCCA March Madness tournament. After tonight, we’re looking at non-stop basketball for the rest of the month and it really doesn’t get much better than that.

Earlier this month, the NCAA announced that it would be live streaming all of the 2016 March Madness games on various platforms, and even teased an exclusive feature for Apple TV users. With games commencing this evening, it’s time to make sure you have everything setup so you’ll never run the chance of missing a game this year…

Apple TV

With the launch of the fourth-gen Apple TV, March Madness has gotten even better for users. All you need to watch this year’s tournament is the official NCAA March Madness Live app from the tvOS App Store. From there, you can immediately start streaming games for free.

Because there are so many games, CBS partners with truTV, TNT, and TBS for rights to some of the broadcasts. As in past years, you will be able to stream 3 hours of content from truTV, TNT, and TBS before you are asked to authenticate with a cable login. All CBS content, however, is unlimited.

Fourth-gen Apple TV users also have the ability to watch two games at once with an exclusive split-screen functionality, so you’ll never have to choose between two close games.

Users of third-gen Apple TV are somewhat out of luck, as they’ll only get games broadcast on CBS via the CBS apps and must have a cable subscription to watch them, but there is a workaround that we’ll mention below…


The same NCAA March Madness Live app is available for iOS devices, as well, and the same restrictions apply. You can stream 3 hours of content from truTV, TNT, and TBS before you are asked to authenticate with a cable login, while all CBS content, is unlimited.

If you have a cable login, however, you can AirPlay content from any of the broadcasts to an Apple TV. This means that third-gen Apple TV users can watch all of the games on the big screen using this method.

The NCAA March Madness Live app is available for free on the App Store.


If you’re a Mac user, all 2016 March Madness games are streaming live on the official March Madness website, as well as CBSSports. While the same restrictions apply, you should theoretically be able to get around them.

3 hours of content from truTV, TNT, and TBS are available before you’re asked to authenticate, but if you’re willing to use a VPN service, you can get around this limitation by switching servers every 3 hours. It’s a pain, but if you are a cord cutter it’s the cheapest way to go about streaming all of the games, although there is one more…

Cord Cutters

Sling, the popular service that offers a package of cable TV channels for $20 per month with no contract, is including truTV, TNT, and TBS in its entry-level package in honor of March Madness. This means that you can stream all the games on your Mac or iOS device with the Sling app for $20 (first 7 days are free). The Sling app is available on the App Store and more information is available on Sling’s website.

Enter the 9to5Mac Bracket Challenge

This year we’ve created a 9to5Mac group using ESPN’s Tournament Challenge software. Follow the instructions below to enter (just for fun!).

  1. Create an ESPN account if you don’t already have one.
  2. Head to ESPN’s Tournament Challenge page for the 9to5Mac group.
  3. You can create up to 5 different entries, but once the actual 1st round starts on Thursday, March 17th you can’t modify them.
  4. Have fun!

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About the Author

Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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