What to Look for in a Sports Streaming Service
If you’re the type of person who lives and breathes for sports, then this really is a wonderful time to be alive. Forget cable. Live sports streaming platforms bring you all the best sports action from around the world, live and on demand. You can watch whatever you want, whenever and wherever you want, on any compatible device – including TV, phone, tablet, laptop, and game console. You can choose from a regular TV streaming service with sports channels or a dedicated sports-only streaming service.
What Hardware Do You Need?
Streaming live sports is quite simple, and chances are you already have everything you need. First, check your streaming platform’s website for a list of compatible devices. The following types of devices work with most live sports services: smart TVs, e.g. Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung TV; smartphones/tablets, e.g. iOS, Android; games consoles, e.g. PS4, Xbox. If you have a compatible smart TV, then you can go ahead and set up streaming from within the dashboard. If you plan on using any other type of device, such as a smartphone or tablet, then you’ll need a streaming stick to watch on your TV. Compatible streaming sticks include: Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Roku Streaming Stick.
What Internet Speeds Do You Need to Stream Live Sports?
If you’re planning on streaming live sports events, then it is essential that you have a strong internet connection. With most internet activities, like email and Facebook, you can get by with download speeds of as little as 3 Mbps. If you want to stream programs in high definition, you need at least 10 Mbps. And if you want to watch live sports using an internet connection, then you need at least 25 Mbps to ensure a stable viewing experience and the ability to watch in ultra HD 4K. Remember, the more devices logging on to your internet connection at the one time, the lower the quality. Therefore, if you’re planning to use your internet connection to stream HD sports on multiple devices simultaneously – you need a high download speed, with 50 Mbps at an absolute minimum and preferably closer to 100 Mbps for guaranteed awesome quality.
How Many Screens Do You Need?
Before purchasing a subscription to a live sports streaming platform, you should think about how many different devices you’d like to use. If the subscription is only for you, then a 1-device subscription will do. But if you’re planning on sharing the account between a few friends or family members, or if you like to watch multiple sports events simultaneously on different devices, then you may want to purchase a subscription with up to 6 screens. Just imagine being able to stream multiple NFL, NBA, or English Premier League matches in HD on multiple devices in the one room!
Which Sports Are Available for Streaming?
The beauty of subscribing to a sports streaming services is that it gives you access to virtually every sports league and tournament you can dream of. Live sports streaming platforms give you access to big sports events like NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, college sports, the English Premier League and other top European soccer leagues, plus major tennis, golf, rugby, and cricket tournaments. You can watch big international events like the Summer Olympics, Winter Olympics, FIFA World Cup, and world athletics and swimming championships. You can stream events usually reserved for live pay-per-view, like UFC fight nights and WBO and WBA title bouts. With some services, you can even access niche sports and events from around the world. Additionally, some sports streaming platforms also offer documentaries and programming on demand that you can watch in your own time – sort of like Netflix or HBO but for sports.
Understand Sports Streaming Blackouts
Like cable sports channels, sports streaming services may be subject to local blackouts and restrictions. Let’s say, purely hypothetically, that your local NFL or college football team is playing. Depending on local broadcaster agreements, it’s possible that you won’t be able to stream that particular game in your zip code. There is no golden rule regarding blackouts. To find out which sports events are restricted in your area, check the website of your sports streaming provider.
Adding Non-Sports Content
You love sports, but sometimes you might want to sit back and watch non-sports content (or you might live with other people who don’t love sports). Fortunately, there are streaming services out there that let you combine live sports channels with non-sports channels such as news, entertainment, movies, and documentaries. The best streaming services are like cable providers – but without the cord. These services give you access to dozens–sometimes hundreds–of top channels and you can flick between the channels, just like you would with cable. The only difference is you’re accessing everything through what’s known as an over-the-top streaming service that plays through your internet connection instead of through a traditional cable-set top box configuration.
Comparing Subscriptions and Prices
In terms of billing, TV and sports streaming services usually charge a monthly subscription fee for using their service. Some services offer customers the option of paying their annual subscription fee up front for a discounted rate. Paying yearly can save you money, but paying monthly offers more flexibility because you can opt out before the next monthly billing date. Many services let you select packages consisting of certain types of channels, so you might purchase sports, films, and news channels in the one subscription. Some streaming companies let you trial their platform for 7 or 30 days before committing. As with any service, consider the cost of add-ons before they start to pile up.
Time to Sign Up and Enjoy Live Sports
Once you’ve made the decision to subscribe to a TV/sports streaming service, all that’s left to do is subscribe. Start by checking out the streaming services offering free trials. Get to know the different streaming channels and shows, before commiting to a paid subscription. If it’s sports you are looking for, then there are several great streaming platforms to choose from.