Mar. 25 – The Wide World of Sports (Streaming)

Technology Corner #3

Cutting the Cord – Part III: The Wide World of Sports (Streaming)

live-football-stream

Welcome to part 3 of our Technology Corner series. In this post I’ll talk about what some of the options that are available to those that have cut the cord. I’ll also talk about what are some of my favorite ways to watch online. So enough of that and lets dive right in….

As I’ve stated earlier in this series, I had alot of reservations about cutting the cord. The single biggest of those was being able to watch my favorite team, sport, or the big game. I know from talking with others (especially the guys) that this is a CRITICAL issue and I hope to ease those that are reading that there’re TONS of options available.

The great thing for fans is there’s ALOT of options available for almost any sport you can imagine. No matter the level or obscurity of the sport…. From the Premier League in England to your local minor league hockey team, you name it I bet there’s a option to watch it. The major sports leagues in America and around the world knows that there’s a huge demand for not only a streaming option but a stand alone package that they can sell to the die hard and casual fans alike. I expect as more and more people ditch cable that this will become even more popular and convenient. If we talking about leagues in general, lets look at our options:

  • MLB.tv  – Major League Baseball has basically pioneered this pay option for fans starting with radio broadcast before incorporating TV streaming shortly after. They have constantly set the bar for other leagues and continue to grow this service. In addition, Many games are broadcast on FOX Sports GO and WatchESPN.
  • NHL.tv MLB does such a good job with their service that the NHL contracted with them to administer their own gamecenter service. In addition to this service, NHL partners with NBC Sports and airs many games on the excellent NBC Live Extra app
  • NFL – The most popular sport in america and arguably the richest hasn’t been able to hammer out a service as of yet. The popular Sunday Ticket package is still only for subscribers of DirectTV but there has been talks of opening it up to others. One good thing, the NFL is partners with many over the air networks (CBS, NBC, FOX) so you can catch your local, or national game of the week with a simple HDTV antenna.
  • NBA League Pass I don’t watch professional basketball but if I did this is the service I would be interested in. NBA is also broadcast over the air on ABC and ESPN via WatchESPN.
  • MLS Live –  Even though the league isn’t nearly as popular as the others listed above, Major League Soccer has done a great job of offering this service to it’s fans. Now that the MLS has TV deals with ESPN and FOX sports the future is looking good for fans of the worlds game here in america.

Now that we’ve covered the leagues and the services they provide lets take a look at the other popular streaming apps and options:

  • WatchESPN The big dog when it comes to popularity and sheer variety when it comes to sports. It runs great and on almost every platform you can imagine. You must have a TV subscription to sign in. Popular sports include: NFL, NBA, MLB, CFB, CBB, MLS, Nascar, etc.
  • FOX Sports GO Fox has made this app alot better then when it first launched. It doesn’t run as well as the ESPN option but it does it’s job if you are trying to watch something on the FOX properties. Popular sports include: NFL, CBB, CFB, Soccer, Nascar, UFC, etc.
  • NBC Live Extra What NBC has done is fascinating, they have a small selection of sports but what they lack in variety they make up for treating those properties with everything they’ve got. The attention and focus that they’ve been able to give the BPL and and the NHL is tremendous and the fans have noticed in the form of viewers. Live Extra does require a TV subscription for authentication.  Popular sports include: Barclays Premier League, NHL, Nascar, Golf
  • Kodi Kodi is a open source media platform that can run on a wide range of devices. I wont go into detail on how to setup and install. Once installed, there’s several different ways to unlock kodi to stream many sports streams.
  • Fubo.tv I’m including this one because I’m a huge soccer fan. FuboTV runs on all the big platforms and offers the ability to watch international soccer from around the world for only $9.99/month.

 

 


Technology Corner

Cutting the Cord series

Cutting the Cord – Part I: Finally…Getting out the scissors

Cutting the Cord – Part II: Getting (Good) News

Cutting the Cord – Part III: The Wide World of Sports (Streaming)

Cutting the Cord – Part IV: TBA

 

 

Feb. 22 – Getting (Good) News

Technology Corner #2

Cutting the Cord – Part II: Getting (Good) News

TV_streaming

It’s now been over 6 months since we decided to officially cut the cord and looking back I’d STILL do it…..in a heartbeat. That’s in part why I’ve felt the need to post this series to help others that are considering doing the same. I hope that throughout this series others can be encouraged about making the move. If you missed part one in this series you can catch up by CLICKING HERE.

In this post, I want to focus on the content that is readily available for streaming  excellent content to replace your existing TV package.

Getting (Good) News

One of the many question marks that I had going down this path is the ability of getting good quality news … when I potentially don’t have access to the 24/7/365 networks. I wouldn’t say I’m a news junkie or anything but I do enjoy current events and being informed. Obviously, there’s always the local over the air ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX affiliate that has the national and evening news but that always isn’t convenient.  Below are some alternative options that I think work great for cord cutters.

  • CBSN This is my go-to streaming news source, A absolute must in my opinion for cord cutters. CBSN is an absolutely free service from the very reliable and trusted CBS News. They run 30-60 news blocks that are up to date and will break into programming when news happens. They broadcast in very laid-back but serious manner ranging from US and World news. The best way to describe is it reminds me of the original CNN Headline News… but better! CBSN is available online through their website or on the CBSN app on Fire TV and AppleTV.
  • SKY NEWS – In the US, SKY doesn’t have a huge presence but they are the CBSN equivalent in the UK and Europe. Where SKY NEWS shines is in terms of World news coverage, where the US mainstream media tends to not spend as much time on.  SKY NEWS LIVE is available on there website and is a built-in app on AppleTV.
  • FOX NEWS Here’s a idea for the most popular cable news network in the US…. be like your sister station (SKY NEWS) and offer a similar service. With FNC you can only stream through their website, ios and android apps (note: that you must have a TV subscription to do this). FOX News offers a useless Roku and Fire TV app that only plays cached videos with no LIVE video option.  It’s such a shame that as popular as FNC is they don’t have a better streaming option.
  • CNN – Like FNC, CNN only offers streaming for active TV subscribers. It also is available online at their website and on ios and Android devices. CNNgo is preloaded on the older generation AppleTV’s.
  • RT USA RT America is a Russian publicly funded news agency focusing on the United States. They have positioned themselves to be a alternative to the big US mainstream media. It appears that they are trying hard to be the US version on what Sky is doing. I just wish they didn’t have such strong ties to Moscow. They do offer live streaming via their website.
  • ABC NEWS – ABC offers a wide variety of current live streams via their website but not so much when it comes to a device or app.
  • SLING TV Sling is a cordcutters dream… although I don’t have it, I have friends that do and they really enjoy the “barebones” that the service offers. Sling is great for the people on the fence or just transitioning from having cable or satellite to cutting the cord.  On the news side of things, CNN is included in the base package for Sling TV. Sling has a wide range of apps that allow streaming to all the popular devices.
  • KODI – Last but defiantly not least is the very flexible and customizable Kodi. I won’t go into detail on the ways to setup and  stream (NEWS) content via Kodi….. just google it, 🙂

 

Check back for Part III in this series as focus on Streaming Sports


Technology Corner

Cutting the Cord series

Cutting the Cord – Part I: Finally…Getting out the scissors

Cutting the Cord – Part II: Getting (Good) News

Cutting the Cord – Part III: The Wide World of Sports (Streaming)

Cutting the Cord – Part IV: TBA

Jan. 8 – Finally…Getting out the scissors

**Announcing the launch of a new series  of posts covering Technology titled: Technology Corner

Technology Corner #1

Cutting the Cord – Part I: Finally…Getting out the scissors 

cord-cutting

I’m sure you’ve heard of the trend that is sweeping the nation… Cutting the cord. With rising entertainment cost from every major TV distributor it’s hard to not be tempted with going off the grid when it comes to your TV viewing. In this series you will hear from my first hand experience with cutting the cord. I hope to share what has worked well and what hasn’t. In the meantime, feel free to comment or contact me with any questions as I’d be glad to help as best as I can.

 

How did I get here?

Honestly, this was something that I had been looking at for quite sometime.  I was obviously attracted to the notion of lowering my budget on entertainment but also the truth that I didn’t need all those stations (that I truthfully never watched).

The  convenience factor

The hardest part for me was saying goodbye to my DVR. I loved having the flexibility to schedule what I wanted to watch…When I wanted to watch it.  Being able to pause live TV as I refilled my drink, replaying that big play, and scheduling my shows remotely was a HUGE deal  that I thought I couldn’t live without But little did I know.

How I eventually broke out my scissors

After almost a year of going back and forth, I finally committed to following through with my desire of getting off the grid. My first priority was upgrading my internet to handle the streaming load that my devices would require. This meant upgrading from my 3 mbps DSL connection to a higher 18 mbps broadband connection. Tip #1: It’s so important to make sure that you have a large enough internet pipe to handle streaming capability. The DSL connection was just fine when we first bought our home and didn’t have the amount of internet connected devices that we do now. As the years have went everything now is internet connected, because of this it’s critical to periodically upgrade your internet speed. Yes, it does cost more to upgrade your internet package but remember that the money that you will be saving by not having a TV package will help offset this cost. Tip #2: Do your research when it comes to streaming devices. Read reviews, ask around, and find out what the major differences are between them. More on streaming devices later…

It’s important to get these first few steps out of the way to help you make a smooth transition when you decide to pull the trigger. For me, that time couldn’t have came at a better time. After upgrading my  internet speed and reviewing and testing several streaming devices I was ready to go. My situation was great because I was outside of my contract. Even though they kept trying to entice me with offers and a  **FREE** equipment upgrade (with a 2 yr. agreement). This made for an easy cancellation process because they couldn’t pop me with a early termination fees.

Devices

Here’s a list of the devices that I have and that work great for me. I understand that others might disagree or have a stronger opinion on them but this is just my .02 cents.

  • HDTV Antenna – http://amzn.com/B00IF70T4M First and foremost you will want a strong HDTV antenna. It doesn’t necessarily need to be an outdoor one either. I have a indoor that works great.  I’d recommend something that is powered and low profile.   
  • Amazon Fire TV – http://amzn.com/B00GDQ0RMG – This little guy has it all… and I absolutely love it! Prime, Netflix, pretty good selection of streaming apps and the ability to sideload Kodi. doesn’t get much better. I currently have have the stick… I’ll probably look at adding the larger unit in the future.
  • Roku 2 XD – http://amzn.com/B005CLPP8E It’s an older model and I bought mine refurbished but it’s a solid streaming device. I mainly use it for Netflix.  Great for throwing in a kids bedroom.
  • Apple TV (3rd Gen) – http://www.apple.com/shop/buy-tv/apple-tv-3rd-gen – My least favorite of my streaming devices. Has Airplay, which is about the only reason I still keep it hooked up. I hate the remote and on screen menu.

Check back for Part II in this series as we tackle finding streaming content.


Technology Corner

Cutting the Cord series

Cutting the Cord – Part I: Finally…Getting out the scissors

Cutting the Cord – Part II: Getting (Good) News

Cutting the Cord – Part III: The Wide World of Sports (Streaming)

Cutting the Cord – Part IV: TBA