On February 5th, millions of people will be tuning in to watch the big game! No, it’s not watching Team Fluff vs. Team Ruff in Puppy Bowl XIII (although you should watch that, too). It’s football’s biggest day and one of the most watched events each year in the U.S. And this year, it’s on the FOX network. But what if you don’t have cable? Don’t worry! Whether it’s on your phone, tablet, or TV, here are several, easy ways everyone can watch the big game, live, without a cable subscription… including one option you may have forgotten about.
Fox Sports Go
The easiest way to watch the big game this year is with Fox Sports Go. Normally, you’d need a cable subscription to watch content using the service, but they’ve made it free for the big game.
You can download the Fox Sports Go app on your Apple TV (4th gen), iOS or Android device (phone or tablet), Xbox, Roku, or Amazon Fire TV. And Android users can Cast the game from their phone to their TV, too. Or, if you’re stuck somewhere without a TV, but happen to have your computer, go to the Fox Sports Go website to stream it live. The best part? You still get all the commercials (the only time of the year you’re happy to have them). You may experience a bit of lag streaming it instead of watching it live, but it’s free. But, if you want to get the full, lag-fee live experience, we can help with that, too.
Sling TV is an online digital service provider that offers live and on-demand content without long-term contracts or locked-in subscriptions. So you could order the service to watch the game without getting stuck into a commitment. Sling TV is available across many devices you may already own, including Apple TV (4th gen), Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, XBOX One, and many more. Sling even has a page that shows all the devices the service works with, and how to add Sling TV to it. Notably absent from this list is PlayStation (but you’ll see why a bit later in the article). If you don’t own one of these devices—or don’t have one that hooks up to your TV—you can get a free Roku Express when you sign up for one month of service.
Now, while Sling TV gives you access to your local channels, there are restrictions that prevent you from receiving them in your area—or watching them live—in many places across the country. But before you start shaking your fist like an old codger, this isn’t Sling’s fault. It has to do with networks and their affiliates. But, Sling does make it easy for you to see which local channels are available in your area, and if they’re live. To do this, visit their help page, click the Show My Available Channels button, and type in your zip code. If it says “On-Demand” after the channel, then you can’t watch it live in your area. If it doesn’t, then you’re all good!
In order to get FOX on Sling TV, you’ll need to get the Sling Blue service (their second tier)—which will run $25 for the month. But, again, you can cancel it anytime.
DIRECTV NOW is also a digital service that gives you the ability to watch live and on-demand content on several different devices. It’s similar to Sling TV in many regards, except DIRECTV NOW is owned by AT&T. So if you’re already an AT&T customer, you can stream similar content as Sling TV on your mobile device without it affecting your data.
And while DIRECTV NOW is available on several major devices, there are still some devices it doesn’t work with yet—like XBOX One, Roku, Chromecast (for Apple iOS devices), or if you’re running Internet Explorer on Windows 7 or lower. And, like Sling TV, there are restrictions on the availability of live, local channels. To see if these channels are available in your area, check out their Compare Packages page, then click “see availability” next to Local live channels in the top, left of the page. Some of the major markets where you can watch the game, live, on FOX are Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, NYC, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
You can get FOX on DIRECTV NOW with their entry-level “Live a Little” package—although at $35, it’s $10 more than Sling TV. And you can cancel at anytime.
PlayStation Vue is another streaming service similar to Sling TV and DIRECT TV NOW, with one big exception… it works with PlayStation! So if you use your PS3, PS4, or PS4 Pro to watch shows, then PlayStation Vue may be a great way to watch the big game. But, it’s not just PlayStation owners who can watch the game with PlayStation Vue. The service also works with Apple TV (4th gen), Roku, Amazon Fire devices, Android TV and Chromecast, as well as iOS and Android devices with their PlayStation Vue Mobile app… but, obviously, not with XBOX One.
Also like the other two services, there are restrictions around live, local channels. To see if you can get FOX in your area, check out their Channels page. Look in the top, right corner to see if your location has automatically been generated. If not, click the city and enter a new zip code to update your location. Similar to Sling TV, if FOX isn’t available as a live option, you’ll see FOXDEMAND. If it just says FOX and the channel number, you’re all good!
To watch the big game on PlayStation Vue, you’ll need to sign up for their Access package. Good news: that’s their entry-level option. Bad news: it’s $40—more than either of the previous two options.
HD indoor antenna
What if you don’t have any of those other devices—or you just don’t want to deal with the hassle of signing up to something—but you still want to watch the big game in HD quality? Or maybe you’re in one of those areas where FOX isn’t a live option? No worries. You can get your FOX, live, anywhere you live in the country, and in HD quality with an indoor antenna. That’s right… indoor! These aren’t the large, metal antennas that you may remember. You know: the ones that hook up to your roof and make it look like you’re trying to contact aliens. Nope, these new antennas are small, light, nearly paper-thin, and can be hidden right behind your TV!
There are many different kinds of these antennas available from a variety of different companies. But one of the most popular is the Mohu Leaf (pictured above). They have a variety of different antennas, start at around $20, and give you access to all your local channels (and then some) anywhere you are, with no monthly costs!
NFL Mobile from Verizon
Lastly, if you have to be on the road on gameday (and if you do, I’m sorry) but don’t want to miss any of the action, and you’re a Verizon Wireless customer, then check out NFL Mobile app. With it, you can watch every second of the big game in HD from your phone or tablet, regardless of where you go—because it’s streaming directly from the NFL, not FOX. So you don’t have to worry if the area you’re going to, allows live, local channels. And Verizon customers get free access—and watching the game won’t cost you any of your precious data, either.
The one downfall is that you can’t stream the app to your HDTV and watch the game on a bigger screen when you finally get where you’re going. But, this is a great alternative if you’re a Verizon customer. Just don’t get too excited during a touchdown and spike your phone (it doesn’t like that).
Enjoy the game even more with Sonos
The quality of your image isn’t the only thing that helps you have an amazing experience on gameday—your audio matters, too. So, if you want to hear every call, every hit, and every cheer with glorious clarity, connect your TV to a Sonos PLAYBAR. You’ll get full-theater sound during the game—so you can clearly hear your team’s TD celebration over your friends’ chorus of boos. Add a Sonos SUB to feel the rattle of the linebacker crushing the opposing team’s QB. Or connect a pair of PLAY:1, PLAY:3, or PLAY:5 speakers for rear channels to get a full, surround sound experience.
And if you really want to impress your friends, add a PLAY:1 in your bathroom. That way, they can continue to hear the game even if they have to step away from the TV. Just hope nothing bad happens to their team during that time. It could result in a very messy unsportsmanlike penalty in your bathroom.
And choose Enjoy at checkout so you can get your Sonos hand-delivered and set up in time for the big game!
And go team! Unless your team is like mine and already out of the playoffs… then yay football!