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SBlueman

A Cord-Cutter's Guide to the 2017 NFL Season

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The NFL season is a finally upon us and numerous NFL fans are starting to ask themselves how they can keep up with the league if they finally get rid of their pay-TV provider. Cord cutting is all the rage these days thanks to people being sick and tired of paying for a bunch of channels they will never watch because well, LOLSUCKSTOBEYOU. People are leaving cable and satellite companies in droves and the entire TV industry is changing monumentally at a frantic pace. NFL fans however have a trickier proposition since TV lights limits you on being able to watch every second of NFL action as it happens. So go into this knowing that if you will find many roads you can take depending on your budget. So which way to go? Well, that's all entirely up to you depending on your needs. What I am going to try and do is give you options depending on what you want out of cord-cutting and the NFL, especially when it comes to watching LIVE games.

 

No budget: 

  • Hop to bars and restaurants with the TV on. Drink water until they kick you out or they tell you water is not free. Rinse and repeat, hoping to catch some of the game. You'll also be at the mercy what's on the TV. Some places might let you ask to change the channel, but those are few and far between plus you'll also be limited to whatever they can get on. 
  • Try the dark underworld of illegal streams with their wack-a-mole ad experience, shoddy streams that buffer and freeze at all the wrong times, and the chance of having your PC or device infected with a virus that makes Ebola tremble. HIGHLY INADVISABLE.
  • MacGyver it, literally cut the cord!:

 

 

 

+/- $2.00 a month:

  • Verizon Wireless ($1.99/month) - In addition to your regular bill, subscribers can watch locally televised games for free with the NFL app. They can also add the NFL Redzone for $1.99 a month. No ESPN so no Monday Night Football unless you pay elsewhere.

 

+/- $40 (one time):

  • Mohu Leaf - Remember rabbit ears? Well this is the 21st century's answer to them. Buying one of these will give you access to all your local TV channels. So you'll be able to see any games aired locally on whatever channels you can pull in. No Monday Night Football though and no NFL Network. Also no extra options like DVR or on-demand, you are stuck to watching live content. The link will take you to their product page with the antennas being listed from least to most expensive. The average price is about $40.00 for their mid-line which should be more than enough for urban settings. Anyone out in the sticks might need to shell a bit more. Here's a great write-up on them for people to check out. This pretty much is a good first step to cord cutting and a great one time investment. 

 

+/- $40 a Month:

  • HuluTV ($39.99/month) - For this price you get ESPN along with select markets carrying your local ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS affiliates. Please note however that not all markets carry all local channels so check their website for channel availability. You get 50 hours of Cloud DVR for this price. You can also upgrade to 200 hours of Clud DVR for For $15.00 more. Due to streaming rights mobile devices can't watch NFL games live. If you go Hulu and want to watch NFL games on the big screen you'll need to HDMI that computer to the TV then full screen the browser streaming the video. Mobile bad, PC ok? Seems to be the rule for now across the board when it comes to these streaming services.
  • Playstation Vue ($39.99/month) - For $39.999 the Access package gets you the local affiliate channels and ESPN. For $44.99 you can upgrade to their Core package which includes NFL Network. Anyone with the Core service or higher can also ass on their Sports package for an additional $10 a month which includes the NFL Redzone channel. They offer unlimited Cloud DVR but recordings will only save for 28 days. 
  • YouTubeTV ($35.00/month) - For a couple dollars less you'll pretty much get the same deal as above...with one HUGE exception. YouTube has cloud DVR but it's completely unlimited and it's included in it's $35.00 cost. Save as many shows and events as you want as long as it shows on one of the channels YouTubeTV carries. 
  • Directv Now ($35.00/month) - You get local channels, you get ESPN. No NFL Network (yet) so you'll only be able to get the Thursday Night games that are going to be simulcast on CBS and NBC until they come to an agreement. They also don't have DVR available yet but are apparently BETA testing a service.
  • Fubo.tv ($34.99/month) - Same deal as above when it comes to local channels, it's subject to availability. Other than the broadcast channels you'll also get the NFL Network. For $8.99 more an month you can add their Sports Plus package which adds the NFL Redzone. The ONLY thing not making Fubo.tv a layup is that as of now they don't carry ESPN so no Monday Night Football. They do offer 30 hours of DVR time with their initial offer and recently announced they are running a special where new accounts get the first two months at $19.99. 
  • Sling.tv ($19.99/month) - You get all the local channels (check availability in your area) except for CBS. You'll have to pay $24.99 for the package that includes the NFL Network. There's a catch though....if you want NFL network AND ESPN you'll have to pay $39.98 a month for their Blue + Orange package. And for an additional $10.00 a month you can add their Sports Extra Package which includes the NFL Redzone channel. For $5.00 more you can also add their Cloud DVR service which will give you 50 hours of storage. They are also running an offer where if you pay for two or three months in advance you can get a free HD antenna so you can pick up local channels.

 

+ $60 a Month:

  • NFL Sunday Ticket ($69.00/month) -  The NFL is finally offering their NFL Sunday Ticket package to people without a DirecTV account (and not DirecTV Now). For the base price you get every out of market NFL game on Sundays. For $94.99 you can add the NFL Redzone channel and for $50 more you can add NFL GamePass. 
  • NFL GamePass ($99.00/month) - This deal is for NFL Fans who don't have to watch live games to be happy. On-demand replays of all NFL games, live home and away audio and all NFL games going back to 2009 in their archives. 

 

There are many different options for NFL Fans to get their fix. Once you figure out what you want and your budget you can fine tune your choices to meet your needs. So how many out there have chosen to cut the cord with cable? And what did you end up with? Feel free to comment below on your choices or any ideas on any other solutions for cord-cutting NFL fans to get their fix!

 

 

 

Edited by SBlueman

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My family watches the local games using an antenna (so the FOX, CBS, and then the sunday night game on NBC), and use a relative's subscription to access ESPN to watch monday night games. 

 

But if you don't care for the monday night games, then just having an antenna seems to work just fine for us. 

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Great post, Blueman. I love when people post useful information.

 

I live in New York, so a digital antenna works great for me. As a whole, if you're in decent radius of a digital antenna signal (which you can check online) the quality is amazing. I wouldn't even know it wasn't cable. I highly recommend this route for those not obsessed to see every possible game.

 

Also, if you 'go in with someone else' on cable, activating Roku channels is a breeze, and the stream is solid.

 

I haven't had cable proper in years and years, and I don't miss a second of it. There are so many access points to content now.

Edited by Maynard_G_Krebs

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20 hours ago, PockyCandy said:

My family watches the local games using an antenna (so the FOX, CBS, and then the sunday night game on NBC), and use a relative's subscription to access ESPN to watch monday night games. 

 

But if you don't care for the monday night games, then just having an antenna seems to work just fine for us. 

 

Another tip I should have thrown out there. When you can, share accounts. Great cord-cutting tactic!

 

16 hours ago, Maynard_G_Krebs said:

Great post, Blueman. I love when people post useful information.

 

I live in New York, so a digital antenna works great for me. As a whole, if you're in decent radius of a digital antenna signal (which you can check online) the quality is amazing. I wouldn't even know it wasn't cable. I highly recommend this route for those not obsessed to see every possible game.

 

Also, if you 'go in with someone else' on cable, activating Roku channels is a breeze, and the stream is solid.

 

I haven't had cable proper in years and years, and I don't miss a second of it. There are so many access points to content now.

Apparently using a digital antenna is best since channels are broadcast in 1080p. Cable networks compress their video so you get 720p at best. 

Edited by SBlueman

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I use ustvnow.com. it's decent. Seems based out of Pittsburgh area for local news and stuff. When watching national games like NBA finals last few years was rough and buffered a ton. Watching today and pretty solid. I hook up my laptop to the TV with a HDMI cord 

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12 minutes ago, tecmo_ninja said:

I use ustvnow.com. it's decent. Seems based out of Pittsburgh area for local news and stuff. When watching national games like NBA finals last few years was rough and buffered a ton. Watching today and pretty solid. I hook up my laptop to the TV with a HDMI cord 

 

Seems like they have a free option that gives you 7 basic broadcast channels and then a $30.00 option. Doesn't hurt to sign up for the free option as a backup or for people who are too far out to get local channels with an OTA.

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5 hours ago, SBlueman said:

 

Seems like they have a free option that gives you 7 basic broadcast channels and then a $30.00 option. Doesn't hurt to sign up for the free option as a backup or for people who are too far out to get local channels with an OTA.

i've been using the free option for last 2 years or so.. was able to watch basketball on tnt. has local channels for football. was able to watch super bowl on  it too

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