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Last year on August 14, 2017, I posted the first edition of this article that focused on live streaming services as a way to watch your favorite college football team without spending a boatload on satellite or cable.
This article comes to you a little later than last year, but you still have about 3 days to sign up and start watching football. Check out the latest updates on each live streaming service (and the antenna) below.
The ANTENNA Option:
For just under three years, we have used an antenna to catch any games that are on the network channels. We purchased a 50-mile radius indoor antenna and we get CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX and other local channels. Those four network channels are free and in HD from a little indoor antenna.
You will be amazed with the picture clarity! We purchased ours through Amazon and set up was simple. For anyone looking to cut the cable cord, investing in an antenna is a must. We have used both the Amazon Basics and 1byone antennas shown below.
However, based on my three year experience of being a cord cutter, I have found that we don't really use the antenna as much as I thought we would. Initially, we had to use the antenna, because we used SlingTV as our live streaming service and they did not have the local channels.
With so many people moving to live streaming, most services now have the local channels and we have watched the local channels on our live streaming service instead of our antenna.
The Pay for LIVE STREAMING SERVICES Option
Of course, an antenna won't get you all of the sports that you want. Thus, we made the decision to purchase a streaming service. Since moving into our home, we have had a streaming service off and on. Below is a list of streaming services that you can use to catch your favorite teams.
Sling TV offers three channel packages orange ($25), blue ($25) or orange + blue ($40). The sports enthusiast will want the orange + blue package and the $10 sports package. This package includes the following sports channels ($50 total). Sling also offers a cloud DVR for $5 per month. This would bump the service price to $55 per month.
- Regular Orange + Blue: ACC Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, Fox Sports (select markets), FS1, FS2, NFL Network, and NBC Sports Network
- Sports Add-ons: SEC Network, ESPNU, ESPN News, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Bases Loaded, Pac-12 Network, NBA TV, NHL Network, GOLF Channel, Outside TV, BEIN Sports, motorsport.tv, and Stadium
Playstation Vue offers four different channel packages ranging from $45 to $80 (an increase of $5 from last year). The best option for sports fans would be the $50 option, called the Core Package. PS Vue offers up to 5 live streams at the same time. Below is a list of sports channels included in the $50 Core package. DVR is not an extra charge, which leaves the price at $50 a month.
- ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN News, BTN, Fox Sports Regional, FS1, FS2, MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network, SEC Network, Golf Channel, Longhorn Network and includes local channels (in my area).
FuboTV specializes in lives streaming of sports and offers four packages for the die hard sports fans. Listed below is the fubo basic package, to check out the Extra, Latino or Portuguese packages follow the following link. In my opinion, Fubo's basic package is the best package for most sports enthusiasts.
- FuboTV: $34.99/month for the first month and then $44.99/month
- Channels include: Fox Sports Regional and Plus, NBCSN, FS1, FS2, NBATV, NFL Network, bEIN Sports, BTN, PAC-12 Networks, CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports, Eleven Sports, and NBC GO
YouTube TV offers a channel package for $40 a month (a $5 increase from last year). This package is shareable with up to 6 family members, but only 3 live streams are allowed at a time. A Cloud DVR is included with your service at no extra charge. Below is a list of channels included in this package.
- ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox Sports Regional, FS1, FS2, BTN, SEC Network, ESPN News, NBC Sports, CBS Sports Network, NBC Golf, MLB Network, NBA TV, and Olympic Channel
DirectTV NOW offers five channel packages ranging from $40 a month to $75 a month (a $5 increase from last year). The best option for the sports enthusiast is the $55 option, which includes a cloud DVR. This price only includes a 2 streaming possibilities, but you have the option of paying for an extra streaming option for $5 a month. Below is a list of sports channels offered in the $55 package.
- BTN, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN News, Fox Sports Regional, FS1, MLB Network, NBC Sports, NFL Network, SEC Network, and Tennis Channel
Hulu TV offers one cable package for $39.99 per month. This package allows two streaming options at the same time and includes DVR. You can add on enhanced DVR and unlimited streaming (could not find the price listed on their website). Their tv package includes the channels listed below.
- BTN, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN News, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Goal Line, FS1, FS2, NBC Sports, NBC Golf, Olympic Channel, and SEC Network
What Streaming Service Do We Use?
In the past, I have written two articles about Sling TV (Article 1 and 2). I was a huge fan of Sling and used them in 2016. But in 2017, we switched from Sling to PlayStation Vue. There were a couple reasons that caused our switch and they are listed below:
- Sling only allows up to 1 stream of ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU at a time, whereas, Playstation Vue allows up 5 streams at the same time. During football season, I like to set up 2 TVs and watch 2 games at a time. This was challenging with the 1 stream restriction last season.
- Sling does not offer the Big Ten Network and Playstation Vue does offer the Big Ten Network. With my beloved Cornhuskers being in the Big Ten, Playstation Vue is a better option, because it has all the possible channels that the Huskers could be seen (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNNews, ESPNU, BTN, FS1, FS2 and FOX).
- Sling does not carry TLC. I know that TLC is not sports related, but my wife is a fan of the shows on TLC and last year she wasn't able to watch any of her shows.
Last year, Playstation Vue was right for us, because of the channel offerings. However, in 2018, we will not be using Playstation Vue. Instead, we have moved to Direct TV Now.
We made this move in March of 2018 to take advantage of a limited time offer. We were able to enjoy a $25 discount for the first three months of service to any new subscribers. This was perfect and we jumped on the deal.
Later next month, I will give a longer review of Direct TV Now. Just know, we choose to stay with them, because they offered a channel that we have a hard time finding on other live streaming options. In all reality, Direct TV Now has more overall channel offerings when compared to the other live streaming options.
Different service options might be better for you. Somebody in PAC-12 country would probably benefit from Sling, because they offer the PAC-12 Network. It even looks like YouTube TV would be a great option for us, because they carry the same sports channels a Direct TV Now for a cheaper price. However, they get booted out of consideration, because they don't carry TLC.
HOW DOES STREAMING WORK?
All of these services can be streamed easily on your computer or phone, but most people are concerned with streaming it to your TV. You could connect an HDMI cable to you computer every time you want to stream your favorite football team, but that would get pretty tiresome.
When we first decided to stream our TV, we purchased a Smart TV and planned on using that for the streaming services. One problem, we couldn't stream Sling thru our Smart TV. Therefore, we needed to get a streaming box that can stream all of your stations. Below is a list of streaming devices that you can use to stream live TV.
- Apple TV (Sling, PS Vue, Direct TV Now, HuluTV, and FuboTV)
- Chromecast (Sling, PS Vue, YouTube TV, Direct TV Now, HuluTV, and FuboTV)
- Roku (Sling, PS Vue, HuluTV, YouTube TV, and FuboTV)
- Amazon Fire TV (Sling, PS Vue, Direct TV Now, HuluTV, YouTube TV, and FuboTV)
- Playstation 4 (PS Vue Only)
- Playstation 3 (PS Vue Only)
- XBox One (Sling, HuluTV, and YouTube TV)
- Android TV (YouTube TV, PS Vue, HuluTV, and Sling)
- Apple Air Play (YouTube TV, and Sling)
What Do We Use?
We are a Roku family. I have used Amazon Fire TV (at a relatives), but I didn't like the way that the remote worked. I am a huge fan of everything that Roku offers and I highly recommend them. I have never tried any of the other streaming options, so my recommendation may be a little biased, but Roku works great for our families needs.
What do you use for your cord cutting? What would you recommend?