How to Use T-Mobile's TV Streaming Service

The scoop on T-Mobile TVision Home

A family chooses something to watch on T-Mobile's TVision.

Eskay Lim / EyeEm / Getty

TVision is T-Mobile's cable replacement service, but it's significantly different from both traditional cable and cable replacements like Sling TV and YouTube TV. The service costs about the same as regular cable, but it's streamed over an internet connection that you have to obtain separately. It uses set-top boxes, just like cable, and you can watch on any connected television in your home via your internet connection.

What is T-Mobile's TV Streaming Service?

TVision is based on Layer3, a cable company that T-Mobile acquired in 2017. Layer3 delivered television service to customers' homes using a private IP network rather than going through an internet service provider (ISP) like Comcast or Verizon. The company operated as a very specialized ISP that only provided streaming television services.

T-Mobile used Layer3's technology to built TVision, but the resulting service has some crucial differences from Layer3. Unlike Layer3, TVision requires an internet connection. That means if you want to use TVision, you need to have a high-speed internet connection from your local cable or phone company. TVision is also designed to work with 5G wireless internet.

If you don't have 5G in your area, or you aren't sure what 5G is, check out our guide to 5G availability in the United States.

Aside from requiring a high-speed internet connection, TVision is functionally very similar to regular cable television services. It requires a set-top box for each television that you want to use with the service, and that's the primary way that you'll watch.

How to Sign Up For T-Mobile's TVision

You can sign up for TVision through T-Mobile's website. The process isn't complicated, but you will have to verify your service address. If the service isn't yet available where you live, you won't be able to sign up.

Here's what the sign-up process for TVision looks like:

  1. Navigate to t-mobile.com/tv, and click SHOP NOW.

    A screenshot of the TVision sign up site.
  2. Enter your ZIP code and click Let's Go.

    A screenshot of the TVision zip code verification page.

    TVision is only available in a small number of locations. If it isn't available in your ZIP code, you won't be able to progress any further in the sign-up process.

  3. Select your TVision package and scroll down.

    A screenshot of TVision package selection.

    Package availability depends on your physical location. You may only have one package available, in which case you can continue to the next step.

  4. Verify your package, if you selected one, and click Next.

    A screenshot of the TVision sign up process.
  5. Select the color of your set-top box. If you want to watch on multiple televisions, click Connect additional TV. Once you have added all your set-top boxes, click Next.

    A screenshot of the TVision sign up process.
  6. Select your add-ons, and click Next.

    A screenshot of the TVision sign up process.
  7. Enter your service address, and click Continue.

    A screenshot of the TVision address verification.
  8. If your service address is successfully confirmed, complete the on-screen instructions to finalize the sign-up process. T-Mobile will ship your set-top boxes, and you'll be ready to start watching when they arrive.

What Comes With T-Mobile's TVision?

The basic TVision package includes over 150 channels. Channel availability differs based on physical location, so you may have the option to select a package with more, or fewer, channels depending on where you live. During our test, we found the basic package to include 162 channels.

A screenshot of TVision channels.

TVision includes local broadcast channels like FOX and CBS, basic cable channels, and even premium channels. To see what's available in your area, check out the TVision channel lookup site.

In addition to the basic channel lineup, TVision also includes some features that you won't find in traditional cable plans. For instance, you can control a Google Home or Amazon Echo device using the TVision set-top box.

You can set up different profiles for multiple users, so each person in your household can have a personalized home screen. Social media integration also allows individual users to view feeds from Facebook and Twitter right on the TV.

Does TVision Offer DVR?

TVision includes 400 hours of HD DVR storage in the basic plan. This service allows you to record multiple programs at once, so you're not limited to just watching one show while you record a second.

Once you have recorded a show to your TVision DVR, you can watch it on any connected TV.

Does TVision Offer Any Add-ons?

TVision includes everything you need in the basic package. The only add-ons and additional fees come from adding extra set-top boxes and signing up for premium channels.

A screenshot of TVision add-ons.

Premium channels can be added or removed, quickly, and TVision clearly shows how much you'll pay. You can add services like HBO, Showtime and Starz, sports packages like Fox Soccer, and more.

Can You Watch TVision on Computers and Mobile Devices?

One of the places where TVision differs from cable replacement streaming services is that you can't use it on-the-go. T-Mobile has an app for the service, but it's intended for use in the home. That means you can only stream television through the app when connected to your home network.

If you want to stream television on a computer or mobile device, with TVision as your provider, you can take advantage of TV Everywhere. It's the same verification system that's used by every major cable and satellite television provider.

The way the TV Everywhere system works is that you log into the website, or download the app, for the channel you want to watch. Most broadcast networks and cable channels have sites and apps that allow you to stream in this way.

Once you've loaded up the network's website or app, you can use your TVision login information to verify that you have a qualifying subscription. You will then be able to stream through the website or app.

How to Use T-Mobile's TVision

Using TVision is a lot like using cable or satellite television. They offer in-home installation if you aren't comfortable with this type of process, but it's pretty easy. Once you successfully sign up for the service, they'll send you everything you need, including your set-top boxes and remotes. T-Mobile preloads your account on the hardware, so you don't have to worry about logging in.

A photo of the TVision set top box and remote.
T-Mobile

Your primary set-top box, or gateway box, has to be connected to your home internet via ethernet, and to your television via HDMI. This unit includes a built-in DVR with enough space for 400 hours of HD content. The add-on set-top boxes are smaller and connect to the gateway box via Wi-Fi.

Once you have your set-top boxes connected, the experience of using TVision is more or less the same as using any cable or satellite service. The main difference is each person in the household can have a customized home screen, recommendations, and DVR list.