5 Ways to watch your favorite sports without cable TV.

Football, baseball, basketball images

We’ve heard from a lot of families who are considering canceling cable, but aren’t ready to make the leap due to concerns about being able to watch their favorite sports.  Here’s a short post on some of the alternatives we’ve seen…

Note: Keep in mind that games aired over standard networks can be watched using free high definition over-the-air broadcast TV.   (e.g. college and professional football).   In many cases, the picture is much better (since many cable signals are compressed) – even on a 50″ or 60″ flat screen TV.

1. Football – Watch games being aired over standard broadcast networks using free high definition over-the-air broadcast TV.   Good for college and professional football and bowl game coverage (including of course the Superbowl).  Unless I missed it, NFL.com doesn’t currently offer the ability the watch live games (unless you live outside the US), but they do offer a number of options here.

2. NBA.com offers a service called NBA League Pass which lets you watch live games via broadband or mobile device.  They currently have two options –  Choice, $24.95/year, lets you to watch live games for up to 7 teams and Premium, $49.95 for all 30 teams.  In addition all games can be accessed via a DVR-like full season on demand archive.

3. Major League Baseball games can be watched on your normal TV by buying a MLB.tv subscription and watching on a set top device like the Roku.  As of today, pricing is $119/year which includes home and away broadcasts, full game archives, multi-game view (PIP, Split Screen or Quad) and Live DVR Controls.  They also include a bunch of other extras (listed here).

4. ESPN3 via broadband (select college football, NBA, MLB, The Masters and US Golf Open and all 4 Grand Slam tennis tournaments).   Free access via TV via XBOX for Xbox Live Gold members or streaming via web site.

5. Hockey: NHL GameCenterLive offers live broadcasts (watch up to 40 out of market games each week, full length DVR like archives and the ability to watch up to 4 games at a time (using split screen mode).  As of today, pricing is $79 for the season.

Since some of these services aren’t available via a set top box like Roku or Xbox, you may need to connect your laptop to your TV to use them.  There are a few different ways to do this (we’ll be writing a detailed post on this soon), but if you have a flatscreen TV and your laptop has a HDMI output, you can typically use an inexpensive HDMI cable to connect the two.

3 thoughts on “5 Ways to watch your favorite sports without cable TV.

  1. I have already cancelled my cable…and love it.

    The biggest draw back is sports. I have the over the air channels, but I can’t watch baseball on a daily basis.

    I have been looking at the MLB.tv package, but it seems like since I will be in my teams market, all games will be blacked out for me. Am I missing something?

    ESPN3, also is only available in my area…if I am a cable customer…how does that make sense.

  2. I have been living without DirecTV for over a year now it has been sweet. Don’t let the loss of sports be a hang up for you on the fence. Like this article mentions, there are many ways to viewing all sorts of sports including some, ahem, web based means if you know what I mean. I have utilized these options by way of my Mac Mini to HDTV connection.

    For me it was how to watch soccer. During the World Cup, ESPN360/ESPN3 was fabulous! I subscribe to MLS Match Day Live, and the Fox Soccer TV. Good stuff.

    I can get MLB and NHL through Boxee (the software, not the box), and I am exploring the NBA Pass for next season. The only hassle is turning on the PC and browsing online.

    Reilly, you should investigate if you can get ESPN3 though your internet provider. That is how I get it.

  3. Thanks for the Info. I think watching sports is the largest issue amongst Cord Cutters. Here are a couple thoughts:

    OTA is definitely a great option for games that are playing on Major Network Channels – and the HD is great if you have good reception! I use the Leaf Antenna and get great results.

    Reilly you are not missing anything.
    MLB.com is not a great option, as they black out all local team games. This is a huge issue IMO. To overcome I subscribe to MLB At Bat on my Iphone and simply listen to my favorite team play. + $119 a year is expensive !

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