Cut The Cord Because OTT Technology Saves Streaming Sports Costs
Cutting the cord is like swimming or riding a bike solo for the first time, you simply have to plunge in when the time calls for saying good-bye to traditional cable television or satellite pay-TV commitments and go for it. In my case, paying for Comcast Xfinity TV services here in Atlanta is over for now and I’ve entered the world of OTT (over-the-top) to stream content with a Roku TV device and other video streaming platforms and applications. I quickly learned about free or special priced trials of the likes of Netflix, YouTube TV, Hulu, and Sling TV, along with using an HD antenna attached to a 4K HDR TV pre-loaded with Roku made by TCL for absolutely free high-def television stations in Georgia. The ESPN app had a free 30-day trail of ESPN+ sponsored by American Express I signed up for. Eliminating cable television fees makes sense for many but not all fans. THE Sports Techie community blog, I am happy with the results after nearly six weeks even through the occasional screen freeze or disconnect from the web and app in use, occurrences cable does not have near so frequently, if ever. In this case, you get what you pay for.
NBA Playoffs games have been a joy to stream across TNT, ESPN, ABC, and NBA TV. TechHive provides an informative guide full of cord cutters options to watching the NBA Playoffs online or with an HD antenna.
I suggest trying TNT Overtime for the Western Conference Finals for free as your primary screen or as a second-screen option. This amazing fan experience is augmented by interactive content like play-by-play integrations, stats, highlights, and custom camera angles.
Choose between four HD camera angles or watch them all as the same time using the Mosaic view. Select either the Home and Away team Player Cam as they track impact players, the Action Cam as it follows the basketball, and the Backboard Cam giving users a unique look from above.
While you can hear the audio of the TNT commentators, you cannot see any of the instant replays they are showing while they analyze plays. Nor are there DVR type features. I found this to lesson the quality of the live experience just a bit but I remember the cost savings and move on.
If you are an NHL playoffs and Stanley Cup fan, watch NBC Sports live stream of the Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final. While the Cinderella story Las Vegas Golden Knights in their first year as a franchise await to play the winner of the game seven match-up between the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators for the Western Conference Final.
I went into this digital sea of change as one of 100 million Amazon Prime members so I already knew what kind of content they offered such as Thursday Night Football games. TNF is ready to stream in more than 200 countries and territories using the Prime Video app and TVs, gaming consoles and connected devices like Amazon Fire TV, mobile devices and over the internet. “Our customers love to stream football — last year, we successfully debuted NFL Thursday Night Football on Prime Video in the U.S. and around the world,” said Jeff Blackburn, Senior Vice President Business Development & Entertainment at Amazon.
“Amazon was a tremendous partner for Thursday Night Football in 2017 and as we continue our mission of delivering NFL games to fans whether they watch on television or on digital platforms, we are excited to work with them again for the next two seasons,” said Brian Rolapp, Chief Media and Business Officer for the NFL. “Having over 100 million Amazon Prime members provides a massive platform to distribute Thursday Night Football digitally, not only to our fans in the United States but also around the world.”
Perhaps the best free trail available is the 30-day WWE Network subscription that includes any P.P.V. broadcasts that further includes any upcoming WrestleMania events. WrestleMania 35 will be at MetLife Stadium in April. 2019.
MLB does an amazing job streaming games across a variety of platforms thanks to BAMTech. Today, the surging Philadelphia Phillies play the S.F. Giants on Facebook Live for free available through the MLB.TV Media Center.
I’m saving my one week of Fubo TV for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. Or, use it now to watch the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool F.C. Search for your local UEFA Champions League broadcast partner(s) here, Champions League Final.
Smart Cord Shaver
Since I had not gone through this process before, I started off by accepting a Sling TV one week free trail and continued watching the March Madness basketball tournament exclusively over the web. I picked the channel package featuring Fox Sports and FS1 but no ESPN. In hindsight, I should have selected a difference package for the week. They offer three channel packages with an entry price of $20 for the Orange package of 30-plus channels that includes ESPN. ESPN is showing the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals beginning on Sunday. Sling TV’s Sports Extra bundle costs an extra $5 per month getting you ESPNews and NBA TV. Sling is is a good value when compared to a low end cable bill including ESPN of at least $75 or more per month.
Next up was YouTube TV for another one week free trial. Their initial $35 per month channel package when I began the trail is now $40 for cable-free live television delivered to your TV or mobile device. Local sports and news is a part of the 50 plus channels that include most major sport channels along with ESPN U, ESPN News and FS2, NBA TV and MLB Network, SEC Network, NBC Sports, CBS Sports Network, Golf Channel, BTN, Nat Geo, the Olympic and Tennis Channel, the Seattle Sounders in the MLS, SNY, and YES. I was real close to calling up and getting the grandfathered $35 price of YouTube TV but I decided to go with AT&T because of their amazing offer.
For $10 per month, I signed up for a three-month trail of DIRECTV NOW and receive 60 channels including the major sports channels and ESPN2. I fully utilized CBS, TBS, TNT, and Tru TV during March Madness. ABC and TNT have the NBA playoffs going on, NBC shows NASCAR broadcasts and Fox has MLB games, plus there is Univison Spanish sports content like soccer and authentic professional wrestling. After the trail, the price rises to $35 per month. I had a relatively seamless activation process as an existing AT&T customer since 2001.
I had to try Netflix and did so for a free 30-day trail. I enjoyed it a ton but did not subscribe. Their original content is better overall right now than Amazon Prime’s imo. I predict Netflix pushes into more and more live and archived sports content as are both Hulu and Facebook.
The free 30-day trail of Hulu was decent. I caught up with ‘The Orville’ a Star Trek spoof but did not watch much of Hulu beyond that. They are offering both the NBA and NHL playoffs right now on Hulu Live.
HD Antenna Must Have
I plugged a under $20 GE HD antenna into the smart TV, waited a bit for the initial scan to finish and just like that, had over 100 free channels in HD if delivered from over-the-air (OTA) network broadcasts, all for free. No extra costs. Look forward to high quality video feeds of local ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and PBS channels mixed in with way too many shopping networks and religious channels again imo
During March Madness, I could not get the CBS feed from Atlanta to load because of broadcast rights. It was super easy to use the Roku enabled remote control to activate the antenna and stream CBS affiliate WGCL for the two local games I was interested in watching live.
The NBA Finals begin in June and are exclusive on ABC making it free to watch with an HD antenna. The bummer for using this option only is the upcoming Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics in the East and the Golden State Warriors versus the Houston Rockets in the West because ESPN and TNT own the streaming rights available only over the web.
Switching back and forth from the antenna to streaming apps or using a cable subscription is usually just a matter of a few clicks.
Another contributing factor in deciding which way to go was my son and his 4-year old TV habits. He likes Disney channels, Nick Jr. and Thomas the Train and Friends. He used to watch Baby First but seems to have phased away from Blossom and company. Each one of the streaming options I tried had some sort of kid-specific content making it easier to make a good decision in the end with the all-important criteria of kids. Be sure to monitor your child’s surfing habits regularly.
Sony’s PlayStation Vue service, PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One offer another streaming option for cord cutters. I do not own either gaming console as of yet.
Sports Techie, I’d like to try Apple TV but they do not appear to offer a free trial. HBO was just offered by Roku for a free 30-day trail. There are so many ways to watch what you want over the net and without cable it can be overwhelming at first but after a while, it’s as easy and simple as pushing the button on a remote control.
Whether you want to watch eSports on Twitch for free, or you have a need for speed that only the next NASCAR, Indy Car, F1, or FIA auto race can satisfy, or perhaps you simply have to stream the latest IPL cricket matches from Indian to wherever you are over a computer, smartphone, tablet or smart TV. Options are there for cost cutters unlike ever before making the future of OTT bright indeed.
I am an Amazon Influencer and saved some streaming media devices such as the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, Roku and Apple TV you can access via this Amazon link in case you are interested in buying an OTT device and cutting the cable cord.
Streaming fishing tournaments, the Players Championship and Tour de France, or a robotics competition is just a cut of the cable cord away from being reality, just do it. If you don’t like the digital switch away from cable, remember, I am not to blame and go back to your old ways. If you do like it and I helped you make the jump, awesome.
See ya later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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